Death of a Salesman?


I’ve been reading a lot lately about the death or terminal illness of outbound marketing. By definition that also implies the death of sales as we know it in terms of proactive people who represent their companies and transact business face to face. Now I come to think about it, it’s a very long time since we’ve had a visit or even a phone call from a potential supplier, that’s if you leave recruitment companies out of the scenario.

Cuts have been made in the following: Printed literature, Telemarketing/Telesales, Attendance at Exhibitions, Visits to clients and potential clients, Advertising (both on and off-line) and PR. Companies have reduced marketing budgets unilaterally and jumped with relief on the inbound marketing bandwagon. Why? Because it costs less and they believe that the same results can be achieved despite the evidence to the contrary on balance sheets.

As a marketing company that was founded in the 80s when Don Draper-style agencies still ruled the roost, Alpha could be expected to support traditional marketing and sales techniques. You would expect us to retain our respect for the printed word, much as typesetting agencies held onto their craft long after desktop publishing had become the norm. OK, we admit that nostalgia is playing a part in our recommendations to clients. We still believe in well-crafted and carefully targeted direct mail. But this belief comes with a healthy dose of proof that the marketing MIX should be just that. Neglect any aspect of the mix and see the results for yourself. As the old saying goes, “What happens if I stop advertising?” Answer, “Nothing”. Whilst inbound marketing undoubtedly does work – and for the uninitiated we are talking here about social media, interactive media and content marketing – you cannot expect Twitter, Linkedin, Blogging and the rest to return the results your business used to achieve via outbound sales and marketing. Everyone wants a return on investment and when times are hard it’s very tempting to believe the social media and SEO “experts” who tell you that once they’ve done their work you can sit back and watch the leads roll in. This is far from the truth. A company we know took a year off from outbound marketing and the results spoke for themselves. It can take years to make up lost ground, if in fact that can be achieved once more proactive competitors have stepped in.

My advice, for what it’s worth, is to balance inbound and outbound marketing methods depending on the type of business you are in and the markets you are targeting. Keep in front of your clients and prospects in a whole range of ways. Use all the means, and media, that are now available to you. Be creative. Always.

If in doubt about any of this, we’d be pleased to discuss. or email me at

2 Responses to “Death of a Salesman?”

  1. Reblogged this on alpha design and marketing and commented:

    It’s getting on for 3 years since I wrote this – I think it’s still valid. Which sales and marketing channels do you find most cost-effective for your business?


  1. 1 Death of a Salesman? - Alpha Design & Marketing Ltd.Alpha Design & Marketing Ltd.

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