7 Steps to Developing a Growth Strategy That Delivers Results

7 Steps to Developing a Growth Strategy That Delivers Results

7 Steps to Developing a Growth Strategy That Delivers Results

You want to grow your company. But, you’re not sure where to start. We get it. 

It’d be great if we could all just grow our businesses and companies by taking on more projects. Unfortunately, sustainable growth needs a little bit more direction and structure than that. 

If you’re looking to grow your company by pulling in more of the right leads, and converting them more efficiently, you need to start developing a growth strategy. 

What’s a Growth Strategy?

A growth strategy is a detailed plan of action designed to help your company grow — that is, increase sales and revenue over a specific period of time. Effective growth strategies are specific, measurable, and focused on continuous improvement. 

No two growth strategies are exactly alike — they’re unique depending on the company, the company’s specific goals, and the resources you have available to implement that strategy. 

What is universal to all companies, however, is that you need a growth strategy if you want to build your company in a specific way: to close bigger deals, to shorten your sales cycle, and grow your company strategically for the best results. 

If you’re working on developing a growth strategy that gets your company moving in the right direction, here are 7 steps you can take to start creating a growth strategy that delivers the tangible results you’ve been looking for. 

7 Steps to Developing a Growth Strategy That Delivers Results

Use this menu to jump to the steps you’re most interested, or read on through for the complete step-by-step guide to developing a growth strategy that delivers results. 

#1 Start with SMART Growth Goals, Big and Small

Real, effective growth strategies start with SMART goals. We’ve got an entire post about how to determine your SMART goals, but here’s a quick cliff-notes version: 

What are SMART Goals?

SMART Goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

So, “I want to grow my business,” is not, in fact, a smart goal. It doesn’t give you any mile-markers. It doesn’t really tell you what you want, or where you want to be. 

A SMART goal is something like: I want to grow 20% in the next fiscal year. 

The Difference Between Big and Small SMART Goals

Now that’s still a pretty broad goal, which is fine. You can have big growth goals, but it’s also important to set small SMART goals too, so you know you’re keeping your company on track. How are you going to reach that 20% growth mark by the end of the year? 

Examples of smaller growth goals that can help contribute to your big growth goal might be to:

  • Convert 500 leads per month. 

  • Close on 15 sales per month.

  • Generate at least $375,000 in new revenue per month.

One or all of these goals are great mile markers that help keep your team on track while moving to your big, overarching SMART goal. Defining these little goals also makes it easier to start developing strategies that put you closer to your big goals. 

Saying, “oh, I want to grow by 20% in the next year” sounds great. But it doesn’t give you a lot of direction. Saying, “I want to convert 500 leads per month” does give you some direction — how are you generating leads now? How can you generate more leads? Are there lead generating tactics you haven’t tried yet that you could check out?

Now you have a launching-off point to really start moving your company towards your growth goals. 

#2 Develop Strategies to Support Those Growth Goals

Okay, so you’ve got your SMART goals, big and small. Start with the small goals first. Let’s go with generating 500 leads per month as our example.

If you’re generating leads primarily through word of mouth, you have a lot of room to improve:

  • You can start developing a digital growth strategy that focuses on generating leads. 

  • You can increase your web presence, start implementing content marketing strategies, and try out lead capture tactics like landing pages, forms, and calls-to-action. 

If you already have a web presence and are hoping to generate more leads, start by really drilling down on the efforts that work:

  • If you’ve been getting a ton of leads through your blog, up your posting schedule to once or twice a week instead twice a month. 

  • If you have an active list of newsletter subscribers, lean on them a little harder for conversions.  

    You can also start expanding your lead generation efforts. Try new tactics like social media advertising, guest blogging, or adding more lead touch points to your marketing and sales process. 

    The point is that if you have specific, attainable (etc.) goals, determining your plan of action is a lot easier. If you know exactly where you want to be, it’s a little easier to figure out how to get there. 

    #3 Consider Tools That Support Your Goals and Strategies

    Another great way to bolster your growth strategy is to consider investing in tools and software that can make it easier for you to implement your new strategies and reach those growth goals. 

    Using that same lead generation goal as an example, let’s say that one of your new strategies is to start promoting your content more often, and follow up with new leads more promptly.

    It’s important to remember that all of these changes aren’t always on your sales and marketing teams — there are plenty of tools out there that can help you reach these goals and implement these new efforts.

