The growth of the Internet has changed sales processes dramatically. Up to 80% of business to business (B2B) purchase cycles are completed before the buyer considers contacting the vendor. Yet few companies have adapted their marketing and sales strategies to meet this new reality. Inbound marketing is the solution.
The idea behind inbound marketing is simple: To increase revenues through marketing while making both sales and marketing teams more efficient and productive using marketing technology. In this e-book you’ll get an introduction to the fundamental processes of inbound marketing to achieve your revenue goals.
What is Inbound Marketing?
The term “inbound marketing” was coined by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in 2006, in a book titled, “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.” Over the following years, inbound marketing has become a process of creating and sharing valuable, timely information that solves your prospects’ problems. It is based on the concept of attracting inbound traffic and requests for more involvement as opposed to outbound marketing and advertising such as telemarketing and direct mail.
“Business leaders understand the power of the web in today’s market. Buyers increasingly use the web first and extensively to research vendors and products before they directly contact a salesperson… Today 80% of B2B purchase cycles are completed before the buyer considers contacting the vendor and, even then, they are loathe to do so.” (Forbes)
Among the many factors driving this shift to inbound marketing, a major one is ROI. Companies that spend more than 50% of their lead generation budget on inbound marketing report a significantly lower cost-per-lead. Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing can drive profitability
Inbound marketing has some unique characteristics that can be leveraged to drive profitability.
Accountability – Every facet of inbound marketing can be measured for effectiveness and impact on identified key performance indicators (KPIs), such as website traffic, lead volume, conversion rates, additions to pipeline, cost-per-lead, cost to acquire a customer (CAC), churn rates and customer lifetime value (LTV).
Agile – There is no one-size-fits-all approach to inbound marketing. Each channel, campaign, content piece and persona can be tested and optimized for success. New strategies and technologies can be added to the mix as they are developed and tested.
Cost-Effectiveness – Marketing leaders can easily identify the most effective strategies, sources and channels that optimize KPIs and double down on the most effective ones.
Scalability – Once processes have been identified and refined (including human capital needs, training and technology), they can be reproduced and adapted to new markets, products and changing conditions.
Customer-Centered – Inbound marketing is the natural approach to attracting and ;retaining customers due to the overwhelming adoption of mobile and social tools and the changing customer journey favoring research and conversation prior to buying.
Integration – Sales and marketing technologies, such as marketing automation and CRM integration, are driving new levels of cooperation and communication between sales and marketing professionals. This makes it possible to optimize the entire sales funnel and sales process at the same time.
Measurability – This sets inbound marketing apart from traditional direct marketing and advertising. You can measure every interaction and engagement activity across all channels for lead generation, optimization, and management.
Inbound marketing is neither a formula nor a static plan. Rather, it’s a series of strategic conversations that begin with understanding your company’s goals, challenges, resources, and needs. Inbound marketing works well to drive new sales, enhance customer engagement, register people for events, and build an engaged partner channel.
Learn more about inbound marketing with our new “Executive Guide to Inbound Marketing.” You’ll learn about the entire inbound marketing process, in a quick 14-page ebook designed for corporate executives.