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The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2023

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2023
The 7 principles of inbound, complete with the tools, checklists, videos, and everything you need to drive unmatched results from your inbound marketing.

Introduction: High-Performing Inbound Marketing Starts with a Culture Shift

Watch Marcus Sheridan deliver the introduction to this playbook.

Let me introduce you to a few friends of mine.

Steve Sheinkopf is the CEO of Yale Appliance, a B2C kitchen and home appliance retailer, based out of Boston, Massachusetts, since 1923.

Steve turned to inbound marketing to establish his company as the No. 1 thought leader in the home appliance industry; to drive traffic, leads, and sales. But even though he was creating content and “doing inbound,” he didn’t get the results he was looking for.

Then there’s Krista Kotrla.

Krista was the CMO of Block Imaging, a B2B company that provides refurbished medical equipment to healthcare organizations.

Like Steve, Krista was excited about the principles and potential of inbound marketing. There was just one small problem – she wasn’t a subject matter expert and thus couldn’t create the content her company needed on her own.

Not giving up, she turned to her sales and leadership teams and staff engineers and asked: “Can you help me produce the content we need to make inbound successful for Block Imaging?”

But, at every turn, she received the same answer: “Sorry, I can’t help. I don’t have the time.”

We’ve all heard or said this before, but what we all are afraid to admit is that usually when someone says that in life, time is rarely (if ever) the issue.

When someone says, “Sorry, I can’t help. I don’t have the time,” what they’re really saying is, This is not important to me.”

Initially, Krista felt completely unsupported and unable to get what she needed to be successful as a marketer from sales, leadership, and others. She knew the answers, but she was the only one invested in the strategy. So, she briefly considered leaving the company entirely.

Lastly, there is husband and wife Andrew and Debbie Kirkley of OSV. They founded the B2B and B2C vehicle leasing company in 1997, and a few years ago, they said, “We want to be great with inbound. We believe in it, but we don’t really know what to do. We don’t have our ducks in a row yet.”

They saw the potential of inbound marketing to grow their business, and they wanted to get on that train. They were at the beginning of their journey with inbound, but had no idea how to get started.

Have you ever felt like these friends of mine?

Right now, you may feel like Steve. You’ve already begun your journey with inbound, but still … something isn’t right. The results aren’t where they should be, if they’re manifesting at all.

Perhaps you feel like Krista. You know what you must do as a marketer to get results with inbound, but you’re not getting the support you need from others in your company.

Or maybe you’re like Andrew and Debbie. You’re ready to begin your journey with inbound, and you’ve caught the vision of what’s possible – but you don’t know how or where to start.

If any of their situations resonate with you, you’re in the right place.

Steve, Krista, Andrew, and Debbie (along with their companies) have gone on to experience a remarkable transformation – and revenue growth – as a direct result of inbound marketing.

For instance, Steve and the Yale Appliance team have generated more than $117 million in revenue from their renewed inbound marketing efforts and increased their website traffic by more than 2,500% to almost 1 million visitors per month.

But how did they do it?

The companies that have seen remarkable success with inbound marketing all have one thing in common:

They created a culture in which everyone was unified around the singular vision of establishing themselves as the No. 1 teacher in their space.

They created a culture that put the customer first and focused on education to help customers make the best decisions for themselves and their future. These cultures include an understanding that trust is the ultimate trigger for any purchase, and educating customers by sharing honest, unbiased information is the best way to build that trust.

Only after they had created such a culture could inbound marketing help them meet and exceed their most aggressive traffic, leads, and sales goals.

But a cultural shift of that magnitude, where you’re able to ignite genuine excitement and alignment across all your teams, doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen with a single company-wide email or an announcement at an all-hands meeting.

Steve, Krista, Andrew, and Debbie succeeded because they followed seven key principle-based steps. You can do this too, and this playbook will get you there.

This playbook will break down those steps to help you deeply understand the principles, overcome the same challenges, and implement a successful inbound marketing strategy for your company.

We’ll dive into why they are essential and give you actionable guidance on how to teach them to your team. But remember, these principles and steps are like links on a chain.

