What’s the ROI of Inbound Marketing?

What’s the ROI of Inbound Marketing?

What’s the ROI of Inbound Marketing?

Proving marketing ROI is not a new challenge. It’s something marketers have always tried to define and calculate, with varying degrees of success. In theory, marketing ROI is simple. 

The goal is to make more than a dollar for every dollar you spend marketing.

In practice, measuring marketing ROI is slippery. 

Things like brand awareness are hard to quantify, and traditional marketing tactics lack the closed-loop reporting you need to really put a number to your marketing ROI. 

Compared to traditional marketing methods, inbound marketing is much easier to track and measure, which means proving ROI is easier too. 

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If you’re new to inbound marketing, or are considering dipping a toe into inbound marketing tactics, it’s likely you (or your boss) want to know what the ROI of inbound marketing is before you jump in.

Let’s dive in. This blog will cover everything from what the general consensus is on the ROI of inbound marketing, to why that ROI is so good, to how you can calculate your own inbound marketing strategy’s ROI. 

What’s the ROI of inbound marketing?

When it comes to inbound marketing ROI, the stat you’ll hear most often is this: 

Inbound marketing yields three times more leads per dollar than traditional marketing methods. 

That’s 3x leads for every dollar you spend.

That in itself is a pretty convincing stat for the ROI of inbound marketing.

But, if you’re not convinced, here are a few more stats that outline the ROI of inbound marketing in general terms. 

  • The average cost per lead drops 80% after 5 months of consistent inbound marketing. (Impact)
  • Persona-driven content generated by inbound increases the volume of sales qualified leads (SQLs) by 45% (Weidert)
  • Inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads. (Impact)
  • Businesses that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost that’s 33% less than leads that aren’t nurtured (Weidert)
  • Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising (Weidert)
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How do I know that inbound marketing can deliver ROI for me?

Looking at the stats, it’s pretty clear that inbound marketing has delivered serious ROI for a lot of people. If you’re new to inbound marketing, it can be frustrating to hear about everyone else’s success, when you’re just not seeing the results yet. 

Remember that inbound marketing takes time to prove ROI.

Don’t at me for this one, it’s just the truth. 

Inbound marketers aren’t trying to pull the wool over your eyes or convince you to waste money on some invisible magic marketing scheme. 

Proving the ROI of inbound marketing takes time because it relies on a few outside factors to catch up before you start seeing results. 

  • You create awesome content, but search engines have to crawl it and rank it before people outside your immediate circle will see it. 
  • As you update your website and continue to create awesome content, your domain authority and resulting SERP placements will start to rise. 
  • Basically, search engines need to see that you’re putting out good content that’s helpful to people before they’ll give your content priority. And as with any relationship, trust takes time. 

What to do in the meantime?

Keep putting out content, and focus on paid efforts. While you’re waiting for your inbound marketing and content marketing tactics to really take off, focus on creating killer PPC and social ad campaigns that deliver awesome ROI in their own right. 

And don’t take your foot off the gas on organic inbound methods while you do it. If you continue putting out great content and optimizing your website for search, you’ll start to see that amazing ROI you’re looking for. 

Are we good on that? I’m not just selling snake oil here. 

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Cool, let’s move on to why inbound marketing delivers better ROI than traditional marketing methods. 

Why is the ROI of inbound marketing so good?

01. Every piece of content you develop has more than one use. 

You might spend 2 hours writing a blog, but that blog, once written and promoted, can perform for you for years. 

If it ranks well, that one blog can draw in leads for months and even years to come as it appears on the first page of search engine results and draws in qualified leads. 

In addition to ranking, you can use that one piece of content for your social media platforms, for your email marketing campaigns, and to promote an awesome content offer you’ve put together. 

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Blog in Email

For Example: Evenbound's HubSpot Flywheel Blog

We wrote this blog on the HubSpot Flywheel back in July. In addition to publishing the blog, we promoted it through our email newsletter, and we turned it into a quick video that was promoted on social media. 

ROI of Inbound Marketing Calculator Artillery

You spent 2 hours putting together one piece of content that you will use in at least three ways. 

That in itself delivers inbound marketing ROI. If one blog that you spent 2 hours on delivers even one lead, it’s more than paid for itself. 

02. Inbound marketing focuses on digital efforts (which is where consumers live)

Another key reason inbound marketing’s ROI is so attractive is because it targets and speaks to consumers where they live. 

Traditional marketing tactics — cold calling, sending out mailers, sending out cold emails, etc, aren’t effective anymore. First, people block them. Second, most people just aren’t there anymore. 

The average consumer (and yes, manufacturers, this includes those purchasing managers you’re looking for) researches and buys whatever they’re looking for online. 

From a new parts supplier to the organic wine in their fridge, the average consumer will first research (best organic wine brands, organic wine shipped to me, clean local wines) online, and then make that purchase online. 

Inbound marketing methods meet consumers where they’re at, by answering those questions they’re searching with well thought-out and researched blogs, and by making it easy to make those purchases online, with quick click-to-call and order online features. 

Calculating the ROI of YOUR inbound marketing strategy

Now that I’ve proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the ROI of inbound marketing is stellar, let’s talk about how you can calculate the ROI of your inbound marketing strategy. 

We’ve put together an article called Marketing ROI 101: Setting Goals and Calculating Your Marketing Budget that will help you figure out how much you should be spending on inbound marketing. 

