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Inbound Sales and Marketing Strategy from Someone Who Can Drive

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 8/6/13 9:00 AM

I know someone who is afraid of driving and therefore doesn't. I can see not driving if you live in the city with public transportation. The problem, however, is that by being transported everywhere and never driving yourself you become the worst person to get directions from. 

This happened to my ever patient husband recently when he had to get directions from a non-driver. He came home and complained how it was a good thing he knew where he was and needed to go, otherwise he would have wasted a lot of time driving around in circles because the directions were backwards. When I commented that they were bad directions because they were given by someone who doesn't drive, he hadn't even thought of that. 

This made me realize how many others are taking directions on how to successfully integrate inbound into their business from people who can't drive. And they keep passing by the street signs that tout inbound success in the double and triple digits, which only makes them more frustrated as they drive around in circles until they eventually give up or become distracted by the next big thing.

What's Missing from Inbound Today

I have always had a dislike towards being called a consultant or even a strategist.  My experience and perception of most marketing consultants is they have a lot of learned knowledge, methodologies and processes- but no real experience implementing and applying them on a day to day basis. They do a lot of research, do a great presentation or team building exercise, and you don't hear from them again. Either because it costs to much to make them stick around, or because that's "not what they do." It's given the word consultant and strategist a bad taste for many, myself included.

But after rewatching Gary Vaynerchuk's Inbound2012 keynote, it reminded me how so many look to the tactical first, and then wonder why it didn't work. Or they believe the "you can just do it yourself" mantra. This happens a lot to entreprenuers who need to do something now. They get sucked into taking action but are driving in circles. (But I am so busy!)

Just last week, I told a prospect that they could buy marketing automation tools themselves if they wanted to-but without a strategy, budget or buy in from the CEO to sales and service, they should prepare to shop for a new one every few years. Why? Because without a clue as to how you will use those tools to get found by prospects and engage them, you will blame the tool for your lack of success and move onto another tool that promises something more or cheaper. And you will drive the same circles all over again and never know why you did or why you didn't see the ROI you hoped for.

Tools and tactics have the same value as a car without a driver or gas in the tank. You can hire someone to drive for you, but have you checked their driver's license? Have they driven your type of car in this terrain before? Can they race in the rain? Do they know what you don't know, and how do you know they know it? Do they coach and teach you as they go, or do they keep you dependent on their sales and marketing strategy knowledge because it is a limited commodity? 

And what if the marketing strategy that your consultant or strategist creates with (not for) you to navigate to your goals is nothing more than a map in the hands of someone who has never driven a car? What if there are detours, delays or speed traps that could stall your success? Do you have the time and gas to drive around in circles until you figure it out? Or worse yet, what if your map was created by someone who had never actually been there and can't drive anyway?

So if you can't do the tactical, or at least have an understanding of what's involved, how do you create a customer first sales and marketing strategy without knowing what it takes to implement it? Are you taking directions from someone who doesn't know how to drive?

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Topics: marketing strategy, sales strategy, marketing consultant