From the beginning of our marketing careers, we've had it drummed into our heads that inbound leads are the Holy Grail of our marketing efforts.
We perceive them to be the quickest and most effective leads to convert, so we idolize them: We view them as the ultimate way to showcase all of the time we've spent optimizing content and crafting killer CTAs to hook prospects.
But when you filter out "leads" stemming from partnerships, job seekers, and college students and researchers, is what you have left really "hot" inbound leads? Are they truly at that sweet spot buying stage? Did they follow the content path you've laid out and respond to call to actions and contact forms you intentionally placed for them to find along that path?
It's pretty likely they just stumbled onto your company at some random point and added you to their list of potential vendors. Worse, you may have entered their consideration set while they were already negotiating with someone else and just needed one more bid to secure a competitive offer.
My stepdad once said, "Even a blind squirrel eventually finds a nut." As marketers, let's not be blind squirrels sorting through inbounds until we eventually find one solid lead.
Reality-check: Inbound is too late