    What Growth Tools Are Right for Me?

    Consider investing in a social media publishing tool that allows you to schedule posts out when it’s convenient for your team. 

    Many marketing software platforms also offer automated email and workflow tools. The minute a lead downloads a content offer or signs up for your newsletter, you can have them automatically entered into a welcome workflow that sends them helpful, relevant communication that nurtures that lead for you. 

    At Evenbound, we’re big advocates for the, “work smarter, not harder” mindset. Implementing a growth strategy can be tough work. If there are tricks and tools that can help you reach those growth goals more easily and that offer your leads and prospects better service, use them

    Don’t be afraid of tools because they’re new or different. They can seriously help you reach those growth goals, usually faster than your team could do it on their own. 

    #4 Implement Your Growth Strategies

    Alright, now that you’ve got your goals nailed down and you’ve got a plan to reach them, it’s time to launch! Put your growth strategies into action. Let your new marketing software do its work. 

    And give your strategies a little bit of time, too. Especially if you’re implementing inbound strategies meant to bolster your organic traffic, you probably won’t see results overnight. That’s okay. 

    Keep with your growth strategies, and keep with your plan.

    In general, you should wait at least a month before you start making judgement calls on the effectiveness of your new initiatives. For some tactics, you might even have to wait a few months to get a really clear picture of how your efforts are impacting your bottom line.

    It’s good to remember that you put time and effort into developing your growth strategies. If you did your research, at least some of your new tactics and strategies are going to deliver results. 

    #5 Analyze Your Results

    When your new strategies and growth campaigns have been running for a while, analyze them. Maybe that’s at the one-month mark for tactics like paid advertising and new initiatives in your marketing and sales process.

    For organic and inbound tactics like content marketing, you might give it two or three months before you take a good hard look at the results. Either way, when it’s time to take a look at how far you’ve come, it’s important to look at the big picture. Make sure you’re analyzing both your wins and your challenges. 

    Looking at the Big Picture: Wins

    Let’s say your new strategy is doing awesome. You’ve reached that 500 leads per month goal already, and you’re only three months into your new strategy.

    Don’t just leave it at, “well, my strategy is working great”. Take a look at which efforts specifically are generating those leads for you.

    Are the majority of your leads coming to your site organically? If so, which pages are they coming to or landing on? 

    Are your paid ads converting leads like crazy? Great! Which ads were most effective? 

    Is your new marketing process shortening your sales cycle and converting qualified leads in just a week or two after their first touch? Amazing. What specific efforts are getting those leads so excited about your company?

    The deeper you dig into your new growth strategies’ results, the better you’ll understand how you’re generating those results. 

    Looking at the Big Picture: Challenges

    This works the other way, too. Maybe you implemented a new email marketing strategy that totally flopped. Look at why it flopped.

    Did you just not have the depth of email contacts you needed to make that strategy work? Were people not connecting with that specific message? How can you improve it for the next round of growth goals? 

    The more you analyze your results, the better your growth strategy will perform in the long-term. When you know exactly what your leads respond best to, and why, you can continue on that upward growth trajectory, and you can keep optimizing your growth strategy with actual data and results in hand. Which brings us to step #6.

    #6 Optimize Your Growth Strategy

    After you analyze your results to death, it’s important to use all of that information you’ve collected and actually put it to work. If a specific set of Facebook ads performed really well, start launching more campaigns with similar attributes. If your email marketing strategy didn’t work, don’t keep doing the same old thing — try something new! 

    The great gift of analytics is that they give you the data you need to make changes and improvements. Use analytics to your advantage and apply what you’ve learned to your future growth tactics and strategies. When you do that, you’re truly implementing a continuous growth strategy that will continue to support your company even as your goals change. 

    #7 Set New SMART Growth Goals

    The key to an effective growth strategy is a mindset of continuous improvement. Once you reach your growth goals, it’s time to set new goals, and repeat the process. 

    If you want your company to keep growing, your growth strategies have to change as your company does. Once you reach your first set of goals, re-evaluate where your company is, set new SMART goals, and keep developing your growth strategy to help you reach them. 

    The best growth strategies are the ones that are constantly changing and adapting to your business’ needs and goals. And it makes sense: a growth strategy that worked for a small business isn’t going to work the same for a mid-sized business. Your growth strategy should evolve and adapt as your company continues to grow. 

