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How to Sell Your Boss on Inbound Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

Often times a marketing manager who understands the value that inbound marketing brings to their business, but they will be faced with the challenge of making that case to their boss and selling them on an inbound campaign. If there is a larger age gap between the marketing manager and their C-level executive, this could be especially challenging.   Let’s look at how to structure your case for inbound marketing in a way that should appeal to any boss or CEO.


Click here to read the full Hangout on Air transcription

Betsy Crozier: Good afternoon. My name is Betsy Crozier, and I’m here with Robb Bailey, the CEO of PageLadder. Today we’re going to be talking about how to sell your boss on inbound marketing in five easy steps. Robb, thank you so much for your time today.

Robb Bailey: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Betsy Crozier: So Robb, what I’d like to do with you today is a little bit of a how-to segment. This should be simple enough. I think we can answer the question that anyone with a background in marketing would be able to execute. But I just kind of want to help present this argument in a concise way, to help some marketing managers.

Robb Bailey: Absolutely.

Betsy Crozier: A lot of times we’ve been seeing marketing managers who understand inbound marketing, but they then have to answer to someone else. So, fundamentally they get why it would help their business, but in turn they’ll have to go and pitch to their CEO. Do you see a lot of that?

Robb Bailey: Yeah, definitely. Especially if there’s a big age gap between the marketing manager and the C-level executive, I definitely see it a lot. Yeah.

Betsy Crozier: Exactly. So, what I was hoping, with your guidance today, is we could kind of follow a format I know you’re somewhat familiar with that we call the PASTA [SP] format, where we talk about the problem, agitate the problem, look at solutions, kinda testimonial, and then, you know, what’s our final argument? So I’m hoping that with that format we’re familiar with, that we can kind of address the issue and see how to help them guide them along and how to sell their boss on inbound marketing.

Robb Bailey: Definitely. Yeah, well — Go ahead.

Betsy Crozier: So, what problem do you think they’re seeing?

Robb Bailey: Yeah, for sure. So, when you think about this PASTA format, it’s just an easy way to succinctly identify a problem and then provide a solution in a way that makes sense. And I think CEO’s in particular are so busy, that something that they see as a problem might not be the same thing that you see. So, when you’re identifying your problem, you need to have some data-driven facts behind it, right? So, first of all, your intuition is probably correct, that if your company hasn’t made a shift to inbound marketing yet, you probably should start thinking about doing that right about now. For almost every industry, I think it’s applicable to start being successful with inbound marketing to some capacity and some degree today. I mean, we’ve come that far. So, I think that the problem that you’re probably sensing as a marketing manager is that the channels that we’re spending on are hard to track, and we’re probably over-spending, and we don’t have great intelligence or great data to back up the channels that we’re probably spending on. And most of those are probably outbound channels. And when I say outbound, it just means more of like an interruption marketing type of method. So that could be radio, TV, prints, billboards, I mean, you name it. It’s the more traditional marketing methods. For most businesses, outbound marketing tactics are diminishing in return.

So, if that is what your sense is, and that you might not have the data to back it up, but maybe — you might not have the hard data to back it up, but for some reason you feel like those channels are not providing the return that they probably once did — that is a problem that your C-level executive should be aware of, because with inbound marketing you can track just about everything, and it can be a way for you to lower your customer acquisition costs in particular, which every CEO on the planet is interested in. I don’t know anyone, or at least one that I’ve talked to, that isn’t interested in that. So, when you’re stating the problem, it’s really important to sort of let the facts and the data show that outbound channels are losing their effectiveness. So you can do that in two levels, right? You can say, “This is what our company is experiencing.” So, showing those facts, and reporting on it on a really high level, on like one or two slides or screens. That’s great. And what you can also come in with is industry data. So you can say, “Well, look. There’s this study that I found that shows that it’s not just us. It’s everyone that is losing return on investment from outbound channels.”

The return is diminishing because the space is getting more segmented. Some people are just seeing the information online and receiving our message online. Some people are getting it through outbound channels, but since it is becoming more segmented, that means that people’s interest levels are being segmented as well, right? So, I think everyone kind of feels that overwhelm where they go, “Oh my gosh. There’s just so much to do out there. Where should I be for our brand and our company?” And that intuition is warranted. So, being able to punctuate that with data and facts is how you accentuate the problem with your CEO. So, that’s step one. That’s the P in the PASTA formula, if you will.