ACME Corp ROI model
ACME Corp Inbound Marketing ROI Model

That blog will take you step by step through a Marketing ROI Model that tells you exactly how much traffic and how many leads and sales you need to meet your monthly revenue goals. 

From there, we typically recommend that you spend at least 5% of your total gross income from new sales on marketing — and that’s fairly conservative (most companies spend between 6 and 12 percent of gross revenue on marketing). 

So if you were making $300,000 per month in new revenue, you’d be spending just $15,000 on marketing efforts. 

Not a big math person? 

ROI of Inbound Marketing Calculator Artillery

There are plenty of great marketing ROI calculators out there. This one from Sales Artillery is very straightforward.

HubSpot’s will tell you not just your ROI, but how HubSpot tools can help you improve that ROI and better track your results. 

ROI of inbound marketing with hubspot calculator

When it comes to figuring out the ROI of your inbound marketing strategy, there are a lot of fancy calculations out there, but the bottom line is pretty simple: how much are you spending to convert leads into sales? 

If you spend $1,000 on writing and promoting a blog that delivers 5 sales at $3,000 each, you’ve made $15,000 by spending just $1,000. 

No matter how you look at it, that’s an impressive return. 

Calculating ROI isn’t easy, and it’s not always straightforward. If you’re having trouble seeing the ROI in your marketing strategy, or if you feel like your marketing strategy is stuck in the mud, inbound might be the way to go.

The Evenbound team is here to help. Whether you have questions about how to effectively calculate your ROI or your marketing budget, or if you’re just looking for help implementing a better inbound marketing strategy, we’re ready to dive in. Let us know what your questions are. 

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5 Essential Inbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

5 Essential Inbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

5 Essential Inbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of inbound marketing for manufacturing companies. We’ve seen first-hand how properly implemented inbound marketing strategies can quickly skyrocket forward-thinking manufacturers ahead of the competition.

If you’re looking to boost your position in the market by trying your hand at inbound marketing, know that you don’t have to do it alone. Here are 5 essential inbound marketing tools that are particularly useful for manufacturers.

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01. A Website That Converts

If you’re trying to boost your manufacturing company’s inbound marketing game, you need a website that’s working for you. It doesn’t have to be the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen, but it should be functional. And when I say functional, I mean:

  • Optimized for search
  • Updated in the last two years
  • Features a regularly updated blog
  • Highly visible calls-to-action
  • Includes landing pages with lead-capturing forms
  • Makes it easy for potential customers to contact you

At the very least. 

For inbound marketing to work for your manufacturing company, your website has to function as your communication hub. You need to have somewhere new leads will navigate to, and opportunities for them to contact you when they’re ready for more information. 

If your website is set up to: 

1) Rank well on search engines, and 

2) Convert new visitors into leads and prospects,

Then you’re ready for the next four inbound marketing tools. 

If any of these bullet points have you scratching your head, I got you. 

See what a quality inbound marketing website looks like for manufacturers. And check out this content offer to see what upgrading your website (the right way) can do for you. 

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02. Google Analytics & Google Search Console

If your website is optimized for search engines and you’re consistently putting out great content, then tracking is a key inbound marketing tool you’ll need to assess your progress. The best tools we recommend for this are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 

Google Analytics will tell you who is visiting your site. The tool offers a detailed breakdown of which pages are driving the most traffic, how long people are staying on your site, and more. Google Analytics is one of the best inbound marketing tools out there to measure the user-related data attached to your website. And it’s free. 

Google Search Console is perfect if you’re looking for more insight into how to improve your site for search engine rankings. Google Search Console is also free and will tell you how your site is ranking, give you organic search data, and offer helpful tips on how to improve your site. For example, Google Search Console will tell you if you have duplicate page content or page redirect errors that could hurt your site’s search engine rankings. 

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Google Search Console

How to Use Google Search Console

  • Organic search data
  • Inbound and outbound links
  • Website Improvement Tasks
  • Malware Detection
  • Shows You Site Errors
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Google Analytics

How to Use Google Analytics

  • Audience demographics
  • Referral traffic
  • Conversion tracking
  • Custom reporting
  • User behavior

Both of these tools are essential inbound marketing tools for manufacturers because they give you real-time data on the performance of your site. They show you which pages are performing well, and they provide insight into your audience’s behavior. Which pages are people spending the most time on, and which pages might you be able to optimize for more conversions? 

Using search console and analytics in tandem will help you answer those questions, and optimize your website for better inbound marketing performance. 

03. A CRM

A CRM or customer relationship management system is the next essential inbound marketing tool for manufacturers. A CRM is especially important for manufacturers with channel sales, or with a large customer base. A good CRM will help you keep track of all of those customers, from the minute they begin interacting with your website to when they close on a sale. 

As far as what CRM to choose, we always recommend HubSpot, especially for manufacturers. 

HubSpotScreen
hubspot-tools

Many manufacturers are transitioning from an old CRM, or are moving to a CRM for the first time. The benefit of HubSpot is that it’s remarkably user-friendly, and it’s a powerful, all-in-one solution that makes it easy for you to get all of your operations on one page. 

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With HubSpot, you have sales, marketing, and service tools all on the same platform, plus all of the inbound marketing tools and metrics you need to really make the most out of your marketing campaigns.

With everything from chatbots to email workflows to lead tracking to automated customer satisfaction surveys, HubSpot is robust enough to support even large manufacturing companies but easy enough to use that the onboarding phase won’t feel like taking a trip to the moon. 

