When engaged by VICO Software in 2008 on a sales and marketing messaging alignment and consultative sales training project, we had an “AH-HA” moment when it came to a discussion around marketing performance.
VICO had the opposite problem to 95% of technology companies (not enough leads)….they had more leads than their sales team was effective in processing - they had sales execution problems.
The single biggest problem in our own business and every one of our clients over this period, (with the exception of VICO Software) was a lack of leads. The sea-change in our consulting business and the marketing approach of our most recent clients has been the move to Inbound Marketing.What we discovered was that VICO’s Marketing VP, Holly Allisson was single-handedly out-marketing companies 10-50 times larger than VICO using an Inbound Marketing platform in combination with mind-share creation and prospect incubation events on a shoe-string budget. VICO’s SVP Sales and Marketing, Don Henrich, suggested we investigate their inbound platform, (HubSpot.com).
This prompted us to change our sales and marketing performance methodology and focus on Inbound Marketing as a core competency and service deliverable for B2B companies.
Having gained 6 month’s experience with HubSpot’s inbound marketing capabilities it has become indispensable to our business and a core part of our consulting service offerings.
What elements in combination form an inbound marketing platform that could empower business owners and professional marketers to build inbound marketing traffic?
- Either a fully hosted Website with an easy to use Content Management System (CMS), (or integral sub domain for blogging and creating landing pages on your main site that mirror the look and feel of your site),
- Proven best-practices method for on-page and off-page SEO, where the platform does the work VS. you needing to be a PhD in SEO
- Integrated blogging and landing page creation,
- Integrated social media feeds based on your favorite keywords,
- Lead integration to Salesforce.com CRM for closed-loop analysis,
- Integrated Keyword optimization and page optimization,
- Link–blogging and inbound link analysis
- Performance analytics for business owners of any size
- High quality training, video, .ppt tutorials and comprehensive “how-to” articles....
The inbound marketing platform is central, but certainly not the only element to successful inbound marketing; add to the mix an E-Mail marketing tool, Website content that is high quality and relevant to visitors with different interests; and in a B2B market, downloadable E-books and white-papers that are compelling and easily shared. Regular Webinars, Podcasts and video posts will also build inbound visitors, community and incubate those visitors not yet ready to covert.
Assuming your product or service suite is at a minimum competitive, chances are people are looking for products and services just like yours today. Here a couple of questions to help you determine whether you are ready for inbound marketing.
- Do you understand the buyer-persona of your target audience?
- Would they find you today on the first two pages of a Google query search?
- If they do find your site, would your landing-pages convert them from visitors into leads?
- If they do convert, how competent is your sales team in engaging them in business conversations about their issues, differentiating your offerings, creating a vision of success in using your products, qualifying and engaging them in a buying process?
- Do you have a lack of inbound leads masquerading as sales problem? - if you do, then you have an exciting opportunity.