How to Convince Management to Invest in Inbound Marketing

Chris Hawkins

Written by Chris Hawkins on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

It’s time for marketers to put on their sales hat. Be warned: The hat will not fit. The sales head often matches the size of the sales ego. And the sales head usually protrudes at the forehead—we are after all the missing link, knuckle draggers.

Marketer_Sales_HatBut do it you must, because it’s time to convince management to invest in inbound marketing.

Here are some of the ways you can.

Insanity’s Twin

Keep doing what you’ve always done, and you’ll keep getting what you always got.

It’s a cousin to insanity, maybe even the twin. Anyway, it’s something to always keep in mind.

Tradeshows, referrals, and expensive catalogues are no longer pulling in the leads like they used to. Now is the time to do something different with your marketing. You know that. Now let’s look at ways to convince management.

We Are Too Big/Too Small

We’ll get one thing out of the way: inbound marketing does not discriminate. Whether your company is a 5-person start-up or in the Fortune 500, it makes no difference. Inbound can work for any size business.

We’ve had success with clients of all sizes. And we regularly see many of the Fortune 50 companies perusing our blog articles.

Also, it doesn’t matter where you are on the pecking order—marketing coordinator, office manager, VP of marketing or even VP of sales—you’ll want to approach this with the same mindset.

You may have to convince your marketing director who will need to make the case to the C-suite. Whatever the case, having your ducks lined up properly will ensure a more positive outcome.

Do your Homework

First, start with your own company. Are you measuring your marketing consistently with a CMS, Google Analytics or some other tool? This is a good place to start to see how your current marketing is performing.

At the very least you’ll want (and need) proof that what you’re doing is not enough. If you’re measurement efforts amount to an Excel spreadsheet, that’s fine. You just want a history of how the old way of marketing is no longer working.

If you haven’t already, talk to the sales team. Ask questions like:

  • Where do their best leads come from?
  • How has this changed in the last year? Two years? Five years?
  • What are their prospects telling them about your products/services?
  • What kinds of educational questions are they asking?
  • What objections are they hearing?
  • What events lead a prospect to seek out your company’s offerings?

You may learn things you never knew or expected. You may find out that your competitors are offering the 7-Minute Abs when you’re stuck at 8-Minutes. The point is that you’ll get some intel that you can use to bolster your case.

Competitive Analysis

This falls under homework but is probably one of the more important areas of research. Executives love knowing how they compare to the competition. You can do this organically by visiting each of your competitors.

Are they practicing inbound marketing? Do they have a blog? Consistent social media? Downloads like e-books and white papers?

There also are a number of free tools you can use to see how the competition is doing online. Here are a few:

  • WebRank SEO Toolbar (Add-on toolbar that gives stats for traffic, PR, backlinks, pages indexed, social media, etc.)
  • SeoQuake (Similar to WebRank but also gives SEO analysis that can be useful)
  • SpyFu (How much does your competitor spend on AdWords? What SEO terms do they rank for?)

Learn It, Know It, Live It

If you’re new to inbound marketing, learn all you can. A good place to start is Hubspot, the Vito Corleone of Inbound. You’ll find thousands of articles, e-books, webinars and videos. For additional ammunition, check out their annual State of Inbound report.

This report will show you how to plan, budget, execute, and measure this type of marketing program. Wrapping your head around inbound will pay dividends down the road.

Another useful arrow for your quiver is the Hubspot ROI report and calculator.

Think Like a CEO

Depending where you are on the great chain of corporate being, you may or may not know your company’s overall business strategy. If you don’t, find out. The more you know about how and what the C-suite is thinking, the better you can position inbound marketing.

Generally, the higher up you go on the org chart the more future-focused those positions will be. If it’s January, your CEO is already thinking about the following year and the year after that. They likely won’t be thinking about your current SEO rankings or next month’s trade show.

If you are pitching inbound marketing to C-level people, position it to fit into their opportunities to sustain their growth goals. These opportunities could be differentiation, innovation, efficiencies, competitive advantage, et al.

Keep tactical talk to a minimum, but always have the tactics in your back pocket.

A good place to learn more about strategies is the Blue Ocean Strategy.

Learn how we use measure ROI for our clients in our new ebook.

ROI Ebook Download

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