Bound to Succeed: Which Direction Should Lead Generation in a Startup Go?

Outbound, inbound, bound to win.

Managing a successful startup in the age of “The-Uber-Of” rhetoric can prove quite challenging to a new entrepreneur. Having a special product and growing excitement around your startup is rarely enough to succeed nowadays. However, the one key ingredient to success has proven the same in all cases: attracting customers.  

Having a steady flow of customers into your business is essential for its growth, and if that sounds obvious, there might be some tricks in the playbook that you might not know about. This article will take a closer look at various customer onboarding strategies and how they compare, and whether your business should use one, two, or all of them!


People are glued to the internet, and that is becoming more apparent as people are getting increasingly reluctant to leave their homes without their smartphone. Beside binging the latest shows on Netflix on their morning commute, people use the mobility of the internet as a tool to their daily problems and challenges. Your startup’s online presence determines how many people see your business on their search for solutions to these daily problems. This is precisely the role inbound marketing serves.

Inbound lead generation involves a simple exchange between your business and the customer: they give you their information in exchange for your online content. Once their information is logged in your database, it is much easier to begin lead conversion campaigns because they have an existing vested interest in your offering.

Inbound is designed for avoiding the “sales pitch” mentality, which often has customers going the opposite direction. Instead, it emphasizes beginning the customer journey before they are committed to your product by engaging them with content related to their needs.


  • Enticing content is the driver of engagement, lead unwittingly enters the sales cycle
  • No hard pitch, avoiding instant shut-downs from potential leads
  • Inbound functions as a funnel, leading your buyers to your desired direction
  • Proven to attract committed and long-term customers
  • Lead information is willingly given to your business by the prospect, making acquisition campaigns more effective


  • Inbound marketing is time-consuming, and will have a considerable latency in results. If you’re looking for quick and easy, inbound is not the strategy for you.
  • Segmenting your market might be easy, but creating the suitable content for your audience might prove challenging and expensive. Creating your online brand and identity comes with a high dollar value.
  • This approach requires a lot of experimentation when it comes to analyzing how your leads interact with your content and how to best optimize it.


In comparison to inbound marketing, outbound is a more traditional form of campaigning. Outbound campaigning is similar to being a merchant at a flea market and using your fanciest words to attract the biggest crowd. The challenge outbound marketing presents is that the message of the campaign needs to be concise and impactful, while also casting the widest net possible.

Marketing departments are constantly presented with this challenge, and many of them focus on the wrong things when choosing their outbound strategy. There are many technological tools like CRM’s such as Salesforce, and outbound campaign automators like Mailchimp that are great for speeding up and scaling up the lead conversion cycle. Close.io is an all-purpose CRM tool that assists businesses with outbound campaign automation, they compiled a list of outbound lead generation ideas which could prove helpful for your new company.  

However, the most important element of the outbound campaign is the message. Make it like a sales pitch and your potential customers will flee in droves! Your product/ service has to speak for itself and your message should convey this as well.


Outbound remains the most effective conversion strategy in the B2B field, as it relies heavily on personal touch and face-to-face communication.

Communication channels like social media, email, shared inbox, or website live chat feature, are vital for outbound, which means that, if done properly, customer commitment to your business will be stronger.


  • Can be a bit dated, depending on your company’s approach.
  • Although large audiences can be targeted, rate of lead conversion is guaranteed to be low per each campaign.
  • Outbound tends to require a more aggressive marketing approach. Nobody likes to be bombarded with ad emails, with most going to consumers’ spam inbox.
  • Most startups cannot afford the opportunity cost of time and the financial costs of constantly creating new outbound campaigns that generate leads slowly.

What do I choose?

When it comes to picking a marketing strategy, the most common choice startups have is deciding between an inbound based approach or an outbound one. Both strategies require a significant investment of time and money, and both have different advantages as outlined above.

The best advice for a startup is to, firstly, have a unique product with an honest value proposition. An estimated 75% of venture-backed startups eventually fail, and the usual cause of this is the product/service lacking a special offering. If you feel like you’ve got what it takes, then by all means, try everything! Both inbound and outbound approaches are good for attracting the most potential leads, and striking the perfect balance between both is the goal that your company should be striving towards. Trial-and-error periods, followed by adjustment based on your needs, is the ideal approach for the startup mentality.

Vito Vishnepolsky
Vito Vishnepolsky
CEO and Founder at Martal Group