How Inbound Marketing Can Help B2B Enterprise Technology Organisations
Written by Fes Askari
Aug 14 2019
How can a strategic approach to inbound marketing bring value to those in the B2B enterprise technology space? We look at solving B2B enterprise marketing challenges with inbound.
Inbound marketing has been the go-to tactic for many B2B marketers over the last few years. Working to attract, nurture and convert quality prospects over time, it aligns well with longer sales cycles, positions a brand as a thought leader and creates meaningful customer relationships for reduced churn.
So how can a strategic approach to inbound bring value to those in the enterprise technology space? What advantages can an inbound focus offer, and what marketing and sales challenges can it address as part of a wider marketing mix?
Inbound Marketing for B2B Enterprise Technology Organisations
Solving Enterprise Marketing Challenges with Inbound
It’s a well-worn argument, but the reality is that all organisations - and especially those in enterprise tech - ought to be engaging in a strategic mix of inbound tactics like content and email marketing, as well as (considered, non-interruptive) outbound tactics that utilise the traditional sales team.
As a top-level summary, an inbound marketing and sales strategy is buyer persona-centric, designed to attract, convert, close and delight best-fit buyers via relevant, helpful content that engages relevant audiences. It works at every stage of the funnel as a relevant (rather than interruptive) tactic - resulting in leads, early stage sales conversations, and clear ROI when it comes to Cost Per Lead.
For B2B enterprise tech organisations, this means that inbound can deliver value across numerous areas and help solve multiple acquisition and nurture challenges, particularly with extended sales cycles.
At a glance, adopting inbound helps organisations to:
Generate consistent, quality lead volumes over time
Understand the real cost per acquisition (CPA)
Close the lead-to-sales loop
Align disjointed campaigns and messaging
Align marketing and sales
Provide sales teams with relevant content
Prove ROI across related campaign activities
And, looking at more specific use cases, inbound unlocks value across multiple areas of the business, enabling:
A strategic approach to content that leverages existing brand authority for SEO.
Often, a key challenge for B2B enterprise tech organisations is how to prioritise content topics, or how to create a cohesive (rather than a scattergun approach) to content - particularly when building the brand in new markets or product areas.
Here, taking a topic cluster focus, creating longform pillar page content as part of a considered inbound content and SEO initiative - is a prime quick win for enterprise tech brands. By creating audience relevant content within a strategic pillar and topic structure, it’s possible to leverage a brand’s existing domain authority to dominate often competitive topic areas in search much faster. This results in higher quality traffic and leads, while securing the brand as a topic thought leader.
“A pillar page is more than just ‘a big blog post’. Pillars can’t exist as stand-alone items; they must form part of a wider content and SEO strategy to drive value and be seen. And, done well, a pillar page has the potential to establish you as topic authority to drive substantial, relevant traffic back to your site.”
Enhanced insight for greater understanding of your audiences.
Inbound activity provides multiple touchpoints to nurture relevant prospects through their buying journey, educating around their pain points and positioning the brand as a helpful advisor. As such, with the right infrastructure, inbound helps enable progressive profiling; it collates ongoing insight about good-fit buyers as they engage with the brand over time (such as converting on a form, downloading certain content, or discussing particular topics on your chatbot). As a result, it’s possible to gain a much clearer picture of prospects, their challenges and interests - which can be used to inform sales engagement, content strategy, segmentation and more.
Greater insight for sales team enablement.
An inbound approach creates cohesive alignment between sales and marketing. Equipped with more in-depth marketing data and audience insight, sales professionals are much better placed to hold productive, effective conversations. Here, even if the sales team are conducting more traditional ‘outbound’ tactics, they have the benefit of inbound insight into a prospect’s challenges and buying journey.
And as a result of more relevant, right-fit messaging, a greater understanding of the audience, an inbound approach enables a much lower cost per lead.
Inbound vs Outbound
Of course, this is not to say that enterprise tech organisations considering inbound should abandon an outbound approach entirely - or that inbound can’t be used alongside other approaches such as ABM. Rather, it’s a case of combining the right tactics at the right time - business lifecycle stage, resource and budget, and target market must all be considered - for best results.
Your organisation’s strategic goals and vision also come into play here; what is it you’re trying to achieve and in what time frame? If you’re looking for long-term, brand-defined success, inbound should be a priority approach, though you'll need to account for the time to deliver inbound ROI when defining your marketing mix.
If you’re looking for a shorter-term-focused, controllable lead flow, the default for many marketers is to consider a more outbound approach. However, one problem with traditional outbound tactics is their lack of targeting - the classic scattergun approach, packing in the numbers at the top of the funnel - which leads to low conversion rates, poor client-fit and too many disqualified leads.
Here, a combination of the two tactics, using the insight and focus that an inbound approach enables, to deliver relevant, considered outbound tactics can be a quality quick win.
How can Enterprises See Success if They Adopt an Inbound Approach?
When adopting inbound in an enterprise setting, a combination of factors come into play. It’s important to build the business case to prove the value of change and secure investment from upper management, especially in larger organisational structures.
The successful implementation of inbound tactics in enterprise business requires taking a sensible, step-by-step approach, rather than a 180 about-turn. By starting with a pilot project, committing to creating good content consistently rather than lots of unrelated content frequently, and most of all, ensuring you demonstrate and attribute the ROI from day one, you’ll be more likely to succeed in implementing inbound techniques in an enterprise organisation.
Inbound as Part of the Bigger Picture
Ultimately, to achieve the growth goals your enterprise organisation is striving towards , you’ll almost certainly need to evaluate the role inbound can play alongside more traditional marketing.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start finding out what is required for your enterprise organisation to succeed and get in touch with our team for some strategic guidance.