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"How inbound marketing is fueling Allbound's growth Ft. Tori Barlow" (Inbound Success Ep. 128)

"How inbound marketing is fueling Allbound's growth Ft. Tori Barlow" (Inbound Success Ep. 128) Blog Feature

February 3rd, 2020 min read

Partner relationship management software provider Allbound is growing at 150% year over year largely due to the company's inbound marketing efforts. Here's how they're doing it...

Tori Barlow

 

Tori Barlow

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Allbound Director of Marketing Tori Barlow goes into detail about the company's inbound marketing strategy. From the tech stack, to team structure, metrics, paid ads strategy and more, Tori pulls back the curtain on what she's done to drive growth — and why collaboration with the sales team is key to her success.  

Highlights from my conversation with Tori include:

  • Allbound sells partner relationship management software, which is designed to help companies manage their partner channel sales programs.
  • When Tori took on marketing for Allbound, she started by building a strong foundation of KPIs, tech stack, performance monitoring and strategy.
  • When it came to KPIs, she identified the company's Salesforce instance as the "single source of truth" and used it to establish what the historical performance had been.
  • She used the data from Salesforce and the company's overall revenue target to determine how many marketing qualified leads (MQLs), demos and opportunities they would need to hit the revenue target.
  • When it came time to define MQLs, Tori didn't want to simply define that as anyone who requested a demo so she worked with the sales team to create a scoring rubric based on the content her prospects were consuming. Any prospect that reached a score of at least 50 was passed on to sales for follow up.
  • Once a lead is designated as an MQL, they become a "sales accepted lead" (or SAL) when a demo has been booked and a sales qualified lead (SQL) once the demo has happened and the sales team identifies that there is a viable opportunity.
  • Once she had her lead stages defined. Tori focused on the tech stack. In Allbound's case, they set up Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, and then used Marketo and Salesforce to track their performance.
  • Now, they are beginning to experiment with account-based marketing and buyer intent data, but Tori's advice for marketers is to focus on and really master the basics first.
  • They are also using Sendoso to send out direct mail as part of their ABM campaigns.
  • In tandem with all of this, they adjusted their paid ads campaigns to focus less on the top of the funnel and more on nurturing what Tori calls "hand raisers."
  • All of these changes have contributed to Allbound's organic traffic increasing 40% year over year and their search engine rankings increasing by 23 positions. In addition, the company's revenue has grown by 150%.
  • Tori accomplished all of this with a marketing team of two people (herself and Allie, her coworker). She is now in the process of hiring a third person and the company is also onboarding a marketing and sales operations specialist.

Resources from this episode:

Listen to the podcast to learn how the team at Allbound used inbound marketing to achieve remarkable growth - and how you can too.


Transcript

Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast.

I'm your host Kathleen Booth, and my guest this week is Tori Barlow who is the director of marketing at Allbound. Welcome Tori.

Tori Barlow (Guest): Hi. Thanks for having me Kathleen.

Tori Barlow and Kathleen Booth
Tori and Kathleen recording this episode.

Kathleen: I'm excited you're here, and I'm really excited about what we're going to talk about.

Tori: Me too.

About Tori and Allbound

Kathleen: Yeah we connected because I heard that you guys were generating a ton of inbound leads and I'm always excited to pick apart how that's happening. Before we dig into this conversation though, can you just tell your story. Who are you? How'd you get where you are today, and what does Allbound do?

Tori: Yeah, so I'm really excited to chat with you as well. Thanks again for having me. So I'm Tori Barlow. I am the director of marketing here at Allbound.

And a little bit about me, I am originally from Atlanta, and currently live in Denver, Colorado. And I have been in marketing for, I want to say, over eight years now.

I kind of started an agency life where I learned the ropes of paid search, SEO, email marketing. So kind of had my hands in a ton of different pots in marketing. And then moved in-house where I manage the SEO and paid search programs there, which was quite different from going from client relations to an in-house type of role. So that was a huge change for me at that period of my career.