Betsy Crozier: Okay. So, if we’re looking at that PASTA formula and you kind of want to agitate what you’re identifying as the problem, what’s a good way for them to bring forth information that can agitate that problem when they’re talking to their boss or CEO?

Robb Bailey: Good question. So, one of the things that I commonly find, and this is probably true for you, is that once you actually start to look at the data and the facts, it’s usually a little worse than everyone thinks it is. What I mean by is, the things that your CEO probably cares about the most — which are like COCA, which is cost of customer acquisition, and lifetime lead value, LTV [SP], and things like that — they really, really don’t know what they’re missing if they haven’t tried inbound marketing before. Because, not only are all of those things trackable — you can get hard data to back up the numbers and the effectiveness and the ROI of what you’re doing in that inbound channel specifically — but on average inbound leads have, almost, like, I think, across all industries it’s like half the cost of outbound leads. And the best thing about inbound, I think, is that you have much more data to work with. Whereas, if you buy a billboard or something, and you have a call to action on the billboard, or it’s just a branding play, it’s really hard to measure the effectiveness of doing that, right? But with inbound, you can get very specific and drill down into all the major inbound channels that you’re after, and see exactly what your LTV is, almost by channel, which is really, really specific information.

So you can say, “This organic traffic rendered half the customer acquisition cost than our outbound channels did, so why don’t we move some budget over to this organic channel?” You know, who wouldn’t want a half-off deal, and probably a little bit better of lead quality in that respect? So, when you take the data out and you look at the figures, and you say, “Okay guys. What is our customer acquisition cost for just an outbound channel?” — and that number should be extremely painful. It’s probably worse than you and your CEO think it is. And if you haven’t measured it yet, you might not have all the answers. So, what’s even more painful is putting question marks in the columns where you don’t have that data, because you’re probably over-spending a ton on those channels where you have the question marks, right? So, this is going to be different for every business, but this is really common, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you bust out your spreadsheet and you look at how many leads that you’ve got in this one channel — let’s just say it’s radio — and if you can even track that at all, you can at least know how much you spent — but if you can’t track back the leads and you have a question mark, it’s like, “Guys, how do we know what this is doing?” It raises a lot of good questions, right? Good questions agitate the problem.

Betsy Crozier: Yeah. That sounds really helpful, too. I mean, especially what you’re saying with the question mark column — the idea that not knowing is just as bad as having poor performance in a certain area.

Robb Bailey: Right.

Betsy Crozier: So, I think hopefully most marketing managers will be educated enough to know what the problem is. I think helping them agitate that problem — that you said with giving them those variables that are really important to the CEO — so what would you consider the solution, if we’re following that PASTA format?

Robb Bailey: Sure. So, obviously, if you haven’t figured it out by now — starting inbound marketing if you haven’t started it. If you have been doing inbound marketing, paying attention to those channels and comparing outbound versus inbound, calculating in those two major metrics, which are cost of customer acquisition and lead value — lifetime lead value. Excuse me. But the solution I think, with inbound, is a lot more telling, because if you can go in and say, “Okay, we have seven inbound channels,” right? So we have this main overarching channel which is inbound, and within that we have a bunch of tactics. We have organic, we have social, we have PPC [SP], and we have direct traffic, which is usually branding traffic. We might have referral traffic — if you get a lot of referral traffic from other websites to your site, that’s another good one to look at. So you have all these nice slices of the pie, right? With inbound, what’s great is you can say, “Okay, look. Guys, we’re doing really well here. We’ve tested a few things. We know exactly what works. Now we can add more fuel to that gas tank, but just in that one slice, because we know that we’re getting twice the quality of lead in just that one mini-slice of a channel. And we’re getting twice the conversion rate from those types of leads versus the others, so we only need to buy half of what we would in another channel.” Or, the lead cycle on these guys is half the time.

