Ensuring your company’s brand is at the front of your consumer’s mind is the ultimate goal for most businesses, but finding the best way to do it can be difficult.
According to a new report by Hubspot, which surveyed 4,000 respondents from 150 countries, inbound marketing is the best practice.
Inbound marketing is a strategy that focuses on being discovered by customers. This can be achieved through social media or search engines. The more traditional style of marketing, otherwise known as outbound marketing, is when a business pushes its products or services to a consumer via radio advertisements, billboards or cold calling.
Over the years, the shift towards an inbound approach can be attributed to changes in consumer behaviour and the widespread use of technology.
But with a new strategy comes new challenges. Business often struggle to prove the return on investment, secure a sufficient budget and successfully manage their online brand.
These are the three biggest problem areas for Australian and New Zealand companies.
Compared to other regions, Australia, New Zealand and North America, were proportionally less concerned with such things as training or talent.
But the overwhelming point made in the report was that the global community prefers inbound practices.
In all five international regions — ANZ, APAC (excluding ANZ), Europe, Middle East and Africa, Latin America, North America — a 3:1 ratio emerged between those who considered their organisation inbound-driven versus outbound-driven.
“While large companies command sizable budgets to spend on flashy advertising, smaller organizations have struggled to get the word out on a relative shoestring,” the report states.
“But that changed with inbound marketing, which prioritizes compelling content over ads, and pulling customers to you rather than pushing your message onto them.
“Suddenly the little guy possessed just as much marketing power (and sometimes more) than their peers with deeper pockets and the companies with over 200 employees, have deployed equally strong inbound and outbound marketing strategies.”
See the breakdown across company size below.
So what should sales and marketing teams take away from this?
Here are six points from the report:
1. Social selling is still more hype than reality. However, pockets exist where interest is on the rise — notably among executives, and in the APAC and EMEA regions.
2. Sales technology budgets have shrunk since last year. In addition, sales departments that have adopted emerging sales tools don’t cite confidence with those tools.
3. Different roles within the sales team experience different CRM obstacles. While manual data entry is still the biggest CRM problem overall, executives struggle with lack of adoption, and managers cry lack of integration with other tools.
4. Prospecting is the most difficult step of the sales process. This issue is compounded by the fact that salespeople lack vital information before they reach out to leads.
5. Field sales isn’t really dying. Despite sensational articles declaring the demise of field sales, hiring data shows that outside reps are getting hired (and fired) at more or less the same rate as inside reps.
6. Executive buyers are not very trusting of salespeople. To regain credibility among executives, salespeople should arm themselves with content and become active on social networks.