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:
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:
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 marketing 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.
With an inbound workshop, 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 marketing workshop walks through eight essential principles of inbound marketing:
- How your ideal buyers’ expectations have changed
- How search engines work and rank your website content
- The way your buyers search and the questions they’re asking (what we call “The Big 5”)
- Why it’s important to brainstorm content ideas from The Big 5 as a full group
- How content can impact the sales process and close rates
- Why everyone’s voice, talent, and knowledge are critical for success
- Your new editorial guidelines for inbound content
- 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.
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 a 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 one of our coaches to facilitate this workshop for you.
The biggest reason inbound marketing efforts fail is because of a lack of cross-team and company-wide buy-in. Schedule time with an IMPACT advisor to see what's possible when your entire organization finally pulls in the same direction.