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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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How to Expand & Diversify Your Inbound Operations

Stan Rymkiewicz
February 6, 2024
5 min
How to Expand & Diversify Your Inbound Operations

If you’re reading about how to expand your operation past 100 inbound customers, you’re already in an elite category. Your inbound engine is not only driving revenue, but doing so consistently, predictably, and in an ever-scaling manner. 

You may think this is the time to sit back, relax, and let your marketing operation run itself. Well, no. Now that your inbound engine is running smoothly, it’s time to funnel in more leads. 

Whether you’re building toward an exit, going public, or perpetual growth, diversifying your inbound operation is key to achieving those high-level goals. In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that. 

Why expand your inbound operation?

The obvious answer: you need to continually generate revenue. But the tactics we’re discussing in this article go beyond just scaling up your current activities, but adding qualitatively different marketing channels, strategies, and campaigns. 

So why change what’s working? To answer this, we need to first consider this B2B customer journey map from Gartner:

Source: Gartner

Customer journeys aren’t linear, which means your inbound engine shouldn’t be either. To expand beyond 100 customers, your marketing tactics must be sophisticated enough to reach buyers at all of these various touch points—even if you can’t directly measure the impact it has on inbound lead and revenue generation. 

In the early stages, the focus was exclusively on closing business, then more business. Now, while you’re still closing business, you can invest in longer-term, higher-level strategies to fill that funnel with larger volumes of contacts. 

For example, you can invest in sponsoring and presenting at a major industry conference with 10,000 decision makers in the room. While this could be a six-figure investment, you’ll build relationships and make inroads that could lead to eventual deals—even if it takes several years to happen.

The mindset shift that happens at 100+ inbound customers

Inbound after 100 customers requires a different mindset from earlier stages. You’re no longer in the proof-of-concept stage. You’re not even in the scaling stage. At this point, you’re no longer a newcominer—you’re a true power player in the space. Which means you need to start thinking and acting like one. 

Short- and near-term → Long-term

In the 0-10 stage, you’re thinking in terms of 30- and 60-day sprints (if even that). In the 10-50 stage, you’re thinking a bit longer term, maybe even as far as 90 days or 4-6 months. The 50-100 stage stretches your horizon even further—even as far as 12 months.

After 100 customers, you’re thinking of campaigns in minimums of 6 months, and more often 12-24 months. The goal is to engage in those inbound marketing practices that take time to build, but will continue generating results for years after the fact (we’ll dive into specific tactics below). 

Linear results → nonlinear results

Early-stage inbound is focused on driving linear results—traffic turns to leads, leads to opportunities, opportunities to customers. As discussed in a previous article, this fine-tuning can and does happen up and down the funnel. While later stages do continue analyzing and measuring results, the direct contribution to the bottom line becomes less obvious and is difficult to measure linearly. 

Closing business → Building audiences & communities

In the early stages, you’re just focused on closing business. While that’s still the bottom line, you can devote energy to activities that build the top-of-funnel. Only a percentage of these audiences will convert, but they can drive awareness of your brand among other more active buyers. 

Quantity of customer → Quality of customer

While this is not a true “either-or” distinction, the emphasis shifts at this stage. In the early stages, the focus is more about closing a certain number of customers and proving the viability of your business. You’re past that stage now. 

How, you can focus on strategic inbound campaigns that won’t necessarily bring in dozens of inbound leads per month. Rather, you’ll attract smaller numbers of high-quality leads that could grow into six, seven, or even eight figures in LTV. 

Inbound-focus → Channel-focus

In the early stages, inbound as a whole is in the hot seat. All your metrics are pointing toward whether or not inbound is working as a whole. Now, you’re going to expand and think about these individual channels—how they’re contributing to your inbound pipeline. 

How to add more channels to your inbound-sourced pipeline

Once your core inbound engine is running smoothly, consistently, and at scale, you can start to add new channels to that system. Here are some of the most common. 

Brand awareness

As you expand your inbound operation, there’s a greater interest in brand as an inbound channel. This requires a certain level of complexity and nuance in your inbound platform to measure. 

For example, you could have someone who converts on a Google ad, but they indicate that they first encountered you on social media. This means that your brand efforts on social first engaged them, and likely contributed to their willingness to click on the ad. 

Ads (digital & traditional)

Although ads are typically considered an outbound tactic, they can be used to drive leads into your inbound funnel. A Facebook ad, or even a traditional ad in a trade paper, may introduce someone to your brand. Then, when they’re actively looking to buy, they’ll recall your brand and visit your website. 

Events

Events are a great inbound channel, not only because they foster direct engagement with your target audience, but often these are focused environments where prospects are less easily distracted. 

Even if you don’t close a customer at the event, you’ll catch their attention more easily, make an active impression in their mind, and build community among those in your industry. This increases the likelihood that they’ll seek you out when they’re ready to buy. 

Partnerships

Another way to generate more inbound success is through partnerships, for two main reasons. First, you’re leveraging audiences that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to—which can add fresh fire to your inbound engine. 

Second, your brand receives additional credibility by being associated with your partners’ brands. Whether you do content sharing, joint promotions, co-hosted events, or more, each of you can mutually reinforce each other’s audiences. 

How to measure these channels

There are different ways to measure these areas in terms of their overall effectiveness. However, if you focus on measuring their contribution to inbound, it becomes fairly straightforward: 

  • Does the lead come from a directly attributable marketing campaign or independently (sign that brand is working)?
  • Does the lead come from a specific ad campaign? Do our non-attributable inbound lead counts go up or down when we’re running ads? 
  • Is the lead converting (first- or last-touch) from partner-specific forms, pages, or UTM codes?
  • Are we receiving inbound partnership requests?
  • Is our pre-event marketing driving more people to our booths or seminars? Are people recognizing us more at events? What impact is this having on post-event marketing?

So while it is completely possible to measure success, you need to think creatively and strategically about what you’re measuring. In most cases, it won’t be immediately obvious. 

Final thoughts on expanding your inbound operation

We’ve barely scratched the surface on ways you can expand your inbound operation past your initial 100 customers. But hopefully, this article has given you a good place to start.

Looking back on all the articles we’ve done in this series, it’s clear that the tactics you take at 0-10 all the way to 100+ are different. But the underlying engine is the same. Which means you need a system that is built to scale, providing that solid foundation from Day 1 all the way to your endgame. 

Default is built to support every stage of the inbound journey, providing deep insight without breaking attribution data across multiple different solutions. So as your system becomes more complex, you won’t have to worry about broken integrations, funnel slowdown, lost data, or revenue leakage. 

Set Default in action today.

Inbound Basics
Stan Rymkiewicz
February 6, 2024
5 min

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