Change is hard, and driving change in marketing strategy can be even harder. Sales, marketing, product development – all these teams have something to add when it comes to customer-centered content that ignites conversions. But trying to get everyone to see that is a challenge, especially once you factor in usual tensions between sales and marketing.
Like it Or Not, Good Marketing Means Collaboration
As the inbound marketing advocate, you’ve got a tough job. 44% of B2B marketers have a documented strategy, but that tipping point where “everyone” understands inbound marketing's value is still years away. You don’t have time to wait: About 55% of your competitors planned to increase their marketing budget during 2015.
That means now, in January 2016, they’re reaping the benefits.
Sounds rough, huh? And yet, for truly good inbound marketing, everyone has a stake:
- Marketing provides insight into communication strategies that work for your customers.
- Sales has “front line” experience about the concerns and objections your customers raise.
- Product development pros know – or at least have to hypothesize where things are going next.
“Okay, So How Do I Herd All These Cats?”
At first, you have a hard job to do. Instead of rolling the snowball down the hill, you’re pushing the boulder up the mountain. Just like you know your customers, you have to know your colleagues and what they’re thinking:
Change is Scary
“When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!” That’s the approach of many individuals in organizations when it comes to change. Luckily, the benefits of inbound marketing are already so obvious that you can succeed: Discover companies like yours who have found Inbound Marketing success in your industry. Promote these companies success and demonstrate this is where your company needs to go.
Traditional Marketing is Familiar
Print advertising and direct mail have been around for a long time, and figuring out if you’re getting ROI has clear methods. Inbound marketing has its own learning curve and brand new challenges. Yes, there are dangers: But inbound marketing, in general, offers actionable data – thus, better processes and results – faster than traditional marketing.
You Might Not Know Your Colleagues Like You Think You Do
Before you make the case, do what marketers do best and get into the heads of your stakeholders. Each team will have its own objections to overcome. Don’t just stir the pot: Find out what’s cooking first. The closer you can come to anticipating others’ worries, the easier it’ll be to communicate respect, build trust, and ultimately, get the buy-in you really need.
Circle Around the Campfire: It’s Time to Overshare
Most inbound marketing strategies start as small-scale pilot programs. You might need to hunt around for teammates who are going to serve as evangelists and help you keep communication up. The battle for inbound marketing isn’t over once you have wary acceptance: You need to keep the fire burning by showcasing positive results. Make 'em hungry for more!
Once a program is running, the next steps are to:
- Establish the baseline performance of your Web presence, sales, and marketing.
- Keep track of the changes being made and who is doing them (your advocates!)
- Share successes weekly or monthly – remember, no gain is too small to mention!
Most of the investments of inbound marketing come in the forms of time and learning. Once your new marketing strategy is up and running, it can be one of the most cost-effective ways to empower both your sales and marketing teams. That will show up in the bottom line and bolster your case. From there, the momentum is yours!