And then moved back into the agency life to get a little bit more hands-on with analytics and attribution from a marketing perspective. And really understanding how in order to have a successful marketing program, what are the key tracking metrics that you need in order to measure success and do your job.

So that was kind of the beginning of my marketing career. And how I ended up at Allbound, I previously worked with our current CEO, Daniel Graff-Radford, who is amazing and anyone listening should reach out to him and connect with him. He has a wealth of knowledge throughout many industries.

But I always told myself if I ever got the chance to work with him again, I would jump on it. And so that's how I ended up here.

And so Allbound is a five year old company and we sell software that's called Partner Relationship Management Software. And essentially what that is, is a tool for partner managers to manage their entire partner life cycle.

So let's say Zoom, for example, has distributors and resellers for their software. Zoom's partner manager would kind of manage all of their partners from training and onboarding to deal reg all in one platform. And Zoom is one of our clients as well. So that's a little bit about me and Allbound.

Kathleen: That's great. Oh my gosh, a couple things. One, I love that you said, you had this person that you'd worked with and if you ever got the chance to work with him again you would, because that really resonates with me as a marketer. It's so important to have a great working relationship with the CEO. And to be really aligned in terms of your vision and how you do marketing and how the CEO participates in marketing, all of those things. So if you find a great relationship where you have that kind of alignment, it's like, yeah, jump at it every time to do it again and again and again.

Tori: Oh yeah. And I think all marketers can relate to this. It's sometimes challenging bringing your ideas or budget requests or program requests to executives or CEOs. And if they kind of understand the working cogs and wheels of what you do, all the better.

Kathleen: Yeah, totally. It's so much less exhausting. So the company is five years old. How long have you been there?

Tori: So I started back in March and it's been a whirlwind. I can't believe it's already the end of the year. And I still feel like I'm learning everything every day.

But yeah it's been several months. And when I first came on there was not really a consistent marketing strategy. So I was so lucky to be able to come in and work with Ali Spiric, my other marketing colleague, and kind of develop this entire marketing engine.

How Allbound is growing with inbound marketing

Kathleen: That's the part I was really excited to talk to you about is, you know you guys are growing pretty quickly. And to be able to support that kind of growth and not have things break and fall apart you need to have a really strong foundation.

And this is something I'm very, very passionate about because it helps you do your job better. It's like, my husband always likes to say you, sometimes you have to slow down to speed up, right? And this is a great example of that. Like in the beginning, if you take the time to put the right engine in place and to get those things set up right from the get-go, you will go so much faster later.

So let's talk about that. What kind of an engine are you building? Because you guys are getting great inbound marketing results. And I'm curious to hear what goes into creating a platform to deliver that.

Tori: Yeah, I think that's a great question. And going back to your, you know, one day hopefully nothing will break. I wonder if we'll ever get to a day where all technology is smoothly running, but it's nice to think about. And I think there's different steps you can take to put into place of avoiding that, essentially.

But when I first came on in March we kind of had carte blanche to figure out, okay these are our goals, these are our revenue goals. And as a startup it's pretty important to generate that net new revenue.

So from a marketing perspective, you have to have all the pieces in place in order to support that from a sales perspective. So when we sat down and kind of understood the KPIs, we first understood and kind of worked backwards.

Okay, this is our revenue goal as a company. How can marketing help facilitate that? And so our first step was kind of looking at historical data. Our source of truth is Salesforce.

So we tried to identify, okay, month over month for the last one year, because that's all the data we had, was, how can we back into, how many MQLs do we need, how many first demos do we need, and how many opportunities do we need in order to get to that revenue number?

So I know I was a little intimidated when I only had one year's worth of data to plug and play all these numbers.

So that kind of took a little bit of the stress off with forecasting and backing into MQLs. And once we figured out, okay, this month we need 50 MQLs, or this month we need 40 MQLs. What are the programs in order to do that, to get to that number?