If one link is weak, it doesn’t matter how strong the others are — the entire chain will inevitably fall apart. So, you need to be ready to embrace them holistically. You can’t pick and choose.

Sound like a plan? Let’s get to it.

Step 1: Get Everyone in the Company Bought-in to the Inbound Marketing Strategy

Watch Marcus Sheridan deliver the first principle of this playbook.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve worked with hundreds of companies to build their own lasting cultures of inbound that drive astounding growth and results. And, in that time, we’ve noticed an interesting trend in how many of those relationships began.

You see, the No. 2 inquiry we receive from business owners and marketing leaders looking to get started with inbound marketing is one you might expect: “We’re looking to drive more traffic, leads, and sales with inbound.”

But the No. 1 inquiry we receive is very different.

“How do I convince my boss that inbound is what we should be doing? I get it, but no one else does.”

Why is this? Why do so many companies struggle with the same issue, where those outside of marketing don’t “get it” when it comes to inbound?

Well, simply, they haven’t been educated yet.

If you’re a marketer, think about the last time you came back from a conference with a seemingly endless list of ideas of how to get better results from your strategies.

If you’re lucky, these ideas were met with just as much excitement as you presented them with, but more than likely, that moment you were met with the same, lackluster response:

“Why?”

That’s because, often when marketers go to events or attend virtual webinars, they’re usually doing so without other critical people from their company, like members of leadership or sales.

Inbound marketing can’t succeed in a vacuum. It needs buy-in and support from the entire company, top-down, to not only get off the ground but prosper long-term.

When senior leadership doesn’t understand or support what you’re doing, you likely won’t obtain the budget, resources, or autonomy you need to fully put your strategy into action.

If sales or other members of your team don’t understand the value, they won’t make the time to help you create content or incorporate it into their processes.

That’s why the first essential inbound marketing principle is empowering everyone in your company to understand the what, the how, and the why of what you’re doing.

And in our experience, there’s only one way to do this:

Hold a workshop to align marketing, sales, and leadership

The way you empower your entire company (especially sales, marketing, and leadership) to catch the vision of what’s possible with inbound is by bringing them together for a workshop.

With an inbound culture workshop, sales, marketing, and leadership sit down to be educated on the methodology together. They hear the same call to action and the reasons behind it. They share in the experience.

Everyone will understand how buyers have changed and how that affects your business.

Leadership will understand what it takes to succeed and why it needs to be made a priority. Your sales team will learn how content will help them sell way more in less time, as well as their role in helping the marketing team create it. Everyone should catch the vision.

Note: A great inbound culture workshop walks through eight essential principles of inbound marketing:

  1. How your ideal buyers’ expectations have changed
  2. How search engines work and rank your website content
  3. The way your buyers search and the questions they’re asking (what we call “The Big 5”)
  4. Why it’s important to brainstorm content ideas from The Big 5 as a full group
  5. How content can impact the sales process and close rates
  6. Why everyone’s voice, talent, and knowledge are critical for success
  7. Your new editorial guidelines for inbound content
  8. Discussion of what would prevent inbound from working at your company

This is especially true when facilitated by someone outside of your company.

Think about it for a moment: How often have you felt like you weren’t being heard by your team, especially when it came to something culture-shifting like inbound marketing? You’re not alone in this.

Often you can be a prophet to the world, but no one will listen to you in your own backyard. Human beings seek proof and affirmation from others; it’s why we read product reviews and ask for recommendations, and a workshop helps offer this for inbound marketing.

Once everyone understands how inbound marketing will help your business and sees examples of how it has helped others, they will be excited, engaged, and committed to the strategy and their role in it.

As you might imagine, if you finish this playbook and then send out an email to your team saying, “Let’s start answering customer questions and blogging,” you will get nowhere fast.

This is exactly why workshops (as well as long-term training) with the entire team are so critical to success. With every single business and brand I’ve worked with that has experienced exceptional results, a workshop has always been the key to kicking off the magic and creating a unified vision.

