Business Strategy: The Fundamentals to an Inbound Business
Before. Practicing, inbound it's important, to understand, the fundamentals, of inbound success, consumers. Don't want to be sold to they want to be educated and, inbound tactics. Can deliver the kind of information, your, prospects, and customers need, to, help them make smart, well-informed, decisions, and ultimately help. Them grow to. Do inbound, you need to be inbound. Here, are four fundamentals, to having an inbound, business, your, company, culture your. Company, buyer personas. The. Buyers journey and, your. Inbound tool stack, starting. First with company. Culture a strong. Company culture is less about the perks and rewards a, culture. Of a company is the environment, that defines, and informs how employees act on behalf of customers and, how the company hires retains. And grows its people in. The state of in down 2017. We, found that the executives, who set the vision for their companies have. Very different perspectives, on the state of their business compared, to individual, contributors, tasked. With executing, on that vision, executives. Need a better understanding, of the day-to-day challenges employees. Face and employees. Need to communicate more clearly the, roadblocks, in the way of their success, without. Clear communication. And alignment, a company. Will struggle to build strong, and lasting, relationship. With, its customers, at. Its core, inbound. Is all about being human, inbound. Has huge, applications. For how you find, and grow recruit. And retain your team your. Recruiting, in growth process, both, the candidate, and the employee experience need. To be inherently, human, and that, means being, inherently inbound. Here's. Katie Burk hub spots chief people officer on, company. Culture, and recruiting. So, to me, company, culture is really about defining, what makes your company in your organization, tick so, it's about your mission it's about your values, and it's about the decisions, that people make when no one else is watching and, so when, I think about our culture at HubSpot I think about really defining, what is meaningful to us what types of people succeed, and thrive here, and. Excellence, that our customers, can expect when it comes to our culture our commitment, to them and how we make great decisions on their behalf every day far, too many companies, Human Resources is honestly. A compliance. Tool and the way that we think about people operations at HubSpot is that our employees, are our customers so, when you're running your business day to day really, think about designing, not just to create customer, experience, but also a great employee experience so the way I think about making our employee, experience, inbound, is what, do we actually know about you as a person what do we know about you as a human what do you care about what drives you what motivates, you and when you start designing people's, experience. As employees, around those details, all of a sudden you have an inbound experience, that's significantly, more remarkable, and you have happier, more productive people, who work on your team your, culture is part of the product that you offer and the service and promise you make to your customers, it's, not something that you can set and then forget about inbound. Is about being human, and that means having empathy and being adaptable, so, rather than thinking about your employee experience, as something you can avoid to wait and innovate, on think, about it as a fundamental, promise. It's. Your promise to your customers, and to your business and to your growth strategy, here's. Katie Burke again on how you can make sure you never settle, with employee experience, and so when I think about what, companies, should do as it relates to their culture the first thing I would do is measure it the, second thing I would do is ask your employees what they care about far too many executives, think they have all the answers and it turns out we don't employees. Know what's important, to them they know what they were promised, coming in the door and so if you take the time to ask your employees what's, working and what isn't and actually, react to their feedback you'll, have a winning culture that really helps you grow use. Company-wide, anonymous. Surveys to collect this feedback just. Like you might collect a Net Promoter Score, from your customers, you, can collect an employee Net Promoter Score, you, can use this as a culture, development, tool and, this type of feedback doesn't, have to be anonymous either if you're, a small company you. Can have meetings and get this feedback in person, your, company, culture will help all of your teams or departments. Align, together. With. The inbound philosophy. Several, years ago HubSpot published, their culture, code the, culture code is the operating, system that powers the company, what's. Been so helpful with hub spots culture, code is that, it's documented, let's.
