Google "What do CEOs want from inbound marketing?" and you will see a bunch of blog posts authored by Kuno and many of our fellow inbound marketing agencies. They all say the same thing—increased revenue. Yes, all CEOs want ROI, but you have to start driving new revenues before you can get to positive ROI. Yes, there are other important KPIs, but they pale in comparison to MoM and YoY revenue growth. The age-old question has always been—how? How do you light up the sales scoreboard with inbound marketing? The answer? Ask a lot of questions.
Let's start with a disclaimer.
If inbound marketing were that easy to do and consistently yielded a massive increase in sales overnight, we would all be hanging out with Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk by now.
But we're not. Fact is, it takes strategy and experience, talent and discipline and, yes, it takes patience. What we're trying to do—get the attention of people who would rather not be bothered, then keep their attention and gradually convince them to buy something they don't know (or think) they need—is hard. No problem, right? Yes, it's hard, and if you don't ask yourself some tough questions, you may never get there. Here are a few key ones to ask.
Yes, you want to increase revenues, but by how much and by when? How will you measure attainment of your revenue goals, and how will you analyze the different factors contributing to your wins and losses? Having a solid (and realistic) set of goals will help you back calculate reasonable conversion rates and set goals for traffic, leads, MQLs and SQLs, the standard marketing KPIs.
You'll never get there without a disciplined, well-organized approach and team. Start with planning. How can you increase the visibility of your brand and engagement with website visitors to convert more leads? You'll need to have a deep understanding of your buyers and their needs, create content to appeal to them and solve their problems and distribute your content wherever your buyers are online.
You'll need strategists and writers, graphic designers, web designers and developers, sales and marketing technology experts and project managers. You'll need an advertising budget to apply multi-channel demand generation campaigns and rise above your competitors. Maybe you can do all of this in-house, but maybe you'll need help from agencies or freelancers. It's important to get your ducks in a row early on this process to prevent wasted effort and missed sales opportunities.
Most companies start with the sales and marketing technology piece and work backward. I wouldn't recommend that approach. Yes, you need the technology to effectively build and manage the assets you'll need to go to market, but I would start with people. Find the right people and put them in the right seats, to paraphrase Jim Collins. Remember, we're trying to do something hard. Putting the right software in place is a good thing to do, but putting the wrong people in place can set you back - a lot. Hire great people, train them if you need to, and give them everything they need to reach your business goals.
I did mention software, and we do have a favorite—HubSpot. We're HubSpot Partners and have been working with them since 2009. In our view, HubSpot is best-in-class in many respects. Don't take my word for it. G2Crowd shows you the comparison data on marketing automation platforms. Now the question becomes—how do we put our team and technology together and drive revenue?
Here's what you need to know. I have compiled an exhaustive list of questions you'll want to answer for your company to make this happen. You'll see my suggested answers for each question and tips for further consideration. This is a free resource, and, yes, you'll need to sign up to download it, but I promise you, you won't be sorry you did.