Since I held my first workshop with Krista and her team at Block Imaging,  the IMPACT coaches and I have delivered over 300 workshops.

You can find success with this approach too.

Let’s put this into action

Now that you understand the importance of getting inbound marketing buy-in from your entire team, use the checklist below to fully put this principle into action.

  • Help your leaders understand inbound
    First, you need to empower your leadership, sales team, and others with the knowledge that will help them catch the inbound marketing vision. To help you, we’ve curated a list of resources you can start sharing with your team right now.

    • Start by sending them a copy of this guide. Really! As you’ll soon see, it’s a fantastic text and video primer on the foundational principles of what needs to be true for your company to see astounding traffic, leads, and sales growth with inbound marketing.

    • Read the book They Ask, You Answer. I may be biased, but this book explains in plain, accessible language how and why buyer behavior has changed so drastically in the digital age, and what exactly companies need to be doing right now to drive sales and growth with inbound across any industry. I also share case studies and success stories from a wide range of organizations. This is also available as an audiobook.

    • Hold a They Ask, You Answer book club. There is no better way to guarantee you’re all on the same page than to actually read the same pages… See what I did there? But instead of simply giving people a copy of the book, facilitate a guided, structured book club that will empower your people to catch the vision of what you’re looking to achieve together.

    • Complete the They Ask, You Answer fundamentals with Marcus Sheridan course. This course is a great fit for anyone in your company associated with growth. By the end, you’ll have a complete understanding of how buyers and the buying process have changed, and how trust is the foundation of all business. You’ll also walk away with tactics and strategies you can start implementing immediately to make your inbound marketing more effective.

  • Define your content marketing mission statement. Your content marketing mission statement will define the purpose behind every single piece of content you create for your audience as an organization. It should be concise and easily understood by your audience, clearly defining the who, the what, and the where of your intended focus and influence. This article will teach you how to create your own with your team.

  • Hold your workshop. Cultures aren’t built on emails, announcements, or mission statements. Because your team must understand the what, how, and why of They Ask, You Answer for it to become a culture, workshops with the entire team are critical to success. Contact IMPACT if you would like to know how we can help with this workshop for you.

Step 2: Success Requires Someone Inside Your Organization Owning Content

Watch Marcus Sheridan deliver the second principle of this playbook.

We’ve talked with thousands of marketing leaders over the past 10 years, and almost every single one of them agreed with this statement:

“I’m wearing too many hats.”

Inbound marketing and content creation isn’t something that can be tossed on the plate of someone at your company who already has 45+ hours of work to do each week.

And yet, one of the most common mistakes companies make when they’re first starting out with inbound marketing is to delegate it to someone who already has a full workload.

What’s worse is when they entrust the creation of their content to an outside agency, freelancer, or other company.

Outsourcing your company’s content creation to a digital marketing agency can seem like a smart solution if you have the desire to hit the ground running with inbound marketing but lack the resources. However, entrusting the creation of your content to an outsider often comes at a cost.

An outsider, no matter how talented, will always fail to fully capture the soul of your business and your values in your content. Moreover, your growth will always be limited by the set deliverables in your contract, where additional costs are often incurred if you need to increase your velocity.

A freelancer or agency will likely limit you to a set number of hours, articles, or words. You may have limited access to them as they juggle multiple clients. Overall, you will have less flexibility in your ability to publish and scale as you please.

The moral of the story here is that, if you don’t designate a single in-house employee, whose sole responsibility is your inbound marketing content efforts, it won’t be done right. You need someone who is the owner of this initiative, from accountability to execution.

This person can have a number of titles depending on their experience and the size of your team, but typically, we call this person a content manager.

You need a content manager as your champion, to be that person who says “Yes!”; who cheers everyone on and makes the lives of everyone in sales much easier.

That’s right, sales.

The best content managers out there will all tell you the same thing, if you ask them about what their goals are:

“My #1 customer is sales.”

Not marketing.

Great content managers are laser-focused on guaranteeing their sales team members look like geniuses. Because, at its core, inbound marketing (when executed correctly) is a sales initiative, wherein you’re creating content that empowers your sales team to close deals faster with more educated buyers.

