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The Only Real Rule of Inbound Sales and Marketing

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 8/22/12 8:00 AM

What does customer experience mean to your business in the 21st century?

"Remember the golden rule. He who has the gold, makes the rules."

Three major things happened last week, and from the vastly different experiences, all had one thing in common.

First, I was fortunate enough to meet with a colleague during my visit to NYC. Over the best sangria ever, we discussed the way our industry- only a few blocks away on Madison Ave, have been brought to their knees, and how it was possible that some still don't get it. Why? The internet changed the rules on them, and will continue to change with increased speed. They are like an elephant headed full speed down a path that doesn't allow any rider to pivot the beast into a re-direction easily or quickly.

Rhonda then asked me my favorite question. "How do you keep up?" I gave her the Smarketing answer I came to years ago. (In short, give up on keeping up. Focus on staying 2 steps ahead of YOUR customer.)

The State of Sales and Marketing Best Practices

Then, a few days later, I took some time off to wonder around MoMA, where I saw a quote on the 5th floor wall...


"When you know the rules of the game, order appears from chaos. Look at the stars, and unless you're an astronomer familiar with the constellations, it's appears to be chaos. Know the rules of the constellation, you will see the patterns of order."



...or something along those lines, it was the exhibition floor, and no photos are allowed, so please forgive my interpretation if it is slightly off.

There has always been a focus on best practices when it comes to online or inbound sales and marketing. But unless you are customer-focused first, and base your decisions on their buying behavior- sales and marketing best practices are not sacred cows. Your customer is the one who makes the rules. Where they find you, how they engage with you, what they demand for. Industry best practices are the not rules, they are the stars. Your customers are your constellations.

Even the skeptics are starting to agree with me... (I think?)

Customer- Focused Smarketing Success Story

Lastly, the day after I returned from my trip, one of my clients, a small TN manufacturer of custom aluminum screen doors  started breaking new ground for their warehouse. This is my idea of a picture of small business success. Growing in an industry thrown into chaos on every front. An innovative disruptor for his generational family owned business and a leader in their local community. Like ice cream and apple pie on the 4th of July.

Manufacturing inbound sales marketing case studySteve's dad started the family business and expanded it. Steve wanted to continue that effort and expand it nationally. They have a great product. He knew that he needed to develop new channels and that the best way to do that was build better relationships with his partners. He came to me by referral when my referral partner realized he needed more than just a newsletter design update.

We spoke by phone a few times, and started with a strategy of customer profiling that uses  customer persona modes to identify buyer decision making processes. Plain english- we got inside the heads of his customer's customer. We laid out a 3 stage plan to get him to his ultimate goal.

Based on his customer persona modes, we redesigned from copy to design his entire website, we invested in new tools (HubSpot). We dug deep and found hidden jewels of content that got the attention of the very partners he needed. Why were they jewels? Because of the feedback we took directly from sales, we knew what was at the heart of the partner's customers, and that got their attention. We created a demand for his product that now is filling a warehouse.

So did you catch it? What is the only real rule for inbound sales and marketing? Do you know your rules?

Topics: smarketing, sales, marketing, customer personas