Sometimes that happens, where you have a long lead cycle in your business. Sometimes these online channels can create something where, from the time of awareness all the way to the point of sale, it’s, like, half the time that it takes your other leads. So, they’re just moving through your pipeline faster, right? And it also tells you which ones don’t, right? It’s not always the best report, or maybe the report is showing that you need to test something new. It’s just like, you haven’t tried or put any effort into that channel. But what it does is it gets you thinking the right way, which is — I know that if I test this on a small scale, and I know what my average lead cost is in, let’s just say the organic channel, for example, so — we’re writing blog posts, we’re doing a little bit of SEO [SP], we’re doing some things that improve our rankings — then you can go and say, “Guys, we know that the cap on that is much higher than what we tested it at. So, if we go and put time, money, resources into this channel, it should give us a pretty predictable result, as far as increasing the bottom line through leads and sales.” It’s very, very hard to do that with outbound. You, as a marketing manager, probably already know that. So, why is this a solution, okay? So, when you come to your CEO, he really only cares about a handful of things. And that handful of things can be reported on very easily with inbound reporting metrics. So, you can just give him the high-level stuff.

Again, you can get it done with one or two slides. You know, “It’s great. We’re pouring in ‘x’. We’re getting ‘x’ out times ten, or times four, or times five,” or whatever your multiple is. But then that can drive the decisions and it’s no longer a debate internally about, “Guys, I really think radio is the better channel because of these arbitrary reasons that I just am warm and fuzzy about radio.” With inbound you can let the facts and the data dictate your next moves with your budget, and your resources, and your staffing, and all of those things. It solves so many problems, because it’s no longer a debate really. It’s just, “Guys, what do we test next? If it’s a winner, if it resonates with our customers, let’s do more of it. And if it’s not, then maybe let’s test something else or put money into something that is working a little better, and shelf that thing for now until we can figure it out, right?”

Betsy Crozier: Excellent. Yeah. It looks like it gives you, like you’re saying, it almost gives you predictable results, while at the same time lowering your risk. Because you’re segmenting, so you’re really looking at each segment.

Robb Bailey: Yeah. So, again, if you’re doing seven or eight inbound channels, not every single one of them is going to be a winner, but you know which 40 percent or 50 percent of those channels are your winners. And that’s where you can invest your budget and your effort. And then you guys can talk until the cows come home about those ones, about strategy, but you’re not wasting your time on the other half of that or whatever. I know you’ve probably heard this quote before, but — I don’t even know who said this, but it gets flung around all the time in marketing meetings — they say, “Well, I know that 50 percent of my marketing is working for me. I just don’t know which 50 percent.” Right? And that answers that question, right there. Especially if you have a large spend, you’re like, “We need to keep throwing money at it, because if we don’t we’re going to lose visibility, or lose sales, or lose filling our pipeline.” But it really can be a game changer if you can say, “Well, guys, we’ve been spending here. We’ve spent half our budget over here in this segment or these couple of segments, but we don’t have any really actual traction over there, because we don’t have any data to back it up.”

It can really improve. It’s kind of a two-fold thing. It can lower your budget on the areas that don’t work, and improve your areas where you know you’re going to get traction, or you have a really high chance of getting traction, because your test sampling showed you that information with the numbers. And, man — that’s when you really start to have a well-oiled marketing machine, which is what CEO’s want. They want to know that the stuff that the company is spending resources on is producing. That’s really all they care about, right, is bottom line kind of stuff, at the end of the day. Does that kind of make sense?

Betsy Crozier: I think that covers it, too. Especially that part where you talked about a large spend, because most of the time when you’re having a large spend you are going to have a C-level executive that you’re reporting to. So, Robb, in the PASTA format that you pretty much created, we always talk about testimonial and proof. And I think that’s a pretty looked over area a lot of times when you’re making the argument. Can you briefly touch on some of the resources that you might be able to guide a marketing manager to, to help them find that industry specific proof that kind of backs up the argument?

