Does Inbound Marketing Work in EVERY Business?

I have two answers, a short one and a long one.

The short one is, “Yes, but not with every customer.”
The long one is:
If you believe that the internet is just for porn, kids or a fad, you’re a fool. I’m 60 years old. Not every 60 year old uses his Droid to search Google when his wife asks, “Do we know anybody on the Kennbunk list?” Some people have to wait to read the newspaper the next day.
I don’t know –
  • what percentage of 40 – 70 year olds have the app for what you sell. 
  • what percentage did a search on Google today.
  • what percentage didn’t turn their computer on today.
  • what percentage used the yellow pages or dialed 411 today.
  • what percentage actually opened that catalogs, flyers and other ‘junk’ mail that arrived today.
  • what percentage made a purchase from a telemarketer today.
  • what percentage called a friend to ask for a referral or called your competitor based on a friend’s referral.
  • etc.
Do you? Whether you do or do not, the real question is,
“Are you willing to let every customer whose shopping and buying process doesn’t
align with your sales and marketing process buy from your competitor?”
So, what are you gonna do different today?
What will it take to finish 2012 strong or kick start 2013?
How long is your cycle?
Is it already too late?
Are you sure?
You want to schedule a free 15 minute conversation? (Be sure to include your number.)

#FF (Fun Friday Post) The Lone Ranger and Tonto

The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep. 

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, ‘Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see? ‘ 

‘The Lone Ranger replies, ‘I see millions of stars.’

‘What that tell you?’ asked Tonto. 

The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, ‘Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. 

What does it tell you, Tonto?’ 

‘You dumber than buffalo. It means someone steal tent.’

Sales Lesson: Don’t over think the obvious!

Meet the parents!

Carole Mahoney has drawn several parallels between dating and sales. Blind dates. First dates. Last dates. Going steady. Trauma. Fear. Techniques.

Yes, but, do you remember what you felt like when it was time to ‘meet the parents’? What did you feel like when you had to meet their parents? What did you feel like when they had to meet yours?
So, what’s so nerve-wracking about ‘meeting the parents’? Is the anxiety real? Is it the collision of two separate worlds? Is it the importance of both?
That led me to the question, is there a difference between the professional you and the personal you. Would your customers, vendors, partners, employer approve of your ‘at home’ self? Would your children and spouse think less of you if they saw the way you are at work? Do you hate going to work? Does your job grate on your principles?
If there’s a difference between your two selves, if you have different ethics for work and play you could be causing yourself unnecessary stress and conflict. That’s why I love it when one of my clients tells me that their spouse or child asks them, “What does Rick think?”
What brought this post on? Monday night, Elaine and I went out to dinner with Carole Mahoney, her husband, Steve (the birthday boy), Nate, her oldest whose birthday was the next day, and Michael, the younger brother. Nobody had to pretend and everybody had a good time.

The Online-Offline Sales Continuum

John Beveridge is another one of those guys like Don Battis and myself. He’s old enough to know what an encyclopedia and the yellow pages are, but smart enough to know that they no longer matter. The world is changing and the internet has changed the way customers shop and buy and consequently the way we do business. John has a long career in finance, insurance and HR. He founded Rapidan Strategies earlier this year to use his experience help other business owners in the new world. Enjoy!

I’m fortunate enough to participate in a weekly web conference with the Inbound Networkers Group.  This group is managed by the Rainmakermaker himself, Rick Roberge.  The tagline for Rick’s blog is “Selling in the 21st Century” and that’s what this article is about.  There’s a reason I try to make sure not to miss our Thursday calls – I get something new and useful out of every call.

Last Thursday, we spent a fair amount of time talking about the online-offline continuum within the context of selling.  Most, if not all, of the group are HubSpot customers and are firm believers in the power of inbound marketing.  I became a convert because I realized that inbound marketing syncs my selling process with the way people and organizations buy in the 21st century.  

Which brings me to the point of this article.  We all are getting leads using inbound marketing, but we all understand the ultimate success of our businesses depends upon our ability to successfully nurture a relationship that begins online into one that exists in the “real” world.  Unless you’re selling a product or commodity using eCommerce, people still buy from people.  To take that one step further, people buy from people they like and trust.

So here are some ideas for creating real relationships from virtual ones:

  • Find someone who your prospect knows and respects and get an introduction.  Rick is probably the best networker that I’ve ever met – he believes in the concept of karma and shares his network with his friends.  That’s essentially the raison d’etre of the Inbound Networkers Group.  Getting an introduction from a trusted friend is the best form of social proof available.
  • Learn about your prospect’s needs and desires before you try to take the relationship offline.  There are numerous resources available to find out basic information about your prospect – LinkedIn and Google are two quick ones that come to mind.  Try to take it one step further; find someone that knows your prospect and give her a call.  See if you can find out something that’s not available on LinkedIn.
  • Don’t make it all about you!  Guess what – nobody cares.  Find a way to help solve a problem your prospect is facing and offer assistance without any expectations or requirements for a payback.  You might help your prospect by offering a framework to analyze options to solve a problem.  If you offer options that don’t include your solution, you demonstrate that you have the prospect’s best interests at heart.  Most people like options.
  • Pick up the phone!  Many of us (myself included) rely too much on email.  Email is a great communications tool, but it lacks the immediate feedback you get from a live conversation.  When you pick up the phone, be respectful of your prospect.  Have a brief statement prepared that explains why you’re calling and the benefits of the prospect speaking with you.  Here’s an example:  “Hi, Joe, Rick Roberge suggested I give you a call about the new iPhone app you’re developing.  He thought it might be useful for us to kick around a few ideas on how to sell your app using your website and social media.  Is now a good time to talk?”

As we were discussing the online to offline relationship development, Rick offered a perspective that I hadn’t thought of.  What about the executive decision-maker who has had a long, successful career based on a totally offline style?  How do you educate that executive on the benefits of online relationships and selling?  In that situation, the key word is educate.  Without being pedantic, you need to demonstrate the value of online relationships in the 21st century selling paradigm.  In many instances, taking that relationship online is just as important as taking the online relationships offline.

If you’d like to learn more about the online-offline sales continuum, another good resource is the Collaborative Growth Network, run by HubSpot’s Pete Caputa.  In the interest of proper attribution, many of the ideas discussed above were offered and fleshed out by my Inbound Networkers Group colleagues including Rick Roberge, Matt Roberge, Dale Berkebile, Carole Mahoney, Michael Mills and Don Battis (forgive me if I forgot someone.)   If you’re interested in joining the group, please let us know.  I personally find the weekly teleconferences invaluable.  

And please – let us know your thoughts on taking online relationships offline and vice-versa.

Blah, Blah, Blah or Social Media Success

After a while, does every post sound the same? Blah! Blah! Blah!

Seriously, you might be a good writer. You might be an expert in your field. You might be relevant.
But, could a little variety add value?
I’ve written 5 of the 8 articles on my blog in the past 18 days.
Look at this. Guests posts were #1, #3 and #5 on my blog and they’re still getting read every day!
Now, think about this. My readers are getting some variety. They’re bringing their followers to my blog and some are staying. Each one of them makes a point that fits with my thinking and my guest authors are getting a broader reach. Isn’t that win/win to the nth degree?

Who’s Your Barber and What’s It Have to Do with Sales?

So, I in my last post, “To get better at sales look at your Barber!” I asked readers to vote on their answer to this question. You walk into a barber shop and see two barber chairs and two barbers. One of them looks like George Clooney. The other looks like Nick Nolte.
Which one do you want to cut your hair?

Not surprisingly, out of 415 people that read the article, only 5 voted (including me). (As an aside here, you inbound marketers, this is the kind of apathy or fear that you have to deal with. They might not care enough about the message to click the link to vote. They also might be fearful that if they click the link, it’ll indicate interest and subject them to years of spam and unwanted messages.)
Also, not surprisingly, 3 voted for Clooney and 2 for Nolte. So, apparently appearance and design do matter.
But, this is why I asked the question and the lesson that I wanted to share.
Here’s why I voted the way that I did.
I figure that if the shop has two chairs and two barbers that they try to be busy and they want to get their hair cut during the slow times. I figure that it’s pretty difficult to give yourself a haircut. I also figure that they don’t want to go down the street to get their hair cut. What kind of message would that send if one of their customers saw them getting their hair cut in another barber shop? So, I’d guess that they cut each other’s hair. (You could just ask them where they get their hair cut to confirm.) Now, with that logic in mind, do you want a haircut like George Clooney’s or like Nick Nolte’s?
So, I voted for Nick Nolte because he cut George Clooney’s hair and I want to look like that. (BTW, if you want a haircut like Nolte’s then clearly you want Clooney to cut your hair.)
Here’s the lesson and I’m gonna use me as an example, but you can apply it to any consultant that you know. I can be abrasive with my clients. I can be unbending with my clients. It’s not unusual for a client to be uncomfortable during a coaching session with me. But many of my clients become rock stars and they’re proof that my style works. I remember someone telling me years ago that they didn’t want to learn to sell the way that I did because she didn’t like the way I sold. She shouldn’t have been looking at me. She should have been looking at my clients.
Anyway, remember that I told you that I was only gonna use me as an example. Here’s the deal. When you want to hire somebody to make you better at something, find somebody that you want to be like and ask them who they hired. Then contact that person with the resolve that you will do whatever it takes and hire them even if it hurts or don’t waste your money.

To get better at sales look at your Barber!

OK. I can hear the giggles. The old man has gone off the deep end. He’s started drooling and is ready for the rest home.

Bear with me. Give me 100 words.
Answer this question. You walk into a barber shop and see two barber chairs and two barbers
One of them looks like George Clooney. The other looks like Nick Nolte.
Which one do you want to cut your hair?
I’ll vote tomorrow and I’ll explain my vote.