Hear From Dharma, shop HubSpot CTO. And co-founder on. Documenting. Your culture code culture. Is important, well you're gonna have one whether you write. A culture code if you whether you write your culture down or not, so our. Overall position is better to have the culture you want and like and that attracts the kinds of people you want working in the company it's also important. Not. Just to have a culture, but, to have it in written form so you can communicate it out to people as I hear the kinds of people that will likely enjoy working here that, we think will be a success so all the things that we know about building, great product, and and and. Building. Great strong customer relationships, we can apply to. Culture and internal teams and that's just as important, who you build it with as is, as important, as what you build essentially if you're not sure where to start with building a culture code here's, a suggested, framework, start. With your values, which. Should provide employees, clarity, on what is truly important, for your organizational. Success, clarity. On personal, conduct and what, to expect from each other not. Exactly sure where to get started when, creating values well, here's Katie Burke again with a few suggestions, the. True litmus test of a company's values are whether your newest, and most junior employees, can actually recite what they are and actually, talk about how they take place in the workplace if you're, not there yet here's an exercise for you to do write, down your company's, values and actually get input on what's working what isn't when, you think you're done cover, up the company name and ask yourself, would this help a candidate differentiate. You from one of your competitors would. It help people understand, what types of people grow your organization and thrive if not, you have to go back to the drawing board your values, that make your company uniquely. You so, if they're not unique, you have to actually innovate why, not try now can, you list out your company's, values or, maybe you're looking for a job can, you list out what values you look for in an employer as important. As it is to know your company values it's also important, to make sure that you know and can speak to your own personal. Values to another. Part of your culture code framework, is your. People, what, should clarify potential, employees you're hoping to attract and if. That person will be a cultural fit a cultural. Fit doesn't just mean you're hiring all the same type of employee diversity. And inclusivity, go hand in hand with inbound recruiting, take, it from Katie Burke so at HubSpot as we grow we have over 30,000. Customers globally and that means our customer base is incredibly, diverse in terms of what it means from our product our service.
And Our team as a result, we all know the diverse teams win, but, it's really important, that as you're growing your business you think about the diversity of perspective, thought gender. Race ethnicity and, sexual, orientation, of your employees, because the reality is building. More inclusive, products means building better products, that help your customers grow remember. Helping, your employees, grow allows, your customers to grow which helps your business grow other. Parts, of your culture code can be your policies, to, help establish the rules of conduct within an organization, outlining. The responsibilities. Of both employees. And employers. Your. Benefits, and career development which. Outline the perks that weren't the greatest investment to, not only retain talent, but also attract talent, in a competitive, marketplace, and, your, workspace yes. The actual, physical, workspace, this, is where people will be spending most of their time so. Is it an environment, that's conducive to, your company culture how. So, this. Framework is a good starting, point for building out a culture. Code you. Might not be in a position to create your company's, culture and that's, okay make. Suggestions, ask, questions, and be sure to confirm that your company's, culture aligns. With you personally you. Can always start by building a culture code for your individual, team if you're, a job seeking be, prepared, to ask a company about its values, people, and policies, build. Your own personal culture, code to make, sure you're looking for something that aligns, with your own values and skills and even, if you're a team of one these, values are just as important, to your customers, as they are your company, what, do you want to invest your money or make a purchase, with a company, that you know is a good place to work has clear values know, how they support their employees inbound. Is about being human, so, make sure you're recruiting, and employee experience follow, suit, take. The time to think through your company culture and make, sure that it's truly as unique, as your brand and your promise a solid.
