“Because its purpose is to create a customer, your business has two purposes and two purposes only: Marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation make you money, generate sales, produce profit. Everything else is an expense…” –Peter Drucker
Scenario #1: Perhaps you’ve already initiated various elements of an inbound lead-generating program. But you realize gaps are preventing you from getting higher conversions. To generate sales, you need outsourced expert support. Now, you need to convince your boss you need more money in your budget.
Scenario #2: Or perhaps you’re confident inbound digital marketing is the best strategy to advance your company’s goals; however, you need to convince your leadership team it’s the best investment the company can make. This can be even more challenging if the company has only relied on word-of-mouth marketing historically and never had a formal marketing strategy or investment.
In either case, the following framework should help you achieve your goal:
#1 Define the Challenge. In most cases, non-marketers have no understanding of how a true inbound digital marketing program works. Help them understand their customer has changed how they research and make purchasing decisions. They no longer begin the process by talking to a sales rep. Instead, they start their research online and do their homework. A fantastic resource is Google’s Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT study.
To help support your challenge, access information from sales reps, customer service reps, CRMs, etc., to identify how many leads indicate they had some online interaction with your brand before they contacted you. Document this trend to help support your statement that your leads are changing their buying process. Consider how many more leads could you be attracting or converting with a different strategy? How much revenue are you losing to your competitor (Nothing captures a CEO’s attention like finding out your competitors are one step ahead of you)?
Whatever the starting point is, be sure to initiate your conversation by saying with confidence, “I see an opportunity to support or advance this company’s growth goals…” Focus on opportunities (choose key trigger words your boss uses) like increasing brand awareness among a key target audience to grow market share, generating more quality leads, and converting more of your leads into paying customers. When you engage in this form of conversation, your boss will take notice.
#2 Provide Proof It Works. You are asking your boss to make a large investment in digital marketing. They will want some evidence that it will produce ROI. Share case studies, such as Selective Micro Technologies and Aiding Home Health.
Focus on sharing statistics that are trigger points (think revenue, profit, increase bottom line, etc.) for your boss, such as the following:
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Source: Forrester)
- Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (Source: Annuitas Group)
- Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (Source: Mashable)
- Inbound practices produce 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices. (Source: HubSpot)
- Companies with refined middle-of-the-funnel engagement and lead-management strategy see a 4–10 times higher response rate, compared to generic email blasts and outreach.Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% lift in sales opportunities. (Source: HubSpot)
- Companies that blog 1-2 times per month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog at all. (Source: HubSpot)
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
#3 Explain How It Works. Now that you have captured your boss’s attention, explain that inbound marketing is an innovative approach that is measurable (data and measurement are important key words to use with your boss and CFO). At this point, they are ready to learn more about how inbound digital marketing works and the type of results your company can achieve if implemented.
Even though leadership typically only cares about results, some will be curious and ask tactical questions, such as:
- Who in-house will implement the program? Are they knowledgeable? Do they have the time?
- What support will be outsourced?
- Is this SEO?
- Will we still need to have our PPC advertising contract?
- Is this considered advertising?
- Is this in addition to the social media management contract we have?
- Will this solve our website problems?
- Will we need more systems?
- Will this create duplication of data?
- How will this integrate with other systems we have, like our CRM?
- What is the time frame to implement this new program?
- How long will it take before I see results?
- What results should I expect to see?
- What happens if we aren’t seeing results?
- How do we get started?
- Will sales see this as a replacement for them?
- What type of investment in this type of program will we have?
- Where can we save money or reduce other expenses with this program?
- What is our current customer acquisition cost? Will this program decrease that amount?
To answer their questions, you will need to give them an idea of the return on investing in inbound digital marketing.
Here are a few ROI metrics you should know and feel confident speaking about:
- ROI: (Total Revenue Attributed to Digital – Total Cost of Digital Marketing)/(Total Cost of Digital Marketing)
- Conversion Rate: (Form Submissions + Tracked Calls + Tracked Emails)/(Total Website Visitors) = Conversion Rate
- Cost Per Lead: (Total Spent on Campaign)/(Total # of Leads) (note: do this for each source)
- Revenue per Lead: (Total Attributable Revenue)/(Total # of Leads) (note: do this for each source)
- % Sales from Digital:(Total Revenue Attributed from Digital)/(Total Monthly Sales)
If you have personally implemented and managed an inbound digital marketing program, then build your “how-to” presentation. In most instances, however, marketers have found their boss is more apt to be convinced by an expert fluent in the art and science of inbound digital marketing.
Should you add employees or outsource your digital marketing efforts? Find out here.
The expertise of a seasoned inbound digital marketing agency is a key support for your pitch. The agency should have case studies from businesses similar to yours, should provide statistics and should be well-versed in overall business leadership and management. They should be able to speak the executive language.
The focus of the interaction between the agency and your boss should be on educating, not selling. If your presentation meets these criteria, your boss will feel confident in the decision to move forward and support your recommendation.
#4. Minimize Your Company’s Risk. When making a large investment, your boss seeks to minimize the company’s risk. That’s why, at Marketing Essentials, we approach every situation with a no-risk digital audit.
Why? Because until research is conducted on your online brand and your competitors, it’s merely guesswork exactly what the optimal inbound strategy is for your company.
A digital audit clearly outlines the strengths and gaps of your current digital footprint compared to your competitors. Based on your goals and existing sales data, an inbound digital strategy can be outlined that is aligned with ROI projections.
That way, you and your entire leadership team gain understanding of how inbound marketing works and the ROI they can expect. This is a critical component, because without leadership and sales buy-in, the program will not be successful.
Keep in mind, that, regardless of the size or type of your company or marketing and sales department, you will inevitably need some form of inbound digital marketing support from an agency partner. The optimal time to start forming that relationship is when you and the agency educate your boss about the benefits of inbound digital marketing.
Generating and nurturing more qualified leads can’t wait
Technology will continue to change how leads search and make buying decisions online. Leads will continue to become more independent, consume more content and drive the buying process.
If your company isn’t focused on generating higher quality leads and nurturing them with an inbound digital marketing strategy, chances are your competitors probably are, and it will gradually erode your brand equity and market share.
Most people need help to implement a successful digital marketing strategy.
With Marketing Essentials, you get a team of seasoned strategists, writers, SEO analysts and UX/UI web developers who collaborate, innovate and push the limits to get the growth results you seek.