Marketing Automation is now Revenue Performance Management?

Recently we were lucky enough to catch up with Andrew Hunt. Andrew is the Founder of Inbound Sales Network and has over 15 years of senior sales and marketing experience, helping companies increase sales performance efficiency by over 500%. Inbound Sales Network leverages the power of a “virtual” network of sales and marketing experts in order to provide world-class solutions at a fraction of the cost of traditional agencies. It’s a new kind of marketing company for the new way companies do business.
Good to see you, Andrew. We obviously know you very well, but tell the world a little about Inbound Sales Network, and what you provide to your clients.
Inbound Sales Network is now in its 3rd year. In that time we have grown from small consulting company into a full service digital agency with over 100 staff members. Our growth has been spurred by the fact that we look at things a little differently. At Inbound Sales Network we first seek to understand who we are targeting. What makes them tick, both demographically and psychographicaly. We then map our lead generation process to the way our client’s ideal customers buy. This has allowed us to develop very targeted cost effective solutions that have proven to deliver up to 15 times greater ROI than our clients were doing before working with us.
Are you seeing a shift in your prospects you talk to with regard to inbound sales and marketing automation? Meaning, are they a bit more savvy about the process and the tool than say, two years ago?
Very much so. In the beginning we had to first educate our prospects about what Marketing Automation was and then walk them through a gradual process. More recently, many clients we first work with may already have a solution and they come to us because they have not been able to get the performance out of it that they expected or hoped for. Many times that is because they don’t have the proper processes, resources and/or content in place.
As an agency, what is it that is important to you when partnering with various tools such as a marketing automation platform?
For us it has been about usability, performance and features from a tool standpoint. From a partnership standpoint, we have to feel solid about the relationship with the vendor. Do they have our best interests in mind? Do they really understand the agency model and what our needs are. These are key reasons we partner with you.
Can you share a success story of yours of a client implementing inbound marketing and marketing automation? You don’t need to mention names but some metrics would be great.
Sure. I’ll give you a couple of the many examples we have seen with marketing automation implementation.
One of my favorite stories of ours is a Toronto information technology training company was near bankruptcy after 7 years of battle with a much larger competitor that had over 70% of the market share. The past 7 years had taken its toll on both the morale of the employees and the delivery performance of the company. Within 12 months of implementing a demand gen and marketing automation strategy, the client saw a 500% increase in sales and a 439% increase in leads. The average sales cycle dropped from 43 days to 15 days while the average deal size increased by 25%. Also, by being able to have top of mind awareness with prospects and engaging them earlier in their buying cycle, we were able to increase close ratios by 24% and profit margins by 16%. Not only was the company able to dominate the local market, but also has now begun to expand into new markets.
Another success story of ours involves a business and reward card platform designed to help retain your customers while drawing in new customers. Thanks to our efforts the CEO remarked “our marketing is five to ten times more effective than any other lead generation process we have tried,”. In the first three months he reports that web site traffic has increased 475%, sales leads have quadrupled, and search traffic is up 130%.
You may have seen the rant post from our President about the term “marketing automation.” How do you sell this term to your customers? Do you even use the term “marketing automation”?
I did read that, and laughed when I read it. It really depends who we are speaking to with regard to the terms we use. Most of the time we are presenting to CEO’s and VP’s of Sales, since we typically speak their language as compared to maybe a more typical marketing agency. Marketing automation is becoming a bit more common these days, but it does get confusing at times to some prospects. I’m not sure why we can’t just call it automated lead management. Its what it is.
What trends do you see developing in your space over the next 1-3 years?
Social integration. Whether it’s B2B or B2C social integration is key. Even more effective especially on the B2C side is the integration with SMS.
Yes, we are seeing that as well and is one of our hot buttons as well as mobile for 2013. What advice can you give to companies that are just starting to understand demand generation and marketing automation?
Walk before you run. Marketing automation is an extremely powerful tool and you may want to sell the world, but until you have learned how to effectively leverage the power of the tool, you will need to walk first. Otherwise you risk over-promising and under-delivering, resulting in unhappy clients. Or very possibly lost clients. Work with a good agency that understands your world and helps you get educated further in demand generation and marketing automation. It definitely is a marathon, not a sprint.
Thank you, Andrew. We really appreciate your time.
Thanks to you guys for the great support and partnership over the last few year. Just don’t post a cheesy picture of me, please.

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