Robb Bailey: Yeah. Definitely. And this will help with the previous one, the solution part of it too. Because I think if you get this sense that inbound marketing can do really well in your industry, and you just need to make things a little more client-centric or customer-centric — which inbound is super friendly with, right? I mean, the campaigns that you create the content marketing campaigns that you create through inbound marketing are all about the customer, right? The customer is getting more and more power every day as we move on through this customer-centric age. So, one of the things that inbound marketing does is — well, not only has it been proven already, but it has also probably been proven in your industry or vertical. So, if you can prove — and the T part stands for testimonials, and all that means, really, is just proof. It’s just kind of to make PASTA easy to remember. And by the way, I didn’t create this. I heard this from someone else, and we’ll source it if I can Google it and find where I heard it. So, I’m not taking credit for this PASTA thing, but I use it all the time. That’s why Betsy is bringing it up. So the T part just is proof.

Because your CEO might say, “Look, Molly, marketing manager. I believe you. I think you’re a great person, but I need some proof. I need some data to show me that this works. And if you can’t prove that it’s already worked for us here, the second best thing is for you to go out and show me some case studies of other companies that look vaguely like ours who have had success using this methodology as well.” So, the first and best thing is always to say, “Well, look. These inbound channels that we have been working in have been working super, super well, and here’s why.” So, if you can do that, do that first. If you can’t do that, if the information just isn’t available to you, then what you need to do is go out and find some industry case studies. And the best ones that I know of are both on the HubSpot website. And you can go and look these up. The first one is hubspot.com/roi — I think it is. And that page has an MIT study that HubSpot did with MIT. They did this huge, expansive study. They interviewed thousands of the marketers here in the US, domestically, and internationally, across, probably, thousands of industries. I’m not even sure what the numbers are there. But they did a really, really big sample size, and they tested based on feedback that these marketing agencies were giving from their real clients, their actual clients. So, it’s extremely data-driven.

It’s extremely factual. And that study shows that across almost any type of industry that you can think of, companies who deployed inbound marketing and did it well got a great return, and all the benefits that I described at the end of this — I’m sorry, the beginning of this interview — they were describing. So, people who blogged got a percentage boost in their leads, their lead volume. People who deployed inbound strategies got higher lead quality. They experienced more sales. They experienced higher per-transaction value when sales did occur. So, there’s, like, a laundry list of benefits and metrics that came from this study, that just show that people who do inbound are experiencing more marketing benefits and more bottom line benefits than people who aren’t. So, that’s a great piece of information to take in when you’re saying, “Look, it’s not just us. We’re not alone. This is happening whether we’re involved or not.” Right? So, again, I like the proof section because it’s a chance to do a little bit more agitation, to just say, “Look, our competitors are doing this, or someone who looks like a competitor of ours is doing this. And look at the results they’re experiencing.” Right? And it’s because these companies are making the clients happy, and they’re mapping the buyer’s journey, and they’re delivering what the customers and the clients want. That’s the reason why.

That’s why inbound works so well. It’s because it’s extremely client-focused, right? Client-centric is what we say. So, that’s the first resource. The second resource is another link. I’m sure you’ll put it in the notes from this call. But there’s another HubSpot page that lists all of the different case studies from different types of business having success with their actual metrics included in it. So, if you’re a B to B business, or a B to C business, you can drill down and sort the case studies by that. Or if you’re, like, in a service based business versus a — like professional services versus consulting versus real estate, or something like that — they’ve got all of these case studies segmented by type of industry. So, you can really go in and find just about anything you want to see as a case study for being successful from inbound. So, those are the two resources, I think, that are the most telling.

Especially if you can’t provide company data because you guys might not be tracking the metrics or you just don’t have access to the information, whatever the case may be. So, we use those all the time, and we try to really chime in and put those front and center a lot, because there are like — I think HubSpot has on their website, over 10,000 businesses have experienced success with inbound using their software. And HubSpot is just one of many marketing automation software companies out there. So, the numbers are far greater than that. It’s no longer an option at this point, to me.

Betsy Crozier: And I think that’s a strong part of the argument that they’d be making, is kind of showing that testimonial.

Robb Bailey: Yeah. And, again, we’re biased a little bit over here, right? But this stuff works, and so if you can show it to CEO’s who can be shown that it works, they’ll be open to it. If you come in and just say, “I think we should do this because I have a good feeling about it” — much less compelling, right?

Betsy Crozier: Excellent. So, Robb, the last item for the PASTA format is the action. So, kind of, I guess it’s a little bit of a key take away as well, because we’ve covered a lot of it. But what would you consider the action item when framing this argument?

