You’ve closed your first 50 inbound customers. Your inbound engine is consistently generating leads and pipeline. You even have an accurate baseline for measuring performance.
Now it’s time to scale.
Scaling from 50 to 100 inbound customers is about two things: doing more, and doing better. This article will walk through the processes, automations, and analytics you need to go from proof-of-concept to sustained success.
4 signs of a mature inbound engine
As mentioned above, one of the surest signs that you’re ready to scale is that you’ve closed 50 inbound customers. But here are some other attributes and signs of a mature inbound engine.
1. Automated processes
This is probably the strongest litmus test: mature inbound engines feature automation across their entire process. Examples include:
- Funneling data from inbound forms to your CRM
- Routing leads to the ideal internal contact
- Pulling in enrichment data to enhance the contact profile
- Automated calendaring and follow up to increase bookings and reduce no-shows
Without automation, you couldn’t handle the volume of leads coming to you. So if you want to mature and scale, it’s automate or die!
2. Confidence in inbound results
While there’s always room for experimentation and refinement, a mature inbound engine is fairly predictable. You can connect actions to outcomes—if we take X action, we’ll generate Y customers. This confidence not only provides a baseline for future growth, but justifies further investment in inbound.
3. Centralized system
As inbound grows in complexity, the ability to manage it with a constellation of applications diminishes. Further, the more team members you add to your inbound operation, the more important it is to centralize your operations and keep everyone in alignment.
This is why you need a centralized inbound platform, a single source-of-truth for marketing, sales, success, and even product teams.
4. Sophisticated data organization
Another attribute of mature inbound engines is their sophisticated approach to data. This includes analytics across categories:
- Contact data to enhance prospect and customer insights
- Process analytics to determine where in your inbound flow prospects are converting—and where they’re dropping off
- Campaign and channel analytics to determine which tactics are bringing more prospects into your inbound flow
The use of data at this stage differs from previous. Before, the primary role of data was to learn about the customer, the market, and figuring out who you’re talking to. Now that’s done, data becomes more about how to book meetings faster and close deals easier.
How to scale a mature inbound engine
Now that we’ve discussed the attributes of a mature inbound engine, let’s talk about how you scale it up to 100 inbound customers.
Use a centralized platform
We already touched on this above, but cannot stress enough the importance of building your inbound engine on a centralized platform. A patchwork of point solutions just won’t cut it:
- Data loss, corruption, or miscategorization. Integrating data across platforms results in increased risk of loss or corruption. Different platforms have different data taxonomies, and miscategorization not only requires extensive time and resources to fix, but will impact the effectiveness of your automations.
- Broken workflows. All it takes is for one update to stop one application from talking to others, and leads aren’t getting from one step to the next. And this often happens without an alert or notification—so you can’t tell it’s happening until it’s already a crisis.
- Slowdown in performance. The more complex and brittle your tech infrastructure, the more it will slow down the lead experience. And since a speedy response can increase conversions by 100X, this has a tangible impact on the business.
- User experiences. 80% of B2B buyers expect the same attentiveness to the user experience as B2C. Point solutions often create a jarring and convoluted experience once you reach a certain degree of complexity.
If, for some reason, you’re still using point solutions at this stage, you need to switch to a centralized platform immediately. Otherwise, your engine will break and you’ll leak massive amounts of revenue.
Create more content & deploy more campaigns
Once you know which content, messaging, and channels drive inbound customers, it’s time to pour gas on the fire. Whether this involves expanding your content marketing operation, investing more in campaigns that drive people to your website, or trying new channels, a key step to scaling is to just start doing more.
Expand your sales operations
Success in inbound isn’t just about getting more people to your website, but taking care of those people throughout the process. Adding more salespeople to your inbound operation, then, is a key component of scale.
At this stage of growth, you’ll move beyond a founder-led sales organization and grow into a fully-fledged sales team, complete with distinct SDRs, AEs, post-sales/customer success, etc.
Analyze and optimize the entire funnel
In the early stages, you’re really only interested in one metric: how many leads are we generating, and how many customers are we closing? Once your inbound engine matures, that perspective expands.
Achieving these moderate, incremental improvements at each step of the funnel has compounding effects. Consider a website that has 4,000 monthly visitors. Before these incremental improvements, the average number of Closed Won deals would be 12.6 customers. After, it would be 20.6 customers, a 63% increase in Closed Won deals from inbound.
In the example above, we just picked five examples, but it’s possible to measure the inbound journey with a high degree of granularity. Here are some questions to ask:
- How do we get more people to the website?
- How do we get people to spend more time on the website?
- How do we improve conversion rates?
- How do we book more meetings from inbound conversions?
- How do we get people to attend those meetings?
- How do we get from the first meeting to the second?
- How do we get better, higher quality leads?
- How do we ensure that the right customer contact is talking to the leads?
Start leveraging brand awareness
Finally, as your business grows, you’ll start developing a brand independent of your founders, investors, and early-stage employees. Now it’s time to start leveraging that brand and investing in opportunities to build your reputation, demonstrate your trustworthiness, and start to generate goodwill within the market.
Some common brand marketing tactics include:
- Referral marketing
- Content marketing (website, syndicated, and social media)
- Events and tradeshows
- Ads (both digital and traditional)
Final thoughts on scaling up your inbound operation
The journey from 50 to 100 inbound customers is a major leap for your GTM operation. However, if you put the systems and automations in place to handle this rapid growth, you can achieve tangible, sustained success.
You can only scale up your inbound operation if you have a solid foundation. Default is built to provide that foundation with a unified platform that’s proven to 3X your qualified inbound demos. See Default in action here.