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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistThu, Apr 5, 2018 12 min read

The Dirty Little Secret Behind Successful Inbound Marketing Campaigns

Inbound Marketing Secrets

It’s Not About The Tactics; It’s About The Application And Optimization Of Those Tactics

Inbound Marketing SecretsIn my travels I get to talk to a lot of marketing folks, sales folks and CEOs of some highly successful companies. One of the comments I hear frequently is that their inbound marketing program didn’t produce the results they expected, and it took much longer to even get it to work at all.

At the same time, I’ve seen inbound marketing programs work in wildly successful ways at our agency and at other highly effective inbound agencies. The question then becomes this: Why are some people, companies and agencies having success while others are struggling?

The answer lies in a couple of key areas. Let’s explore those inbound marketing secrets today.

What You Say Is More Important Than Where You Say It

This is a little like what you learned in kindergarten: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Or, what you learned in marketing 101: If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t say anything at all. The consistent element here is what you say is important, and it’s more important than where and how you say it.

What we’re really talking about here is your company’s story. Your story is by far the most important part of your entire marketing and sales effort.

Yet everyone wants to blow by this and start working on blogs, website pages, emails, nurtures, content, events and other marketing tactics. If you want your inbound marketing to produce leads, sales opportunities and ultimately new customers, you must spend as much time on your messaging, differentiation and stories as you do on the tactics we described here.

You Have To Understand The Storm Your Prospects Are Stuck In

Inbound Marketing SecretsWe’ve been talking about the prospect buyer journey a lot lately, but this is very important. If your inbound program is not working as designed, it could be because you haven’t identified the storm of content (most of it conflicting) that is overwhelming your prospects. They are in a cyclone of content and they are confused.

When they talk to you, they hear one story. Then they talk to your competitor and hear a different story. Then they talk to their friend and hear a third story. Then they get an email from a new company and they hear a fourth story. While they’re at a conference they run into another person who shares a fifth story. How could they possibly know what to believe and how to proceed? It’s crazy how much information is raining down on all of us, with no way to decipher which content is valuable and which should be ignored.

Understanding your prospects’ situation is huge, but creating content that cuts through this clutter is more important. Building a sales process and a marketing experience that guides your prospects through this chaotic content storm is the most important takeaway for you right now. Having this insight provides an entirely new perspective on how to think about your marketing and sales execution so that you are successful.

You Can No Longer Look At Marketing And Sales As Separate

Your prospects don’t look at your company, products or services and think, This is from marketing and that is from sales. They have one single experience with your company. Yet most of us still have marketing teams and sales teams that function separately for the most part.

Marketing generates leads and sales tries to close them. In a lot of cases, the experience sales provides is different from the one marketing provides. That produces confusion and anxiety for prospects, which means they are less likely to close.

Instead, now is the time to dissolve the marketing and sales teams and reform them as one single revenue team, with one single focus — revenue! This new team has one leader, one target, one experience to work on, one measure of success and one goal — exceed the monthly revenue goal.

This approach can produce big results, as it has for many of our clients. Not only is it a more efficient go-to-market strategy, with one leader instead of two leaders, but it is also highly efficient because marketing and sales are now working together to define leads, generate leads and close leads. Sales cycles decrease, sales close rates increase and average new customer revenue goes up. Those are all positive measure of success for any business.

The More Experience You Put On Your Team, The Better The Results

Inbound Marketing SecretsIf you’re underwhelmed by the results from your inbound effort, then one of the first places to look is the experience of your team, either internal or external.

Unfortunately (and despite what people might tell you), no class can teach you how to do inbound marketing. HubSpot can’t teach you how to do inbound marketing. You can’t rely on videos, podcasts, whitepapers, webinars or training sessions to learn how to do inbound.

The only way to learn inbound is to practice it. Why? Because your company is unique, your products or services are unique and your industry has specific behavioral characteristics. All of these nuances add up to make your inbound effort different than any other inbound effort. Unless I’ve run 20 inbound campaigns, I might not know enough about how to adapt your program to work in your situation.

To give you an example, doctors go to school, then have internships and ultimately residences so they have enough experience that when cases are presented, they’ve dealt with almost every potential scenario several times under the guidance of someone far more experienced than them. Everybody and every medical condition is always just a little different, and as a doctor you need to be able to recognize those differences and adjust your recommended treatment plan accordingly. You would never know how to do that without 10,000 hours of medical training and experience.

Inbound is no different. No best practices exist. The idea that an email template from company one is going to work the same for company two is ridiculous. Company one might have to blog every day, while company two might only need to blog once a month. You won’t find a “one-size-fits-all” inbound program. If anyone tells you otherwise, please turn around and run away.

If you’re planning to execute inbound on your own, you need team members who have at least five or six different inbound engagements under their belt. If you’re bringing on an agency to help you with inbound, you should be looking for an agency with at least 10 years of inbound experience, and the person leading your team should have at least that much experience.

The more diverse the experience, the better. Industry expertise is great, but having worked with a wide variety of different program configurations provides knowledge and understanding around how to adapt, optimize and adjust a program to produce results. There is no substitute for experience, and you should be willing to pay for it.

You Can’t Wing It; You Need Methodology

Finally, because inbound is such a rinse-and-repeat approach to lead generation, you can’t wing it and expect to produce results in a scalable and repeatable way. You might get lucky and generate leads for a month or two, but to produce month-over-month lead generation and sales opportunities that close, you’re going to need a methodology behind your work.

This includes a planning and prioritization methodology. How you decide what to work on and when to work on it is key. You’re going to need a strategy methodology to tackle the what to say and what stories to tell conversation from earlier in this article. Last but not least, you’re going to need an optimization and testing methodology to make sure that you’re learning from the data and using metrics to make smart decisions around what’s working well and what could be working better.

Generating revenue month after month in a scalable, repeatable and predictable way takes a lot of time, energy and investment. What you’ve done to get you here is not going to get you to your goals next year and beyond. If you want to consistently exceed your revenue goals, you’re going to have to do it differently.

The insights above outline some of the adjustments you’ll need to make to your current marketing and sales execution if you want to take revenue growth off the table as one of your challenges. Marketing strategy must be a priority. You’ll have to make sure your investment in marketing and sales is appropriate for the level of growth you expect.

Most importantly, you’re going to have to use some tools and techniques that you’ve never used before, and you’re going to have to find people with experiences, skills and knowledge that you don’t currently have inside your existing team.

Once you make these changes, you’ll see leads increasing, sales opportunities on the rise and more new customers closing on a more frequent basis. Yes, it’s going to take time. The changes identified above are not short-term adjustments, they’re long-term improvements. Let’s start working on them now, so that revenue you’re dying for starts flowing in sooner than later.

Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Experience, Methodology And Insights!


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.