Robb Bailey: Yep. A good question. So, I think the action items are to — to summarize, if you’re sitting face to face with your CEO and you get this far, they’re going to say, “Okay, well how will you report on this? Let’s say you go and execute this inbound campaign for us. What are the key metrics that you — what are the outcomes that you think might happen from doing this?” And I think that the two massive KPI’s that they’re going to be interested in are that — first of all, you can track your customer acquisition costs a lot better. So, if you’ve never done that before online, then you can start doing that. It’s going to give you tons of valuable information. You guys might be spending money on trying to buy that information about your industry anyway. I mean, I know tons of companies that pay six figures or more per year just to have consumer data reports, right? Well, you’re probably skipping the one that’s the most important, which is the consumer data report that your own website can produce if you just do inbound marketing for 90 days. So, boom, there’s one, right?

Number two — the chances that you can reduce the customer acquisition costs are really high. So, going back to that COCA figure, you can say, “Look, I think that we can get this lower than what we’re spending on inbound. This number over here — I think we can cut it down significantly. I’m not sure how much, because we’ve never tried this before. But I think we can get it lower, and that will be my goal, is to report a number that is at least 10 percent, 20 percent lower.” Again, that varies by industry, but it could be lower than that, and we’ll have all the data to back it up and all the track-ability to back it up. The other thing is, I think that you can track the lifetime value of a customer much better because you can track that person over a much longer period of time if you’re using inbound than you could if you’re constantly targeting someone with outbound, and you’re not really able to track how many times they get touched over a long period of time — like, a few years. So, you don’t know if that’s a new customer necessarily, or a repeat one, or things like that. So, really getting an accurate number there and going, “I know exactly how much our lifetime value per customer is, and that tells us how much we can spend to acquire a new customer.”

Every CEO is going to love this conversation, and that their marketing manager is talking this way. If you’ve ever watched that show Shark Tank — sometimes you see them beat them up over these numbers, especially if they have an online business. The first question they ask — Mark Cuban always asks this — is, “How much does it cost for you to acquire a new customer?” And most of the time, they’re like, “Uh. I don’t know. LIke, we just spend money.” You know? And if they have a concrete answer, he’s much happier than if they don’t, right? So, those are the two big pieces of information that you can promise and prove or promise to provide data on so that you can make decisions to improve it later, right? Okay, so the second part of it is, how do you get it done, right? Well, this is probably something that we’ll link to in another post or another recording, but another part of it is, if you start talking about how you want to head this up, if you’ve never done a full-blown inbound campaign before it can be really daunting. And asking for budget so that your team and your resources can execute all of this stuff — I’ve found that that’s sometimes a little bit of an uphill battle. So, I think what you should probably do is try to pitch having an agency, or at least drive the wheel and the car for you, and have your internal team assist — at least when you’re getting started. And that way you know that everything is done right from a foundational standpoint, and you’re set up the correct way to make the most out of your inbound marketing efforts.

So, when they ask you about how you would go about doing that — you know, if you don’t have the internal resources especially to execute a campaign like that — there are three things you need to have. You need to have the technology, the marketing automation technology for your inbound campaign. You need to have the talent. And if you hire an agency, these people are trained experts in inbound marketing. And then the last piece is the strategy and the plan. And that’s the thing that we see missing most when we talk to marketing managers internally — or CEO’s for that matter — is they just don’t have a plan to execute an inbound strategy. And, I’m sure, Betsy, we’ve beat this statistic to death, but inbound marketers who have a plan are over 300 percent more likely to be successful than inbound marketers who try it without. So, those are the three segments that you need to walk away with. And some places can get it done internally. I mean, some can.

But I would say the vast majority of businesses trying to do inbound marketing, especially for the first time, can vastly benefit from an agency. And it doesn’t have to be ours, even. But agencies have systems, processes, and a plan to properly execute the technology that you’re going to use with the marketing automation to get all this information, that we’re going to report on. So, that would be my take away in the action section, is, you know — “Let’s talk about some KPI’s that we can increase that are really important to you, Mr. CEO,” and to have a plan for putting this together, using a team or using our team to get it done for you. Does that kind of make sense?

