A Simple Way To Perfectly Blend Inbound Marketing And Outbound Marketing
Inbound, Outbound, Upbound Or Downbound: Who Cares What You Call It
The days of pure inbound marketing are over. It’s rare these days that we’re working with any clients on engagements that don’t include a strategically designed set of tactics that span across a variety of marketing approaches.
But that doesn’t mean when CEOs, CMOs and VPs start working with us there isn’t an active conversation about the mix of proactive outreach tactics (like ABM) and more reactive tactics (like conversion rate optimization).
The key to figuring this out is revenue strategy.
How are you going to get to the revenue run rate you need to hit and exceed your revenue goals? It all starts with numbers.
Moving From Art To Science
While creativity is still key to design, messaging and the visual representation of your brand, marketing, sales and revenue generation in general have evolved from an art to a science.
You have to take a scientific approach to growing your company. For us and our clients, this starts with understanding the current performance of your revenue cycle (this is what we used to refer to as your funnel) and then defining what your ultimate or end-stage revenue cycle looks like.
This establishes the goal line and puts down on paper key metrics required for revenue generation (metrics like website visitors per month, conversion rates for marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, sales opportunities, proposals submitted, new customers and even average revenue per new customer signed).
This data tells us exactly what strategy and tactics need to be planned, designed, executed and optimized over time to produce the agreed on and desired results.
This also tells us what additional metrics we need to track, analyze and act on to produce the desired results. Plus, it tells us what technologies need to be deployed to automate and analyze the performance of these highly orchestrated and tightly aligned tactics.
In some cases, this planning can take up to two months. But for certain clients, we’ve found a way to get this done in two days, accelerating time to results and limiting the amount of time required by our clients to participate in this important stage of the engagement.
Assessing The Prospect Persona’s Buyer Journey
OK, you have strategy, tactics, metrics and technology, but believe it or not, that’s not enough. Today, you must be intimate with your prospects’ buyer journey.
You must know what questions they’re asking, what information they need, what options they’re considering, how they’re evaluating their options and who from their company is participating in this journey.
If you really want to do this correctly, you’ll need buyer journeys defined for each of the people participating in the purchase decision at your target prospect’s company, because the CFO is going to take a different path and execute a different journey than the CIO or CEO.
If you have six people involved in the purchase of your product or service, you’ll need six different buyer journeys, along with the tactics, content and stories to match.
This is another reason why this is so complicated and so many companies struggle to get it right.
Creating The Prospect Buyer Journey Experience
Amazon, Netflix, Apple and Starbucks are all setting the bar for the customer experience. How does that impact your company? Simply put, people are expecting you to deliver similar experiences.
When you ask your newest customers why they chose you, it’s likely their answer will be highly connected to the sales process and the experience they had with you during their buyer journey.
That lends itself to investing a significant amount of time and money into making the interactions with your marketing and sales teams key to driving new revenue.
This has moved us to help clients experience-map their prospects’ every touch point from click to close, but we’ll also look at pre-click and post-close to create a highly remarkable experience.
This process and exercise ensures that every touch point delivers education, guidance and advice. It also ensures that every touch point reinforces our value proposition and tells a story that differentiates us from our competition and from prospects doing nothing (our biggest competitor).
Every company should be doing this.
Mapping The Tactics
You’ve answered a lot of important questions already. What does success look like? What metrics are you shooting for? What revenue cycle do you need?
You’ve defined your prospects’ buyer journey and you’ve created a remarkable experience that you aspire to deliver to your prospects.
You need this to continue. Without it, you’re shooting in the dark and trying to get to your destination without a map. “Random acts of marketing” result in disappointing results.
Now you can go back and pull from the set of marketing, sales and customer service tactics and start building your execution plan.
If you know who your prospects are and you’re comfortable disrupting them, account-based marketing (ABM), AdWords, social advertising, events, influencer marketing and email are going to be core components of your demand generation plans.
If you’re less sure of who your prospects are, then you’ll want a heavy dose of search engine optimization, website, conversion rate optimization, lead nurture, video marketing, chat and content marketing, including publishing content at offsite locations to drive visitors.
In other cases, you might be doing both and, in all cases, you should be looking at the handoff of leads from marketing to sales and building out those sales touches that deliver the remarkable experience we discussed above.
It’s not one or two of these tactics that will drive results; it’s all of them working together in an orchestrated way, just like a symphony orchestra.
These tactics will require tuning and optimization to produce the desired results.
Defining The Key Metrics
The revenue cycle metrics we discussed earlier are just the first step. You’ll need buyer journey stage metrics for each of the eight stages of the .
This might be different than the way you currently track the performance of your marketing. We see most people still tracking based on tactics, and we’re recommending you start tracking based on stage (metrics for all of the tactics being deployed in the Awareness Stage, the Education Stage and so on).
These are marketing- and sales-related metrics, making them revenue metrics. Each stage has its own set of metrics, and each stage should have its own dashboard. The better the metrics perform, the faster the revenue cycle, the faster your sales cycle and the faster your company will grow.
Another big mistake we see in the market is people buying software for marketing or sales without any plans on how to deploy it, or thinking that the software is going to magically fix anything wrong with their marketing and/or sales strategy and execution.
It won’t fix anything. No matter what the software companies tell you, without a strategy and tactics plan, the software might be worthless.
Instead, consider a two-tier approach to technology.
What platform tools do you need? What marketing automation, what CRM and what customer service software do you need to deliver a remarkable buyer journey experience?
Make that decision first. Then start looking at what advanced technology tools might help you with the execution around marketing, sales and customer service tactics or initiatives.
For example, if you want to drive more conversations and more sales opportunities, and you have aggressive goals around shortening the sales cycle, then advanced chat tools like Drift might make sense.
If you simply want to experiment with chat, then use the built-in chat features that come with the platform marketing software.
What you add on top of the platform is going to be directly aligned with the tactics you’re deploying and the nature of those tactics.
With over 120 HubSpot Connect Partners, and almost 7,000 marketing- and sales-related software tools on the market, you need a strategy to determine what to buy, what to use and the expected lift from whatever you’re investing in.
Now that you have the strategy, tactics, tools and buyer journey all organized, let’s quickly talk about tracking results.
More good news: You know exactly what your revenue cycle goal metrics look like, and you can now start reporting on your progress toward those goals.
If you need 10,000 visitors a month and you currently have 5,545, then you know how far you have to go. If you need a 2% site-wide conversion rate to drive 200 marketing-qualified leads a month and right now you’re at 1% and 100 leads, you know how far you need to move the needle.
Look at your entire revenue cycle and track progress toward your overall goals. Now you have tactical metrics and program metrics.
Together, you have everything you need to produce a scalable, repeatable and predictable revenue generation machine for your business.
This strategic and orchestrated approach to revenue generation eliminates the “random acts of marketing” that are rampant in our industry.
Prospects we meet with are complaining about this phenomenon more and more. They’re telling us:
- My team doesn’t seem to know for sure what to do
- My agency just keeps trying different tactics without any plan
- I see analytics and reports, but it doesn’t lead to any insights or adjustments in execution
- What we’re doing isn’t producing the desired results
Tactics alone are ineffective. Analytics without insights and revised action plans won’t produce the lift you need. Technology without strategy is a recipe for disappointing results.
It’s only when you blend (like a fine wine or an amazing dinner recipe) strategy, tactics, analytics and technology that you gain the revenue generation machine you need to grow your business, hit your revenue goals and finally solve the challenge of ongoing business growth.
Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Experience, Methodology And Insights!