04. A Keyword Research Tool

There are about a million inbound marketing tools on the web that are advertised as a keyword research tool. In many cases, choosing the right one comes down to user preference. The bottom line is that if you’re a manufacturer looking to make a serious impact with inbound marketing, you need to do keyword research

Keyword research is essential to boosting your organic ranking, and it’s also really helpful when you’re setting up strategic paid search campaigns. 

  • For organic search, look for keywords with a high search volume and low competition for organic and strategic content opportunities. 
  • For paid search, look for keywords that are highly relevant to your products and that have a low cost per click for paid keywords.

Here are a few of our favorite inbound marketing tools with robust keyword research capabilities. All of these options offer a range of SEO and keyword research tools for free. 

While SEMRush and Moz do have paid plans, I recommend you use their free versions for a few months. If you feel you need more functionality, the paid plans might be worth it for you, but generally, the free tools will give you more than enough data. 

SEMrush

Free basic tools, $99.95/mo for a basic plan

SEMRush offers a wealth of data with up to 10 requests per day on the free version. It will tell you what keywords you’re ranking for, what keywords your competitors are ranking for, and it will help you find new keyword opportunities. 

Google Keyword Planner

Free

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that’s included with your Google Ads Account. You’ll get the most accurate keyword data here, but it is a bit less user-friendly than other options. It’s also good to remember that the data you get from Google Keyword Planner is ad-specific.

Moz

Free basic tools, $99/mo for a basic plan

Moz is one of the best free tools out there. We recommend their keyword explorer if you’re trying to find new keywords, but they’ll also help you find backlink opportunities, and put a number to your domain and page authority. Plus, Moz is just the best for any kind of SEO education. 

05. SpyFu

The last essential inbound marketing tool I’d like to bring up is called SpyFu. While it’s a great tool for any company, it’s particularly useful for manufacturers, who are often operating in tight industries where your competitors are close and well known. 

While other industries can get away with minimal competitive analysis, we’ve found it’s absolutely necessary for most manufacturers. And if you’re looking to complete a detailed, comprehensive competitive analysis, SpyFu is a tool that can help. 

Check out this basic competitive analysis I did for Starbucks. 

spyfu-overview

Using Spyfu’s free version, I typed in their URL, and the tool populated all of these results. I can see their top keywords, how much traffic they get, and from where. I can also see what keywords they’re bidding on for paid search, their top ranking pages, and importantly, I can look at their keywords in relation to their competitor’s keywords. 

(Click on an image to enlarge.)

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For manufacturers, this is an exceptionally useful tool. You likely already know your top competitors. Plugging them into SpyFu will give you a wealth of knowledge you can use to optimize your inbound marketing strategy. From what keywords to focus on for your blogs to what keywords to bid on, the competitive analysis portion of SpyFu’s results is what’s most relevant to manufacturers. 

As you can see from my demonstration above, the free version of Spyfu is remarkably robust. You might get everything you need from that initial breakdown. But, if you want more data and access, SpyFu offers paid plans starting at $33/mo. 

Moving to a modern marketing method is a big ask for many manufacturers. It’s likely you’ve been relying on word of mouth for years, and switching to an involved marketing methodology like inbound can feel like a lot of work. 

We can say from experience — if you put in the effort, inbound marketing will deliver the results you want. 

These inbound marketing tools should help make the transition a bit easier, too. With more data and analytics, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on the inbound marketing tactics that will deliver the greatest returns. 

And if you run into any questions along the way, the Evenbound team is always here to help. Inbound marketing is what we do, and manufacturers make up a significant portion of our client base. We’d be happy to offer up any advice you might be looking for. 

Like this blog? You might like our article on the 5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers. Same format, same length, just different tools to help you boost your outbound marketing game. 

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Email Automation 101: HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows

Email Automation 101: HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows

Email Automation 101: HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows

Welcome to email automation 101! This blog is going to focus on two specific ways to implement email automation using HubSpot — through their Sequences and Workflows tools. This information is great for anyone who is new to HubSpot services or is new to their email marketing tools.

Whether you’ve been using email automation since the dawn of dial-up, or if this is the first time you’ve ever scheduled an email, this blog is designed to help you navigate email automation through the HubSpot tool specifically.

(If you’re looking for more general, non-HubSpot-specific info on email automation, check out this blog on Email Workflow Best Practices, and this blog on Inbound Marketing Automation). 

With all of that in mind, let’s get down to it. What’s the difference between HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows?

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HubSpot Sequences vs. HubSpot Workflows

The most basic difference in the two tools is that HubSpot Sequences are a sales tool, and HubSpot Workflows are a marketing tool. 

You have access to HubSpot Sequences with a Sales Hub Professional or Enterprise subscription, or a Service Hub Professional or Enterprise subscription with a connected personal inbox. 

You’ll have access to HubSpot Workflows with a Marketing Hub Professional or Enterprise subscription. 

Let’s take a clear, straightforward look at the differences between HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows with this chart. 

If that’s all the information you need, great. If you’re looking for more explanation, keep reading past the chart, and we’ll dive a little deeper. 

Breaking Down Key Differences Between Sequences and Workflows

HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows Chart

So that’s a lot. If you’re new to email automation, that might look a little overwhelming. 

Let’s look more closely at both HubSpot Sequences and Workflows. 

