It’s the conversation that a lot of sales and marketing professionals like you dread; the one where you clear your throat, straighten your posture, look your boss in the eye, and do your best to express the values and virtues of investing in more marketing.
And the reason that you and your counterparts in other businesses would rather get a root canal or give yourselves a tax audit than have this particular conversation, is because it doesn’t tend to end with a thumbs up. It’s more likely to end up with a shrug and those cruel words that parents tell their children when there’s no chance that their request will be fulfilled within the next decade: “we’ll see about that.”
The Real Problem
The real, root problem here isn’t a matter of information: it’s a matter of perception. Unlike some of your colleagues whose fields of knowledge lie elsewhere, you know that investing in more marketing isn’t a “nice to have” – it’s ESSENTIAL.
And it’s more vital and valuable now than it has ever been before, because today’s customers — whether individual consumers or other businesses — are sophisticated, skeptical and overwhelmed with options. Trying to cut through the endless buzz of information overload in order to start a relationship and ultimately sell a solution doesn’t happen on its own. It happens through marketing.
So the question becomes: how do you recalibrate and, frankly, correct your boss’s perception so that everyone is on the same page and aware that investing in more marketing isn’t just a good idea, but a fundamental requirement? Here are 4 ways to get to the Promised Land:
1. Show ‘em the numbers
The default way for your boss to deflect your request (or plea) for a bigger marketing budget is to say that it doesn’t get results. Well, now instead of shaking your head in frustration, hold it up high and roll out these incredibly persuasive statistics:
- 60% of the sales cycle is over before a buyer considers talking with or emailing a business (source: 2013 State of Inbound Marketing)
- Inbound leads cost 60% less than outbound leads (source: Search Engine Journal)
- 80% of decision-makers prefer to get information in a series of articles rather than in an advertisement (source: Content Marketing Institute)
- Companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t (source: Social Media B2B).
- 80% of people identify themselves as blog readers (source: Content Marketing Institute)
- Business websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links than business websites without blogs (source: ContentPlus)
- 75% of users never go past the first page of search engine results (source: HubSpot)
All of these statistics paint a vivid picture that marketing is far from an optional nice-to-have. It’s an essential investment that delivers ROI, and businesses that ignore or neglect it do so at their peril.
Your boss’s view of marketing may be out of date; especially if she or he had a negative experience years ago and “swore off marketing”. That means you need to do some quick, effective educating on the realities vs. myths.
Specifically, you want to focus on inbound marketing – which is likely an aspect that your boss is unfamiliar with. You want to get across that inbound marketing is really not marketing in the conventional sense, but rather an extension of the sales effort because it’s fundamentally about building relationships, establishing credibility and differentiation, delivering multiple points of value in various ways, and ushering customer through all phases of the sales cycle — one that doesn’t just sell them a product or service, but cultivates them into evangelists who help you sell even more down the road.
Basically, all of the above is what your boss wants and needs the sales people to do. Explaining that inbound marketing is the rocket fuel that takes this process to a whole new level – and in a manner that is scaleable and automated – should make a very positive impression. You may even get a standing ovation.
3. Show, don’t tell
Give your boss real world examples of how and what inbound marketing looks like when it’s done right. HubSpot has some excellent case studies (get them here) that tell some very compelling stories – and all of them are 100% business stories, and therefore speak the same language as your boss. Here at Leap Clixx, we also have some excellent items and assets that we can share with you.
If you really want to make an impact, you can also share examples of what your top competitors are doing – i.e. the ebooks they’re producing, the blogs they’re publishing, the infographics they’re sharing and so on. When you provide these to your boss, make sure that you highlight that these competitors have no incentive to waste resources on nice-to-have marketing assets.
4. Don’t go it alone!
Last but certainly not least: don’t go it alone! That is, contact the inbound marketing experts here at Leap Clixx and we’ll be happy to give you the tools, insights and advice you need to transform your boss from passive to passionate.
In fact, we can even deliver a customized presentation with you, and be on-hand to answer the tough questions that boss’s tend to ask; questions that often start with “the last time we spent on marketing…”
The Bottom Line
Getting your boss to spend more on marketing – and specifically, on inbound marketing – doesn’t need to be a dreadful ordeal. Rather, it can be an exciting opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have the vision and the solution that your business needs to blow past the competition, and get to the next level.
Looking for more ways to convince your boss to invest in more marketing? Read about what an Inbound Marketing campaign should look like in our eBook “A Guide to Inbound Marketing Best Practices”.