Inbound or Outbound Lead Generation: Which Is Right For You?


Given the current landscape of B2B marketing, generating quality leads is a concern for most businesses out there. Everyone wants to attract their customers to their brand, and the technique they select is what makes the most difference.

Today, we have something special for you. And only you. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy this amazing ride.

The inbound lead generation team is playing a match against outbound lead generation. Both are going head to head.

What will be the result of the match? Will the inbound team lead? Will the outbound team catch-up with the game? Will it end up in a draw?

Who will have the last laugh? Who will win more audience?

Wait! Feel lost? No worries. Well, we will do a quick recap of the match for you.

Enjoy the match.

Setting It All Up

Inbound and outbound are the two channels of lead generation.

The difference between inbound lead generation techniques and outbound lead generation ones are highly visible to B2B marketers. There is no doubt that it is useful and is leading the race in regards to different aspects. Both the lead generation techniques are equally capable of enhancing your business.

Each lead generation technique attracts leads (audience). The only things that matter are the market, product, and objectives of these. To determine the winner (remember it is all for your business), you need to see which one attracts more audience. This is applicable for all B2B setups.

Outbound lead generation looks comparatively ineffective in today’s marketing landscape. However, according to expert B2B marketers, integrating the same with various tech advancements can make it meaningful. However, inbound lead generation techniques have gained a lot of significance over the last few years. There are multiple elements to the inbound methods that allow it to stand out.

With seemingly enough advantages, B2B marketers have to make a choice on which one they want to opt for. The real question here, however, is- who is the ultimate winner when generating leads in a B2B setup?

Well, let’s get into the match and analyze both the sides.

What is outbound lead generation?

Outbound lead generation is a direct approach to a marketing channel. The introduction of your brand takes places through channels such as cold calling, direct emails, or sales event.

In outbound lead generation, you directly speak to the decision makers. You generate leads with targeted reach and effective advertisement.

Outbound marketers share the brand message by emphasizing the reason for customers to invest in your product/service. Also, here the reach is more direct and is structured to grab the attention of the audience.

Popular Outbound Lead Generation Techniques:

What is inbound lead generation?

Inbound lead generation is a popular channel of marketing that encourages leads to engage and interact with your business using digital facilities. Since most of the information is already available on various online channels, inbound lead generation methods are expected to be more fruitful than their counterparts. The main motive for inbound lead generation is to pique the interest of your customers and attract them to you.

Inbound marketers nurture prospects towards the brand. In inbound lead generation, you draw in people looking out for you.

Bonus Tip: Learn More About the Creation of content marketing strategy for your business and boost your company to the next level of success


What does Inbound and Outbound lead generation have in common?

So, now that you have a basic idea about the two opponents, let the match begin!

How the teams fare in generating leads?


Inbound lead generation involves only the cost of creating the content. You never need to pay for advertisement. In this particular lead generation technique, you save a lot of money.

Outbound lead generation incurs huge costs on advertisements and meeting the audience.

With low cost, the inbound team scores its first goal. The scoreboard stands as 1-0


Outbound lead generation conducts a campaign for a short period. Also, it provides you with quick results.

Inbound lead generation requires more time to grow and develop. They take more time to research and create content for the target audience.

Taking less time to implement and get results, the outbound team scores a magnificent goal. The scoreboard now stands at 1-1.


Inbound generation applies an effective strategy namely email marketing. Email marketing offers the highest return for your campaigns. You can connect with contacts who are interested in your product/service or have interacted with you through the content.

In short, B2B marketers have more probability of scoring profits in inbound lead generation campaigns.

Outbound lead generation campaigns are not cost-effective. The cost you incur is not synonymous with the ROI generated. They are also not data reliant. Hence, they don’t create higher returns for your business.

“46% of marketers reported that inbound marketing gave a higher ROI. While only 12% reported that outbound gave a higher ROI.” – Hubspot, 2017, State of Inbound report

This puts the inbound team in the lead again. The inbound team now has an upper hand with 2-1.


Inbound lead generation is at the risk of marketing from your competitors. You always have a chance of competitors outranking you on specific keywords, or getting more number of followers on social media. Inbound lead generation strategies can be extremely relative, causing a distraction to your marketing journey.