HubSpot Sequences: The Breakdown

HubSpot Sequences are designed to help your sales team reduce some of the time they put into repetitive communications. They can pull email templates set up in the “Templates” tool right into their inbox, where they can send out personalized, 1-1 content that nurtures those hot or warm sales leads they’ve already connected with. 

HubSpot Sequences are:

  • Customizable & Targeted. A sales rep can change the template in their email tool to tailor the message specifically to the hot lead they’re working with. 
  • Simple. A sequence email looks like any other email you’d get directly from a real person. They don’t feature a lot of images or styling. 
  • Direct. Sent directly from the sales rep’s inbox to the lead. 
  • Automatically unenrolled. The minute a lead responds to the sales rep, they’re unenrolled from the sequence. 
HubSpot Sequences are not:

  • Bulk Communication. Sequences are manually enrolled and can be sent to a max of 150 people per day. They’re meant to be 1-1 communication, rather than a sales campaign.
  • Metric Reporting. The only information you’ll get from a Sequence is whether a contact opened or replied. You won’t get metrics like click-through-rate. 
  • Automatically Triggered. Only people can trigger sequences.

    With a clear picture of what Sequences do and don’t do, here’s an example of when a Sequence might be useful. 

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    An example of when you might use a HubSpot Sequence

    Let’s say your sales team knows that your pricing sheet is a great piece of content that usually speeds up the decision making process. If they have a hot lead, they can use their “Pricing Sheet Sequence” to automate that communication a bit. 

     That might look something like this: 

    • Your sales rep sends out the first email with that pricing sheet and a meeting link. If that contact responds or books time to connect with the sales rep, that contact is automatically unenrolled from the sequence. 
    • If they don’t respond, another email might go out in 24 hours. This email might ask if the lead had any questions, and prompt them to schedule time with the rep to follow up. 
      • If they follow up, they’re out of the sequence. 
      • If they don’t they move onto the third (and usually final) email. 

    How HubSpot Sequences save your sales team time

    Sequences make frequent, regular communication a little easier. Your sales reps start with an email template that they can send straight out to the contact from their inbox or customize as necessary for that unique contact. 

    Follow-up is automatic, ensuring you keep that lead hot as they get ready to make a purchasing decision. 

    Sequences are a great method for nurturing and closing hot leads. They’re best sent individually to the leads who your team knows are ready to make a decision. 

    HubSpot Workflows: The Breakdown

    HubSpot Workflows are a marketing tool designed to nurture warm, lukewarm, and even cold leads. They’re often sent to bulk lists and are highly stylized. Most workflows are designed to give leads more of the information they want or need to help move them towards a purchasing decision. 

    Pro Tip:

    Workflows can also be used to trigger contact property changes, tasks for your sales or marketing team members, and more. Check out this workflow we use to send a text to a designated team member anytime someone chats a bot on our site.

    Though email automation is the primary use for HubSpot workflows, you can also use them to assign leads who take specific action to a corresponding contact list, trigger tasks for your team to reach out to those leads, and more. 

    BotWorkflow Example
    HubSpot Workflows are:

    • Automatically Triggered. Workflows are automatically triggered by specific actions you set, whether that’s a lead downloading a guide or interacting with a chatbot.
    • Sent Through HubSpot.  Rather than sending a 1-1 email, workflow emails are sent through HubSpot. You can change the “from” address to whatever you want, from a team member’s email address to your general marketing or info email.
    • Delayable. You can set up workflows with flexible time frames. Send an email one day, and then delay the follow-up for three days or even a week.
    • Dynamic. Add in as many pictures, videos, and visual components as you like. These emails are stylized in the HubSpot email tool, where you can use the drag and drop editor to create what you like.
    • Compatible. You can have one workflow trigger another workflow if you like. The customization options are endless and robust. 
    • Reporting. Workflows offer many metrics, from what links are clicked to the open rate, and more. As a marketing tool, you have access to marketing metrics associated with each workflow.

    HubSpot Workflows are not: 

    • Automatically Unenrolled. A contact will experience the full workflow unless you set a goal criteria that ends the workflow early for contacts who take a specific action. 
    • 1-1 Communication. These are bulk emails sent to specific, segmented contact lists. While you can implement personalization tokens, all replies will go to the same “from” email address.
    • Tracked by Reply. Anyone can send a workflow through HubSpot. Since these emails aren’t tied to a specific inbox, HubSpot cannot track replies. You will still see replies in the inbox of the “from” email address. 

    We already showed you an example of HubSpot Workflows setting tasks internally with our chatbot, but here’s an example of when an automated workflow would be helpful to your marketing team.

    An example of when you might use a HubSpot Workflow

    Let’s say your marketing team has just developed an awesome content offer. You know that when someone downloads this content offer, they’re a qualified lead. A workflow can continue nurturing that lead for your marketing team until they’re ready to talk to a sales rep. 

    Here’s how you might use a HubSpot Workflow after a lead takes the action of downloading a content offer. 

     

    EmailWorkflowExample
    • Immediately after the person downloads your content offer, you send them a “Thank You” email, with another link to download the offer, just in case they navigated away from your landing page before they saved the download. 
    • Three days later, your workflow sends them a follow-up email. It asks if they have any questions, and provides another piece of content that will be relevant to them, based on the content they’ve already downloaded. 
      • If that person downloads the second piece of content, you might send them a third email a few days later with an option to book time with a sales rep. 
      • If that person doesn’t download the second piece of content, you might send them a follow up encouraging them to reach out with any questions. Your workflow could then assign that lead to your “Newsletter” contact list, where they’ll get regular, monthly communication until they take another action that indicates they’re warming up. 

