Do you have nightmares about achieving your sales targets? Is building a sales pipeline a constant struggle? Do you often find yourself wondering about how you could leverage marketing to build an effective pipeline? Stop worrying now. Here is an infographic that highlights the importance of an Integrated Marketing Strategy for maximizing ROI.
As shown, there are three key routes to building an effective sales pipeline, namely:
- Traditional Outbound Marketing tools like Webinars, Email Campaigns, Events, Telemarketing, Field Sales etc
- Inbound marketing tools like SEO, Social Media Marketing, Blogs, PR etc
- Channel Marketing i.e. appointing business partners, ISV relations, distribution and Co-marketing
Each of them has their upsides and downsides and requires to be dealt with in very different ways. Many marketers today have stopped favoring outbound marketing because of higher associated costs as well as data-overload. It is becoming increasingly difficult to entice customers with traditional techniques. At the same time- utilizing inbound tools has become a rage. According to Hubspot’s Fifth Annual Executive Review, Inbound budgets have increased at a near 50% pace the past three years. In fact, now more money goes to inbound than outbound as it delivers 54% more leads (than traditional outbound with lower costs per lead).
That said, I still am a strong believer in an Integrated Marketing Approach. How I see it is- every route has its own individuality. Each is important and becomes extremely helpful at different stages of a customer’s decision making process. Outbound not only acts as the first hook and increases brand awareness but it also helps with brand recognition. This is how the customer starts associating the brand with your products. Inbound is what leads engagement. This is what ropes the customers in and stays with them throughout the buying process. This is strategic and driven by data and insights. This is where reputation (Positioning) and love for the brand can be built. Where your customers will be ‘all ears’, provided you are adding value (no one has the time to read boring content these days!). While we harp on inbound and outbound- a third very important route feels neglected. This is Channel Marketing– another important part of your overall strategy. This is what builds the trust and increases the credibility of a brand even more. Good co-marketing networks and good referrals create a better brand image. Customers today reach 75% of their buying cycle even before their first contact with the sales team of the organization. With increasing awareness amongst customers, it has become essential for marketers to be proactive and use all tools available today to create a holistic and integrated marketing strategy.
Imagine a customer is searching for a product, say Servers. You are a server reseller who has been ‘in his marketing game’ and doing everything right. The moment this customer thinks of buying a new server, he remembers seeing a mailer/ attending a webinar/ receiving a call/ seeing an ad or reading an article about you. This is brand recognition. His mind immediately associates your brand with the product. He goes to your website and checks the referrals, the partnerships and the trust starts building. Then he goes online and finds you, present on all channels, ready to engage. This is where you convince him to buy the server from you instead of someone else.
To explain better- think of when a CXO/ CTO are looking for a product/Service. He does not have the time to search online. He does not even have the time to check all the ‘information’ emails that sit in his inbox or listen to webinars. He asks his team to compare costs and come back to him with solutions. But, at this moment, if he is able to remember a brand that sells that particular product/service, he will make sure that the team checks it out. Hence, you never know which nail might hit the target. This is why an integrated approach is a must. Do not shy away from those cold calls. And try and customize your emails as much as possible. At the same time, maintain partnerships, co-market and have a good digital presence. As they say- “oceans are made drop by drop” ~ Brands are not made overnight. They are built one piece at a time.
Blog first published on here.