    The Most Effective Growth Strategy Is the One That’s Continuously Improving

    In the end, building a growth strategy that delivers results is all about setting up the structure and mindset your team needs to grow, and allowing plenty of space and flexibility to keep improving. The best growth strategies are the ones that grow and improve themselves. 

    So, start with your SMART goals for right now, and keep moving that needle forward as your company grows. 

    Developing a growth strategy and actually implementing it can seem like big, daunting work. If you’re just not sure where to start, drop us a line! We help companies like yours grow every day, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you’ve got about developing a growth strategy, sticking to it, or optimizing it as you reach your goals. 

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    Top Web Design Trends of 2020

    Top Web Design Trends of 2020

    Top Web Design Trends of 2020

    There’s a lot of new going on already in 2020, but one thing we’re particularly excited for here at Evenbound is new web design trends! Since we recently rebranded and updated our entire website, web design is something we’ve had on the brain for a while now. 

    CTA-Brutally-Honest-Website-Checklist-[button-02]

    We thought we’d take some of the lessons we’ve learned about new and upcoming trends in web design, and put them into this blog. So without further ado, here are some of the top web design trends for 2020: 

    Solid Frames of White Space

    If we could pick just one favorite web design trend of 2020, it would definitely be white space.  (Or clean, minimalist themes. Who could pick just one favorite?) Old, clunky websites with huge blocks of text just aren’t cute, and they’re really hard to look at and navigate. 

    2020 is the year of minimalism, and that means plenty of white space, which we love. Click To Tweet White space offers immediate, clear organization, and makes it easier for the user to digest everything that’s on the page. 

    For all of our SEO fans out there, it’s also a great way to increase your time-on-page. The more whitespace your design has, the more likely a reader is going to stick around. Since they’re getting little bite-sized pieces of information that don’t feel taxing to read, they’re more likely to keep on reading. 

    Minimalist Navigation

    Great web design makes the user’s life easier. One trend that’s working hard to help site visitors out in 2020 is minimalist navigation. Designers are taking old, bulky dropdowns and bloated menus and turning them into sleek navigation options. Take this menu from Google as an example: with just four available buttons, it’s hard to get lost on this site. 

    Ueno is another great example. As soon as you scroll below the fold, the menu minimizes into just two little lines, helping keep the menu from breaking up the design of the rest of the page. But, as soon as you click the lines, their full menu pops right up, ensuring the viewer doesn’t lose any functionality. 

    Minimalist Design With Maximized Text and Headers

    It’s 2020 and words are back in! (Thank goodness, my content writing job kind of depends on it.) We’ve talked about how minimalist design is taking over, but with that comes a new focus on big text and massive headers. 

    This is a design trend that really works to help the reader. It makes it easy for visitors and causal scrollers to see what’s most important on a page, and quickly jump to the sections that answer their questions. 

    From a design standpoint, this is a trend that brings impact. When your website is designed with a minimalist style, and all elements are clean, neutral, and sleek, a bold header seriously stands out. The combination delivers an updated, modern feel that makes your website look professional, without being boring. 

    Soft Shadows, Layers, and Floating Elements

    In 2020, design is all about taking busyness and clutter out but keeping visual interest in. Click To Tweet Though most sites have been stripped down to a clean, minimalist design, we’re adding fun and depth to those clean looks with shadows, layers, and floating elements.

    You can see here on our site how our images look like they’re floating off the page, and our HubSpot Gold badge is layered on top of the image. HubSpot’s page has a similar effect, layering the most important image on top of more subtle backgrounds to really make it stand out on the page. 

    This trend does a great job of making a site look beautiful and interesting, without getting too cluttered or overwhelming for the user. These elements also work to show your user where they should be putting their focus.

    Hubspot-web-design-example-floating-elements

    Motion and Interactivity

    In 2020, flat websites are over. Exciting, interactive, and visual websites are taking charge by adding motion to the average web-user’s experience. You’ve already seen a bit of motion here on the Evenbound site, as visual elements slide in from the left, right, top, and bottom of the page. If you head to Ueno’s website, you’ll see elements moving everywhere on their site, but in a way that adds to the user’s experience, rather than distracting from it. 