And the way we defined MQLs, or a marketing qualified lead, was we sat down with sales and we talked through, okay lead scoring's a big part in our base of prospects in Salesforce. What do we define as a lead that's ready to be passed to sales?

And so that was probably a very pivotal conversation and a very important one for us to tackle first with the sales team. Plus it kind of gave... Go ahead.

Working with sales to define MQLs and SQLs

Kathleen: Oh no, I was going to say I would love to talk more about that because I've actually seen a lot of marketers and sales people asking about this recently. Like, how do you define MQLs versus SQLs? And it's not the same everywhere obviously. Every company has to figure it out for themselves.

But I'm curious, in your case, when you worked on defining, in this case a marketing qualified lead, was that purely based on demographics and firmographics? Were there behavioral aspects to it? How did you pin that down?

Tori: Yeah it's a great question. And I think I would like to think of it as an ever evolving process specifically within startups or smaller businesses. Only because you want to grow that base, you want to grow the time on the phone with potential customers that we kind of decided, okay for our marketing qualified leads, anyone who submits a demo, regardless of company size, employee size, et cetera, we're passing them off to sales because we need to grow our base.

So we kind of opened up the floodgates for just any sort of behavioral, if you cross this request threshold, we passed you to sales.

On the other hand, if they fill out a piece of content or if they take one of our quizzes, that probably is not a very good indicator that they're ready to talk to a sales rep.

So we created a scoring process based on priority content intent and then kind of going down the tracks of, this isn't really a priority so we're not going to assign a ton of points to this.

But we came up with a method of once they hit 50 points within our marketing automation software, then we'll pass them to sales and they're deemed ready to talk to them.

I think over time we'll want to revisit this every six months as we grow our base and say, all right, people who have 30 people in their company, or less than 50, we really don't really see any traction with them anyways so we're going to maybe negate that score or take away from that score.

Kathleen: Then do you, beyond MQL, do you also have an SQL or sales qualified lead category?

Tori: Yeah. So our process is, it goes MQL to sales accepted lead and that is a demo on the books and a calendar invite to the prospect. And then after that it's a SQL or sales qualified lead. Which kind of sounds confusing now that I think about it, with a lead verses opportunity, but our SQLs are deemed qualified opportunities by the AEs.

Kathleen: Okay. Got it. All right, so sorry I interrupted you there because I wanted to learn more about your MQLs. Keep going, keep telling.

Tori: Yeah it's a very important piece of the puzzle.

Kathleen: Yeah.

How Allbound tracks marketing performance

Tori: So then our next question is, okay we have our metrics, we have our goals, now what? And how do we track this?

So one of my favorite parts of a marketing engine, if you like to call it that, is what do we need to track and how do we prove our success? And I think every marketer's nightmare is, okay, I just got $100,000 for this year in marketing spend, now what?

And I think this is an important piece to any marketer is, do you have your tracking set up? Do you have all of your firing implemented correctly from your marketing automation platform to your CRM and vice versa? Otherwise you could be spending good money on something that you have no idea if it's working or not.

So our first goal was to set up something called Google analytics. And that is essential to, I believe, every digital marketer understanding website behavior, website trends, seasonality.

When I first came onboard, I remember seeing so many different spikes and trends year over year. And kind of digging into the data a little further we realized, okay, this isn't even implemented correctly. So we needed to take a step back, and what you mentioned earlier of, take some time to slow down and then you can get there faster essentially.

Kathleen: Yeah.

Tori: So we stripped out all of our analytics and reworked everything to, again, what our goals are that we just sat down to define.

So we were tracking goals incorrectly in Google Analytics. So we kind of reworked that puzzle to then match up to what our company goal was at the end of the day.

So that was a first step. And then mirroring that and implementing that all the way through GTM, Google Tag Manager, and all of these other pieces to the puzzle for what Google Tag Manager can track as well, like Bing, LinkedIn, Facebook, all of those important channels from a marketer's tool set.

So we started with Google Analytics and GTM, and then the second piece of the puzzle was our marketing automation platform.

