How to Build a Business Case for Inbound [3-Step Framework]

Building a business case for inbound is vital for securing internal buy-in and stakeholder support. Find out how to make a watertight case using the 'three-sale sale' approach.

Hands up if you’ve ever had what you're sure is a good idea but no one else can see it.

Let’s get more specific: hands up if you know inbound marketing or inbound sales could transform your sales and marketing operations — but you need help convincing the MD.

It’s common for sales and marketing managers to ‘get’ the merits of switching to an inbound approach. You know the lingo, the landscape is familiar, and you’re accountable for the success of the company’s marketing. Incentives don’t come much bigger than that.

But you need buy-in from the person in charge, and translating those merits into a language they speak isn’t always easy. So how can you accomplish this?

Open communication is the key to obtaining buy-in. With this in mind, we’d like to recommend a tried-and-tested sales framework called ‘the three-sale sale’.

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build a business case for inbound

Build a business case for inbound using ‘the three-sale sale’

Catchy, I know. But by all accounts, it works a treat.

One of the biggest hurdles you face when sitting down to build a business proposal can be knowing where to start. Using this sales framework breaks down the task of framing — and starting — your business case for inbound into three key areas.

Use them as a template to structure your own argument.

1. Why change?

Why should the business consider changing from its existing marketing approach? What’s wrong with what is happening at the moment? And how do these challenges or hurdles translate into the business owner's language? Does inbound address a challenge the business is currently facing? What does it need to achieve?

Think about the impacts of this on the various stakeholders you intend to address as their drivers may well differ and engaging all of them will be key to securing universal buy-in. 

Once you’ve got basic agreement that there should be a change:

2. To what solution?

What is the solution to the problem? This is where you can start to talk about inbound and the buyer’s journey in more detail. Why is it the right solution? How does it solve the problems identified in the first step? How will it empower your team to achieve higher levels of service and productivity?

3. How and with whom?

Once you’ve secured internal buy-in, you need to consider how you’re going to make the switch. How will inbound be incorporated into current business processes? 

The next step would be to talk to potential HubSpot Solutions Partners. Help the board or MD see a clear roadmap that shows how it will work and why the proposed partner agency is instrumental. Talk about your solutions partner of choice and why it could address your business challenges. In addition, provide a variety of alternative options and recommendations so your stakeholders can come to an informed decision.

Be transparent with everyone who will be impacted incorporating inbound into the business. Make sure they’re on board and understand what the change will bring. 

If you can get the powers that be to agree on all three steps — you’re winning.

Related read: What is Inbound Marketing and How Do I Get Started?

Making a solid case

Once you’ve created a business case for inbound, it’s time to publicise it. Distribute it across the intended stakeholders. Remember, if there are too many people involved in the decision-making process, it could set your progress back. 

While the above framework provides an effective skeleton for structuring your argument, it really is just that: the bare bones, so to speak. The meatier you can make your argument, the more human it becomes — and the more persuasive.

When you’re presenting your business case to stakeholders, think emotion and consequences:

  • What do they care about? What are their emotional drivers?
  • How would inbound help them achieve their goals?
  • What would the business look like if you didn’t bring inbound into the picture?

Emotional drivers are things we typically use in our persona work, but it makes sense to think about them here too. 

Consequences and implications describe in very real terms what might happen if they keep going as they are. What would it look like if, for example, a sustained inbound campaign around a particular event led to 10 extra sales within a month of the event? What would be the effect if this happened for every event in every territory? How would this impact the individuals in the room — a new car? A holiday? That promotion?

Discover how to use the ‘three-sale sale’ approach to adopt video across your entire sales process

Need a hand building a business case for inbound?

Whether you’re struggling to pin down exactly why your current marketing approach isn’t working or you’d like assistance describing the buyer’s journey, we’re always just a phone call away.

The team at BabelQuest knows inbound inside out. We also love the opportunity to talk to marketing professionals about the daily challenges and hurdles they face. (No, really. Fix yourself a large coffee first.)

We’re used to having conversations with both marketing managers and business owners. This means we’re ideally positioned to advise you on what your MD cares about most (hint: it’s rarely just profit) and how to win them over. Book a connect call with us today!

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