    This is a short example of a workflow. Yours can be much more in-depth than this, offering a variety of options based on every action that contact does or doesn’t take, but this is an initial example that’s a good use case for a basic workflow. 

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    How HubSpot Workflows save sales AND marketing time

    Workflows eliminate a lot of wasted time, both for sales and marketing. Workflows help nurture warm or cool leads without much work on the part of your marketing team. If a lead does take an action that indicates interest, your workflows can auto-notify the appropriate person on your team.

    HubSpot Workflows function as another marketing expert on your team, talking to your lukewarm leads for your marketing pros, and bringing them in only when it’s a good use of their time. 

    This helps your marketing team spend more of their time on the leads they know are warming up. This in turn ensures that your sales team only gets leads that are hot — ready to make a purchasing decision. 

    HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows: Which To Use, When?

    Now that you’ve got a better idea of what Sequences and Workflows do, and what they don’t do, you should have a clear picture of when to use Sequences, and when to use Workflows. 

    As a general rule, if it’s not 1-1 communication, and you want to send a message out to a list of contacts, a workflow is your best bet. 

    If you’re working to close a hot lead or send out personalized communication to a contact your sales team has already talked to, then Sequences are the tool to use. 

    They help you deliver the right message, to the right person, at exactly the right time. 

    Now that you know more about how both email automation tools work, get your hands dirty! Set up your first workflow, or get building out your sales templates. Once you start using them, you’ll be able to see the unique benefits of each first-hand. 

    Let us know how your email automation with HubSpot goes! Are you loving the workflow and sequences tools? If you run into any questions, or if you just can’t seem to get your workflows working the way you’d like, just let us know. We’re a HubSpot Gold Partner Agency, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you’ve got about Sequences, Workflows, and more. 

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    Revenue-Driving Channel Sales Strategies for Manufacturers

    Revenue-Driving Channel Sales Strategies for Manufacturers

    Revenue-Driving Channel Sales Strategies for Manufacturers

    Channel sales offer a number of benefits for manufacturing companies. Channel partners help you bring in significantly more sales than a single sales team ever could. You’ve got built-in trust with channel partners, and you have the customer service support you need to help every client if they need it. 
    But, channel sales have a few drawbacks, too. The biggest being that it’s difficult to control, manage, and track the sales process. The feedback cycle can be slow, which means it’s hard to react quickly to shifts in the end-user’s buying preferences. These drawbacks can make it difficult to measure the success of your channel sales strategies. It’s not always easy to see how your product is doing at any given moment or to establish effective marketing and sales tactics. 
    If you’re struggling to improve your channel sales process, or are looking for ways to better support your channel partners for bigger, faster sales, here are a few revenue-driving channel sales strategies to help manufacturers grow that bottom line in a big way. 

    Focus on Existing Partnerships First

    Most sales teams know it costs significantly more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. That same theory applies to your channel partners. 
    The best channel sales strategy is the one that helps you capitalize on the resources you already have.

    Before you go out trying to recruit new partners, make sure you’re supporting the ones you already have.

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    Communicate with your channel partners

    A great place to start is to just talk to your existing channel partners. 
    • Does your team talk to your partners regularly? If they do, what have your partners been saying lately?
    • What do your partners think about your product?
    • How do they feel about your service or support?
    If it’s been a while since you connected with your channel partners, you might consider sending out a survey with a few quick questions, and a few open comment boxes encouraging partners to let you know if there are areas where they feel you could improve. 
    Jokes aside, keep clear, open lanes of communication for your channel partners to provide feedback whenever it’s convenient for them. 

    And when you do get feedback, act on it. 

    In addition to making some improvements, make an effort to set up regular, quarterly meetings with your channel partners. After all, they’re the ones interacting directly with your customers.

    The better your relationship with your channel partners, the better you’ll be able to understand your end consumer. 

    Develop marketing resources to support your channel partners

    Once you have open, clear lines of communication with your channel partners, consider developing some marketing resources they can use to better sell your products. 

     

    Let’s think about it: if you were a busy sales or marketing team, which product would you push? 

    Fredricks-Design-Interactive-Header

    Option #1

    A product that came from the manufacturer with a ton of ready-made email campaigns, social media content and imagery, and print collateral.
    channel-sales-strategies-example-product

    Option #2

    A great product, but with no support from the manufacturer, you’ll have to develop content and marketing strategy from the ground up.
    As a busy marketer myself, I can go ahead and tell you that if I had beautiful marketing content at my fingertips, that is absolutely the product I’d put in my email marketing campaigns and social media posts. 
    If you’re regularly creating and providing marketing resources that make it easy for your channel partners to talk about and support your brand, there’s a much higher likelihood that they will. 
    Consider developing imagery, social media content, and even email marketing campaigns your channel partners can take and use however they like. 
    When it’s easy for them to get the word out about you, they’re more likely to do it. And when more of your channel partners are putting out great branded content and email campaigns about your products, you’re going to start to see more sales. 

