The Formula For Lead Generation Is Created Using Inbound Marketing As The Foundation
I’m most excited about this prediction; after all, I’m an inbound scientist. I believe, with all my experience, that there is now a way to mathematically predict inbound marketing results based on the program features in your own inbound marketing. Once this is published, you’ll know exactly what to do, when to do it and what results to expect. It’s a game-changer.
The real challenge with this is not creating the formula but testing it. You’ll need tons of data to test the formula enough to make sure it produces the right results consistently. You’ll need to test the formula under a variety of conditions, in different industries, with different types of clients, with big programs and with modest programs. It will be a lot of work. It's likely that only a large inbound marketing agency would have the data and the experience to create such a formula.
But once the formula is created, you’ll have an opportunity to use it to predict results from inbound marketing and inbound sales. Here’s what having a formula like this could do for your marketing and sales efforts.
You’d Know Exactly What To Do
Today, it's not hard to determine the business outcomes you want from inbound marketing. Most of our clients are good at this part of the puzzle. For example, we need 100 more leads a month, we need 20 new customers over the next quarter or we need to generate $1 million in incremental revenue by the end of next year. While these goals might be unrealistic given several variables, it’s easy for clients to come up with them, and that’s the starting point.
The challenge comes in knowing what needs to get done, how much of it needs to get done and how long it is going to take to generate the stated results. Almost no one knows the answers to these questions, so today these answers are being delivered based on experiences. It's not the wrong place to start, but everyone has different experiences. Some people have only one or two experiences with inbound, some have 10 to 20 and others have hundreds.
The only way to come up with the investment numbers is to know how much of each tactic is needed to produce the desired results. That’s where the formula comes in. Do you need to blog daily or weekly? Do you need a 2% conversion rate or a 10% conversion rate? Do you need quarterly content or monthly content? Who knows? No one really knows. The smart inbound marketers apply their experiences to estimate and then test.
When you’re thinking about having someone help you with inbound marketing and/or inbound sales, make sure they have as many experiences as possible and be willing to pay more for people with that extensive experience background.
You’d Know Exactly What To Expect
The formula would level the playing field on experience, but the application of the formula would still take knowledge, at least in the beginning. What the formula would do right out of the gate is let you know if what you expect is doable and in what time frame for what level of investment.
For instance, if you wanted to drive $1 million in incremental revenue, you may find that the effort to create enough visitors and enough leads to flow through your existing sales process might require a $200,000 level of investment and take 18 months to deliver. Good to know, but do you want to go forward with that program? Or would you downshift and focus on driving $500,000 over six months for only $100,000? Now you have all the data to make a solid business decision.
You’d Quickly Identify Weak Spots
The entire funnel would immediately be 100% transparent, meaning no one can hide. For this to work right, sales would no longer be able to protect a weak close rate on proposals by blending in two stages and stating it has a 50% close rate. Marketing would no longer be able to claim the marketing-qualified leads were high-quality leads.
The formula would uncover any and all underperforming conversion points buried in the process. For proactive practitioners, this would also help in the prioritization of work and fit in beautifully with the Agile marketing processes that some of the more innovative inbound marketing agencies are using. This would allow the inbound program to become more accurate and produce better results more quickly, further building the value of inbound.
Perhaps this theory, that a formula for marketing success exists, is a bit aspirational. Perhaps too many variables play into the performance of marketing and sales tactics. But I don’t think so. I think when data exists, that data can be leveraged to create a predictive algorithm that can be used to repeatedly calculate the expected results from a series of marketing or sales tactics.
My prediction is that eventually this formula will be discovered or created and then the science of marketing will be complete. This won’t mean everyone will suddenly know exactly what to do when it comes to generating leads from inbound, but this will provide a tool for experts to apply different configurations and get a decent estimate of the outcomes.
It will take inbound marketing to the next level, generate more interest from bigger businesses and continue inbound’s progression toward the de facto way businesses use marketing in 2017 and well beyond.
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