Not only will your in-house content manager ensure content is published regularly without fail, but they will also:

  • Obsess over creating high-quality content that accurately reflects the true tone and spirit of your brand.
  • Interview your company’s subject matter experts and capture their insights (and your company’s unique perspective) and integrate it into your content.
  • Work directly with the sales team and help them integrate content into the sales process, allowing them to close more deals faster.
  • Monitor your organic search performance and routinely improve ranking and traffic results.
  • Update existing content to ensure it remains relevant and effective.
  • Oversee the other areas of your sales and marketing initiatives where content is critical (including your website, email, and social media).
  • Work across departments and act as a central role between leadership, sales, marketing, and business development.
  • Ensure everyone in the company is meeting their deadlines for content, including the boss!

Let’s put this into action

  • Take our free course on how to hire a content manager. In one hour, you’ll learn how to screen content manager applicants, so you only spend time with those who have the greatest potential; what questions to ask in an interview and what to look for in answers; how to run a situational activity that shows you immediately who can “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”; how to set your content manager up for success before their first day; and much more.

  • Use our content manager job description template for all industries. Whenever you’re hiring for a position that’s completely new for your company, one of the most cumbersome challenges is creating the job description. And we’ve taken all of the guesswork out of that step in the process with this ready-to-use, easily customized content manager job description template.

  • Encourage your new content manager to join our content manager mastermind group. Once a month, content managers from a wide range of industries come together to learn, ask questions, brainstorm ideas, and more in this IMPACT-exclusive mastermind group. After you’ve hired your own content manager, have them join so they can shorten the learning curve and become an inbound hero at your company faster.

Step 3: Leverage your Subject Matter Experts in your Content and Marketing Efforts

Watch Marcus Sheridan deliver the third principle of this playbook.

This next principle is very much at the heart of what we teach and how we help companies drive more sales with inbound – if someone doesn’t help produce something being created, they won’t appreciate it as much.

Think of it this way. There is often a difference between those college students who help pay for their own tuition and those who are lucky enough to have their tuition paid in full by their parents.

Yes, often they are all hardworking and deserving, but those who also have a hand in paying their way through (in part or entirely) are more likely to not let those years go to waste, as they are an investor in their own success.

To put more of a marketing twist on it, think about when experts are quoted in an article you wrote. They could find the article valuable and never think about sharing it on their social media, but if they are quoted or have contributed to the article in some way, they are much more inclined to want to share it.

What does this have to do with your subject matter experts and content? Everything.

You see, sometimes we’ve worked with marketing departments and content managers, and they find themselves struggling:

“I don’t know where I should begin. I don’t know the questions our customers are asking.”

They don’t find themselves in this position because they lack talent or perseverance. Instead, their frustration and lack of direction is rooted in a simple fact – as marketers, they are not fully engaged with the customer.

Rather, your sales team and your subject matter experts are the ones having face-to-face interactions with your buyers. They are the ones being approached every day and fielding questions.

They need to be your most prolific content contributors, providing insights on what questions need to be answered and insights on what those answers are. They need to tell you what conversations are happening so you can give them the content and assets needed to engage in them.

Of course, content “contribution” and “production” for your in-house experts can come in a few different shapes and sizes. In fact, in our experience, we’ve found there are four distinct types of content producers:

  1. Writers (your blog and premium content writers)
  2. Actors (most sales reps fall into this category)
  3. Talkers (great interview subjects for content)
  4. Questioners (a mix of sales and customer service)

Once you understand how each of your in-house experts is able to contribute, it will be much easier for your content manager to leverage them in your content efforts.

(And when they see the amazing content produced that can be used in the sales process and handed to customers, they will thank you for it.)

Let’s put this into action

  • Take our free course, The Revenue Team Approach to Sales Enablement Content. In it, you’ll learn how to establish your own “revenue team” (made up of members from sales and marketing), how to run effective content brainstorms with your sales team, how to report on the ROI of your content, and much more.