    Create Sales Enablement Content

    The best way to drive revenue with channel sales strategies? Think of your team as an extension of your partner’s sales team. Not the other way around. 
    If you’re not selling directly to consumers, then your sales efforts should be focused primarily around doing everything you can to enable your partner’s sales teams. 
    • What content could they benefit from to help close sales faster?
    • Are their email sequences or workflows you could develop to help the sales team nurture and close leads?
    • What about pricing sheets or helpful documents that show customers how to choose between a few similar products?
    Again, discovering what sales enablement content might be most helpful to your channel partners starts with talking to them. Find out where their sales teams tend to get stuck, or where leads tend to drop out of the funnel. 
    Then, look for ways to develop content and sales enablement materials that address those pain points in the sales cycle.

    The more you empower your channel partner’s sales teams with the content and tools they need, the more sales they’ll be able to close, and faster. 

    Provide Education and Consider Establishing Partner Certification

    This is an especially useful channel sales strategy for manufacturers with partners who supply more than just your products. 
    Think about it — if you had two very similar products in stock, one that you knew a lot about, and one that you didn’t, which would you talk about to a customer?
    Probably the product you were comfortable with. 
    When your channel partner’s sales team feels comfortable talking about your products with customers, those are the products and parts they’ll sell.  
    How to get to that top-of-mind position?
    Offer it up — the more education and onboarding resources you can offer to your partners, the better. 
    How to get them to use it? 
    Incentivize learning more about your products. 
    One really common way to do this is to establish certifications or different partner tiers. 

    How manufacturers can implement certifications to boost channel sales

    GAF logo
    GAF logo
    One of my favorite examples of a smart, effective certification program for channel sales comes from  GAF, the shingle manufacturer. GAF has a special certification, its Factory-Certified Master Elite Roofing Contractors. This certification is only given to about 2% of roofing contractors in the US. 
    What’s unique about their certification is that Master Elite contractors have exclusive access to top-tier products, and are the only contractors allowed to offer GAF’s gold-level warranty. 
    For GAF’s certified contractors, being Master Elite certified is a clear benefit. They can offer better warranties and better products, which means more consumers who value a quality roof will seek them out. But, this incentivizing certification program also provides value to GAF. 
    GAF-Master-Elite-Program
    GAF knows that only their top channel partners — their Master Elite contractors — can offer high-tier warranties and products. These contractors have to take many educational courses and must provide a certain level of service. This helps GAF ensure that they’re protecting their brand’s reputation, while also helping them sell more of those top-tier products. 
    While your certification program doesn’t have to be as involved as GAF’s, tying your educational materials to some sort of reward is a great way to show your appreciation for top-tier partners, and incentivize other channel partners to get educated about your products.

    More than just showing your appreciation, these awards and rewards can also help boost your brand’s reputation, and get your name out there. 

    And when your brand is the first that the end-consumer thinks of, you’re driving revenue, guaranteed. 

    Implement Tracking & Reporting

    It’s always difficult to track partner sales. 
    Especially for manufacturers, it’s tricky to get a full understanding of how well your partners are doing, and which of your specific efforts are driving revenue. 
    They’re not your books, so it can be tough to get the data and sales info you need to see what efforts are working, and which aren’t. Here are a few ways you can implement tracking and reporting to evaluate your progress and double-down on the efforts driving revenue. 

    Tracking and reporting tactics

    If you’ve already implemented other channel sales strategies, like setting up close communication with your existing partners, tracking and reporting become much easier. 

    01. Ask your channel partners what’s working

    The best way to figure out what’s working is to talk to your channel partners.
    Surveys are helpful and can be implemented either on a quarterly schedule, or a few months after you implement a new marketing or sales effort. 
    Make sure to ask your partners specifically which efforts they feel are driving value. If they’re comfortable, you can ask them to share their data collected from that new marketing campaign or sales enablement tool. 

    02. Implement your own reporting

    Though you can’t always get all of the numbers you want, your sales team and account managers can implement their reporting methods to track the success of your channel sales strategies. 
    If your channel partners use a common CRM, their account managers can ask for view-only access to take a look at key performance indicators like conversion rate, how many deals have closed, and where those leads originated from. 
    This should help you identify which of your efforts are working, and which might need a bit of finessing. 

    03. Key performance indicators (KPIs) that indicate channel sales success

    If you’re really in the dark when it comes to your channel partner’s sales data, there’s still a range of questions you can ask and data you can collect. 
    Obviously, the biggest indicator of success would be an increase in sales. 
    But, if you’re implementing new channel sales strategies, like helping your channel partners set up ad campaigns, email marketing workflows, and more, you want to know which of those efforts are working. 
    Here are a few KPIs to look in on to determine what is driving your channel sales success: 
    • Average sales cycle length 
    • Percentage of partners who used provided sales and marketing materials
    • Percentage of partners who completed ongoing training
    • Partner satisfaction score — how they’re responding to your regular surveys
    • Percentage of partners who attempted, and who completed certification
    HubSpot also has a full list of ways to measure your channel sales program’s success. I recommend checking that out for more ideas on tracking and reporting. 

