How important is executive sponsorship in inbound marketing? When I started building inbound marketing programs for our clients in 2011, I knew we would probably get “champions” when we produced results. But over time, I noticed that it’s actually easy to get champions when we produced results! Therefore, the champions we had were directly related to whether we produced results or not…deductive reasoning 101. They were either on our team or they were not. That’s not my definition of a team, or a partnership either.
Inbound Executive Sponsorship (IES) however is completely different. IES is an investment in:
Effort by everyone on the team, Mojo Media Labs included
Depending on the starting point (the condition of the company’s sales and marketing foundation), results will most likely take many months to build up. This blog is not about defining results, but about getting off that starting line strongly enough to eventually surpass the desired results defined by whatever definition of ROI set by the client.
My experience has proven that all the key client stakeholders must sponsor this new and improved way to generate value for their company. Who should be an IES? It starts at the top: the CEO, the CIO, the CFO, the highest levels in Sales and Marketing and Human Resources. Successful inbound is a thread that weaves its way through the entire company connecting everyone in the organization. It’s a completely different way to position your company value at every stage of your ideal buyer’s journey. The buyer’s experience falls on everyone in the company, not just sales and marketing.
We recently on-boarded a client and we were working with the brand manager. The brand manager reported to the VP of Sales and Marketing. The brand manager was an advocate of how inbound marketing was going to help launch their new product.
The success of the launch was tied to his job performance and potentially to his future prospects. I have found that IES success is first tied to the company’s performance and second to individual performances. The latter was a focus on the individual on the team; the former was a focus on the team. What a big shift in the starting point!
When we found ourselves working with the VP of Sales and Marketing sometime after the starting point, we had to work very hard to build out the Inbound Executive Sponsorships that we finally had access to. Now, don’t get me wrong, results are critical to the success of any inbound program, but at least we had a stronger commitment from the company, not just a couple of individuals. Ironically this new commitment now extends globally, not just locally.
The company is now investing their money understanding it is a future commitment of both their time and effort. This commitment will drive the company’s desired results. Thereby, in the future, turning them into inbound champions! The strongest teams always support each other when the times get tough, and as a team, celebrate our wins together…like real champions!