    Interactivity is also a big up-and-coming trend. It’s taking off a little bit slower, because it takes more work to implement, but when done properly it’s a great design element to wow visitors, and to keep them engaging with your site. Again, Ueno has mastered this element with “The Interview“. The image below gives you a quick idea of what that looks like, but head on over to their site if you want to interact with it yourself. 

    ueno-playground-web-design-trend

    Text-Only Heroes

    Big headers and text are popular this year, but a new trend that’s really taking hold in 2020 is text-only heroes. This is a great way to get a message across, it’s visually very clean, and it offers the added benefit of being light and fast to load. Massive header images have been slowing down page speed for years, so it’ll be nice to see some super-responsive, bold heroes. 

    Illustrations

    Illustrations in web design are one of the most popular trends of 2020. The contrast between handmade and digital visual elements is a hot trend right now, and people are loving the visual interest that cute illustrations bring to an otherwise clean and minimalist site.  

    hubspot-homepage-illustration-web-design-example

    Chatbots

    It’s possible that chatbots don’t exactly fit into “design”, but they are an important top trend for websites in 2020. And, since you have to design them, we’re keeping them in this blog. 

    Chatbots essentially bridge the gap between you and your consumer. They offer up an instant form of communication that makes it easy for consumers to ask questions the minute they think of them. 

    The best chatbots are simple and specific. Check out these three examples below. None of them are obtrusive, but they all invite the visitor to engage with the website in a specific, meaningful way. 

    Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities

    When we talk about digital accessibility, we’re talking about building and designing websites in a way that’s inclusive to individuals who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities. Here’s a great resource if you’d like some in-depth info about how to easily design your website for everyone

    In 2020, the internet is only getting more popular, and since the majority of us use it every day, it’s important that we make our website accessible to everyone. For web designers, that means designing with accessibility in mind. Adding features like larger text size, as you can see we did for this client below, go a long way in helping everyone use the internet with ease.

    Other digital accessibility features you’re going to see more of this year include, but certainly aren’t limited to: 

      • Designing with greater color contrast so those with visual disabilities can still see every aspect of your website. 
      • Including labels and instructions with form fields so the visually impaired can understand what they need to type in each form field. 
      • Web design that allows for keyboard navigation

    Web Design Trends in 2020 Put the User First

    This year’s most popular design trends have one thing in common — they’re all working to help deliver a better, more seamless experience for the user.

    Clean, minimalist designs make it easy to notice and understand the information on a web page that is most important. Interactive elements and motion also help draw attention to key images and portions of a page, without making a subtle design feel cluttered. All of these trends are working together to ensure you are able to quickly identify, and navigate to, the information you need to answer your questions or solve your pain points. 

    With web design trends like these, the internet is only becoming more accessible and user-friendly, and we’re sure here for it. And in case you haven’t already, be sure to click around our new website to see some of these new web design trends in action!

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    What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

    What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

    What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

    Outbound marketing is and has been a lot of things. If we’re honest, it hasn’t always been great. Outbound marketing is probably best known for annoying push marketing.

    Yeah, we’re talking telemarketers, cold calling, that delightful junk mail you’re always throwing away, and basically any form of marketing that pushes a product or service on you, without even attempting to be personal. It’s not relevant, it’s usually poorly timed (ahem, telemarketers who call at dinner time), and it doesn’t usually put you in a positive frame of mind to make a purchase. 

    But now that we’re clear about how terrible outbound marketing used to be, we can talk about what outbound marketing is in 2020, and how it can be successful and useful today. We’re going to focus on effective outbound marketing because even though there are companies out there still using traditional techniques like telemarketing, there are better, more efficient, and more positive ways to implement outbound marketing in 2020.

    What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

    In 2020, outbound marketing is an effective way to get your message in front of the right people immediately, and on a larger scale than organic and inbound tactics can deliver. 

    It’s important to remember that while outbound marketing has been frustrating to consumers in the past, it’s still a successful marketing strategy when applied correctly in a non-interruptive way. As we move into 2020, outbound marketing will continue to evolve. We’ve already seen outbound marketing deliver results for our clients in forms like pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, and even strategic outbound email campaigns, and we expect that trend to continue throughout this new year. 

    In 2020, successful outbound marketing has less to do with what platforms you use, and more to do with how you apply your own strategy to those platforms. Let’s take a look at what outbound marketing that works will look like in 2020.