Company Culture, will help you make sure you're recruiting, inbound, professionals, focus. On hiring for character and training, for skill it, doesn't matter what type of business you have you're, in the business of helping people in some, way are, you bringing people on to your business that really care about doing just that, another. Fundamental piece, of an inbound business. Is the understanding. And development, of your, company's, buyer personas. Since. Inbound is customer, centric, you need to know who you're trying to reach and who. You're trying to serve you. Don't want just any traffic, to your site you, want the right traffic you. Want to engage with the right prospects, and customers because. Those are the ones that will not only stick around but. Also be evangelists, for your brand you. Want the people who are most likely to become leads, and ultimately. Happy. Customers, so. Who are those right people the. Right people are your ideal customers, and what we call your buyer personas. It's, vital, that your marketing. And sales and customer service teams really. Your whole organization, should. Have a shared vision of your ideal customer, you. May have already given this some thought maybe. You have a list of common, attributes, that, you know your ideal customer, has if you, have that you've, developed an ideal, customer, profile an ideal. Customer, profile, is a great, starting, point for your persona, development, but. It isn't, a persona, ideal. Customer, profiles, identify, a category. Of people and within, that category there. Are usually. Subcategories. And that's, where buyer personas, come in buyer. Personas. Are semi fictional, representations. Of your ideal, customer, based on real data and some, educate speculation. About, demographics. Behaviors. Motivations. And goals, personas. Are created through research, analysis. And taking, a close look at who's already buying from you they, can help you get into the mindset of your potential, buyers and create. The right content, when, you create the right content, you'll, effectively attract. Your ideal visitors. Convert. Them into leads and close, them into, customers, they're. The glue that holds every, aspect, of inbound, marketing sales, and customer. Service together here. Is Brian Halligan CEO, and co-founder of hub spot on the, importance, of buyer personas. And how, they help tub spa I think buyer personas, are as important, as ever people talk a lot about them they're, still important, when. We were first starting HubSpot, we had different personas, that were interested, in HubSpot one we called owner Ollie and owner Ollie, you. Know it was a five person company all. He didn't have any time to do any marketing and. He was just trying to do deliver, his product let's say and it was oftentimes the services business and. Then. We had another persona, called Mary marketer and Mary marketer, was a marketer, in a it's, called fifty hundred person, marketing, organizations, small marketing, team but she marketed, all day long and both.
Of These, both. Of these personas, wanted. Very different things owner ollie really just wanted helps about to do the darn marketing for him owner. Ollie if you want anything one of the world's, simplest product, he didn't care about any analytics, in the products and. He wanted just he. Want to do it for me one of those do a fourth Mary, wanted, very different things she was kind of a power user she, was growing, more technical, and sophisticated, over time she wanted analytics, you want a great email marketing great social marketing great, everything, and she wanted it all tied together with great support before Brian continues, I want to point something out, rewind. Back if you need to Brian. Is constantly, referring, to these personas as real-life people, he. Knows their wants and needs he. Talks about awliyas, that he's a friend and he knows his problems, and what solutions might be best for him that's. The key with buyer personas, getting. Into the mindset of your potential, customers, all, right, back to Brian we, were trying to serve both and at some point in time. Boy. We're trying to build proximal them this, the the requirements, for both were very difficult to solve at the same time and the. More we tried to solve for both the, less we served either so at some point we said we're gonna solve for Mary the future is Mary it's, a company between five, and let's call it 500 employees with, a small, marketing, staff growing, business, sales step they want to they want to be a big company someday let's, equip them with the tools and the knowledge they need to really, grow a modern, go to market model and that fed. Into our prop by making that decision our product organization could really focus there our, sales organization should focus their our marketing, messaging, could really focus there that's, a really, powerful thing if you can get your entire company. Talking about your ideal, customers, in the same way this, will help marketers, know the best marketing, channels to use and the right content to create to, attract the right people this. Can help a sales person know the right questions to ask during a sales presentation or, make, sure you're evolving, your product, to better service your customers so. How do you create buyer, personas.
