Once upon a time, Albert Einstein, Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle were having a drink. Can you imagine the topic of that conversation? The jokes between them? The wit? I imagine knowledge and experience being shared between them, because they all believed there is a deep bond between knowledge and experience, in fact, that there cannot be knowledge without experience.
Well, that is also a main principle of Inbound. Yes, this methodology comes with tons of knowledge, but what makes it truly remarkable is that all the knowledge is based on years and years of beautiful failures, and successes - Trials and errors. Tried, tested, analyzed, and refined. And again. And again.
A story, your story
Imagine Mike. Mike is a middle-aged entrepreneur that has a SaaS company for HR solutions. He has been in the market for several years. He has some good clients, but he is at that point where he can grow and become a market leaders, or loose it all and be forced to shut down and turn off the lights.
Mike knows exactly who needs his HR software, why they need it, and where they can be found. But for a number of reasons he hasn’t been able to reach out to his prospects.
He has tried a number of different strategies, from facebook advertising, adwords, cold calls, mass emailing, and nope.. it's not working out for him.
“No, man! I won’t take a seat!”, Mike would say. “I’ll do it! Watch me!”.
One night at the office, (yep, he used to stay after work alone in the office, using that time to meditate and research how to boost his sales), while he was surfing trying to find a tool to manage his sales process and pipeline, he came across a Hubspot blog about their Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM), and held his breath for a couple of seconds. That was his "oh shit" moment.
After reading some blogs about CRM and Inbound, Mike realized that the solution was to align his marketing and sales teams, so that both oare working towards the same goal: increase revenue by 20% in the next 9 months, by doubling conversation from visitor to lead, and increasing lead to customer conversion by 2%, and play in the major league.
So, he started looking for an Inbound Marketing agency, to help his company with Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales, and his new website - what we call Growth Driven Design (GDD).
Why a certified agency?
Now, when you think about, who can delivery all of these services? The market is packed with digital marketing agencies that provide fragmented services like content marketing, social media advertising, PPC campaigns, email marketing, community management and so on...
But, is there an agency that can comprehensively manage your Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales, and GDD?
Maybe an Inbound Marketing certified agency could help Mike improve his lead generation, but what about Inbound sales? And what about Growth Driven Design? Placing your bets on one side of the coin won’t contribute to improve your overall company’s results. It can't. It's just like when you want to improve your car: you buy new tires, install a new stereo system, but you completely forget about the engine or breaks.
So, it’s essential that an agency offers Mike -and your business too- a comprehensive Inbound solution, that combines the 3 aspects. A good way to tell if an agency has the capability to do this is through the certifications that their team has. Remember knowledge and experience?
Inbound Marketing: A certified agency in Inbound Marketing knows how to create, manage, combine SEO, blogging, landing pages, lead nurturing, conversion analysis and reporting to increase the your qualified leads. According to Hubspot, these leads cost 61% less than traditional marketing campaigns.
Content Marketing: This certification assures that your company will receive a scalable and repeatable process for creating and promoting content that converts into leads and new customers for each of your buyer personas, at each stage of the buyer journey.
Email Marketing: Believe it or not, after 40 years of its invention, email marketing still generates 3,600% ROI. How? Well, you have to do it right. This Email Marketing certification allows agencies like IDS to provide you with a strategy that involves segmentation, email design, deliverability, analytics and optimization.
Contextual Marketing: This certification guarantees that a company’s website and content will be personalized for different type of personas, based on who they are, where they are in the buyer journet, what they’re looking for, when, and where.
Inbound Sales: This is a milestone in Inbound. Traditional digital marketing strategies are focused on lead nurturing and conversions, but should Mike’s company should do with all these leads? Here comes the second part of the strategy, the one that makes a difference: How inbound contributes to increase your sales.
An inbound sales certified agency team can help Mike to:
Prioritize his prospects by identifying buyer behavior patterns.
Gather prospect information to ask the right questions at the right time
Make interesting sales calls, by learning how to train his salespeople to really connect with prospect’s needs.
Send emails that actually get opened, drive sales calls, and how to schedule meetings.
Transform his salespeople into trusted advisors that will be able to close more deals.
Hubspot Marketing Software: This involves how to execute an inbound marketing strategy that enables consistent and predictable demand for your business, using the Hubspot’s Marketing Software that provides “hundreds of valuable features that allow marketers to create unique, memorable interactions with prospects and customers.”
Hubspot Sales Software: A certified agency in Sales Software -or Hubspot’s CRM- provides “a high-performing inbound sales strategy.” Using this online platform Mike’s company can execute all the features of the inbound sales methodology.
Hubspot Design: This involves designing custom modules, CSS page editing and HTML coding to transform a company’s website into a powerful sales channel on the Hubspot COS. This is one of the most powerful platforms I have worked with.
Growth Driven Design: “Traditional web design is broken - it causes unnecessary headaches, produces suboptimal results, and restricts an agency from growing to its full potential,” Hubspot says. This methodology combine your company’s team, processes, and pricing strategy to improve results and meet strategic goals. This is accounted of in your website.
Delivering Client Success: The success of our client is our success. And as such, account managers are tasked with a single mission - ensuring they are in the best hands possible. His goals should be: delivering value to their clients through Inbound Marketing, creating a repeatable client delivery process and retaining clients and keeping up high engagement.
Developing a Sales Plan: A sales plan is a roadmap that describes your agency's sales goals and provides a plan to achieve them. Just having an idea of it isn't enough and will never have solid results and its hard to diagnose where things went wrong and how to improve it, while having one facilitates discussion, focus and coordinated action.
So when you put the amount of knowledge that goes into a successful Inbound strategy, certifications is always helpful KPI to look out for in the agency that you choose to hire.