So in our instance we use Marketo. And within Marketo, we had to really sit down and think, okay, this is our new lead scoring, is it even set up correctly in Marketo?

So that also was not aligned with the goals we just sat down to create with the sales team. So we kind of had to plug and play with what we were firing for behavior scores and what we were sending over to Salesforce as an alert to the sales team.

So this sounds pretty easy to sit down and tackle in one day. It's very, I would like to say it's more of a manual process and more of a thoughtful process that I would recommend going through. Only because you want to make sure you're now tracking everything to the proper standard that you've just decided.

So we sat down and we mapped out all of our ideal conversion levers from a source of truth or Marketo or Salesforce standpoint, and then integrated that within the platform. So that was the third piece of the puzzle.

And then the final piece was making sure, okay, do Marketo and Salesforce talk to each other okay? And if not, we need to fix this stat.

So that was another big undertaking of, okay, this field maps did that, do I need these Salesforce fields for my Marketo campaigns, et cetera? So working with our marketing automation specialist at the time was a very heavy piece to the puzzle on implementing all of that tracking.

Kathleen: Yeah, I just went through that at a place I've been working and it's overwhelming at times. That's all I have to say about that.

Tori: I know I'd like to feel like I'm a technical specialist now in Marketo, but it's so much more than that. And so cumbersome that it's a lot to handle. But it is-

Kathleen: Now that Marketo-Salesforce combination, you really almost need just a marketing ops person.

Tori: Oh for sure.

Kathleen: To manage all that. My eyes glaze over when I just think about it.

Tori: Yeah. Marketing ops I feel is a role that is so important for any marketer these days. And it's funny, we're actually about to hire a sales and marketing ops person that will kind of combined to one. And I already have like five pages of requests for that.

Kathleen: Are you just like so excited for that person to start?

Tori: So excited.

Kathleen: They're going to walk in the door and you're going to be like, "I'm so happy you're here."

Tori: I want to take you for the first week.

Kathleen: Yes, yes. Let me buy you lunch because you're going to be my new best friend. Yeah, I totally agree with you. If you have somebody good who knows how to make the technology work, oh gosh, what a difference that makes.

So you have Marketo and Salesforce, you have Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Are there other analytics platforms that you're using in combination with those things?

Tori: Yeah, it's an interesting question. We currently don't have any implemented right now, but we are shifting a lot of our strategy to be more cohesive with the sales team.

We're noticing that, to your point, what this podcast is about with inbound. You know, inbound is definitely a good chunk of our revenue source and lead source. But what we've kind of dabbled in this year is ABM.

And I know it's such a buzzword and so hot right now, but it's been around for awhile as everyone said. But we just tried to implement a strategy that worked for us as a small company and we saw success with it.

So what we were seeing was our SDRs would outbound these targeted accounts, at the same time marketing would upload these targeted accounts to LinkedIn and target them with gated content, for example.

So we would get those buyer intent signals from targeted accounts. And what we were noticing was, essentially, if our SDRs were outbounding these prospects, someone else within the organization would come in and request a demo on the website. So it was this tag team initiative that truly spoke for marketing and sales working together, which was like a marketer's dream, right?

So we talked to ourselves and said, hey, this kind of manual process is sort of working so far. Is there any way we can scale this? And so right now we are kind of looking at some technology for reverse IP lookup functionality or data enrichment functionality, as well as some better prospecting tools for our sales reps that will ultimately work in conjunction with marketing efforts.

Kathleen: Have you looked at any buyer intent data?

Tori: Yes we have. We've kind of looked at... You mean specific software or just what we are noticing?

Kathleen: No, like specific software that would deliver a high intent leads to you.

Tori: Yeah, so we're going through that vetting process now. We have looked at G2 Crowd, we have looked at Leadfeeder, Clearbit and so we're kind of still in the vetting stages. So if anyone has any recommendations, love to hear them.

Kathleen: I will give you mine when we're offline because I try to stay very unbiased on this podcast.

Tori: Okay. Great.

