5 Reasons B2B Firms Need Inbound Marketing (and How to Adopt)
Inbound Marketing is the Targeted Way to Win B2B Buyers' Trust in Your Brand's Expertise
Are you incorporating inbound marketing into your B2B marketing strategies?
You're probably already blogging and sharing content on social media – key inbound tactics.
Still, inbound marketing’s true power comes from consistency: Align all your B2B marketing strategies with inbound and you'll unlock its full potential.
Inbound marketing is the way of the future for B2B.
It helps you build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers, accelerate the sales cycle, and drive sales/marketing alignment. In effect, you win trust using Web content like blogs, whitepapers, and videos to answer prospects' questions and concerns.
5 Reasons Why Inbound Can Help Firms
Making the switch from traditional (“outbound”) marketing means building new competencies, but it pays off.
1 It's More Effective
According to research from inbound innovator HubSpot, companies are 3x as likely to see higher ROI from inbound marketing campaigns than outbound ones. When designed correctly, inbound marketing provides measurable, repeatable results. The biggest reason? Inbound is great for building rapport, while sales-driven outbound techniques can seem adversarial.
2 It's Up to 63% Cheaper
Inbound marketing is remarkably cost-effective. Well-written content can be created at little cost and keeps producing results over time. In 2012, average cost-per-lead using outbound marketing was $346 compared to $135 for inbound. When you consider content’s impact over its life-cycle, a single article could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
3 Today’s Buyer Responds to Nuturing
About 71% of B2B buyers begin gathering purchase information with a generic search. The buying cycle is getting longer, but prospects may be 90% done with research by the time they contact you. Inbound marketing allows you to demonstrate expertise by giving prospects answers to their top questions at the moment they have them, establishing your credibility.
4 Inbound Improves Sales Productivity
Inbound marketing helps you automate sales processes and get more done with less staff. Manual data entry is the #1 complaint sales professionals have about their CRM, but well-structured inbound campaigns work with CRM software for seamless, automatic updates as prospects take action. That allows sales to better qualify leads and manage more prospects effectively.
5 Inbound Offers Clear, Measurable ROI
We’ve all heard the old adage that half of advertising is wasted – but nobody knows which half. Inbound marketing is just the opposite: With the right analytics tools, you can dive more deeply than ever before into each prospect’s behavior. No opportunity to influence and connect with a prospect is ever wasted.
Tomorrow’s B2B Marketing Strategies Need Inbound
Inbound marketing may seem like a hot new trend, but it’s here to stay – savvy B2B buyers are already demanding it. In fact, it might be the only way to maintain strong connections with your prospects and win a spot at the table when they make a purchase decision.
Holding prospects’ attention is getting harder. Research has shown:
- B2B buying cycles are growing longer and more complex, with more research per buy;
- Purchases now include many more decision-makers, creating complex consensus sales;
- Effectiveness of trade shows and other traditional sales-driven approaches is dropping.
The convergence of all these factors means buyers are apt to forget about your brand even if you make a strong initial impression. To maintain sales momentum, inbound is uniquely positioned to nurture a long-term relationship.
Adopting Inbound B2B Marketing Strategies for Your Enterprise
You might be enthusiastic about the new approach to deepening your prospect relationships with great Web content. What about your internal teams? How can you win real buy-in for new B2B marketing strategies?
Many organizations are already getting great benefits from inbound marketing. The approach can be applied to any industry or customer profile: Its effectiveness comes from understanding prospects and giving them the content they want.
Still, there there are some easy techniques for incorporating it into your business:
Start With Keyword Research
What are your prospects searching for online? Since many B2B buyers start their decision-making with a generic search, yours could be the first site they encounter. Use keyword analysis tools to find basic questions that indicate interest in products like yours, but no firm commitment to a solution or brand. Find out more about keyword research in our previous post.
Do a Full-Scale Content Audit
With enough keyword research, you can evaluate your existing content and decide how to resolve gaps. What are the questions your site still needs to answer? What's the most informative, convenient way to address them – a series of blog posts? A single short video? A whitepaper? How can you share the new content as widely as possible? Your audit should address all these issues.
Institute an Editorial Calendar
To transform plans into action, develop an editorial calendar. It should establish exactly what Web content needs to be generated over the course of a month and what the editorial process should be. Over time, marketing teams should embrace the skills needed to proactively pursue content goals.
Have a Marketing Plan
Inbound should be incorporated into all strategic marketing plans. Every new product, industry event, and thought leadership initiative should generate content which, in turn, is amplified by social media. As content is completed, it should be recycled into new forms and formats to reach more prospects.
Analyze Your Campaigns
There are many free analytics suites out there, including the popular Google Analytics. Analysis helps you recognize which content is truly connecting with your audience and focus your efforts accordingly. It only takes a few minutes to set up simple A/B split testing, which can double conversion rates ... but without incorporating analysis at every level of your campaign, you won't know you're succeeding.
Inbound Makes Great Performance and Clear ROI Easier to Maintain
Both sales and marketing teams gain from inbound. When sales pros interact with customers, they get insights that can be upcycled into inbound marketing collateral. The marketing team, in turn, refines its strategies so prospects tend to be better qualified when they reach sales.
In the long run, everyone wins – achieving greater revenue with more efficient investment of effort.
Plus, inbound helps you avoid pitfalls that can lead to failure. 74% of B2B firms that miss their sales targets don’t track essential B2B sales metrics. Measurement is a core part of the identity of inbound: As you adopt it, it empowers you with rigorous, efficient, data-driven approaches.
There Are Far More than 5 Reasons B2B Firms Need Inbound Marketing
Although we've picked 5 reasons B2B firms need inbound marketing, there are many more. They add up to this: Inbound is the key to deep, enduring relationships with your customers. If done well, it raises lifetime value and turns satisfied customers into brand evangelists.
No other B2B marketing strategies can do the same as quickly, effectively, or inexpensively. It's as simple as that.
If you haven't gotten started with inbound marketing, it's not too late. Find out what worries keep your customers awake at night and give them the expert answers they need.
That's the heart of inbound marketing – and it'll keep prospects coming back for the first purchase and beyond.