Recently I was talking to a general manager of a radio station who has been following this blog for some time now. For this article, I'll refer to him as Bob. Bob reached out to me because one of his general sales managers who also reads this blog had been telling him that they need to invest in an inbound marketing strategy.
Bob had some interest but he was not convinced he really needed to do inbound marketing. To Bob, inbound marketing just seemed like a way to let salespeople off the hook and not have to do their own prospecting. (This idea could not be more wrong—but more on that in a minute). In addition to the lack of prospecting, Bob looked at inbound marketing as an expense that did not have any sort of ROI, at least in the short run. So, with all that said, Bob asked me if I could convince him that he should do inbound marketing.
For the Skeptics
How's that for a set up? Well, this is how it goes! Not all inbound leads are happy prospects that say, "Hi, I’ve been reading your blog and I am ready to sign up. Where do I send the check?" In fact, many more are like Bob—curious enough to want more information, but not ready to sign up.
So, here is how the rest of the call unfolded. I asked a lot of questions and learned a great deal about the sales operation of the station that Bob was in charge of. Turns out they were doing a lot of things very well and were hitting budget almost every month. But Bob is a smart general manager and realized that the best possible thing that a salesperson can do with their time is to go on sales calls with quality prospects where they are finding needs or presenting solutions—everything else gets in the way. That said, he believed things like prospecting, follow up, and paperwork are just part of the business, and salespeople have to do it all.
Our conversation lasted about 45 minutes, and before I share with you the decision that Bob made, I want share this. At one point in the conversation, Bob said to me, "Matt, give me 5 reasons why I should invest in an inbound marketing or a lead generation strategy." This was my chance to put it all out there, but I stopped and I said, "Bob, you read our blog all the time and you know we have written article after article on the benefits of inbound and lead generation. There is nothing new I can share with you. However, let me ask you four questions, and if you can answer yes to any of them then we know that you don’t need to even consider an inbound strategy. However, if you end up answering no to all of them, then not only should you have an inbound lead gen strategy, you should have started it last year."
Here's what I asked Bob:
1. Does your sales team have more quality leads than they know what to do with?
2. Can you tell me right now how many new leads came into the sales department this week? And how that compares to how many you need to come in each week?
3. Are your salespeople going on as many appointments to learn needs or present solutions as they need to in order to exceed budget?
4. Do you currently have a marketing plan in place to reach out to the thousands of old prospects and leads that are no longer being worked by any one sales rep?
Bob could not answer yes to even one these questions, and remember Bob is a good GM and is making more budgets than most. Bob asked me if I would be able to do another call with him and his GSMs to go through all that would be involved in getting started with inbound marketing—as well as what would have to be done so that key performance goals would be obtained. We did that call, and Bob asked for a contract.
So maybe you don’t need inbound marketing, or maybe you do. It's probably worth the phone call to find out.