    Reward High-Performers

    Have great partners? Let them know! Offer incentives to high performers and partners who close the most deals and do the best job of educating themselves, and their customers. 
    While you don’t have to hand out cars like Oprah, incentives help you show your appreciation for the channel partners who are doing great work, and they also serve as an example for newer partners who might not be sure how to implement all of the great tools and channel sales strategies you’re providing. 
    Let’s say you host an awesome industry event. Give top performers a certain number of free tickets. 
    Or, offer exclusive materials or products to just top-tier partners. Thinking back to the GAF example I used earlier, you could make certain highly-technical products available only to top-tier channel partners, or you could simply provide extra support to those top-performers. 
    Whatever you do, it is a good idea to reward your top-performing channel partners. The more your channel partners see that you’re there to truly support them, the more empowered they’ll feel to sell your products and parts. 
    Channel sales offer many benefits to manufacturers, but they’re also notoriously difficult to track and manage. These channel sales strategies for manufacturers should help you get a better handle on how your channel partners are doing, establish strong relationships, and start putting marketing and sales efforts together that drive overall revenue for your manufacturing company. 
    Struggling with your channel sales strategies? Talk to the team at Evenbound. We’ve worked with many manufacturers who rely on channel sales, and we’ve helped them all align marketing and sales efforts and grow revenue. We’d be happy to help you too. 
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    5 Outbound Lead Generation Best Practices

    5 Outbound Lead Generation Best Practices

    5 Outbound Lead Generation Best Practices

    There’s so much information out there about inbound marketing. From how to transition to inbound marketing to tools that help you do it, there’s a wealth of blogs, resources, and more to teach you everything you need to know about inbound marketing. Outbound marketing doesn’t have the same support out there, yet. 
    For quite some time, marketers were moving away from outbound marketing because it was disruptive and largely ineffective. But today’s modern outbound marketing, which is targeted, specific, and relevant to ideal leads, can be remarkably effective. If you’ve been looking for ways to implement an outbound marketing strategy that delivers the leads you want, on the timeline you need, we’ve got answers. 

    Here are 5 outbound lead generation best practices you can use to implement intuitive, successful outbound marketing strategies that aren’t disruptive, and deliver the leads your sales team wants. 

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    01. Develop Accurate Buyer Personas

    Outbound marketing is inherently less focused than inbound marketing. You’re putting out a message to a range of consumers you don’t know. Unlike inbound marketing, where the consumer chooses to engage with your content or website, you’re putting a message out to consumers who don’t necessarily know you or your brand. 
    It’s more important than ever to identify who you want to talk to, so you can craft ads, emails, and events that speak to those ideal leads. 
    That means developing accurate buyer personas. 
    If you’re new to the buyer persona game, we’ve got a handy step-by-step guide to developing your buyer personas that should help you out.
    buyer-persona-example
    In general, you want to figure out who your ideal client is:
    • How old they are
    • What their job title is
    • What industry they work in
    • What their personal life looks like
    • What their personal and professional goals are
    • What challenges they face
    When you have a clear picture of who you want to market to, it’s much easier to develop an outbound lead generation strategy that will still work to bring in the qualified leads you want, rather than just anyone on the internet. 

    02. Create Targeted Messaging

    Again, the danger of outbound marketing is always drawing in leads you don’t want.
    Whether you’re developing an ad or an email campaign, you know what those buyer persona’s pain points are.
    Develop content that speaks to their interests, their pain points, and their goals. 
    The more tailored your content is to your buyer personas, the more you’ll encourage those qualified leads to reach out and talk to your team. It’ll also be easier for unqualified leads to see that they’re not a fit for what you’re offering. 
    There is harm in creating ad copy that’s too generic. The less specific your messaging, the more likely you are to pull in buckets of unqualified leads. 
    While it might seem like you’re getting a ton of leads, and that might be exciting for a minute, your sales team will quickly notice that these leads aren’t useful to them. 
    Unqualified leads, especially those gained through outbound marketing tactics, are expensive. They cost money to convert, and then they cost your sales team time to connect with, only to find they’re not a good fit.
    To avoid a lot of extra work for your sales team, and to maximize your outbound marketing budget, targeted messaging is an essential outbound lead generation practice that works to pull in just the qualified leads your sales team can close. 
    email-marketing-unsplash
    Homeowner-Hannah-Red
    The outbound lead generation best practice that helps eliminate unqualified leads is messaging. You know who your buyer personas are now — craft messaging that speaks directly to them. 
    Whether you’re developing an ad or an email campaign, you know what those buyer persona’s pain points are.
    Develop content that speaks to their interests, their pain points, and their goals. 
    The more tailored your content is to your buyer personas, the more you’ll encourage those qualified leads to reach out and talk to your team. It’ll also be easier for unqualified leads to see that they’re not a fit for what you’re offering. 
    There is harm in creating ad copy that’s too generic. The less specific your messaging, the more likely you are to pull in buckets of unqualified leads. 
    While it might seem like you’re getting a ton of leads, and that might be exciting for a minute, your sales team will quickly notice that these leads aren’t useful to them. 
    Unqualified leads, especially those gained through outbound marketing tactics, are expensive. They cost money to convert, and then they cost your sales team time to connect with, only to find they’re not a good fit.
    To avoid a lot of extra work for your sales team, and to maximize your outbound marketing budget, targeted messaging is an essential outbound lead generation practice that works to pull in just the qualified leads your sales team can close. 

