Do you sometimes feel like your company is using social media and blogging but not getting the volume of leads you had hoped for? Are you stressing over the decision to invest more time, talent, and treasure into your marketing effort?
Or are you stuck in the old cold-calling paradigm? Heck, can a company survive this way in today’s marketplace?
Jason Fried, writing for INC., articulates: “Existing companies always weigh the costs of new technology or talent against what it already has and usually sticks with what is familiar. Why? Because the marginal costs of using what you have are almost always lower than the full costs of investing in something new.”1
Established decisions makers don’t think in terms of marginal costs. New companies don’t base decisions like inbound marketing adoption on costs at all – rather they tend to pick what is best for the business. It’s the key reason new businesses often displace established ones. They have better tools.
Several of our clients had established outbound sales processes in place, lacked an email database to completely support a pure inbound marketing campaign, and needed a more rapid ramp up than an inbound marketing initiation would have generated. But, they had the vision to realize that a sales process based solely on cold calling was becoming dysfunctional.
One of them, the President of a manufacturing company, had been impressed with some of the content we had shared with them, from a LinkedIn group, and reached out to us. Yup- they called us!
We created a plan to blend the client’s outbound culture with the inbound marketing process. One of the biggest misconceptions we see in interviewing potential clients is the “either/or” mentality many people have regarding these two disciplines. Outbound tactics are a great way to support a sales organization that is light on email contacts and does not want to buy lists (and potentially risk being labeled a spammer. The solution we devised was to utilize Hubspot® as an internet environment to create warm calls where they might have only been cold ones before.
We believe Inbound Marketing is the best way to drive sales to new levels.
Inbound marketing is at its best when it supports a traditional sales effort, not merely trying to replace it. And this is never more evident than within an existing business trying to survive by using only an outbound marketing process.
We then created personas of the client’s target audience, asking and evaluating where they “play”. We Identified ways to reach them with our blog, social media content, along with traditional marketing tactics. For example an architectural firm we work with found success with not only regularly posting new content on their website but also because we re-purposed the material into a great print article, e-book, or white paper and used it as a compelling direct mail piece. We made certain to add a unique URL to track results, designed a landing page specific to that audience (and message) and added a strong call to action. Where we used to have daily quotas of phone calls, and frustrated sales people (and equally frustrated decision makers) we now have a process to drive more inbound leads plus we have the ability to measure the traffic and convert leads into prospects before the sales people even pick up the phone.
We are also using advertising using trade publications and other periodicals that fit the persona of the target audience industries. We have assigned sales people to trade shows and networking events and have armed them with unique business cards and/or brochures designed for that purpose, again all driving to specifically tailored landing pages.
And more often than not when the sales team acknowledges a response to a call to action and dials the phone the party on the other end is far more receptive to having a conversation. Our rate of new appointments has grown, and our close rates and new customer conversions will certainly follow. But that is on the sales manager… we are the outsourced marketing department, after all!
All of this has allowed the management team to consider eliminating sales territories all together and aligning salespeople into specific industries, creating expert solution providers not pitchy sales people. Imagine speaking with the sales person who has multiple success stories within your industry versus a guy who merely “handles your territory”!
Lastly, we could devote an entire article (perhaps we should) on the enhancements to organic search results as a byproduct of all of this new inbound traffic. A financial planning we enjoy working with previously invested around a thousand dollars monthly to improve their search engine results through SEO-generating activities. With the use of good inbound marketing processes that company’s website ranking naturally improved, ultimately providing them with even more interested lead conversion opportunities.
Inbound marketing requires a good amount of time to generate momentum. Companies lacking a large existing email database to work with can see success with the adaptation of traditional marketing and sales methods to drive traffic and conversions is a great way to build the eventually conversion to an inbound only approach.
And it is far more efficient than cold calling on its own.
1- INC Magazine, October 2012 page 35