Inbound marketing is becoming accepted by marketers in SMB companies, across a wide variety of industries. Any company that needs to educate a prospect to turn them into a customer, and that understands the traditional “sales funnel”, will gravitate naturally to inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is a race to the bottom. The faster you can move a prospect to trust you and to consider you an authority in your industry, the faster they will reach the bottom of the funnel and become a customer.
Staggering adoption rate of inbound marketing in B2B companies
The adoption rate of inbound marketing strategy, supported by marketing automation software, is staggering. 62% of B2B companies now use marketing automation, the growth rate overall is forecast at 22% annually. (Source: Advertising Age) Further, 60% of marketers will increase their budget for marketing automation software and related technology in the next year. (Source: Exact Target).
Among the many factors driving this shift to inbound marketing, the 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. (Source: HubSpot).
Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (Source: Mashable)
Are you a marketer wanting buy-in from your executive team for inbound marketing? Read our “Stealth Approach. . .”
The sales funnel
The sales funnel illustrates the buying cycle and shows how the web visitor moves from being unaware of you, your brand, and your value, to looking for a solution to their problem.
A web visitor begins the buying journey as they become aware that they have a problem they need to solve (#1 in the above image). They perform a search or stumble across a link in social media, and come to your website with lost of questions. You wisely address these common questions through blog posts, premium offers, and emails. This builds trust and thought leadership in the buyer’s mind, and serves to generate a new lead in your database.
In the Consideration stage, your visitor has already built a relationship with you, trusts your advice, and asks, “What are my options? How can I best solve my problem?” You provide them with information about your products or services, and provide further information that handles their objections. This is the stage of the buyer’s journey where you can provide useful case studies and whitepapers, webinars, and more in-depth ebooks.
After they have engaged with a lot of your Consideration Stage content, they become ready to pass to Sales at the Decision Stage. Offer them a free consultation, free trial, free demo, of similar opportunities to engage with you.
Companies that excel at using marketing automation generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Forrester Research)
Your sales team should work closely with marketing when analyzing your existing sales funnel. After all, the front line sales people know all the questions your prospects ask and can provide a lot of very helpful insight to your marketing team.