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Making the Case for Inbound Marketing: How to Sell Inbound to Your Boss

As a marketing leader at your company, you know marketing needs to change to prove value to your company. You recognize that inbound marketing is outperforming traditional marketing, but does your financial-minded CEO or CFO still need convincing? We’d like to share our justification process with you so that you feel more comfortable bringing the topic to your C-Suite.

Before sitting your boss down, you’ll need to do some research to confirm that inbound is right for your business. This post details our step-by-step inbound marketing assessment process and previews how we would walk your decision-maker through this gated path.

1. Identify clear revenue goals. Inbound marketing depends on developing a sales lead generation strategy based on driving website traffic to compelling content and leveraging marketing automation. You’ll need to identify your revenue goals before figuring out how to shift your resources.

Evaluate if your organization is receptive to establishing links between marketing activity and sales outcomes. Does your business face an achievement gap — a difference between goals and what current plans will deliver? If so, then you’ll need to figure out what to do to close the gap. If you do more of what you are doing today, how much of that goal can you be sure you’re going to meet? Inbound marketing can be focused on the remainder.

As the marketing manager, you absolutely must document the unmet financial goal. Having clear metrics that your boss will agree on is the catalyst for a new marketing strategy. If you can’t quantify your objectives and what’s going to be unmet, then you can’t go any further.

2. Evaluate your current tactics portfolio. Would additional investments in your current tactics — another salesperson, more advertising, etc. — get you to your goal? Can you get the rest of the way by pouring more resources into existing programs?

If you are considering inbound marketing, there’s a good chance that you’re facing diminishing returns from current techniques. Cold-calling is a prime example of dramatically diminished returns, as many people no longer have work phone numbers, and those who do often won’t answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize.

At this point, you should have a clear unmet goal and a good idea of the existing portfolio of resources and techniques for lead generation. You know which tactics will yield results if you invest in them, as well as which ones are declining in efficacy.

3. Assess your leads. Lead generation is only worthwhile if the leads become customers. You’ll likely have to ask sales leadership for the data to get the full picture. Marketers should actively partner with sales to work together toward attracting and closing leads.

Look at the value of the leads and cost of customer acquisition by source to start to understand the quality differential among the leads you already generate. If you do generate leads off your website, how do they differ from the ones from other sources? For instance, website leads are probably better than cold call leads. Identify the characteristics of the better leads.

4. Assess the product you’re selling. A service or product is viewed as a commodity may not be great for inbound marketing, whereas something seen as special or complex might be a great candidate for inbound marketing.

Also, consider the length of your decision cycle — inbound marketing usually benefits intermediate to long consideration cycle buys (30 to 90 days is ideal).

5. Build an economic model. Search for opportunities to grow traffic. Suppose your company is halfway to its goal with so many visits, leads and customers. Do you need twice as many website visitors and everything will waterfall the same way, or do you need twice as many visitors and half of those be more qualified?

At this point, we start building an economic model based on a conservative estimate as to what we can accomplish by trying to boost traffic. Next, we develop a content marketing program to build that traffic. Then we evaluate how you're getting traffic and see how you can actually grow it. If you realize you’re actually not doing a lot to generate traffic and don't have many conversion opportunities, then there's a good chance that we can raise your profile and generate more leads.

It’s important to realize that a marketing agency drives the campaign internally every step of the way, including strategy, campaign management and content development. Austin Lawrence works alongside you to start up the initiative, manage the publishing process and produce the media. A team of strategists, trusted marketing counselors and tactical practitioners helps you identify and leverage opportunities with meaningful content and dynamic marketing/sales automation.

The Next Step

Now that you’re familiar with our inbound assessment process, would you like to talk through applying it to your situation? Let us help you secure investment from your C-Suite. Click here to schedule time on my calendar.

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