6 Steps to Prove to Your CEO that Inbound Marketing Can Generate ROI
Almost daily I speak with B2B CMOs who are spending time and effort on various online marketing activities like SEO, advertising and Pay Per Click, but are frustrated that they haven’t seen results – or if they have, those results haven’t translated to more leads and sales.
For some of those companies, inbound marketing is the missing piece in their success puzzle. If you’re a marketer or on the marketing team of one of these companies, and you are having a hard time convincing your management to get on board with inbound marketing to generate ROI for your business, this post will help you do just that.
1) Start with the “Why” (Break Down Your Business Goals)
Without knowing where you’d like to be and when, you’ll have a hard time justifying any marketing action. Make sure that you understand what business goals you’re trying to achieve in a very clear way. And no, “branding” or “growing the overall number of customers” are not clear goals!
Your marketing goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound. Click To Tweet
An example of a smart goal would be “to grow the number of core customers by 10% within the next year.”
Once you and the rest of management are aligned as to what you are trying to achieve, then you can move on to your current efforts.
Learn More: What Is Inbound Marketing?
2) Map Out Your Current Marketing Efforts and ROI
Your company should be tracking marketing ROI (Return On Investment) for all your marketing efforts.
If not, slap yourself on the wrist and make it a top priority. There’s no point in investing time and money on different marketing initiatives if you don’t know how each of them is influencing your entire marketing strategy and the bottom line of ROI.
Things to consider and evaluate:
- Your current conversion rate from visitor to lead on your website
- Your current conversion rate from lead to customer
- The average LTV (lifetime value) of a customer
- Your average sales price
- How much it currently costs you to acquire a new customer
- How long it takes you to acquire a new customer
- How much you pay per lead
- How much you pay per customer
If your current marketing efforts are not producing sufficient results, the next step would be….
3) Identify Where in the Marketing Funnel You Currently Have a Problem (Top, Middle, Bottom)
Top of the Funnel
You have a problem at the top of the funnel if you’re not generating enough monthly visits to your website. At the top of the funnel the goal is to attract strangers and turn them into visitors on your website.
Middle of the Funnel
You have a problem at the middle of the funnel if you’re not converting enough visitors to leads. If you have a high volume of traffic to your website, but you’re converting less than 5% of the visitors into leads, you should focus on fixing that part of the funnel. Check out this post about conversion rates to learn more.
Bottom of the Funnel
You have a problem at the bottom of the funnel if you’re not converting enough leads to customers. If you have a high volume of leads but your conversion rates are lower than 2%, focus on fixing that part of the funnel.
Explain to your CEO that implementing an inbound marketing strategy can help you cure all stages of the marketing funnel: instead of spending money on ads that only attract attention as long as you pay for them and rarely help you reach your business goals, you would be creating long-lasting assets that will help push potential buyers down a personalized buyer’s journey.
If you begin to convert more leads at an earlier point in their buying process and start to nurture them, you can shorten your sales cycle.
Nurturing leads can also encourage your sales team to become more educational and consultative in nature as they will encounter leads earlier in the buying process.
Learn More: How to Create a Marketing Funnel that Generates Sales (Templates Included)
4) Show Forecasts
Based on the three steps above, compile a detailed projection of the increased results you foresee if the company implements your inbound strategy:
- How the number of visitors to your website will grow
- How conversion rates from visitors to leads will grow (to at least 5%)
- How your costs per lead will drop
- How lead nurturing will help increase conversion rates from leads to customers (to at least 2%)
- How your revenue will grow (this will be your CEO’s favorite section)
WARNING: Don’t over-promise, as inbound marketing takes time to produce results (you should see some movement within the first 3-6 months, but you won’t start seeing substantial results for about 12 months).
5) Show Case Studies
Back your pitch up with actual case studies and testimonials. Find companies that are similar to yours, explore their success stories and then show your CEO real live examples of where you can get to by implementing an inbound marketing strategy.
Sometimes that’s all your top execs need to see. As you will quickly see for yourself, it’s not rare to find companies that have experienced rapid growth using inbound marketing.
Here’s a video testimonial of a client of my agency, BusinessBlocks, which details how we helped our them grow their business in 6 months using inbound marketing. By the way, the company eventually got acquired by publicly traded company AmTrust. Yes, inbound is that good.
6) FOMO to the Rescue
The good old “fear of missing out” might just do the trick. Top-level executives tend to respond to statistics and facts and examples. So spice things up with some stats on inbound marketing that will help clarify what your company is missing out on by not jumping on the inbound marketing train:
- Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.
- 47% of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson –
your prospects are consuming your content before your sales people even know who they are.
- Marketing automation tools have been proven to help businesses streamline their sales and marketing processes and increase revenue by up to 40%.
- Companies that utilize lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at 33% lower costs.
- Companies that use marketing automation experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.
- B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month.
- Verifying business leads before passing them to the sales team is conducted by only 56% of B2B companies.
- The average cost of a B2B sales lead varies by industry. Healthcare leads are most expensive ($60) followed by business/finance ($43). At the low end are leads for marketing products/services ($32) and technology ($31).
- Outbound leads cost 39% more than inbound leads.
- Companies who use marketing automation convert 53% more leads to marketing qualified leads, and report revenue growth 3.1% higher than non-users.
- 80% of business decision-makers prefer to read info in a series of articles as opposed to via an advertisement.
- 77% of CMOs at tier-1 companies indicate that their most compelling reason for implementing marketing automation is to increase revenue.
- 66% of buyers reported that the winning vendor provided higher-quality content.
- Through the success of content marketing, 49% of B2B marketers follow up with quality sales leads for further assessment.
- 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies.
- 93% of B2B buying processes begin with an online search.
- 3 out of 4 marketers across the globe prioritize an inbound approach to marketing.
Related Content: The Content Marketing Funnel: When to Use Different Types of Content
Inbound marketing is not a quick and easy process, nor is getting your management on board. By arming yourself with the right data, conducting research and having a very clear idea of where you are and where you’d like to get to by implementing an inbound marketing strategy, it’s not impossible to get the rest of management to share your enthusiasm.
- Break down and understand your business goals and what you would like to achieve.
- Map out your current marketing efforts and ROI.
- Identify where in the marketing funnel you currently have a problem (top, middle, bottom).
- Compile a detailed projection of the increased results you foresee if the company implements your inbound strategy.
- Find companies that are similar to yours and explore their success stories so you can show your CEO real examples of where you can get to by implementing an inbound marketing strategy.
- Finally, round up stats on inbound marketing that will help your CEO realize what your company is missing out on by not jumping on the inbound marketing train.
I hope this post will help you achieve your inbound dreams and beyond! Leave a comment below or reach out to me if you have further questions.