This time however Kathy was incredibly frustrated. She has been trying to reduce her cost per lead, but have not been able to get below $360 per qualified lead.  I reminded Kathy that she’s not focused enough on Lead Management.  I had recently read Hubspot’s newest release of the State of Inbound Marketing Report, and a key stat hit me.


inbound marketing trends report“Kathy, the latest research on Cost Per Lead (CPL) scenarios surprised me.  There’s a substantial difference in the CPL between companies with and without common definitions.”  She quickly read through the research and realized she just found part of her gap.  Kathy was going to pay more attention to the formal management of leads between sales and marketing.


The rest of our conversation discussed the top insights most notable for B2b marketers supporting sales organizations. Below I will summarize what was discussed and offer a free tool kit here.


Top Insights


1. Aligning with Sales is as important as measuring ROI of Inbound

Establishing an agreement with Sales is as important as measuring the effectiveness of inbound. Adopting a Marketing-Sales agreement saves companies an average of $195.84 per customer. So in addition to tracking how effective inbound marketing is with metrics like doubled website conversion rates, companies can benefit from endorsing closer alignment.


cpl sales marketing agreement


Detailed in the table above, enterprise companies that have formalized marketing-sales handoffs also show dramatic reductions in lead generation costs – a compelling argument for large firms considering an SLA or other formal marketing-sales agreements. In fact, adopting a marketing-sales agreement saves companies an average of $195.84 in total cost per customer, sitting at an average of $290.


2. Customer-Centric Companies are Emerging

The report states, 50% of businesses consider their companies to be customer-centric.


customer focused companies


In 2013, it’s not just that “the customer is always right”; according to inbound marketing principles, the customer is the beginning and the end of the equation.  While data reflects the accurate focus on customers, it also means that nearly half of all respondents are operating on a business model that doesn’t focus on their customers – which is less than ideal.


Companies need to know the customers they want to reach in order to make the content they will love. This data translates that the adoption of buyer persona and buying process maps will continue grow as a top priority for marketers.  To help you make your company customer-centric, download our Buyer Persona Content Targeting Kit.


3. Quality Content is Important

Below are surprising answers to the question, “What are your company’s top marketing priorities?” Despite that only 18% of marketers answered that they are purely focused on developing quality content, this is what we took from the answer. Quality Content is important.


top priority quality content


The top 3 on the chart can’t happen effectively without creating quality content. Hubspot goes on to say “because high quality, educational content is the lynchpin for inbound success, we would expect this number to rise over the coming years.”  In essence, a Marketing leaders bottom line is to drive qualified leads and turn ready leads over to sales. Without a regular basis of quality content doing the selling before a sales rep is present, you are not going to get many leads. Buyers may visit your site but without quality content you are not providing information that is of value to them. Without content marketing you are doing a disservice to your bottom line. Download the Buyer Persona Content Targeting Kit to help you with quality content.


4. Inbound still proves the best ROI, Providing cheaper and higher converting leads


inbound marketing leads 2


The survey found that 34% of the leads marketers generate come from inbound marketing sources. This is 54% more leads than traditional outbound leads. Inbound leads also show superior CPL and CPA.  Inbound marketers saved an average of 13% in overall cost per lead and more than $14 dollars for every new customer acquired vs. those relying on outbound strategies.


For those tactics marketers effectively track, inbound delivers on its ROI promise: 41% of marketers confirm inbound produces measurable ROI, and a staggering 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing. Additionally, 41% of all marketers who changed their budgets last year did so because they witnessed past success with inbound marketing – making inbound success a full 150% more likely to drive inbound budget increases than any other rationale.


inbound marketing reduced cpl


Key Takeaway:

Inbound Marketing is still growing rapidly, and new best practices are emerging daily. 48% of marketers plan to increase inbound marketing spending in 2013. There are some obstacles tracking ROI but there have been major improvements over the past few years. This report has helped build proof points that Inbound is more effective than outbound.


The next biggest growth and focus will be getting to the right person at the right time. With that, the importance of quality content through Content Marketing will be the next major market adoption. Buyer Personas and Buying Process Maps will be the key to get you there.