As the person focused on bringing in new business for your company, sometimes its difficult for your executive team to understand where you’re coming from. If you know that Inbound is the direction you want to go, you may be getting pushback from your executive team, particularly if they have the “old school” mentality. For a long time, when someone knocked on the door, we answered it. When someone called us, we picked up the phone and said hello. But the age of blind trust is long gone now and the age of information has arrived. Consumers aren’t just going to make a decision because some organization interrupted their life and suggested a new product. You know they want to do the research. But the question is: how can you convince your executive team that outbound tactics aren’t working any longer without constantly being a buzzkill regarding their ideas? You’re sick of being the “no” person. Here are a few suggestions for how to make a case for change in your organization and convince your executive team to implement inbound strategies.
Do the math. Assess current efforts.
Executives, particularly the ones holding you accountable to their bottom line, like to see numbers. They like to see concrete evidence for or against something before making their decision (most of us are that way these days). So build a case. Go into your CRM (you have a CRM, right?) or Outlook and pull all the leads over the last 60 days. Determine not only how many leads came in, but whether or not those leads were converted to customers, the reasons why the others weren’t, and create some charts or graphs showing the difference. Once those are completed, approach the marketing team, ask them about the efforts they’re making, ads they’re putting out, lists they’re purchasing, and cold calls they’re making, along with any other outbound efforts. Do more research and determine a range of what these efforts cost the company and work from your customer conversions to determine a range of cost per lead and then cost per customer. Now you have all the data you need to approach the executive team.
Have a meeting.
First things first. Now that you’re armed with this new information, you have to use your power for good. You can’t forget that you’re on the same team. Any approach that comes from an adversarial point of view will be written off as a whiny sales manager. Sit down with your executive team and show them the data. Show them the bottom line of what leads are costing (odds are if your methods are outbound that its a lot) or show them the lack of quality leads by approaching them with your lead to customer conversion percentages. Tell them that you want to work with marketing to make conversions go up and cost per lead go down. Tell them that you have data (we can give it to you) showing that inbound can do these things.
You probably have their attention now that they know exactly how much their leads are costing them. Make some goals. Tell them that if they give you a chance to work with the marketing team and implement inbound strategies that you’ll be accountable for increasing the number of leads coming in, the lead to customer conversion rate and decreasing the cost per lead. Give yourself a reasonable timeframe, a minimum of 6 months.
When presented with this type of data and a promise, there are few executives that will turn a blind eye. Opposition to an approach like this may be a warning sign of a culture that isn’t willing to be progressive to improve results, so make an assessment if you still get pushback. It’s important to be part of a company who puts the customer first, and truly has growth in mind. We’ve all gotten in the way of our own growth at some point and this can serve as a reality check for stagnant marketing tactics and “same old” efforts that aren’t being held accountable. It’s easy to sit there and play the blame game. Take matters into your own hands, develop a team mentality, present a comprehensive solution and you’ll be on your way to strategizing inbound in no time.