    Successful Outbound Marketing in 2020 Will Be:

    Outbound marketing doesn’t have to be disruptive. In fact, it can be a really helpful form of marketing, especially for consumers who are ready to make a purchasing decision. Here’s a glance at what outbound marketing in 2020 should look like.

    Personalized

    Impersonal, disruptive messaging is the number one reason that traditional outbound marketing strategies fail. When done right, outbound marketing can produce serious results for your company. It puts you in front of a large pool of the right consumers. 

    But, you’re only going to get their attention if your message is relevant to their goals and pain points and if it’s not disruptive to their life.

    That’s why we’re hoping that in 2020, more people start to look at outbound marketing through an inbound marketing lense. There’s nothing wrong with paid and outbound tactics — they really do work! But, they work best when they’re approached with an inbound mindset of incorporating your message seamlessly into the consumer’s day, rather than interrupting them to shout out an impersonalized promotion. 

    Take the time to understand what your audience is looking for. If you’re on Facebook, choose audiences who have a legitimate interest in your product or service. If you’re working on paid ad sets for Google, choose search terms that are relevant to what you’re promoting. No one wants to see an ad for gym shoes when they searched “ice cream near me.”

    If you’re hoping to implement successful outbound marketing strategies in 2020, personalized, relevant messages that aren’t disruptive are the key.

    Efficient

    Outbound marketing tactics in 2020 have a specific purpose — to convert qualified leads more efficiently than inbound tactics can. Outbound marketing gets your message in front of the right consumers, right now. Make sure you’re using that to your advantage. 

    Implement your 2020 outbound marketing campaigns where you know they’ll be the most effective, and efficient. Outbound marketing tactics like remarketing and paid search ad campaigns targeted to end-of-funnel keywords are great ways to quickly convert leads who have already shown interest in your company. They just need that little extra push to convert. 

    That’s what you use outbound marketing for — efficient, tactical conversions of the leads you already know are interested in your product or service. If you’re trying to use outbound marketing tactics to nurture leads and build relationships, you’re not going to see those immediate results or the ROI you’re looking for, because that’s not what outbound marketing is designed to do. 

    Cost-Effective

    The time for massive outbound marketing budgets is over. We’re not saying you shouldn’t spend money on outbound marketing, but we are saying you should be strategic about where you spend your budget. Digital outbound marketing methods can be exceptionally cost-effective if you know what you’re doing. How to know what you’re doing? Here are a few good ways to start:

    Target End-of-Buyer's-Journey Keywords

    It’s worth it to spend money on outbound marketing campaigns that target people at the end of their buyer’s journey. They know exactly what they’re looking for, they just need to make a purchase. 

    Long-tail keywords like “Honeywell Commercial Alarm System Installation in Grand Rapids” show you that the consumer has already done their homework, and made their decision. Now, they just need to find a provider. When you bid on these keywords, you’ll show up as a first option for those consumers who are ready to buy. 

    Spend on High-Return Markets

    If you have a specific product or service that secures higher returns, that’s where you should be allocating your outbound marketing budget. If you can spend less to make more with your outbound campaigns, you’re going to see the ROI and the results you’ve been looking for.

    Above all, analyze your outbound marketing campaigns constantly. Keep a close eye on where your money is going, and where it’s delivering leads.

    In 2020, the paid advertising market will be more competitive than ever. The best way to get ahead without breaking the bank is to spend strategically on just the campaigns sure to deliver you the best results, and the greatest ROI. 

    Strategic

    Outbound marketing is one part of a complete digital marketing strategy. It’s important to apply outbound marketing tactics in the spaces where they can provide you with the greatest returns. 

    In 2020 outbound marketing will be one of the fastest ways to get your company out ahead of the competition, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the only marketing tactic out there, and it shouldn’t be the only component of your marketing strategy. 

    Outbound marketing costs money. And as more and more people are buying into paid social media advertising, pay-per-click ads, display campaigns, and more in 2020, the costs of outbound marketing will continue to rise. 

    In order to see significant returns, and to get the leads you want at a price that allows you to keep growing, it’s important to be strategic about where you use your outbound marketing tactics. 

    For example, inbound marketing can help you nurture leads with relevant content that answers questions. Outbound marketing can’t do that. Outbound marketing can raise brand awareness, get your company in front of the right leads, and help you close those buyers who are ready to make a decision, but it can’t do the long, hard work of lead nurturing, educating, or building relationships — all important components of an effective long-term growth strategy. For that, you need other tactics and strategies like inbound marketing and excellent customer service. 

