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Ask HN: Sales or Inbound Marketing?
5 points by AdamJBall on Dec 4, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments
I've got to a stage with Concept Cupboard, an online marketplace connecting biz with student and graduate creative freelancers, where we've had moderate traction so far but I'm really looking to ramp up our business development efforts now.

Based on what we do (check out the site at http://www.conceptcupboard.com), do you think a concerted sales or inbound marketing effort will work better to generate more registrations and subsequently conversions to live creative briefs?

All responses welcome and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Depends what you mean by "concerted sales" versus inbound marketing. Inbound marketing has a sales component.

If you want to know more about inbound marketing, check out Hubspot. They coined the term "inbound marketing". Hubspot is pretty pricey but their software handles all aspects of web marketing from getting visitors, to leads to customers (I.e. they're cheap if they do what's promised). They provide intensive training on all topics too, so there's the maximum chance you'll be following recommended, proven practices rather than wondering how to construct campaigns, landing pages, email marketing campaigns etc.

My email's in my profile if you want to know more.

Btw this probably isn't the best time of day to post this on hn, do a few google searches like "best time to post on hacker news" to figure that one out.

Thanks for the reply. I've heard of HubSpot and read their blog frequently. I've got some experience in inbound marketing but was looking to see see if it would be better to get on the phone calling up leads all day rather than writing blog posts, email marketing etc for Concept Cupboard.

I'm looking at your website and I'm trying to imagine what a "sales team" would do with it. Here's a good litmus test - seek out a sales professional in your area, pitch him or her on your idea of what you think a sales person would/could do, and get their feedback. You shouldn't have that much trouble finding someone - networking groups, friends, etc should be able to put you in front of a really good salesperson. I think you'll learn a lot by (a) having to come up with a pitch that is focused on selling the idea of bringing a sales person on board, and then (b) I think you'd learn a lot from the feedback the person gives you. It's a no-lose situation for you.

I would think that, because this will be a one-sided benefit (your team will benefit from this meeting but the sales person will not), you should keep it brief and buy them lunch/dinner/drinks. Asking someone to listen to and respond to a 30-minute pitch is a LOT, particularly if they are getting no direct benefit from it. Maybe keep it to 10 minutes with Q&A.

Things you'd want in the pitch:

* The idea

* What you've done so far

* Who is using it

* Why you need a sales team

* How the sales team changes things

* Commission plan

* How much of an opportunity there is for them (inc. any equity you are offering)

* 1yr, 2yr, and 5yr projections on both sales and the size of the sales team

My first impression is that you are similar to 99designs. I believe you will be better off with an inbound marketing effort with proper targeting. Sales is resource and effort intensive. Lack of early results may be more demoralizing than inbound marketing.

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