There, Are three things to keep in mind research. Identifying. Trends in creating. Persona, profile, stories, first. Do, your research buyer. Persona, should be based off actual. Research not assumptions, if any, of those assumptions are inaccurate. Your, personas, will be - you. Don't have to spend too much time here, you're just trying to get a basic understanding of, your ideal customer, when conducting research there, are a few questions that you can ask to develop your buyer personas, one, way to start is by asking, different questions that, touch upon their demographics. Goals, and challenges, you, can ask these questions to, existing, customers and, if you don't have customers, yet ask, people that you think would be the right fit for your product or service ask. Questions, like what, is your job role your, title, what. Industry. Or industries. Does, your company work or is your role in what. Are you working, to accomplish. What. Are your biggest, challenges. How. Do you learn about new, information, for your role, do. You use the Internet to, research vendors, or products. You. Don't have to ask these questions word-for-word. Make. The questions specific, to your industry so, you're getting specific answers in return, and you can ask these questions on, the phone in a survey, on social, media you, might even have these answers, already if you look through your CRM, a CRM. Holds all of this fantastic, information about. Your leads and customers maybe. There's common, themes like your contacts, company, size or role that, can help you understand. Commons, and molarity x' just. Start collecting, answers, and, always. Focus on the why or the motives, of your buyer personas, not, their actions, the, follow up question is, - pretty much every question should, be why. What. Really drives, them how, can you better serve them people. Aren't always good at describing this for themselves so, it's important, to dig deep, uncovering. Their motives can lead to a truly powerful, inbound, strategy, that, aligns with what your prospects. And customers are, looking for inbound. Evolves. Because buying, behaviors. Evolve so, that means your buyer personas. Will, need to evolve to be. Sure to revisit, your personas, from time to time and once. You've consolidated. Some research start, looking for trends patterns. And similarities, in answers, to research questions, and indicate. Who your personas, really are start. Simple and start with a primary persona, you don't need too many personas, that, would be a lot of segments, that you need to be marketing, and selling and servicing, and. All right you've done your research you've. Identified those, trends, the, final step is to compile this research and create, persona, profile, stories you. Want this story to contain, information about. Who your persona is and using. Information about their background, their demographics, and their goals and challenges, have. Information. That will help anyone, in your organization. Better, understand, who, you're trying to help include. Common, objections, that they might have to your product or service and use, real quotes from your interviews, after all what better way to represent your persona, than, to use their words this. Will make it easier, for your employees, to relate to and, understand. Them the, persona story is something that your entire, organization can.
Align Behind it's, something that new hires can review so, they know who they're trying to market sell or service, it's, a way that you can make sure you're solving for the customer, and having. The customer voice in mind if you, know your customer, and potential. Customers well. You can make sure that they're always represented. In everything. That you do here's. Allison Elle worthy VP, of customer success at HubSpot on how you can best represent your customer, it's, really easy for a business, to drift away from the customer especially those, who are in upper level management or at the executive level when, you're not interacting, with customers on a day-to-day basis, and. What tends to happen is, that you start to make decisions, that are based either, on what's. Best for your team or, the enterprise value of a company and not not what's best for your customer, because. You're not interacting with your customers on a day-to-day basis, so. There's many ways in which you can solve for this and hopes about we're actually hiring, for voice of the customer role, which is really exciting, but, you can just continue to remind yourself at every, decision, and conversation, that you're having and, every business decision that you're having the, customer should be at the center of what, you're trying to solve for it. Shouldn't, be your bottom line revenue the customer needs to come first when, it comes to creating a great amount strategy, it's, not enough to know just who you're trying to reach you, also have, to know what. Purchase, experience, they're looking, for that's. How you're going to align everyone. At your business around the customer, make. The customer your number one focus and priority. That. Brings us to the buyers journey, every. Interaction, your persona has with, your organization. Should be tailored to where they are in the buyers journey the. Buyers journey is the active, research process, someone. Goes through leading. Up to a purchase, knowing. Your buyers journey for your persona, will. Be key to creating, the best content, possible instead. Of talking about, moving through the funnel the buyers, journey is tailored to your buyer. The stages, the. Three stages are the awareness stage the consideration. Stage and the decision, stage that, portray, the experiences, your potential, customers, go through you've. Gone through the buyers journey before, everyone. Goes through it when looking to make a purchase it's. The path you take when you have a problem to solve and then you do your research on the potential solutions, and make your purchasing, decision if you're. Making a larger purchase for your business it will clearly be a different buyers journey than, if you were buying a commodity, though. We're in a stage is when, your prospect. Is, experiencing. And expressing symptoms. Of a problem or an opportunity they're. Doing educational. Research to more clearly understand, and frame, and give name to their problem this, is not the point that a prospect, is now aware of your business, they're, now aware, of their problem, maybe, they're ready to fire, their existing, process, or know that their existing, process, just isn't, working, yet your. Buyer persona, should, describe the stage as I am. A buyer aware. That I have a problem so. Fill these in as if you were your buyer persona, to better understand, your buyer at this, stage I need. To improve blink. I need, to prevent blink.