    In 2020 the key to a marketing strategy that delivers growth is understanding how to balance inbound and outbound tactics for the best results. Use outbound marketing where you can get those quick wins: targeted and remarketing ads, calling consumers back to you at the end of their buyer’s journey, and raising brand awareness. But remember that in the end, outbound marketing is a tool to help you build on an already solid marketing foundation. 

    If you use your outbound tactics to supplement an already amazing website, rich original content, and a robust digital marketing strategy, you’re sure to win in 2020. 

    Not sure how to implement outbound marketing in 2020? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We’ve got a ton of resources on outbound marketing, and we love to chat about how inbound and outbound marketing can complement each other. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you’ve got. 

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    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    If you’re in the marketing world at all, you know that these two terms are the heavyweight champs of modern marketing. But how do they fit together? There’s a lot of confusion out there about inbound marketing vs. content marketing. Are they the same thing? And if they’re different, how?

    We’re going to break it all down for you in this marketing terminology matchup of inbound marketing vs. content marketing.

    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    Most marketers generally confer — content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. I like to think of it this way:

    • Inbound marketing is a big umbrella. A whole bunch of marketing tactics make up the umbrella’s individual components. SEO, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and so many more tactics make up everything from the waterproof fabric to each little rib that forms the shape of the umbrella. 
    • If inbound marketing is an umbrella, content marketing is the pole and handle that holds the umbrella up. Content marketing forms the base and the foundation for a quality inbound marketing strategy.

    So to answer the questions posed in the intro: yes, content marketing and inbound marketing are different things. 

    Inbound marketing refers to the overarching marketing strategy that draws in qualified leads. Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing, but one of the most important inbound marketing tactics that lays the framework for the larger inbound marketing strategy as a whole.

    Got it? Not quite? 

    No worries. We’re going to keep on rolling with some more information to make that distinction a little clearer for you. Let’s take a closer look at what inbound marketing is, what content marketing is, and how they work together to deliver you the leads you want when you want them.

    What is Inbound Marketing?

    Inbound marketing is a marketing method that focuses on drawing in qualified leads and potential customers, rather than blasting information about your company to the general public. 

    Inbound marketing is specific and tactical. 

    The methodology requires that you know who you’re selling to, who you want to sell to, and that you market to those specific buyers in a way that is helpful to them. 

    Inbound marketing was born out of the modern consumer’s desire to discover solutions to their own problems. Today’s consumer despises telemarketers, spam emails, and other poorly targeted advertising techniques that don’t feel personal, relevant, or helpful.

    Inbound marketing recognizes this consumer pain point, and works to find a solution.

    Inbound marketing is successful when a consumer seeks a solution to a problem, navigates to a resource that answers their questions, and self-selects the product or service that ultimately resolves their pain point. 

    For the consumer, this is a seamless transition. 

    They search their problem, find the ideal solution, and make a purchasing decision. The trick of inbound marketing is offering up relevant content and improving your company’s visibility so that consumer gets their seamless transition from you. And this is where content marketing comes in. 

    What is Content Marketing?

    Inbound marketing is built on content marketing. Though inbound marketing is made up of a variety of marketing tactics, like search engine optimization, email marketing, workflows, and so much more, content marketing is certainly the heavy lifter. 

    Think about it:

    • What would you promote in your email marketing campaigns if you didn’t have content written? 

    • Where would you direct conversions from pay-per-click ads if not to a page of content? 

    • How would you optimize your website for search engines without content?

    Content marketing forms the backbone and the foundation of any inbound marketing strategy. It’s everything from the optimized content on your website to your weekly blog posts to your monthly email newsletters to that new vlog you’ve been trying out.

    Content marketing is what creates value for your potential leads, and its what draws those qualified leads into your sales funnel. 

    If you want a more specific outline of the different types of content marketing and how to implement them, I suggest you check out our content marketing page. If you’re already familiar with content marketing, let’s move on to how inbound marketing and content marketing work together: 

    How These Strategies Work Together to Bring You Qualified Leads

    As we mentioned earlier, inbound marketing functions on the premise that today’s consumer ignores disruptive, non-personal messages. Inbound marketing instead encourages consumers to self-qualify, and search for and find the information and the solutions that best fit their own problems and pain points. Content marketing is a major component of that inbound marketing methodology, especially in a consumer’s early stages of the buyer’s journey. 