Betsy Crozier: Yeah. Absolutely. I think it would be hard to frame an argument in this way and not come out successful, and not come out of that meeting either doing inbound marketing, or at the very least gaining the respect of your CEO in the process, for showing that you understand all this.

Robb Bailey: Yeah. Because, you know, the CEO is in a tough spot. They can’t micromanage something as intricate as SEO, right? But they do want top level metrics so they can make decisions and do what’s best for that organization as a whole. So, if you can say, “Look, I need a year to get this going. And I kind of need a hall pass for the first few months, but I promise you that I can get at least some actionable data for us to live with and improve upon through the end of the year” — most CEO’s will be like, “That’s reasonable.” Because it doesn’t cost a lot to get started with inbound.

You can use less than 10 percent of your overall outbound budget, I’m guessing, and get started with outbound — I’m sorry, inbound. If that makes sense. So, it’s usually not, like, a huge commitment up front to get started and start tracking this data. It’s just, you’ve got to get started sometime, and if you’re not doing it now, someone else is, and they’re winning online, right? So, it’s really about getting started small, making smart decisions, making a plan and strategy, refining it over a period of time, finding out where the gaps are of where you need to be, and then filling those gaps with budget and resources — being smart about it. Not just shooting in the dark, right?

Betsy Crozier: Yeah. Excellent. Well, this was so helpful. I’m sure this is basically such a great tool for any marketing manager, if they’re presenting it — to whether it’s their CEO or their boss — to be able to frame that argument. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Robb Bailey: Yeah.

Betsy Crozier: I’m sure everyone watching will as well. And I hope you have a good rest of your afternoon.

Robb Bailey: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Betsy Crozier: Thanks, Robb.

Robb Bailey: Alright, bye.


We like to use a deductive format when creating a structure for an argument, around here we call it PASTA. It’s just an easy way to succinctly identify a problem and then provide a solution in a way that makes sense.

  • Problem
  • Agitate the Problem
  • Solution
  • Testimonial
  • Action

Alot of times, CEO’s in particular are so busy that something you see as a problem might not be what they see. So when you are identifying a problem it’s good to have some data driven facts behind it.

Problem

The problem you are sensing as a marketing manager is that the channels that you are spending on are hard to track, you are probably over-spending, and don’t have great intelligence or great data to back up the channels that you are spending on.

Outbound Channels

Most of those are probably outbound channels using  interruption marketing type of method. So that could be radio, TV, prints, billboards, I mean, you name it. It’s the more traditional marketing methods. For most businesses, outbound marketing tactics are diminishing in return. You might not have the data to back to easily prove this and if you don’t this is something your C-level executive should be aware of.

What Can You Track with Facts and Data

With inbound marketing you can track just about everything, and it can be a way for you to lower your customer acquisition costs in particular, which every CEO on the planet is interested in. When you’re stating the problem, it’s really important to sort of let the facts and the data show that outbound channels are losing their effectiveness.

Here are two ways to illustrate this to your CEO:

  1. Data to show what your company is experiencing – show your company experience from a high level view with facts and reporting
  2. Data to show what the industry is experiencing –  use an industry related study that illustrates the findings aren’t exclusive to your business but that everyone is losing ROI from outbound channels.

average-cost-per-lead-inbound-outbound

Use these facts and data to accentuate the problem to your CEO and show him that your natural intuition is warranted.

Agitate the Problem

Generally, once you have pulled the data and information for the problem, you generally find that the problem is a little worse than everyone thinks it is.  When looking at this it’s important to identify key metrics that your CEO probably cares about the most.

  • COCA: Cost of customer acquisition
  • LTV: Xx Lifetime Value of a Customer, The ability to monetize those customers

To get an idea of how to start tracking your cost of customer acquisition we’ve included a handy spreadsheet, courtesy of David Stok at for Entrepreneurs.

cost-of-customer-acquisition-spreadsheet

Inbound marketing can directly track these very important metrics. Your CEO will be given hard  data to back up the numbers, effectiveness and ROI of your inbound campaign.