I Need, to start, blink. I need. To stop blink. I need, to optimize blank. I need, to solve blank. I need, to learn more about blank. The, terms that you start to insert, are the phrases or keywords that your buyer persona, would use to, describe the, awareness, stage during. The consideration stage, buyers, have clearly defined the goal or challenge, they've, given a name to it and they're committed, to addressing it they. Evaluate, the different approaches. Or methods available to solve their challenge, or capitalize, on their opportunity, this, isn't the point that they're considering, your business, they're, considering, the different solutions they have to solve their problem, for, consideration, stage, your, buyer would say I am, a buyer considering. How to solve my problem, fill. These in as, if you were your buyer persona, what. Tool, are available, for blank, what. Are blank, industry. Solutions, what. Are my blank, options. What. Blank, options, are there for blank. You'll. Start to notice the terms used here our solution keywords. You, aren't inserting, your company, name in here but you might be inserting, terms that you describe, as the solutions, that, you provide. Finally. In the decision, stage buyers, have already decided on a solution, strategy, they, might create a list of specific offerings. In their selected, category, and decide, on the one that best meets their needs or, they might go with the solution, they find first to. Get in the mindset of your buyer persona, at this stage you, can use the following if they, say I am a buyer deciding. On a specific product, and vendor or I'm, a buyer or trying to make a decision, between products. And vendors how. Would you fill these in as if you were your buyer persona. I need. Prices, for blank. I need. Blank, product. Specifics, I need. Proof that blank, works, I need. Evidence that. Blank. I need. Insurance that blank.
Prospects. Website, visitors or leads might, interact, with you for the first time in any, of the different buyers journey stages, but, you need to be prepared, for each and every, stage the. Buyers journey is something marketing, sales, and customer, services, can you use, marketers. Can use the buyers journey to create different content, at every stage you'll. Want to have content, offers that answer your buyer personas, problems, there, are needed solutions, and content, on your product, or service you, can also use the buyers journey to segment and better nurture, your leads to, help make the best purchasing. Decision, for. Sales you, can use the buyers journey to better understand. How to sell to your prospects, and help, guide them through the buyers journey if, you know someone's, at the awareness, stage you'll. Have a very different conversation with. Someone that's let's, say at the decision, stage and has, already. Possible. Solutions, to their problem, and for. Services think. Of your customers, as having their own type, of buyers journey when, you're looking at upsell, resale, or cross-sell you. Don't want to send your customer, back through an entire buyers, journey use. This as a way to understand. What your customer, journey looks like, once. You understand, your buyer personas. And their. Buying journey it's time, to start using tools and tactics to, do inbound, your, inbound, tool stack should consist of different tools that can align your entire organization. It's. Not just, customer, service that will be using email, and it's not just helpful to sales to have a CRM, and it's, not just marketing, that needs reporting, and data the. Foundation. That you'll need is a CRM. Remember. A CRM, stands for customer, relationship, management, a lot, of people think of a CRM being a sales tool it is, but. It isn't just relevant, to sales here's.