    While your sales team might already have a great, inbound-focused method of converting leads into sales, content marketing is one of those key tools that brings those leads to your marketing and sales teams in the first place. 

    I like to think of content marketing as the fuel that feeds your inbound marketing funnel or flywheel. 

    Without content going out regularly, answering your ideal customer’s questions, solving their pain points, and nurturing them further down the buyer’s journey, your sales team might not get the chance to exercise their awesome, inbound-focused sales process in the first place.

    While content marketing is also used extensively in the later stages of the buyer’s journey, it’s most commonly thought of as a way to draw in the right, qualified leads, so your marketing and sales team can apply the rest of your inbound marketing strategy to nurture and close those leads. 

    Inbound Marketing + Content Marketing = A Successful Growth Strategy

    In the end, it’s best to think about inbound marketing and content marketing together, rather than inbound marketing vs. content marketing. Both tactics are useful methods to draw in and close qualified leads, and they work best when used in conjunction. 

    Content marketing forms the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy, drawing in the right leads with helpful, personalized content. Then, your inbound marketing strategy can do the rest of the work — taking the leads your content marketing strategy generated and converting them into customers and future promoters for your brand. 

    Still have questions? We’ve got answers. Check out our inbound marketing and content marketing pages for more specifics on both strategies, and always feel free to give us a call or drop a line — we’d love to chat. And if you’re just not sure what an inbound marketing strategy can do for you in real life, check out the case study below. 

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    5 Ways a CRM Helps Streamline Your Sales Process

    5 Ways a CRM Helps Streamline Your Sales Process

    5 Ways a CRM Helps Streamline Your Sales Process

    Looking to streamline your sales process? It is an integral component of your business’ success. If your sales team has trouble selling efficiently, you’re going to see your company growth drop, which isn’t good for anyone. 

    In general, sales reps spend a significant amount of time on admin work — scheduling meetings, setting up reminders, sending emails, and other small tasks that take serious time out of their day that they could be spending closing deals. 

    So, how can you streamline your sales process in a way that all of that admin work still gets done, but your sales team has the time they need to close deals? For many companies, a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software, is the answer. 

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    Here at Evenbound, we’re big fans of HubSpot, but you might also have heard of other popular options like Pardot and Salesforce. While some options are better than others, the general purpose of a CRM is to make it easier for your sales team to foster positive relationships with all of the leads who come into your sales cycle and eliminate a lot of the busywork that keeps them from closing.

    Here are just 5 of the top ways a CRM helps streamline your sales process. 

    #1 Streamline Marketing to Sales Handoff Process

    For most companies, the handoff from marketing to sales is where leads fall through the cracks. Whether your sales and marketing teams aren’t communicating or your sales team is just too busy to follow up on all the leads marketing sends over, it’s easy, and common for leads to fall out of the sales funnel during the handoff from marketing to sales. 

    A CRM can solve the majority of these sales dropoff problems. 

    The first fix is to notify your sales team. When the marketing team decides a lead is ready to move up to sales, a CRM can automatically alert your sales team of the move. This is a great way to eliminate lost leads who drop out of the cycle because no one contacts them.

    The next fix is to help your sales team see immediately if that lead is actually ready for your sales team or not. A CRM shows your sales team exactly where a lead is in the buying process. The CRM will track every contact marketing has with that lead, giving the sales team a good idea of how warm the lead is, and how ready they are to buy. 

    This makes it easy for your sales reps to see at a glance whether a lead is ready for them, or if they’d rather send them back down to marketing. 

    And with a quality CRM, transferring that lead back down to marketing is a snap. Your sales rep just reassigns or recategorizes the lead, and they’re back in marketing’s “to nurture” bucket. 

    For many companies, a significant percentage of marketing leads do not convert to sales. This is partially handled with sales and marketing alignment, but a CRM is also a very useful tool to make no one is losing track of those leads. 

    Implementing a quality CRM not only helps make sure those leads get through the sales process, but it helps bring your sales and marketing teams together, and understand better what both teams need to effectively reach their goals.

