‘Your customer journey is your content journey’ – is rightly said and the closest we can come to defining Inbound Marketing. Providing a bespoke customer experience that underscores creating personalized content has never been more important than now. Given the competitive digital leading world and the mechanics of how customers/ buyers respond to your content on the Web, it is becoming increasingly crucial to create and control your brand narrative.
That said, to gauge the state of inbound marketing in 2018, various regions were surveyed to gauge how these companies made use of such a strategy. The regions surveyed are as follows:
- North America (NORTHAM)
- Latin America (LATAM)
- Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)
- Australia and New Zealand (ANZ)
- Southeast Asia (SEA)
Let’s take a look at how inbound marketing practices have shaped the landscape of marketing in 2018.
Companies were asked about various important questions related to the field of marketing.
What are your company’s top marketing priorities over the next 12 months?
Converting leads into customers is one of the biggest challenges faced by any company – a challenge that can be met through the application of inbound marketing. By invoking a genuine interest in the brand, customers will be more inclined towards the products and services that are offered.
Thinking specifically about inbound marketing projects, what are your company’s top priorities?
A major aspect of inbound marketing is the generation of organic reach, which can be done through the tried-and-tested practice of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and content creation based on the buyer’s journey, among other such initiatives.
What are your company’s top marketing challenges?
Given different marketing challenges based on your industry and business model, you, as a marketer, can address your organization’s business pain points via creating content that is aligned the overarching business objectives. By generating a certain level of trust and rapport with your target audience through effective inbound marketing practices, generating traffic and leads becomes significantly easier.
What content distribution channels do you plan to add to your marketing efforts in the next 12 months?
The consensus in the marketing world is that video content is the easiest to digest, and the prominence of free video platforms like YouTube, Facebook Video, and Instagram help promote this notion.
With a constant and unwavering focus on promoting sales, the following questions were asked to companies who were adopting the inbound marketing methodology.
What are your company’s top sales priorities for the next year?
Focusing on customer retention is the biggest acquisition lever you have in the long-term. Losing a prospect midway is incredibly frustrating for any company, however applying inbound marketing methodology – attract, convert, close, delight – can offset the negative impact of your customers leaving you too soon via effective nurturing and listening.
What is more difficult to do in sales compared to 2 or 3 years ago?
Outbound marketing technically forces the consumer base to interact with the brand – an action that has many negative connotations. By enticing your customers to have a vested interest in the brand through inbound marketing, the frequency of customer responses will unequivocally increase as a result of earning their attention over a period of time and creating value across the customer touchpoints.
In your opinion, what part of the sales process do reps struggle with most?
The entire process of identifying, prospecting, qualifying, and closing becomes easier when customers are genuinely interested in what the brand has to offer. However, sometimes, buyers, instead of following a linear journey arrive into a ‘spaghetti bowl’ – they’d still need directional content that can move help them move swiftly through the sales funnel. And that’s where using inbound marketing flourishes.
What has been the most successful channel for your sales representatives to connect with a prospect?
A direct call is always effective when it comes to connecting with a prospect, but if it seems too intrusive then other channels can be taken to contact a potential lead as well.
Which is the top source of leads for your sales organisation?
The major reason why inbound marketing is gaining so much traction is that – unlike outbound marketing – sales are generated by constructing a proper reputation for the brand, which will compel people to interact with the brand of their own volition. Thus, doing so will help improve the overall sales of the organisation by a considerable extent.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
The major focus of inbound marketing is to align the sales and marketing activities of a company to ensure that the strategies being adopted are reaping results.
How would you characterise your company’s sales and marketing relationship?
A disconnect between the sales and marketing divisions can prove to be quite costly – take the example of a 2015 case study, where it was noted that a disconnect between these processes led to a cumulative loss of around $1 trillion.
Which source provides the highest-quality leads for your sales team? (By the company’s sales and marketing relationship)
This graph speaks for itself – no matter how effectively your business might be functioning, it’s only through the application of quality inbound marketing strategies that your sales efforts will reap substantial results.
Which is the top source of leads for your sales organisation? (By the company’s sales and marketing relationship)
The business that want to ensure the success of their strategies must understand how imperative a Service-Level Agreement (SLA) is. It is a contract between the sales and marketing departments that defines the level of service expected from each division of the business. This helps facilitate a sense of transparency and allows for both departments to perform to their utmost potential.
At the end of the day, inbound marketing is meant to attract customers through non-intrusive marketing practices. This makes the tracking of consumer behaviour and patterns even more important.
What sources of information do you rely on when making purchase decisions for business software?
At the end of the day, trust is the most significant factor that will compel a buyer into purchasing a product. Establishing this rapport is crucial to ensure the success of one’s business ventures.
How do you prefer to communicate for business purposes?
By keeping a track of consumer preferences and following the proper lines of communication, marketers will be able to deploy optimal marketing strategies and solutions to suitably target their audience and increase sales by a substantial margin.
So, what are the takeaways from this report?
- Inbound marketing has become a widely accepted – and most trusted – marketing strategy, which will help companies in communicating with their customers better
- The marketing initiatives of companies have been completely revamped with the onset of this strategy. Cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation – yes, you can generate more leads and win new business without making huge marketing spends – are a few factors that have contributed to this growing notion.
- The sales process has also been heavily impacted due to the non-intrusive nature of inbound marketing. Customers develop an interest in the brand and its offerings, which has proven to be invariably useful when it comes to the conversion of prospects into leads.
- Through the application of inbound marketing, more and more companies can align their marketing and sales activities in a seamless manner through the utilisation of SLAs and be establishing common growth metrics. This helps prevent any miscommunication and sees to it that the company’s efforts are directed towards a holistic goal.