Inbound12 Networking with Rick Roberge

This is another guest post by Don Battis. Truthfully, I almost didn’t publish it because, well I’ll let you figure out why. In his own, unedited words, Don Battis…

The Inbound 12 event was a great opportunity to participate
in “the conversation”- just like we all are trying to do on social media.  Blogging, tweeting, and posting on Facebook
is fine. But for the most part, it is a one-way street in terms of having a
conversation. If nobody comments, replies, Retweets, or likes then we never
know if anyone is listening.  Maybe we’re
just amusing ourselves.

I was excited for the opportunity to meet and talk with some
of the Inbound Marketing thought leaders at Inbound 12. To prepare for the
conference, I made sure to stuff a big handful of business cards into my
pocket, and it was a good thing I did!

After the Opening Day Keynotes, where I got to shake hands
with David Meerman Scott, I set out
with the 2,800 other Inbound Marketers, eager to “work the room” and meet some other
Hubspot converts.  The common thread for
all was to become better marketers so that we could grow our businesses.

Pete Caputa says
in his blog, “working a room” at an event can be
tough.  It’s hard to introduce yourself
to people and make any kind of meaningful connections.  But walk into a that same room with someone
who is already known and trusted, like Rick
, and you will easily make valuable connections.

Guess who I ran into right after the keynotes, aimlessly
wandering the hallways?        

I dragged him with me to hear Mark Roberge’s talk on Paid Media.  This presentation was tops on my list that morning,
as I wanted to meet more of the @rainmakermaker family. I already know Mark’s little brother, Matt, who has an online bookkeeping business in Salt Lake City.                                                                                                

We were no sooner seated in our row when Rick asks the man
next to him, “Who are you and what do you do?” 
“Why, I’m David Gran.  I sell homes near military bases.” 

“Oh”, says Rick. “You should meet Don Battis. He has an online pawn shop. You two
might be selling to the same people. Give him a business card.” So we exchanged
cards and talked about HubSpot.

Then the man in the next row turns around to see what is
going on.  “Who are you and what do you
do?” asks Rick. “I’m Hoyt Mann. I sell
customer support software.” The man replies. 
“Very cool.” Says Rick.  “These
guys must need software in their business. 
Give them business cards.”

After the presentation, Rick looks up from his phone and
says to me, “Come on we’re having lunch with Arjun Moorthy.  He’s HubSpot’s VP of Product.”

Off we go to the lunchroom, which is now crowded with most
of the 2,800 attendees.  Rick gets a call
from Arjun who’s never met Rick and is wondering how they’ll find each other in
that crowed room.  “Don’t worry”, says
Rick. “You’ll find me.  I’m standing next
to Don Battis who’s a tall guy with white hair.” (Yeah, and he should have
added that he was the other tall white haired guy with the LOUD Hawaiian shirt.)

Soon enough, Arjun found us; we picked up our lunches, and
started the search for a place to sit.  Arjun
ran into an old friend, Rob Theis, who
joined our little lunch group.  Rob is
Managing Director of Scale Venture Partners, an early investor in HubSpot.  Rob knew of a small media room next door
where we found a quiet place to eat lunch. 
As we all sat at a big round table, we exchanged business cards and chatted
about our various HubSpot experiences.  Rick
noticed a man at the next table. He was sitting all by himself with his nose
pushed into his laptop.  “Hey you!”
called Rick.  “Stop pretending to work
and come join us.”  The man came to join
us at our table.  It turned out he is a
CBS Chicago reporter doing interviews of the keynote speakers at
Inbound12.  Shame on him though, he came
empty handed with no business cards!

Soon Mike Volpe,
CMO at HubSpot, sat down with us.  I have
always wanted to meet Mike because I’m a big fan of the Friday afternoon
HubSpot TV.  HubSpot TV is the signal in
our office to “crack open a cold one.” 

We covered a lot of ground in our lunchtime conversation (sailing,
San Francisco restaurants, Boston bars, Cindy Lauper, etc.) and all of it
related somehow to HubSpot.  We all had
different connections with the company and I think we all learned a little
something from the varied perspectives. 

Throughout the rest of conference, both on my own and as
part of Rick’s Posse, I came to view the Inbound 12 as an Inbound Networking
event.  It is what marketers want social
media to be, a place for word-of-mouth referrals and connections.  But it takes a sales person to say “Hello”,
stick out a hand, and exchange business cards to actually connect. 

Rick’s blog gives those of us, who guest post and comment, a
way to expand our reach to his followers. 
We’re trying to engage with new people and hopefully make new
connections.  But even online, it’s not a
passive activity.  You need to

So, now you know how to make me blush, but amidst all the ‘Rick’ stuff, Don made a great point. Inbound Marketing works even better if you get your vocal chords involved. Come check out the Inbound Networkers Group on LinkedIn and/or join us at one of our weekly online meetings.

Thanks, Don!