Inbound Marketing Recipe Fails; Bologna Anyone?


I hope my physician doesn’t read my blog because I have to confess something; I like bologna. Yes, that cheap, valve-clogging, artery-hardening sandwich meat full of fat and salt and oh so yummy with mustard between some lily white sliced bread. Want to notch it up a bit? Fry it.

Okay, it’s a rarity that I eat it because I know each bite is shortening my life but I’m betting there are closet bologna fans out there that just reading this has their mouth watering. So what does this have to do with marketing, in particular inbound marketing?

There’s a good post over on Duct Tape Marketing, the blog hosted by John Jantsch, entitled “Are You Building Your Business With A Crock-pot or a Microwave?” that talks about how inbound differs from, is better than traditional methods. I agree with the analogy (especially any that uses food/cooking to make the point 🙂 ) and how user expectations have to be tempered. What I would add is that far too many B2B companies won’t reap the benefits of inbound marketing and here’s why.

Inbound marketing or at least the theory and rationale behind it can make it the easiest marketing method to sell and yet it is the most difficult to implement often due to misalignment of expectations between user, seller and administrator. This leads to multiple friction points and well, then things heat up and not in the pleasant way we want or expect like with a crockpot or microwave.

Inbound also ‘suffers’ from the need for patience, a virtue in short support in alot of companies. In business what used to be called FedEx mentality is now E-mail mentality; not just overnight but near instantaneous results expectations and I wish I were exaggerating. The C-suite and sales leadership expect marketing support that can help them deliver on this month’s/quarter’s revenue goal, not 9-12 months out and longer.

Adding to the challenge, some companies exhibit a form of post-Great Recession traumatic shock syndrome whose primary symptom is terminal procrastination about pulling the trigger on serious marketing budget/effort. Then when push comes to shove the demand for results, any results, increases exponentially leading to “haste makes waste” as money/time/resources get thrown at solutions. This can be a real toxic stew for those championing a slow-cook method like inbound.

Instead there’s often a knee-jerk response, defaulting to “proven” methods because primarily they offer the path of least resistance in garnering management support. This is what’s frequently behind the recurrent fallback to outbound marketing practices or worse, pseudo-inbound with half-baked or missing components, while kicking that legitimate inbound “can” down the road.

So what do we end up with for a marketing menu plan? Crockpot? Microwave? Forget it. They take too long. Break out the bologna.

Got a story about how you got your stakeholders to “eat healthy”?  We’d love to hear about it.



Sales and Marketing Alignment Evolves; Is the “Saleozoic” Era Ending?

A New Business Era When Sales and Marketing Must Align 

Full disclosure. I am a sales person AND a marketer. To some those may be mutually exclusive and even put me on the lowest rungs of the social trust-ranking right around “ambulance chaser” and “secretly tears labels off pillows”. Still, in over twenty-plus years in the agency world including a partner position, few things are as gratifying for me as making the sale. Before this I sold in the industrial and construction industries. Before that retail. And as a kid and teenager, I went door-to-door selling my lawn services or canvassing for an HVAC company. So on the topic of sales and marketing getting on the same page, I’m glad John Jantsch is putting a white-hot spotlight on it in his new book,  “Duct Tape Selling, Think Like a Marketer-Sell Like A Superstar”.

Maybe it will lend more evidence that we’re actually entering a new era in business where a lot of talk and half measures about sales and marketing alignment will be replaced with real, broad progress.



The Time is Ripe but Will the C-suite Belly-up To The Bar?

bar sceneRead Mark Schaefer’s interview with Mr. Jantsch and it sounds like John is all over this. Solutions are badly needed for what I have come to term the “prescriptive” and “orchestration” challenges; namely adapting a new sales and marketing alignment methodology and customizing it according to the many verticals and cultures out there. A lot of work goes into carefully prescribing the correct solutions and timing, then diligently managing the conversion and integration process. Naturally for it to have a chance of lasting success, it needs to get a serious, long-term commitment from company leadership because the change resistance is significant.

The Age of Sales Dinosaurs Is Ending; Why They Won’t Go Quietly

raul-martin-t-rex-edmontosaWhere is change resistance coming from? There is a vast, entrenched culture of hard-boiled salesman and managers with their call lists and briefcases whose mindset is by and large, like that of the therapod dinosaurs. They are governed by nature’s law of conservancy that dictates putting forth energy sparingly to conserve it while exploiting those opportunities that produce results of the highest value with the least energy investment (you survival-theme, reality TV watchers already know this). This basic tenet of survival underpins every action so when someone outside the sales team “pack” promotes a new hunting method, there better be hard proof that it not only conforms to this law but puts more ‘food on the ground’. Adding to the challenge is the U.S. business environment today is the pinnacle of “short attention-span theater” so anyone making the case for change must have carefully engineered it to quickly garner interest (just like any good content) with clear CTAs (just like any conversion process) if it has a prayer of getting consideration or buy-in. The preeminent, age-old problem here is getting stakeholders to try something new that runs the risk of starving and that’s not altogether figurative if you’ve ever tried to exist on commission sales, meet quarterly targets or run your own business.

The Emergence of a New Sales Species

The timing of John’s book couldn’t be better given the evolutionary pressure on the sales team that in my opinion is like the natural selection process that follows a cataclysmic event but instead of a giant asteroid hitting Earth, in this case it was the Great Recession. It came along just as a lot of the furry, little and very intelligent content and inbound marketing animals were emerging.
People like warm, trustworthy and furry and embrace them.
People downright fear being stalked by large reptiles.
I like to think John may be documenting the “dinosaur” die off that marks the end of the “Saleozoic Era”, and the emergence of a hybrid or possibly an entirely new species in the evolution of sales and marketing alignment.
Are you seeing this in your company? Are you one of the new breed? We’d love to read about what you’re seeing in our comments section so please share won’t you.

UPDATE:  Since I first wrote this post, John’s book has gotten alot of good review including this very thorough one I recommend, “Out With the Sales Rep and In With The Sales Guide: A Review of Duct Tape Selling”,  from demand gen authority, Dan McDade over at PointClear. Mosey over for a solid CliffsNotes-esque run down by Dan.