Step 4: Start at the Bottom of the Funnel

Watch Marcus Sheridan deliver the fourth principle of this playbook.

“It takes about a year or more for inbound marketing to work.”

We hear this all the time, and there is a clear reason for this, we’ve discovered.

In the majority of cases where a company stakeholder believes this to be true, they demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of what will move the needle forward in their content strategy with revenue and sales.

Why is that, you ask?

Most of us are familiar with this funnel.

Marketing-funnel

Unfortunately, when most companies begin their journey with inbound marketing, they start creating content in what we call “The Land of Fluff” – which is so far at the top of the funnel, it’s pretty much above it.

What does “The Land of Fluff” look like?

Well, let’s imagine for a moment that you sell swimming pools. As one of the first pieces of content you’re going to produce, you decide to write a blog article called “5 fun games to play in your swimming pool this summer.”

If you’re trying to sell swimming pools, this is one of the most useless articles you could ever write, at least early on in your content journey. Here’s why.

Sure, a lot of people may be searching for information like this, and it could drive a large amount of traffic, but would they actually be ready to buy?

Someone searching for this article could be planning a pool party or trying to entertain their kids in a pool they already have.

The target of this article is so broad and so unfocused, you’re almost certainly going to be attracting more unqualified traffic than traffic interested in what you’re selling.

Instead, the smart move for you as a pool seller is to create content that targets the buyers you know are in the market to buy their own pool. For instance:

How much does an in-ground pool cost?

What are the best pool companies in [my geographic area]?

You want to start at the bottom of the funnel with your inbound content strategy with those ready to buy, and then, later on, work your way to the top of the funnel.

There are five categories of content topics that are proven to drive more revenue than any other content topic around, no matter what industry you’re in:

  1. Pricing and cost
  2. Problems
  3. Comparisons
  4. Reviews
  5. Best in class

At IMPACT, we call these topics “The Big 5.”

As buyers, we are obsessed with knowing the answers to The Big 5 questions when we’re getting ready to make a purchase. They are the things that actually cross our mind and could make or break whether or not we actually buy.

Here’s the irony though – many companies avoid answering these questions like the plague out of fear that they’ll scare people off. Instead, they say, “Let’s wait until we’re face-to-face with our prospects in sales conversations to answer these questions,” thinking perhaps they can win them over.

In today’s market, however, that doesn’t work. If you wait to answer those questions, your buyers will abandon you.

They will abandon you for a company that does not frustrate them – the “F” word of the internet – by refusing to answer their questions; a company that isn’t just trying to get them on the phone to “sell” them.

Modern buyers don’t want to be sold to. They want to make their own informed decisions.

With this in mind, they will reward the company that goes out of its way to make it easy to find honest and thorough answers to the questions they seek with their trust and, most importantly, their business.

To see the remarkable growth you’re looking for with inbound marketing, again, your goal must be to establish your company as the No. 1 resource in your space about what it is that you do or sell. You need to be who buyers trust to give them reliable information.

That means you need to dedicate yourself to becoming the Wikipedia of your industry, willing to address any and every question put in front of you by your ideal customers – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The smartest companies in the world don’t avoid pointing out the elephant in the room. They point it out willingly to their ideal customers and say, “Here is our elephant. Do you have any issues with it? Because we love our elephant.”

Let’s put this into action

  • Take our free course, How to Write “The Big 5.” In it, you’ll learn how to write each of The Big 5 topics for your business – pricing and cost, comparisons, problems, “best of” topics, and reviews – which makes this a great fit for anyone struggling to see bottom-line results from their content marketing.

Step 5: Integrate Content Into the Sales Process

Watch Marcus Sheridan deliver the fifth principle of this playbook.

If we were to approach your sales team right now and ask them what their greatest sales tool is, what would they say?

Of course, the answer will vary depending on what it is that you do or sell, but here’s a sad fact – the vast majority of them will not say the content that your marketing team is producing.

Most sales teams, in fact, don’t use content in the sales process at all because they don’t see the value of it.

