It’s hard to refute how important inbound marketing has been in shaping the modern marketing industry.

In the last few years, marketers have fundamentally shifted the way we approach our marketing campaigns, the way we approach potential buyers, and the way we build customer relationships. With the number of leads generated on the rise and cost per lead on the decline, it’s hard to argue with the results of this shift.

But sales and marketing success requires more than inbound alone. Inbound marketing is just one part of a successful marketing strategy. Without the support of marketing automation, it becomes a real challenge to turn your inbound efforts into real revenue.

That’s why we’ve created our newest eBook, The Guide to Inbound & Automation. The eBook provides a detailed look at how marketers can successfully create and implement inbound marketing in their own organizations, and they can tie this new strategy to existing technologies like marketing automation to extend the reach and impact of campaigns even further.

To give you a taste of this new eBook, we’ve included a short preview below. You can download your own copy for free to read the full eBook.

Where Inbound Falls Short

Inbound marketing is a highly effective strategy, but in isolation, it often falls short for B2B companies. Two of the most critical limitations are:

Inbound alone does not move prospects through the funnel. Inbound marketing is a great way to attract and educate leads, helping you fill the top of your sales funnel. However, inbound is less applicable to leads that are already in your sales funnel and need to be moved through the funnel to close. To move leads to close requires much of the same relevant content, but a slightly different approach: one focused on lead nurturing and sales.

Inbound does not close deals. Similar to the point above, inbound marketing will not help you sign clients on its own. Sales reps will always be a crucial part of any sales process and it takes a lot of time and effort for them to close deals. Your inbound marketing needs to be a feeder system to keep your sales funnel stocked up with viable prospects.

These can be detrimental limitations for modern marketing departments that are under more pressure than ever before to generate revenue and real business results. So how can you shore up these weak points to make inbound part of a larger marketing machine? With marketing automation!

Marketing Automation takes the top of funnel leads created through your inbound marketing efforts and moves them through the rest of the funnel with lead nurturing and the involvement of your sales team.


3 responses to Inbound Marketing Needs Automation

  1. Pairing inbound marketing with traditional marketing automation is like taking a fine champagne and then pairing it with a fast food hamburger. It will get come calories in your stomach, but the champagne deserves better.

    I agree that the role of marketing and sales in the buyer’s journey does not end with the submission of a landing page. But the inbound approach to the middle of the funnel is to think about the buyer and how to engage them across channels in the ways they want to be engaged.

    The buying process has changed. Buyers are now in control and have all the cards. Our job as marketers is not to generate leads (inbound or otherwise) and then email the crap out of them using “automation”. Marketing automation was invented in 1999 with the founding of Eloqua, and the subsequent copycat players have barely evolved from that original vision. It is time for a change. It is time to think about buyer engagement in the middle of the funnel as more than marketing automation.

    Buyers are still in control in the later stages of the buying process, and email alone is not the solution to engaging them on their terms. Buyers need to be engaged in personalized ways beyond email. They need to be engaged on social media, they need to be engaged through mobile devices, they need to see content personalized to them on your website. It is crazy to send someone an email that is personalized and then not know who they are when they tweet at your company and not have your website be just as personalized to them as the email you sent.

    Inbound is about buyers, not marketing and not sales. The companies of the future will be inbound companies. The choice everyone has today is to either be part of the future or keep using the old marketing automation playbook that was designed 15 years ago.

  2. Hmmm, a debate among giants. Let me climb up my bean stalk and join in the fray!

    Pairing inbound marketing (a la leads coming at you) with marketing automation (no lead left behind) is not like pairing wine with burgers- it’s more like burgers & soda. Take a bit bite, munch, munch, and then a big gulp of Dr Pepper on a hot day. Ahhhhh, refreshing.

    The idea of leads being generated by blogging induced Google Search traffic and then being strategically nurtured with continuing amounts of helpful information- these concepts are not diametrically opposed! They’re like BFFs. And let’s be honest, if automation was a burger, Hubspot wouldn’t be making dramatic improvements to the way it automates. 😉

    I think the war is one of words, and Hubspot’s evangelism of “inbound marketing” as a proprietary benefit of their system is partly to blame. They did a great job encouraging people to acquire leads through channels other than list buying. It’s a huge benefit to business as a whole having this be championed. But “inbound marketing” as a methodology isn’t solely Hubspot. Whether Hubspot marketing created this myth or it’s a product of their very busy marketing team is a mystery.

    What I do know is that lead generation and marketing automation go together beautifully. They compliment and multiply each other. Muah! Big ole kiss.

    However, responding to an organization’s post with thoughts like “Our job as marketers is not to generate leads” worries me. Marketers are indeed asked to generate leads. Get lofty and talk relationship, but at the end of the day the VP of Sales and CEO look in your direction and say, “How many leads did we get this month?” While the importance of the CMO role finds recent increases in power and relevance, we need to be careful to be mindful of the metrics as much as the meta.

    So Hubspot’s contribution to getting us thinking about how we generate leads will go down in history, but we all know that how it adapts to improve it’s ability to automate will decide it’s role in the future.