Goal Attainment with Inbound Strategy
The market is challenging out there right now; there is no denying that. So what are we expected to do when our outbound and inbound tactics are pulling in fewer results?
We can do the whole "throw spaghetti at the wall" trick and see what sticks. Probably not the best idea, but an idea nonetheless. We could push out a campaign, and start calling on old leads again. The list of approaches is endless.
No, now it is time to take a look at your historical data; where can you identify trends, what has worked in the past, and what has failed?
But add to that, because sometimes what's worked before just doesn't work anymore, do some research. Explore what your competitors are doing, and look at businesses outside of your industry, region, or even type. What do I mean by type? If you're a B2B customer, consider looking to B2C businesses that you could borrow ideas from.
It's not just about ideas
You've got to go deeper because ideas will only get you so far. Research and discovery are your starting points. You'll then need to take that information and map it back to your processes, and create a strategic plan for the next quarter, or year even.
Keep asking why, or what, or when. Why? Because the more you ask, the more you learn. We all know how much has changed in the last few years. When was the last time you explored your buyer personas and your customer's buying habits?
What's changed? Why? What's stayed the same? Why?
The more you dig, the more you find. This leads me to think that if you find changes in your personas and their buying habits, note it, make those updates and gather ideas for what you might do to change and provide value to your customer.
It's about the customer too
You can research all day, plan, strategize, and implement, but if you don't consider your customer's journey, then you'll miss the mark.
When does the customer's journey start? Well, I'd say in the awareness phase -- and this is not when they discover you (not awareness); this is when they know they have a problem (awareness). Heck, the customer might not even know what that problem is just yet.
And when does it end? Well, hopefully never in most cases. When a customer actually purchases from you, that's wonderful! They are a customer, BUT don't you want your customers to keep coming back? Don't you want them to tell everyone else about you?
So, you're customer's journey never really ends, and they are your best source of new customers. It's like the old adage that customer referrals are your best connection to new customers.
Linking Goals to Strategy
Prepared with your research, old and new data, your buyer personas and your journey mapping, you're well on your way to linking your goals to your strategy. But we can't do that without first identifying the goals. We can walk this back from your overall revenue goals. If, for example, you currently have a revenue goal of $4 million, and marketing is responsible for 40% of that revenue, then you know that marketing needs to generate leads that will bring in a total of $1.6 million.
Now, we're discussing new leads. We need to work our back from that number, all the way through to the number of website visitors we need, leads, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), Opportunities, and Net New Customers.
By doing so, we determine our goals for our net new customers, and then benchmark our progress month over month, modifying our strategy and tactics as we progress. We would do something similar with sales. Only we'd have to forecast and determine the number of current customers we would need to retain or get back to achieve the remainder that sales and maybe customer success are responsible for obtaining.
Sales are likely also responsible for doing some outbound marketing, and those forecasts would also be considered as part of their revenue generation. And, like most, companies, your sales team will probably be doing some cold outreach as well, but don't focus too much there. It can be a massive time suck, and it isn't very rewarding for your sales team. Lean on your marketing team, and work with them to help you bring in higher qualified and ready-to-buy leads.
Where's the Inbound Strategy?
You're right; we've talked about research, personas, customer journeys, goals and revenue generation, BUT where's the strategy?
Now that you're prepared with all of the details, you can start mapping out the overarching strategy. Consider:
- Inbound Activities
- What channels will I find the highest quality leads?
- How will content strategy play a role?
- What happens when I get a new lead? (hint: nurtures)
- How will lead scoring help us understand readiness to buy?
- What are the steps we need to take to move a new lead to a customer?
- Outbound activities
- What is your ads budget, and where is the best place for them?
- Targeting specific accounts
Then all that is left is the KPIs and iterating on results. JOKING! That's not all that is left. Now it's time to create, implement, launch, measure, and iterate.