By Mike Wolfe
Every profession comes with it’s own set of irritations. And despite how fun, fast-paced and rewarding inbound marketing can be, frustrations can still occur among inbound marketing teams and individuals when things aren’t running smoothly. Here are a few common pain points voiced by inbound marketers as well as ways to overcome them.
Are any of these frustrations felt among your inbound marketing team?
Lack of Team Cohesiveness
There are a lot of moving parts involved in executing an inbound marketing plan - web development, content creation and research to name a few. For it to work effectively, everyone needs to be on the same page and working cohesively towards the same goal. Simply knowing each other’s roles and understanding how all the pieces fit can help avoid confusion and streamline efficiency.
How to Overcome: Make sure every process is mapped out and every role is defined. Have a clearly documented standard operating procedure (SOP) developed by the team who will actually be performing the work. When putting the SOP together, identifying inefficiencies and optimizing each individual's workload based on their interests, strengths and expertise can also improve cohesiveness.
Constant Change in Direction
It’s almost December and time to develop marketing plans for next year. You’ve gone through a countless number of meetings. You’ve done the research. And now you’ve successfully put together an inbound marketing plan that includes strategies, tactics and objectives for the whole year. You’re all set! Then, for one reason or another, you’re given a whole new set of directives that require you to go back to the drawing board. Inbound marketing plans take time to develop before they can come to fruition. Too much change too quickly (before there’s enough time to execute) can stifle progress and burn out your team before any results are ever achieved.
How to Overcome: Establish challenging, but achievable, goals and identify the resources needed to reach them. Once a plan is developed, stick to it. Invest in it and give it time to develop. There will likely be some components of the plan that can be tweaked for better performance, but the overall direction of marketing efforts shouldn't change too often if you want to keep your marketing team energized.
Push for Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a different approach than traditional marketing in that before converting a prospect into a lead for sales, it first must attract them - which is done through non-invasive messages and content that prospects actually want to receive. When an organization as a whole isn’t bought into the inbound methodology and inbound marketers are pushed to do outbound marketing, such as producing a “blast” email to an un-targeted list or to promote a product using an aggressively salesy message, it can be confusing and cause frustration because it goes against the inbound marketing methodology.
How to Overcome: Ensure that your entire organization knows the difference between inbound and outbound strategies, decide which strategy works best for your organization and make sure you have complete buy-in from staff - especially the leaders. If a combination of inbound and outbound strategies work best, make that clear to everyone as to why there’s a mix of strategies. This will help avoid confusion among your team.
Disconnects Between Sales and Marketing Departments
It’s not pretty when sales and marketing teams struggle to work together. Sales teams are often pressured to hit sales goals, while marketing teams are pressured to hit lead goals. When both departments are siloed from each other and solely focused on their departmental goals, it can create several disagreements between the two departments.
How to Overcome: Make sure there are consistent definitions around what constitutes a marketing qualified lead and that both sales and marketing departments understand and agree. Closed loop marketing can help determine valuable lead sources and help justify the value of leads - creating a holistic approach to the sales and marketing process and reducing disputes about the quality and origin of leads.
Unrealistic deadlines are met at the expense of quality and effectiveness. Content, an essential component of inbound marketing, takes time to put together. It needs to be developed according to the target buyer persona’s interests. It needs to be planned and strategically placed in a conversion path with an enticing enough message to get prospects to take the next step. So when someone has an idea for a whitepaper, guide or other premium content and demands a quick turnaround, it can cause frustration among the marketing team that ends up working hard to produce something in a short timeframe that may not be as effective as it could have been with proper planning.
How to Overcome: Consider the quality of content when assigning deadlines and how it might be affected if there’s simply not enough time in the day for your team to put forth their best effort in planning and executing while still balancing the rest of their workload. If more content or campaigns are needed to get the results you want, consider an inbound marketing agency as an extension of your team that can get the job done in a fraction of the time - without sacrificing results.
What are some of your biggest frustrations as an inbound marketer? What tips do you have to overcome them?