    #2 CRMs Increase Prospect Visibility in the Sales Funnel

    Your sales team is busy. There’s no getting around it. As long as your marketing team is delivering leads, your sales team is busy contacting them all, establishing which of your products or service is the best fit for each and then getting through the actual nurturing and closing process. A CRM streamlines your sales process by offering greater visibility on all of those prospects in the sales funnel. 

    CRMs make it easy to see where every prospect is in the sales funnel, at any given time. If your sales team is managing their leads with a post-it note system, a notebook, or any other method, they’re probably letting leads drop out of the sales funnel. And it’s not their fault — we’re all only human! 

    But, a CRM can help resolve this problem, and make it easy for your sales team to prioritize the warmest leads above leads who still need a bit of nurturing. 

    • Organize leads by priority. Most quality CRMs allow you to segment leads based on how qualified they are, and where they are in the sales funnel. When your top-priority leads are listed right at the top of the page, your sales team doesn’t even have to think about who to call first. 
    • See at a glance which leads have been contacted, by who, and when. Another key visibility benefit that comes with a quality CRM is that your sales reps can see at a glance who has contacted what lead, and when. They’ll be able to see which of your resources a lead has already received, and what information they might still need to make a final decision. 

    Increased visibility thanks to a quality CRM leads to a more effective, efficient sales process. When your leads are automatically organized by industry, job title, interest level, and more, your sales team can spend more time on what they’re best at — closing deals. 

    #3 Automated Tasks Help Streamline Your Sales Process

    Even though it’s necessary, sending out product catalogs, brochures, and pricing guides is repetitive and time-consuming. Your sales team already knows that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every email, but they do have to take the time to copy-paste their text, change the names, attach the documents, and then finally send the email. A CRM can automate these repetitive tasks so your sales team has more time to actually sell. 

    Quality CRMs offer tools like automated workflows, follow-up emails, chatbots, and more, so your leads still get the quality service they need to feel nurtured and supported through the sales process, but your sales team is freed up to use their time for more important tasks. 

    And for tasks that CRMs can’t automate, they can send automated reminders. Your sales reps have to talk to any contact multiple times before they close a deal. Your CRM can automatically remind sales reps when to make those calls so that no leads fall through the cracks. 

    #4 Easy Reporting

    No one likes to make reports. What if they didn’t have to? 

    Quality CRMs can generate sales reports at the click of a button, so your team can easily see what’s working, and what’s not.

    One of the greatest benefits of a CRM for any sales team is the data it has to offer. In addition to supporting your sales team, your CRM is constantly collecting data. Data about your clients, how long they take to close, what content offer brings in the leads most likely to close, and what sales tools are most effective at closing those sales.

    All of that data, combined and compiled for you by the CRM, helps you interpret your sales team’s success, and further streamline your sales process for even better results. 

    #5 Sales Leaderboards and Productivity Reports

    We’re a big proponent of teamwork. As a growth agency, we’ve seen that companies who encourage their sales reps to work together tend to do significantly better than companies with sales reps who are all using different sales tactics, and even different sales processes. 

    Advanced CRMs, like HubSpot, are designed to give you and your sales team all of the data you need to optimize and streamline your sales process as a team. Sales leaderboards and productivity reports are one great way to do that.

    They show you which of your team members are doing great, and which might be struggling with your new sales process or CRM. You can use these stats to bring your whole team up, by asking those at the top of the leaderboard to share what they’re doing to close so many deals. 

    Generating a sales leaderboard and a productivity report also helps give you a better picture of where your reps are spending their time.

    Maybe one rep has been spending a ton of time in your CRM, and is super productive, but is low on the leaderboard. This might be an opportunity to show them some more of those automation tools, so they can get out of their inbox, and back on the phone with clients. 

    A CRM is designed to organize and store all of your sales team’s information and data in one easy-to-access location. In addition to providing exceptional visibility, a CRM helps streamline your sales process by handling the repetitive tasks that take time out of your team’s day of selling. The goal is to enable your sales team with all the tools they need to be able to sell better, and more efficiently, and when implemented properly, that’s exactly what a CRM does. 

    If you’re thinking about a CRM, but aren’t sure how to get started, or are afraid of a lengthy learning curve, get in touch with the Evenbound team. We have team members dedicated to onboarding and training sales reps and marketing teams on how to use the HubSpot CRM effectively, and we’re confident we can help you too. Just take a look at the results we provided for this company in the case study below!

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