I’m a dyed in the wool marketer, with a love of numbers, tech, and sales!! After recently exiting my own start-up, I have been immersing myself in the latest marketing phenomena – Inbound Marketing, and for the first time, I feel like I belong.
A community that loves data, creativity, and results. Here are my initial thoughts on Inbound and why and how the UK B2B SME community needs to get on board.
So, What Is Inbound Marketing?
Basically, Inbound Marketing is a change in the way that you engage with customers. Rather than interrupting them when you want to, with cold calls, advertising, exhibitions and the like, set out to attract or pull customers towards you, by providing them with information and advice to help them solve their problems.
This is why your sales team keeps telling you that it is getting harder to book appointments, and cold calling conversion rates are falling. The old way of selling is becoming less and less effective.
There is a seismic shift in the way people buy.
You must adapt to your customers and prospects becoming more educated and having better technologies and information at their disposal to buy with less seller interaction. The seismic shift we can see is that power has moved from the manufacturer and the distributor, and now rests firmly with the customer. The adage, “The Customer is King” has never been truer.
Long gone is the approach of finding creative ways of getting people to buy what you make, it is now vital that you deliver what it is the customer wants, delivered when and how they want it – 24/7.
The buyer’s journey has revolutionised in the last few years and we need to change the way we engage with the customer to compliment this.
Marketing in the Driver’s Seat
I just love the fact that Inbound Marketing is starting to gain traction in the UK. Not only does it elevate the marketing role to a new level within the organization, it provides an opportunity to start to re-align organisations properly around the customer.
For the first time, everyone can appreciate how people use the internet to diagnose and research problems, building trust in brands and eventually purchasing from them. This is why Inbound resonates so widely and universally, people get it!
There has never been a better opportunity to make sweeping cultural changes to your business around the needs of the customer.
Inbound impacts the whole business. The alignment of the whole organisation around the needs of the customer is key to a truly successful implementation. This customer-centric philosophy takes time and it takes money and is probably going to involve an awful amount of blood, sweat and tears, especially if you don’t get your people on board.
Think of some of the areas that will need to be looked at; Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Technical Support, Customer Service, HR, IT and Operations will all come under the microscope and need to adapt.
Developing New Skills
Inbound will also demand new skills from all your customer-facing teams. They will need to be curious and listen – really listen. Metaphorically, they will need to walk a mile in their customer’s shoes, understand their pain, diving deep with them to truly appreciate how they can help to solve their challenges.
You will also need to become real experts in your sector. To build trust and respect, you need to care about the challenges your buyer will face in making sound decisions and support them all the way with the correct technical product and sector knowledge.
I guess you will need to consult, like a Doctor. Listen to the symptoms, establish the likely cause and prescribe the solution. This way you will become the “go to” people for advice and solutions, resulting in long-term trusted relationships.
So What Next
Well, I’m setting out to give back and help those in the West Midlands looking to grow their business and drive lead generation in a far more cost-effective and sustainable manner.
By utilising Inbound Marketing techniques in a holistic manner that includes content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, CRM and website design to fully engage with your potential customers we can increase high quality qualified leads for your sales team. In my own business, we grew the sales pipeline from £7m to £15m in 1 year by using Inbound techniques.
If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us to arrange a free, no obligation marketing consultation to explore how your business could grow more quickly.