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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● May 13, 2015

3 Things that Led to Inbound Marketing Failure at a Manufacturing Company

Inbound Marketing is a powerful methodology built on the premise of creating attractive content that people want to consume that is available when and where they need that content.  Create great content, optimize it, give people a mechanism to convert and get it, and then nurture those leads through the sales process. Devilishly simple to explain, not always easy to execute.

inbound-marketing-failWe lost a client about one year ago when a smaller company we had done great work for that resulted in demonstrable increases in revenue was purchased by a much larger company with multiple divisions. Where we were working directly with the owner and the top executives we went to reporting to a division head that would not really talk to us and mostly dealing with an accounting person asking us why HubSpot was so expensive.  That was where our relationship became something unsustainable.

The big reasons inbound marketing failed at this company boiled down to three things:

  1. There was no recognition in management that early in the sales process leads were of any value.

  2. The company never adopted any process to hand sales MQL or marketing qualified leads to sales people.

  3. The culture of the sales team never evolved to understand that the buying process had changed and that bottom of the funnel or BOFU leads went online to seek answers to problems.

We were brought in to generate leads but what they really meant was that they wanted BOFU leads that were ready to ask for a quote and hand them a purchase order.  They never internalized or valued the early in the funnel leads that were downloading white papers and reading blog posts.  They did not appreciate the changing sales process and hat a large % of the journey is done before they ever pick up a phone or fill out a form and ask for a quote.  Unless a lead was sales ready, meaning their hand was up and they were looking for a sales person, the team did not give them much time or effort.

In the end the new owners sincerely believe, contrary to evidence we provided, that their ideal buyers do not go online when they need help in their area of expertise.  Hard to believe for us inbound marketing devotees but there are still old school executives that search Google daily, buy on Amazon, subscribe to music subscription services but do not think industrial buyers are using the Internet. 

While we are always disappointed to lose a client because we put our hearts and souls and precious time into each of them, sometimes you just have to say goodbye and wish them the best of luck.  

That and reach out to their biggest competitor and pitch our expertise at inbound marketing and specific knowledge of their industry.  That will be my next phone call.

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Topics: Marketing, Manufacturing