The Great Marketing Debate for B2B SaaS: Inbound vs Outbound Marketing


When it comes to B2B lead generation, there’s often a debate about the supremacy of inbound vs outbound marketing. It’s like choosing between Batman and Superman – both have their strengths, and the ideal strategy might be a blend of both.

Now, many online resources have fallen head over heels for inbound marketing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic in many ways, but putting all your eggs in one inbound basket might not be the silver bullet for everyone.

The problem arises when outbound marketing gets painted with an outdated brush – think ads in a dusty magazine or cold calls from a list purchased from some questionable data dealer. But guess what? Outbound marketing has evolved, and it’s not the relic some make it out to be.

So, here’s the deal – it’s not about choosing sides. It’s about finding the sweet spot where inbound and outbound marketing shake hands and dance together. The perfect marketing mix is like a well-blended cocktail – a bit of inbound charm, a splash of outbound assertiveness, and voila! You’ve got a strategy that speaks to all kinds of prospects.

In this blog, we’re going to dive into both inbound vs outbound marketing and spill the beans on how they can team up like the perfect marketing mix.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Imagine you’re at the heart of this whole content creation and distribution party – that’s inbound marketing for you. Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the masterminds behind HubSpot, coined this term. It’s like the art of crafting irresistible content that speaks directly to your dream audience and gets them to cozy up to your brand.

In a nutshell, the inbound marketing game revolves around having a killer website, dropping those pillar blog posts, splashing around some eye-catching infographics, throwing in engaging videos, and don’t forget those downloadable lead magnets – the secret sauce to attracting potential leads. Oh, and there’s this thing called lead nurturing workflows, basically your guide to snagging the attention of potential customers and smoothly guiding them through the twists and turns of the marketing and sales rollercoaster.

Now, envision this – the inbound marketing methodology is like your GPS for the digital age. It’s all about creating content that your future customers can stumble upon through search engines, social media scrolls, or those irresistible email opt-ins. It’s like laying down breadcrumbs but in a high-tech, digital way. The end goal? To be the tour guide of your potential customer’s journey, whispering a consistent and irresistible message in their ears until they can’t resist converting and sticking around. 

What is Outbound Marketing?

Granted; traditional outbound marketing was all about print ads and television advertisements. But the realm has changed now. 

Modern outbound marketing has embraced a more personalized approach, tailoring strategies to individual preferences. It still involves businesses actively promoting their offerings through channels like TV ads, cold calling, direct mail, and print ads. The main goal here being, to kick start conversations with potential customers, often using interruptive techniques.

Multichannel outbound marketing campaigns take it up a notch by:

  1. Disseminating messages across the entire stakeholder map
  2. Conducting outreach and awareness campaigns through multiple channels
  3. Capitalizing on buyer intent data and identifying website visitors
  4. Ensuring follow-ups for sales reps via phone, email, and LinkedIn

Outbound marketing doesn’t rely on customers independently recognizing their needs and seeking solutions on their own. It takes a proactive stance, being both attention-grabbing and consistently present. The well-supported “Marketing rule of 7” reinforces the advantages of consistently displaying product messaging.

A significant 68% of marketers believe that outbound marketing is the most effective in generating high-quality leads for their sales teams.


While outbound marketing might be pricier and less pinpointed than its inbound counterpart, it does bring some perks to the table. It can swiftly boost brand visibility, target specific customer personas, and offer real-time tracking for both sales and marketing teams. The catch, however, is effectively reaching prospects in a market that’s becoming increasingly competitive.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing for B2B SaaS: The Key Differences

When businesses stand at the crossroads of deciding between inbound and outbound sales, it’s like choosing different paths with their perks and challenges. Let’s break down the key differences that make these two sales approaches unique:

  1. Initiation: In outbound marketing, the company takes the lead by actively reaching out to potential customers. On the flip side, inbound marketing sits back and lets the audience make the first move, often triggered by consuming content or discovering the brand through online searches.
  2. Volume vs. Quality: Outbound marketing is all about the numbers, with a high-volume approach targeting cold or semi-cold leads. Meanwhile, inbound marketing sets its sights on quality, aiming to attract leads that already have some level of engagement with the brand or product.
  3. Sales Cycle: Outbound sales tend to be speedy, thanks to its proactive outreach. On the flip side, inbound sales cycles are generally longer, riding on the customer’s timeline for education and decision-making.
  4. Resource Allocation: Outbound can be a resource-heavy endeavor, demanding skilled sales teams and advanced prospecting tools. Inbound, on the other hand, requires an upfront investment in content and SEO but often proves more cost-efficient in the long haul.

In a nutshell, it’s a balancing act between making the first move or letting customers take the lead, chasing quantity or quality, navigating a quick or more patient sales cycle, and allocating resources for immediate impact or long-term efficiency. The choice boils down to what aligns best with the business’s goals and resources.

How to Choose Your Primary Marketing Strategy: Inbound or Outbound?

Choosing between inbound vs outbound marketing as your primary strategy is a critical decision for maximizing growth in the realm of SaaS businesses.

Given the uniqueness of each SaaS venture, the determination of your methods hinges on several factors. 

Here are some guidelines to aid you in making an informed choice:

1. Deal Size

  • Inbound strategies, with their broad appeal, often suit smaller deals that close quickly.
  • For more substantial and prolonged deals, an outbound approach allows for a tailored focus on specific companies and buyer profiles.

2. Market Size

  • Niche markets benefit from outbound representatives engaging in personalized outreach to build lasting business relationships.
  • In contrast, a broader market might align well with a standardized approach through inbound content.

3. Budget and Business Size

  • Inbound activities like content creation, social media, and advertising can be resource-intensive. Startups may require substantial resources to establish a robust inbound system.
  • On the flip side, an outbound ecosystem can be implemented more swiftly, offering a quicker return on investment.

4. Brand Alignment

  • Opt for strategies that resonate with your audience and align with the preferred channels of connection, be it email, social media, or phone.
  • Experiment with different approaches to understand how your customers prefer to be approached.

In essence, the ideal strategy depends on the specific dynamics of your SaaS business, considering deal size, market characteristics, budget constraints, and brand alignment to effectively blend elements of both inbound and outbound marketing approaches in your global strategy.

Need help finding your balance?

Many businesses often find it challenging to allocate sufficient focus to both marketing strategies due to the demands on human and financial resources. This imbalance can result in missed opportunities to elevate global revenue. 

The Clueless Company specializes in crafting and implementing an optimal blend of inbound vs outbound marketing and sales strategies tailored to enhance customer acquisition for SaaS companies.

Schedule a brief free consultation to receive a personalized audit of your current sales process and discover avenues for improvement.