Choosing to develop an Inbound Marketing strategy, either in-house or through an agency requires careful consideration. The first one is whether the product, service or industry your company serves will make the most of the capacities that Inbound can generate.
Is Inbound Marketing for everyone?
Some of the best ad agencies will say “yes, of course, the Inbound Marketing Strategy fits all bits and sizes”, while other ones will sentence that Inbound Marketing is not for everybody.
This is an open-ended question. However, it’s important to set up the right expectations. We give you some areas to consider to see if inbound fits you.
1. Your customers like to inform themselves about your industry
At the age of information technology, we all want to have a presence on the web and social media. But that doesn’t mean that customers will look for information and orientation about all the products they buy on Google.
Some companies use the web as an integral part of their product recognition and lead generation, while the customer of other products or services will just go to a store and fill their shopping cart.
2. Your clients need time before deciding on a purchase
An ideal fit for Inbound Marketing are industries with a considered buying process. There are some products and services that take customers some time before making a call and negotiating a price. These can be software, corporate applications, university admission or expensive real estate investments, to name a few.
Consumers today are empowered to research their options, compare them, then decide prior to even dealing with one of your sales team.
If customers take less than a week to decide on a given product, perhaps an Inbound method is not a good fit to target them. Their sales cycle is too short and relies on tactics such as visual merchandising for those impulse buys, as their sales are not planned in advance.
3. Your product or service is not normally on top of their head
Steve Jobs famously said “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. It still rings true today.
Each year, we meet dozens of entrepreneurs and innovators with amazing solutions to personal and corporate problems. Many times, their ideal customers don’t realize there is a specific solution for that problem, or they may not realize they have a problem or how to deal with them.
If that is your company’s case, you may be a fit. Bigtime. To bridge those degrees of separation between the pain point and your sales rep, you need to provide some orientation.
4. You are patient with lead generation
I have ad blockers, spam filters and caller ID, and I stopped wondering how people got hold of my personal information. Every day I find hundreds of people selling “qualified” contact databases.
But do you really know if those contacts are qualified for you?
That’s not how Inbound Marketing works! If you’re sticking to a paid-for database and faceless cold calling culture, we’re very sorry. Inbound doesn’t fit for you because you’re starting on the wrong foot.
Inbound isn’t as much about generic lead conversion but rather getting the right leads for your company and moving them through a marketing and sales funnel.
If you attempt to begin a nurturing campaign with a person that hasn’t expressed a signal of interest in your field, you’re wasting your money, burning your brand and your company’s time.
5. You have a clear sales strategy
People love the term marketing but often fail to realize that it needs to wrap up in sales. Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales provide you with a strategy to improve your marketing and sales process and results.
But you need to have considered your sales process in the first place. Your product may be a revolutionary solution to some of the world’s most pressing problems, but if the sales department was your last priority when you developed it, you’re navigating without a compass.
Imagine that your football team has prepared the most elaborate game plan for the season: you’ve built up strong linebackers and given a vision to your receivers. You have a passionate quarterback, but you don’t know what to do with him and how to place him on the field.
You expect to win because you have a solid team and a winning product. But at the 20 yard line your quarterback freezes. You’re failing at the delivery. Face it: it’s just a group of people with no end to-end strategy.
At the same time, you may have a solid online marketing strategy: you feel you have a strong product and a solid service, your marketing pitch gets people hyped, your blog articles are wonderful and you have turned into a social media celebrity.
But your follow-up sales partner, doesn’t know how to deliver the punchline because the company never considered the end of the line in the first place.
You have a problem selling your product, and you may need to think about it before blaming the rest of the funnel.
6. Marketing and Sales are best friends
Sales teams we work with feel relieved to find a tool such as HubSpot and a strategy that promotes integration between marketing, sales and customer service. But the application doesn’t work alone.
If their company doesn’t have good internal communication, it’s like a father buying for Christmas some top of the line smartphones to his estranged children to promote more family time. Change needs to come from within.
Inbound marketing needs the participation of the entire company: if marketing is excited about lead nurturing, blogging and drafting product specifications, but sales doesn’t help with what they know on the field, Inbound is smothered.
7. Your website is looking to convert leads
There are websites of all size and purposes, and they don’t need to serve the same goal.
But if your company simply wants to have presence on the world-wide web, but doesn’t consider lead conversion as a goal, you’re putting your eggs in the wrong basket.
8. You’re willing to make an investment
We understand that some companies want to give software like HubSpot a try. However, a successful Inbound Marketing strategy takes time and commitment.
If you want to build a makeshift, lead generation, digital marketing plan, at the lowest possible cost, skipping analytics or dropping a buyer persona development, you won’t be able to correct your course along the way, and you'll be off track in the long run, wondering "where did we make a wrong turn?"
With that said, do you think Inbound is a good fit for your company?