The advent of Inbound Marketing’s popularity is undeniable. More and more companies within both public and private sectors are beginning to adopt a less intrusive, more effective approach to their marketing, often driving more sustainable results in the process.
However, Inbound Marketing is still relatively new as a concept and, in order to extract the most value of the Inbound Marketing campaigns, you need a firm grasp of the benefits and what this means for your business.
Generally speaking, the main focus for companies using Inbound Marketing seems to be the quantity of leads generated. However, whilst this is understandably the fundamental ROI metric driving the use of Inbound, it is unwise not to consider the less tangible, yet equally important benefits of adopting Inbound Marketing.
Increase Brand Awareness
By constantly producing and publishing fresh new quality content you not only reach potential new customers, but also showcase your company and its credibility to potential employees, suppliers and partners. Whilst this widened reach might not necessarily be easily attributed to specific metrics, the constant delivery of targeted, relevant content will eventually pay dividends, increasing brand awareness, establishing you as a source of credible, valuable information and eventually, contributing directly to increased leads.
Although measuring leads is relatively easy in comparison to measuring brand sentiment and awareness, there are metrics that you can use as a means of understanding the impact your inbound marketing campaign is having on brand perception. For instance, consider direct traffic over time, repeat traffic, LinkedIn connections and company page followers, the number of Twitter followers, blog subscribers, and the number of referrals from other businesses.
As with any metrics, however, it is by the measurement of these in the context of other metrics over time, that allows a more accurate view of what is working and what isn’t. Remember, Inbound Marketing takes time, and the more information you gather, the more effective your insights will be into how Inbound is affecting the awareness and perception of your brand.
Align Your Marketing and Sales
Through Inbound platforms such as HubSpot, an inevitable benefit is the ability to better connect your marketing and sales teams so that they are able to feed into each other to become more effective. In fact, in the case of HubSpot’s integration with Salesforce, activity and information can move seamlessly back and forth between both databases. By working in tandem with the marketing team, your sales team can benefit from a consistent stream of quality leads, whilst your marketing team will be armed with the latest information regarding the progress of these leads.
Furthermore, through the use of buyer personas (in-depth profiles that outline the characteristics of each of your target market segments), both the marketing and sales functions can settle on what exactly constitutes a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Given SQLs are essentially leads that have been qualified through the inbound process to be chased by the sales team, this mutual agreement of what an SQL is, means that the sales team can equip the right approach for each and every lead that they are sent from marketing.
SQLs are particularly powerful when they are defined by a lead score, a mathematical measure of how qualified they are based on their behaviours. By using lead scoring systems, each interaction your contact makes with your content, whether it’s viewing web pages, filling in forms or downloading media, you allocate a score which builds over time. Once a lead reaches an agreed level, your sales team will receive the details about that lead, so they can contact them promptly and start to engage with them face to face, over the phone or through email, armed with hoards of relevant information to leverage during the call.
Unlike cold calling, this tailored approach is proven to do wonders for your conversion rates, and this is no surprise, given the statistics (Source: CEB) below:
The average cold calling appointment rate is 2.5%
B2B buyers complete 57% of the buying decision before they are willing to talk to a sales rep.
77% of B2B buyers said they did not talk with a salesperson until after they had performed independent research
Increase Connections Through Employees
Employees are often heralded as a business’s most vital asset: you need to empower them accordingly.
One such way to empower employees is by getting them actively involved in your inbound campaigns by writing blogs, offering their specific expertise and knowledge, or sharing content via their own social media channels.
By doing this, you will not only find that your employees feel more involved (which in itself can affect performance), but that you will develop inbound campaigns that are made stronger by your employees collective insights and ideas.
Furthermore, empowering employees to share content to their personal networks will also amplify the reach of the content, increasing the likelihood that prospects enter the sales funnel and, eventually, become leads to be contacted by your sales team.
In fact, by using the soft sales approach of social selling, your marketing and sales employees can continuously fill up their funnel with strong prospects. Monitoring or “listening” to the right conversations on social media, proactively sharing content, and even referencing past social media conversations in your emails is an ideal way to help build rapport quickly and provide a conversational hook for the sales team to move deals forward.
This is how business works now and this is how people buy. Nobody likes the hard sell.
It’s time you update your systems and catch up to a marketing and sales shift that’s been happening for years. This is what social selling is all about and this is what drives the success of Inbound Marketing.
This begs the question, are you making the most of Inbound Marketing?