Key metrics your CEO can track with inbound marketing

  • Effectiveness
  • ROI
  • Cost of inbound leads (generally 1/2 the cost of outbound leads)

With inbound you have much more data to work with. Whereas, if you buy a billboard or something, and you have a call to action on the billboard, or it’s just a branding play, it’s really hard to measure the effectiveness of doing that, right?

But with inbound, you can get very specific and drill down into all the major inbound channels that you’re after, and see exactly what your LTV is, almost by channel, which is really, really specific information.

Outbound Performance

Looking at these number should be extremely painful. It’s probably worse than you and your CEO think it is. If you haven’t measured it yet, you might not have all the answers.

What’s even more painful is putting question marks in the columns where you don’t have that data, because you’re probably over-spending a ton on those channels where you have the question marks. It raises a lot of good questions. Good questions agitate the problem.

Solution:

At this point the solution should be pretty clear, Start Inbound Marketing. Pay attention to channel performance. Inbound is the main overarching channel and within it are a bunch of tactics that you should look at individually

  • Organic
  • Social
  • PPC
  • Direct traffic
  • Referral traffic

All of these make up slices of the inbound pie. Look at these and see how they are performing for you and then adjust.

(lead-quality-by-channen

After you have tested a few things you have the data to see what is working.

Now you can add more fuel to the gas tank but in just that one slice because you know that is where twice the quality of the lead is. if you have a large spend, you might be in the trap of throwing money at your marketing problems because you don’t want to lose visibility, or lose sales, or lose filling your pipeline.

Inbound can be your game changer by just more appropriately allocating your budget in the performing channels.

Let the data drive the decision

  • Lower your budget in the areas that don’t work
  • Improve performance in the areas where you know your money will get traction

When you come to your CEO, he really only cares about a handful of things. And that handful of things can be reported on very easily with inbound reporting metrics.

You can get it done with one or two slides that show

  1. “We’re pouring in ‘x’
  2. We’re getting ‘x’ out times ten, or times four, or times five,” or whatever your multiple is

Let the data drive the decisions and it’s no longer a debate internally about, “I really think radio is the better channel because of these arbitrary reasons that I just am warm and fuzzy about radio.”

With inbound you can let the facts and the data dictate your next moves with your budget, and your resources, and your staffing, and all of those things. It solves so many problems, because it’s no longer a debate.

Testimonial / Proof

One of the most effective ways to provide testimony to inbound marketing is through examples.  If you can’t already prove that it works for your business the next best thing is to prove it works for a similar business in your industry.

Data Driven Industry Specific Case Studies

If you don’t have your own company data to show the effectiveness of Inbound Marketing, there are many resources that you can use to compile necessary fact and figures.

Hubspot’s The Return on Investment of Using HubSpot features a 2014 MIT Sloan research study on the ROI of using HubSpot’s marketing software.

Hubsot-MIT-casestudy-inboundROI

Also available through Hubspot are industry specific case studies. These case studies let you look at what comparable businesses and possible your competition are doing with inbound and how effective it is for them.
hubspot-case-studies

 

Examples like this will help your CEO see that your business isn’t alone and inbound is going to happen where you are involved or not. Especially if you can’t provide company data because you aren’t tracking the metrics or you don’t have access to the information.  Having proven factual examples really rounds out an already compelling argument.

Action:

If you’re doing seven or eight inbound channels, not every single one of them is going to be a winner, but you know which 40 percent or 50 percent of those channels are your winners. And that’s where you can invest your budget and your effort.

  • Define the key metrics that you would report on if you started inbound marketing
  • Set a goal for the reduction the customer acquisition cost
  • Define how you will track the lifetime value of a customer
  • Determine exactly how much you think you can spend on a new customer

Every CEO is going to love this conversation and that this is the language you are speaking.

The Bottom Line

Successfully selling your boss on inbound marketing really lies in your approach. Start small, make smart decisions using a plan, refine overtime, find the gaps and fill those in with budget and resources.  Don’t just shoot in the dark and delivery on the actionable data that your CEO wants and inbound can easily provide.

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Robb Bailey

Co-Founder & CEO at PageLadder, Inc.
Robb enjoys growing a mean mustache every Movember and putting hot sauce on anything edible. You'll find him doing Content Marketing at his Inbound Marketing Agency in San Diego.
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