Kathleen: But yeah, I think, that's something that I'm really intrigued by right now. I think the potential for it is tremendous. And there's not a lot of companies really using it yet.

Tori: I agree. And I think even, we just signed on with this one tool that helps us automate direct mail and then you can track that into Salesforce as part of your ABM strategy.

And so, I remember when I first started marketing several years ago, my company was sending out direct mail pieces and people were like, why are you still doing that? Like that's so last year. And now it's back. Like now it's this thing again. And it's cooler now.

Kathleen: So I just had this rant on LinkedIn about that because it was funny, somebody posted a Marketoonist cartoon about all these different things being dead. You know, like email is dead and direct mail is dead and the role of the CMO is dead.

And I feel like at this time of year in particular, there's a lot of those, "2020s coming, this is dead" proclamations. And I honestly believe, first of all, nothing is ever dead. If it's not working, it's because you're not innovating or you're not doing it right.

Tori: That's a good point. Yeah.

Kathleen: So it's funny with direct, I think there's always been a place for direct mail. It's just that it was not, it was abused. Right?

Tori: Executed. Yeah.

Kathleen: People didn't do it well. So done well it can be very effective, for sure. So there, I just did my rant again on the podcast.

Tori: I'll supplement that rant. I saw a really good idea for a prospect gift that an SDR could maybe send that said, it was a pair of socks and the message was, let's start on the right foot.

Kathleen: Oh, I love that.

Tori: We thought that was cute. So yes, to your point, I think it's creative and how you use it is what matters.

Kathleen: Yeah, absolutely. So can you say the name of the company that's doing your automated direct mail?

Tori: Yeah, we just decided to go with Sendoso.

Kathleen: Oh, I love them. They're such a great company.

Tori: I heard good things.

Kathleen: And not only because somehow or another I won some sort of gift card to their swag store. I think I went to a webinar they did and they sent me this $50 voucher for their swag store.

Tori: Nice.

Kathleen: And their swag store is awesome. It's all pet related. So I have two Labrador retrievers and I got two Sendoso leashes, a Sendoso Frisbee, and a Sendoso tennis ball toy. And my dogs are going bananas over all of it. It's really cute. So thank you-

Tori: I might have to go. Yeah, I might have to get a dog just for those swag gifts.

Kathleen: There you go. All right, so any other elements to your tech stack that you think are important?

Tori: For a tech stack, I think as a marketer I definitely get those googly eyes of, ooh, I really love this. Especially if someone is marketing to me in a smart way. Since we are marketers, we respond to good marketing, right? So I think I've had the tendency to say, oh, I really think this technology would be great.

But I think something important that I've had to remind myself is, start with the basics. And if something's working, then find a technology to maybe scale that. I think that's been super important for us as a small company. So to answer your question, those are all the technology pieces we have right now, but I'm ready for more soon probably.

Kathleen: But I think your outlook is really smart because I got excited about talking to you because you guys are not a huge company. You don't have an endless budget. And I don't think that there's enough information out there on when you're at that small but growing stage, what do you do? Like what needs to be in place? And I love getting into really granular detail about it.

And you're right, if you have huge VC dollars, sure you can go out and buy every shiny penny technology solution that's out there. But if you don't, you really need to be judicious. And there are plenty of ways to do things in a scrappy manner and get great results until you're ready to make that big investment. And you know that strategy is working. Totally on the same page with you on that one.

Tori: Right. Yeah. And I think sometimes you can feel like, okay, something's not working or maybe you have slow lead days and you kind of feel that altogether when those leads don't come through. And it's like, okay, what can I do now? Or what can I have now?

And the reality is you just kind of have to sit it out and give it time to prove itself. And I know that sounds painful, but I agree. I think you kind of just have to do one piece of the puzzle at a time.

And it's also important, you could have all of this technology and maybe the sales reps don't use it or they don't find it useful or they weren't onboarded correctly. So is it even useful at that point?

So I think taking the technology steps one piece at a time and training is all the more important.

