My good friend Greg Morse started a sales and marketing consulting firm some fifteen years ago that he named Oxbow Marketing. When I asked him “Why Oxbow?” he told me, “Oxbow…it’s a u-shaped bend in the river, the place where all the fish are, the place where you know the bite is nonstop.” Greg’s a smart guy; I’d argue he was onto this thing we call Intent before it was ever an idea in our Monday morning marketing team meetings.

Fast forward to 2020 and we have enough tools, data, and process to charter a fleet of ocean liners.  Yet we still send Sales Development Reps (SDRs) and Business Development Reps (BDRs) out in the middle of the ocean with the equivalent of a life preserver. This is already the toughest job in B2B.

These teams have spent years pursuing the art of outbound cold-calling as a high-producing revenue-generating tactic that will yield the pipeline a high-performing sales team needs. I got news for you, folks. Outbound cold calling, without any insight about who to call and why, is a losing strategy. It’s like fishing in the ocean. You might get lucky and catch a big one, or you might spend all day out there and come up empty-handed, frustrated by the lack of marine life. Rather, we need to point our teams to the u-shaped bend in the river where the fish are sure to be biting, the oxbow.

With Revenue and Demand teams increasingly working side by side with SDRs, done right, your outbound marketing strategy will drive your inbound results, providing the best leads for your Sales Development team to follow-up on, and removing the need for random acts of cold calling. This is a hard concept for tried and true, old-school, hammer-on-the-phone-making-outbound-calls people, especially for those sales leaders who are wed to the “tiered account lists” they want these teams to penetrate. But I promise it will yield greater results. After all, wouldn’t you rather your SDR team spend its time following up with prospects who’ve shown some interest in your products and solutions rather than making random cold calls to a tiered account list that a salesperson thinks are your next best customer.

Here are five things revenue marketers can do to improve the impact of their SDR teams:

  1. Use a blend of intent data that identifies which prospects are interested in your solutions,
  2. Combine that intent data with an Account-based Marketing (ABM) digital and social advertising strategy to surround your ideal customers and draw then into your sphere of influence,
  3. When prospects engage, nurture them, both digitally and through email with compelling persona-based content they’ll want to engage with. Score them accordingly and use this scoring to prioritize the follow-up for the SDR team,
  4. Arm your SDR team with the dashboards they need to be an asset to their sales counterparts. This means intelligent data about what’s happening at the account level so that the SDR and sales exec can together strategically map the account for appropriate follow-up,
  5. Develop playbooks and talking points based on the way your customers buy and arm your SDRs and sales team to win.

Yes, your data will show that your SDR team is following up on inbound leads rather than generating pipeline from outbound cold calling. That’s the idea; these leads were purpose-built using a variety of your marketing channels and coupling those channels with the right follow-up. Integrate’s Demand Cloud will make this effort even more productive, providing clean, intelligent leads at the speed your SDR team will appreciate and the velocity at which your business requires. Ask the demand and SDR teams at Avalara, where Integrate saved over 3,000 SDR hours by filtering out nearly 1,500 bad leads every month.

Nine times out of ten, the “tiered account list” your sales managers provided your SDR team for outbound calling will no longer be necessary because you will, in essence, lead these prospects to the oxbow and lead your SDR team to fish in the bend in the river.



Deb Wolf
Chief Marketing Officer, Integrate

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