When I started my internship at one of the largest software companies in the world back in 2000, my manager gave me a tour of the office facilities. As we passed through the floors with the salespeople's offices, you could feel the tension in the air.
May I ask you a direct question?
How do you feel about your content marketing efforts in 2016?
If you are like most B2B marketers, you probably feel a little better about it than the year before.
According to the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs’ B2B Content Marketing 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Survey, 45% of North American B2B marketers felt somewhat more successful and 28% felt about the same regarding their content marketing efforts compared to a year ago.
However, only 17% of the respondents were confident that they were much more successful!
Now with Thanksgiving and all the Black Friday / Cyber Monday Week craziness behind us, the end of the year is fast approaching. Every year, when things calm down between Christmas and New Years, I like to take a step back and reflect upon the last year. What has worked and what hasn't? And as a result of that, I think about my priorities for the next year.
Whether you are similarly inclined or simply want to understand what has moved IT and tech companies in 2016, a great way to start is to take a closer look at the HubSpot State of Inbound Report of 2016 (you can download a full copy of the report here).
I pulled out some of the key stats around marketing and sales priorities in the tech industry.
It's official — there are just a few short weeks in 2016 and 2017 is going to be a big year for your company.
But in order to keep your marketing budget from shrinking next year, you need to make sure to spend all left-overs.
However, since more and more CMOs and marketing directors will have to proof a return-on-investment to show that they spend theor budget wisely, blowing it on a random paid search campaign is just a waste of money.
So what to do? Simple! You invest it in something that will give you a head-start for 2017!
Depending on how much money you have to spend and what your goals are for 2017, there are many things you can do — for example, you could optimize your existing blog posts for lead generation and search engine optimization (~$1,000), you could design an infographic (~$750) or test new call to actions for your website (~$50/CTA). For more ideas check out this blog post by HubSpot for even more possible end of year action items.
If you are a HubSpot sales manager, you will get an email every night from your friends on the marketing team. This email includes a chart outlining how marketing is performing against its monthly goal to deliver a pre-defined number of quality leads. The underlying strategy and alignment of the two teams that results from this shared information has been a major contributor to the company's growth in the past six years!
If you have been following Hubspot, the #1 marketing automation solution worldwide, for a while, you will know that the company is somewhat fanatical about their growth! Only a few weeks ago at their yearly Inbound conference, the founders of HubSpot, Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, shared with an audience of 19,000+ marketers, sales people, journalists, and agency partners that HubSpot is now helping 21,000 customers in 90 countries to grow using inbound marketing, lead generation, and sales enablement.
Does this sound familiar? It is Friday afternoon; you are ready to wrap up your week, and your boss walks into your office, saying: "Oh, I forgot! We must get our website redone asap! Can you quickly call up some web design companies? Just get five proposals including pricing and then we can decide at the team meeting on Monday which we should go with."
Sound familiar? However, you know, it is not that easy. Finding a website company that is good is difficult enough.
However, shopping for a website redesign is like shopping for a new car — but hopefully without the pushy salespeople. You might not need to get the prettiest or fastest car, but there are significant differences between an oversized flatbed truck, a used family minivan, or a sleek city-ready hatchback. So what you are shopping for really depends on what you need.
As with shopping for cars, the type of website you need depends on your goals and needs — and therefore you will need to find a web designer who really can help you achieve those.
Prior to the tragic events of 9/11, several FBI agents saw suspicious behavior from individuals on watch lists. Each agent witnessed different events, but there was no central source to look up or collaborate on this. Analysts and FBI field agents couldn't get the information they needed. As it was stated in the 9/11 Commission Report later: "The FBI's information systems were woefully inadequate. The FBI lacked the ability to know what it knew: there was no effective mechanism for capturing or sharing its institutional knowledge." Reports were printed out three times and files as paper records. Databases were siloed. "We had the information that could have stopped 9/11. It was sitting there and was not acted upon..." Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont told the Washington Post.
Today, HubSpot published its "State of Inbound 2016" Report (you can download the full report at the end of this blog post), and we got to take a sneak peek! In previous years, this annual study has served to take the pulse of the current marketing and sales priorities all over the world by surveying thousands of marketers in various industries.
We took a closer look at the data and, over the next few days, we will share with you some incredible insight that we have gleaned. One of the biggest "Aha!" discoveries for us was in content marketing. The report confirmed observations we have made over the past 12 months: The way people CONSUME content changed in three very important ways that will have consequences affecting how we marketers approach and create content from now on.
One of my absolute favorite Inbound Marketing success stories comes from my friend, Marcus Sheridan, who saved his pool company from bankruptcy by answering all the burning questions that prospective pool owners had on his blog. He poured all his knowledge, lots of time and devotion into this blog.
Today his pool company is not only outranking other vendors for their brand names but he is so in demand, he has his inbound marketing consulting agency where he and his team teach other people to do the same. Why was he so successful? Because he did something that no one else did. He went the extra mile!
Can you do the same? Absolutely. You have to do all that Marcus did — but that won't be enough anymore. The problem is, everyone is catching on now. Almost everyone is blogging now, and 76% of B2B marketers planning to produce more content than ever in 2016. So, you have to stand out among the rest. Go than go the extra mile.
Today, we will give you a head start with these 58 things you should already be doing, but you probably aren't.
At the beginning of the year, we switched payroll systems.
We wanted to use a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solution that would enable us to quickly pay contractors and employees, while painlessly managing all of our small business HR needs, such as vacation and overtime.
We did a lot of research, we talked to a bunch of sales reps and started a few trials.
Moreover, while the solutions were almost identical — how many times can you reinvent the same HR wheel, right? — the sales approaches could not have been more different.
Some sales reps were rude and provided no additional information beyond what we had already found on the website, while others were extremely helpful throughout the entire process. They sent us helpful follow-up emails, made sure the trial was set up correctly, and that we knew our way around the product. Needless to say, we went with the helpful company.