Brian Halligan CEO, and co-founder of HubSpot, CRM is. A confusing word a lot of people think it's it's software, for salespeople but its customer, relationship. Management and I, think. It's really it's, a platform, that you use to manage the entire, customer. Journey, and. That entire, customer, loop, from marketing, into sales into service, and from, happy customers into prospects, and how do you get that you. Know self-reinforcing, loop. Cranking, in your business it's. Hard to do that if you've got one system for selling in one system for marketing, and one system for service that don't talk to each other that don't give contacts what makes a CRM so powerful, is because, it's a contacts, database, a, contacts. Database is central, to every piece of your inbound business, you'll. Use it to keep track of all the different people who have a relationship, with your business to, personalize, every interaction you have with them and to attract more contacts, like them your. Contacts, truly are the heart for every, piece of your marketing sales and services, strategy. Contacts. Are not just names and email addresses inside, of a database but, individual. Who you're creating, relationships with. A constant. Reminder of why inbound, is and always will be customer, centric a contact. Is anybody, your company, market sells partners. Or engages, with or employees, when. Involving, both marketing. Sales and services, in your contact, strategy, and having, them use the contacts, database you're. Creating, alignment, and consistency. With all parts, of your inbound strategy, that, your contacts. Are interacting. With you'll, also want to use different types of tools that best support the end of methodology, tools, that will help you attract convert, close and delight but, if buying behaviors, continuously, evolve, so, will the tactics, and tools that you'll use to reach them that's, why hub spots products, are constantly, evolving, it's, to always solve for the way people, want to buy, here's, HubSpot, senior, VP of Product Christopher O'Donnell, on how, he thinks, of inbound and Technology.
We've, Always stated that inbound is fundamentally. About, being human and helpful. The. Technological. Landscape is adapting, to, exponentially. Increase companies. Helpfulness, through. AI and, machine learning it's. Not something to fear it's something to embrace as both a customer, and a, business as a. Customer, you're able to surface help, in information, you need faster, and at, your convenience as a, business, you, can automate, the tedious, details and have more meaningful, conversations, with your customers, how, and when. They. Want all. Of this allows you to have more time to, do the things you love it's. A win-win if. You're, going to do inbound you need to get comfortable with change and be, ready to adapt to the experience, people are looking for when they're trying to make a purchase as consumers. We're now looking for convenience, more than we ever have, before we're, looking for the most enjoyable, experience. That's. Why we've seen so many changes in technology. Take. Chat box for instance hub. Spots co-founder, to our mesh said chat bots are the most important, technology over, the last two decades here's. Our mesh on how this technology ties. Into this inbound, philosophy. The reason chatbots. Are interesting, is is because of the technology they use which is called a conversational. User interfaces, and the, reason they're exciting, is if you think about ever, since the kind, of dawn of software, for, the most part humans have been molding themselves, to their software's like oh I have to learn how, Photoshop. Works or how this particular application works and what. Conversational. User interfaces allow us to do is essentially talk to our software whether it's through a messaging interface or through a voice, interface so, for the first time now software, will, adapt itself to how humans, want to work with software versus the other way around and this the first time is an industry we, actually have the technology to allow us to do that where people can say I want, to get my traffic data for the last week or so or you, know tell me how many customers we signed up last month and instead of saying oh I go to click here and click there and trying to get that answer out of the software you simply, ask the software I'm like a normal human would and now, software is getting increasingly intelligent it has the ability to respond, to those kinds of questions very, exciting new tools and platforms have, changed, how organizations.
Prospect, And retain. A customer, today. Your, entire, company, needs, to be a part of delivering, this great experience. Once. A company puts in down ideas into, practice. Everyone. In the company from. Your CEO to, product, development, to, marketing, and sales and services, every. Single person in the company will be aligned around this inbound, philosophy, your company, culture and strategy, is required, to, deliver value, to your customers, all of. Those interactions need, to match the buyers journey and what, your buyer personas, are looking for the. InMail movement, is just, getting started the move, to the future requires forward-thinking. Ideas, to, be embraced, and experimentation. To figure out which channels, work best for your business and, an, openness. To try new technologies and tools to, foster better relationships. With your customers.