In outbound lead generation, you deal with directly with prospects. The chances of audiences diverting are meager because you directly appeal to your targeted audience.

With stable competition, the outbound team is now tied with the opponent at 2-2.


Inbound lead generation has a measurable digital system. They make use of a closed-loop reporting system, giving you a proper and authentic idea of your campaign’s performance. You can quickly identify and monitor your website interactions with your target audience.

Outbound lead generation has time-consuming and outdated data gathering systems. Their strategies are immeasurable, inaccurate and expensive due to the lack of tools giving real-time examples.

The inbound team is again in the lead with 3-2.

Lead Control:

Outbound lead generation has a comparative advantage in lead control. You can control who hears your brand. You can also control business leads passing on to your sales team.

Inbound lead generation does not offer control over your leads. Your teams must work within limits.

Moving towards another tie, the outbound and inbound teams are now at a score of 3-3.

Interaction strategy:

Outbound lead generation follows interruption-based marketing. The strategies follow a linear structure when it comes to interacting with your leads. You only engage in one-way communication.

Inbound lead generation follows permission-based marketing. You initiate the campaign with customers, who have opted-in by developing a holistic strategy. Customers feel more convenient with the inbound kind of interaction since everything is mostly digital today.

The inbound team scores again, leading the scoreboard at 4-3.

Target audience:

Inbound lead generation builds targeted content. You cannot be sure if your targeted audience interacts with your content. The content created may or may not interest your audience. You cannot be sure if your audience would take action, reading it.

Outbound lead generation only targets their intended audience. This is apparent in the response of the audience. It is easy to find what works and what does not.

And it is still a tie, with both teams at 4-4

Diverse team:

Inbound lead generation demands a diverse team. You must work with separate groups for various functions. Search Engine Optimization, content creation, design, social media, and development should work in sync to get the maximum result. All of these require separate teams with specialist skills.

Outbound lead generation requires little to no team coordination. Separate teams take care of their specific area of expertise. While the marketing team implements ideas to reach out to their audience, the sales team focuses on making sells.

The result for this particular category remains undetermined. It is pivotal to understand that both teams have their own comforts of working. So, both teams are on a tie.


Generating leads using inbound techniques provides better results than paid marketing. Marketers have found it much favorable than outbound lead generation. This has added to the effectiveness of inbound lead generation.

“68% of inbound marketers classify their marketing efforts effective. Only 48% of outbound marketers classify their marketing efforts effective.”- HubSpot, State of Inbound marketing, 2017

This puts the inbound team a tad higher than the outbound team. So, inbound team is leading by 5-4.

Appeal to the marketers:

Inbound lead generation provides better results at lower costs. The techniques of inbound lead generation are effective and efficient when compared to that of outbound techniques.

So, here it is. The inbound team gets the final score and wins the match with a whooping score of 6-4.

“32 percent of marketers say that print advertising is the most overrated tactic. It is a mere waste of time and resources.” – HubSpot, State of Inbound marketing, 2017 report

Conclusion: Result of the match

Inbound lead generation attracts more audience at a lesser cost. Outbound lead generation has made many advancements over the years; however, the effectiveness of inbound marketing wins.

The one that best suits your company depends on your product/service, your audience, your objectives and ultimately your goals. Both inbound and outbound lead generation techniques have their pros and cons. The version that you opt for should reflect your ultimate customer acquisition strategies.

So, which one lead generation technique are you opting for? Let us know in the comment and get some more insight into the same from our experts.

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Need some more insight into the various inbound and outbound lead generation techniques? Then download this PDF and become an expert on inbound and outbound lead generation techniques.


Inbound or Outbound Lead Generation: Which Is Right For You?

Author: Shiann Garcia

Shiann Garcia is a blogger and content writer with ample experience in the field. Inspired by her travel escapades during her college days, writing to express herself has been her forte. Sharing a deep insight into content marketing has allowed her to understand the varied perceptions of the marketing business world. Shiann loves to cook during her free times and enjoys learning more about different cultures.

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