If you’re doing inbound marketing right, they should see every piece of content you produce as a valuable tool in their sales toolbox that helps them close more deals faster with more educated buyers.

This is why you start at the bottom of the funnel (principle #4) when you begin creating content.

Every single one of those bottom-of-the-funnel questions align with the biggest fears, worries, and concerns that your prospects – your true, good-fit, motivated buyers – have when they’re talking to sales. They are the questions that could make or break their choice to buy from you.

And the more you eliminate or address those fears, worries, and concerns for your ideal-fit prospects with your content before they ever talk to someone in sales, the faster you’ll start seeing revenue results roll in from your content efforts.

When you arm your sales team with this kind of content, you eliminate the biggest challenge facing most sales professionals today – being stuck teaching unqualified leads on sales appointments instead of selling to those who want to buy.

The process of intentionally using educational content about your products and services to resolve the majority of concerns and questions prospects have during sales conversations is called assignment selling, and it saves sales reps hours of time qualifying leads and closing deals.

Let’s put this into action

  • Take our free course, Assignment Selling Content Is the Greatest Sales Tool with Marcus Sheridan. In less than an hour, you’ll discover the importance of leveraging content in the sales process, spending less time educating in sales meetings, and ensuring you’re always working with qualified prospects. You’ll also understand how assignment selling works, what’s possible when it’s done correctly, and how to start implementing it tomorrow.

Step 6: Incorporate Video

Watch Marcus Sheridan deliver the sixth principle of this playbook.

According to Wistia, your ideal customers will spend 1.4 times more time on a company website that has video than one that doesn’t.

Plus, 88% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a video.

What does this data tell us? That our inbound marketing strategy now (and into the future) must include video-based content if you don’t want to leave money on the table.

Unfortunately, too many businesses fail to create the seven types of sales and marketing videos that are proven to jumpstart traffic, leads, and sales growth. At IMPACT, we call these “The Selling 7.

The Selling 7:

  1. Landing page videos that increase conversion rates of qualified leads
  2. Customer journey videos that show products and services really work
  3. Employee bio videos that establish trust faster with a prospect
  4. 80% videos that answer frequently asked questions about a product or service
  5. Product-and-service-fit videos that establish who is not a good fit
  6. Price/cost videos that demystify how pricing works
  7. “Claims we make” videos that prove your declared differentiators to be true

Instead, these companies waste tens of thousands of dollars with outsourced video production agencies on “about our company” videos, which rarely, if ever, help sales close a single deal faster.

In turn, a company’s excitement quickly turns sour and their investment in video feels like a money pit rather than the revenue-generator it should have been.

When your company commits fully to creating The Selling 7, it won’t be long before you see dramatically increased website traffic and engagement with your content, accelerated conversions of qualified leads, and an empowered sales team that can close deals faster with more educated prospects.

But, of course, you may also be thinking to yourself:

I’m not comfortable on camera. I’m not comfortable asking anyone from my team or in sales to be on camera. Creating video simply is not possible.”

To that we say this – your ideal customers do not care if you’re not comfortable on video. And they don’t care if you’re not comfortable editing video either.

Video is the medium that is proven to establish trust between you and your ideal customers faster than anything else, and it also is more in demand than any others.

Compared to writing, it is the content that will make your ideal customers trust you, feel more at ease and comfortable with the sales process, and make them more likely to digest the information you’re sharing.

Remember, what we’re asking of our customers is no small thing. We’re asking them to give us their money, no matter what it is that we do or sell. That’s a huge commitment.

And the moment we committed to making that ask, we forfeited the right to not empower our customers to feel comfortable during the sales process.

Instead, we have to do whatever it takes – and what it takes is video.

Let’s put this into action

  • Take our course, Video Sales and Marketing Strategy. In it, you’ll learn from IMPACT They Ask, You Answer Coach Zach Basner about how to create the seven different types of videos that drive the most revenue (The Selling 7), how to align your teams around a shared vision of video, and the six factors that make up engaging and effective sales and marketing videos, among other things.