    03. Complete Quality Keyword Research

    The success of paid advertising, whether it’s Google PPC or Facebook advertising, relies on you choosing the keywords that your ideal buyers are searching. 
    That’s why keyword research is an outbound lead generation best practice. The better your keyword research, the more likely your outbound marketing ads are to perform well. 
    And let’s remember, you’re paying for these ads. The better your ad targeting, the less you’ll spend to pull in outbound leads that are qualified and ready to buy. 
    keyword research ananlytics
    If you’re new to keyword research, Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start. The tool makes it easy to find keywords relevant to your company, industry, or product, and it tells you at a glance how much the average bid cost is per keyword. 
    If you’re new to keyword research, Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start. The tool makes it easy to find keywords relevant to your company, industry, or product, and it tells you at a glance how much the average bid cost is per keyword. 
    A few paid keyword tips to keep in mind:
    • If you’re looking to drive sales and conversions, look for keywords that show buyer intent. These are usually highly-specific searches, like your exact product number, or a brand name. A search like “Size 9 Women’s Nike Training Shoes” is one with great buyer intent. The person typing in that query knows exactly what they want, they just have to figure out where to buy it. 

     

    • If you have a smaller budget, choose long-tail keywords. These keywords typically have a lower bid cost but can deliver more qualified leads. Though you’ll probably see fewer clicks on the keyphrase I used above than something like “women’s shoes”, the clicks you do get will be much more qualified. 
    • Look for high search volume, low competition. These keywords will be cheaper to bid on, but with a high search volume, you’ll still get in front of plenty of potential leads.
    • What are your competitors doing? If keyword research has you stumped, look into what your competitors are bidding on. Tools like SEMRush and Spyfu can help you out here. 

    04. Manage Up-to-Date Contact Lists

    Unlike advertising, email marketing is a tactic where you know something about the people you’re emailing. 
    They gave you their email address for a reason, and that means you can use the context you have on those contacts to deliver relevant, specific messaging. 
    But, targeted email marketing only works if you have up-to-date, organized contact lists. 
    You could have the best email workflows and campaigns the world has ever seen. But if you’re working with out-of-date contact lists, your emails will always miss the mark. 
    Contact list management is the dishwashing of digital marketing — no one wants to do it, but somebody has to. Click To Tweet Though it can feel like a pain to your marketing team, it’s important to run through those contact lists regularly, at least once a quarter. 
    Just like you might split up the work of washing the dishes at home, consider breaking up contact list management into smaller tasks. 
    Have your sales team diligently re-categorize leads after they close. If your marketing team is working with a lead and they go cold or transfer up to sales, encourage them to adjust that contact’s status immediately. 
    If everyone pitches in just a little bit, it becomes much easier to manage contact lists. When you get to that quarterly list grooming session, it won’t be nearly so difficult or time-consuming. 
    No matter how you do it, make sure you’re managing and updating your contact lists regularly. Email marketing is responsible for some of the highest outbound lead conversions — managing your leads effectively is an outbound lead generation best practice you just can’t overlook. 

    05. Choose the Outbound Marketing Platforms that Best Serve Your Lead Generation Goals

    Every outbound marketing platform is different. That means they’re not all perfect for your lead generation goals. 
    Facebook is different from Linkedin, and both of those social media platforms deliver significantly different results than a webinar, industry event, or direct mail campaign. 
    The fifth and possibly most important outbound lead generation best practice I’ll leave you with today is this: choose the outbound marketing platform that best serves your lead generation goals. 
    To develop an effective outbound marketing strategy that delivers the leads you want, you need to use only the platforms that will serve your goals. Here’s a quick look at what I’m talking about: 
    • Email Marketing. Can deliver qualified leads that close, but you first need a list of contacts. 
    • Facebook Advertising. Great for raising brand awareness and driving leads to your website, but less likely to deliver immediate sales. 
    • Instagram Advertising. Delivers brand awareness, but not as great at driving conversions. 
    • Google Advertising. Delivers qualified leads to your site, and depending on the keywords you bid on, can produce great conversion and close rates. 
    • LinkedIn Advertising. Delivers highly qualified leads, and gets you in front of the professionals you want, but can be more expensive, with a lower likelihood of conversion. 
    This is just a general overview of a few digital outbound marketing tactics. 
    Each of those platforms does offer ways for you to develop campaigns that are more directed at awareness, driving web traffic, leads, or conversions, but it’s important to know that they don’t all work the same way, and each platform has its unique niche of benefits.  
    For example, if you’re a manufacturing company looking to invest in account-based marketing tactics, Instagram probably isn’t the platform for you. LinkedIn and email marketing are likely to be more successful at targeting the key companies and positions you already know you want to get in front of. 
    While every outbound marketing platform provides value, it’s an important outbound lead generation best practice to select and invest in only those platforms that align with your goals. 
    If you’re having trouble deciding which platform is best suited to your outbound lead generation goals, look back at your buyer personas. 
    Where do your ideal buyers hang out online? Are they avid Instagram shoppers, or are they researching solutions on Google? Maybe they’re big networkers, always looking to connect with someone new on Linkedin or Facebook. 
    You’ve spent the time developing killer buyer personas. Don’t forget about them — use them to help guide your outbound marketing strategy. 
    When it comes to developing an outbound marketing strategy that delivers qualified leads, your best bet is to pair those fast-acting outbound marketing platforms with inbound marketing strategy. By defining your buyer personas, taking the time to research the keywords you plan to bid on, and by tailoring your messaging to the platforms and people you want to talk to, you’ll start to see the outbound lead generation you’ve been looking for. 
    We hope these outbound lead generation best practices help you optimize your strategy to pull in more of the right leads. If you have any more questions about inbound marketing, outbound marketing, or how to apply any of it, we’re here to help
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