Ken recently made the observation that the rapid adoption of Inbound Marketing requires companies to work harder at standing out in the crowd. He noted for some companies there may be a case to be a bit "outrageous" online to attract attention. He also mentioned Movable Media, as a great top of funnel solution that is run by two knowledgeable guys with a great offering to bring you traffic. He concluded, "Whatever you do, you’ll need to do something different some day soon, so you might as well start thinking about what your strategy and tactics will be." and he offered our free IMA as a good way to assess the opportunity.
I agree, but also argue that for the vast majority of companies, a successful marketing effort in today’s interconnected customer environment require the basics:
a) Laser focus on just who it is you need to attract from your Inbound efforts to meet your sales goals
b) Compelling and engaging content that speaks to customers
c) A solid technology infrastructure in place to manage communications for your social media and sales activities.
In one of our earlier blog articles, we gave you a list of 10 Inbound Marketing Things You Can Do This Week
Now let's look at a realistic, achievable example of how a hypothetical client w/ $20M in revenue might fill the funnel to increase sales by 20% using a targeted, integrated effort comprised of:
a) Inbound Marketing (perhaps w/ a content partner, like Movable Media, and ad networks to help boost Top of Funnel traffic)
c) Sales Prospecting
Let's use per unit of sale revenue assumptions of $17.5K setup and $6K/mo recurring revenue model.
GOAL: 540 Leads Needed (Raise Hand) to Achieve 20% Increase Revenue Target
Assumption: 270 = Half those who "Raise Hand” to identify will be attributed to Inbound sources. Of those:
30% = 81 (Marketing Qualifies Leads)
30% = 24 Engage for proposal (Sales Qualified Leads)
50% 12 Close (Annual Revenue)
The result in annual run rate revenue would therefore be:
$210K Setup Revenue
$864K Recurring Revenue
Cost of Inbound/Outbound program = $30K setup + $16/mo. = $222K
E/R = .21
ROI = 4.8
We have another B2B client that sells a $4K per year solution. They have successfully deployed new custom content on the HubSpot platform to build a 1$M pipeline in less than a year. The difference for them in their markets is they need to operate at a scale to drive 60-100 leads per month for their sales team to achieve growth targets. The economies are there to support this.
When you look at things this way -- regardless of whether you're looking to achieve 10, or 100, or 1,000 leads per month -- the effort to build and sustain pipeline is not insurmountable with a focused effort. Your market has to support the deal flow and your product has to deliver, but beyond the start-up phase, any business person worth their salt know, the economics of their pipeline.
And that is why Inbound Marketing is growing:
Some of them may even get it right one of these days. Bad joke, I know.
So while Inbound Marketing is growing, sure; I would also argue it is raising the table stakes for a company's online presence just to be in the game competitively. Web presence is very different than just a few years ago, so you should conduct an assessment if you have a Website that is more than a year or two old and is not aligned with the messaging and revenue goals you have for your target audience.
The secret is to think small. Be focused. While the Internet has over 1 billion connected people, you may only need to reach a small fraction to make your goals at a reasonable ROI. Defining your personas (You can get our eBook Getting Started With Personas Guide here. making yourself part of a community/market and doing "textbook Inbound Marketing" is great for B2B firms where the funnel may not need huge numbers (i.e., Coke or Pepsi) to work.
To get new customers, you don’t have to necessarily do something outrageous to stand out; rather I think presenting the relevance of your offering to customers' business problems in a compelling, honest and persuasive way is the most critical factor in B2B marketing. Blog to the world about your solution. Make lots of offers to them to engage in a discussion. Nurture leads in a programatic way. This kind of discipline has always been the hardest part of marketing for many companies. But done right, Inbound is effective:
Inbound works when you can identify your audience and know how to attract them to be come customers, because you can plan and manage your marketing investment as a profit center. If you know how to acquire leads you get to decide how crazy you want to be in attracting new customers. If the economics are favorable, you may not need to get too crazy to stand out.
I do however, draw the same conclusion as Ken that our diagnostic within the IMA will demonstrate for you the audience economics you need to achieve with your Website based on your unique sales funnel. The IMA also offers a competitor review, benchmarks against best practices and a recommended program to fill your pipeline. It is a valuable tool and we invite you to give it a look.
Get an Inbound Marketing Assessment. It is very educational.
Slides Credit: HubSpot. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/content-format-slideshare