  • Then, read our guide The Complete Guide to Video Marketing for Business in 2023. Once you’ve finished, you will understand what a great marketing and sales video looks like, how to create a culture of video at your organization, why you need to hire a videographer and what to look for in one, how to be your best on camera, and overall, how to use video in your marketing and sales processes to achieve your goals.

Step 7: Measure Performance and Prove ROI

Watch Marcus Sheridan deliver the seventh principle of this playbook.

“Is our inbound marketing content working? I have no idea.”

Too many companies fall into this trap of committing to inbound marketing and creating content, but failing to put the technology in place that they need to show that their hard work is (or potentially isn’t) paying off in traffic, leads, and sales.

Inbound marketing isn’t easy. It is a long-term commitment, and to make it worth the time and effort, especially to skeptical decision-makers, it needs to show return. This is especially true when you want to see the efforts grow with time.

You see, for many companies, marketing is still listed as an expense on their books. It’s something they invest in heavily, but don’t really see a bottom-line impact from.

However, with its digital methods, inbound marketing, when done correctly, makes this no longer true.

Thanks to the internet, 70% of the buying decision is often made before sales even enters the picture. That means 70% of what used to be traditionally handled by sales is now owned by marketing — driven by the content they create and the efforts they make.

In other words:

Marketing plays an even larger hand in generating revenue than sales does, and it can prove it.

Marketing and sales automation platforms, like HubSpot, provide you with a clear, definitive, real-time picture of how your inbound marketing is performing.

These tools will track and monitor your efforts so you can see direct ties to sales. They also help you report on this to the rest of your team.

With that data in hand, you can send a monthly email out to all staff to show what content is driving the most measurable results for your company. You can also point out which of your in-house experts helped to produce that content, thus creating champions within your organization.

“This article from Jenny has already generated 30 new leads this week.”

“That video from George we released last month? It’s closed more than $4 million in revenue.”

Do whatever it takes to make everyone aware of these victories. This will not only show the direct numerical impact of your inbound marketing, but make your team even more invested in participating. The success of inbound is based on their success.

Furthermore, tracking and reporting on your performance can only help you improve your efforts.

When you can see which articles, pages, videos, etc., are doing best or worst, you can refine your strategy to maximize the most effective elements.

You can know what deserves more investment and perhaps what should be sunset. On the other hand, if you don’t track your performance, you may be wasting time and effort on things that aren’t delivering and never know it.

Tools like HubSpot can help avoid this.

Let’s put this into action

  • Read our free guide, The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Maximizing HubSpot ROI.” This guide is all about smart, no-nonsense steps to take so that your business can get more out of HubSpot, no matter what you do or how you use the platform. You’ll find information about how to get started and what mistakes to avoid, as well as tips from certified HubSpot experts.

  • Then, learn how to create your own content ROI wins newsletter. Content ROI newsletters not only bring visibility to the content you’re creating that’s the most effective for closing deals, but it also keeps everyone at your company excited (and aware of) the ROI your content is generating.

  • Copy our free content ROI newsletter template to start sharing your content wins with the rest of your company.

Conclusion: So, What’s Stopping You?

As you consider this question, reflecting on the seven principles I just shared, we’re sure that a few barriers to success might come to mind.

Buy-in might be a particularly tricky issue at your organization, or maybe you’re nervous about taking on the overhead risk of hiring a full-time employee as your new content manager.

Whatever the case may be, here’s what we know to be true – your journey toward creating your own culture of inbound at your company will not be easy. It will, however, be worth it.

Listen to your ideal customers. Obsess over their questions. Teach your team.

Become laser-focused on the goal of establishing your company as the No. 1 teacher in your space. When you do those things, the sky's the limit in terms of your growth potential.

Yes, there will be roadblocks and seemingly steep learning curves in your path. But you will overcome them with your persistence and dedication. And this playbook is your first step toward writing the first chapter in your own inbound marketing success story.

Avoid the most common mistakes and be confident that your team is executing They Ask, You Answer at the highest level. Schedule a free session with an IMPACT advisor to develop the plan that’s right for you.