How inbound marketing is fueling Allbound's growth

Kathleen: Absolutely. Now you talked about getting results. Can you speak a little bit to how Allbound, like the kinds of results from inbound marketing that Allbound to seeing?

Tori: Yeah, so we had to, once we got the marketing engine running and we had this year's worth of cleaner data than we've had before, what we started to see was an increase in MQLs and demo requests.

And what I'll say for that, I'll kind of back up a little bit. At the same time of kind of getting all the tracking and the plumbing in place, we also started a new paid search program and a new SEO program.

And what that entailed was, we were kind of looking at our keywords from a paid search perspective and we are really spending a lot of money on very top of funnel terms that these prospects would download content. Again, if we go back to when we sat down with sales and what was a good qualified lead, downloading content wasn't something of priority.

So we re-swizzled a lot of our paid search strategy. We restructured our entire Google AdWords account and really focused on, okay, what are the keywords that the hand raisers are focusing on, and what types of ad copy and landing pages do they want to see?

And so that was one piece of the puzzle of that fundamental building block.

And then the second piece was the SEO strategies. So I'm kind of partial to both of them because that's my background and I have found tremendous growth just from having a set SEO plan.

And so what we started with was the technical piece of SEO. So asking ourselves questions like, can Google see us from a code perspective? What is Google reading on our website that maybe we don't want Google to know about us? And by that I mean, maybe we're phrasing who we are in a way that we don't want to rank for organically.

So we took an inventory of all of our top nav pages, what our title tags, what our code was saying from an SEO perspective, and really honed in on our top value drivers for our product.

And then from there after the technical piece was in a good spot, we then focused on content.

So our whole strategy has been laying that foundation from the SEO perspective, but then gradually creating content that's relevant to our buyer but also helps us rank organically for Google.

So from that piece of the puzzle we were able to increase our year over year traffic by 40% from an organic perspective. And from a keyword ranking perspective we had increased 23 positions overall for our total tracked keywords in Google search console.

So those incremental changes that we made just in these last several months have tremendously helped us with our visibility on Google.

So that's one piece of the puzzle. And then from the ultimate goal from, how can marketing contribute to the revenue, we saw increases in month over month and quarter over quarter MQL volumes. Which ultimately resulted in more first-time demos for our prospects.

What we got really excited about was once we piloted this ABM initiative, we started tracking something new for marketing, which is I think very important. And it's called marketing assist opportunities or meetings booked, which again, an SDR is prospecting and somehow marketing was involved in one way or another, whether that's LinkedIn ads or reading our content and self identifying through that.

And so we started tracking marketing assisted conversions in Salesforce. And so the trend line is an interesting hockey-stick with how much marketing has assisted in opportunity revenue month over month just this year.

Kathleen: That's so great. I'm so happy to hear that that's something you're tracking because I do find that a lot of companies look at attribution as a very binary. Meaning that they feel like it's either sales or it's marketing, right? And that does not in any way reflect the reality of the situation. You know?

There aren't going to be a lot of cases except in really low touch, low price SaaS where it's all marketing, right? Or e-commerce.

You know, if you're talking about a complex B2B sale, you're going to have a combination of both. Inevitably. And I feel like too many companies spend too many calories arguing over whether it's really sales or marketing that closed the deal.

So it's nice if you can have that middle ground, look at assists or look at first touch versus last touch, and acknowledge that it's a combination of these things that leads to deals getting closed.

Tori: Yeah, I 100% agree. I think every company struggles with the, no, this was an SDR deal. No, this is a marketing deal. We've struggled with that too. I think it's very common and natural.

And I think what we are trying to for next year in 2020 is, we all have the same goal. So marketing goals are bubbled up into sales goals, which this year they really weren't.

So we're kind of shifting that focus to really be on the same team and have that mentality of we're helping each other, how can you bounce back if leads are slow one month? You know, how can we help with outbounding with messaging or content? So we're trying to play that tag team game, and it's a learning game for sure. But to your point, we're all in the same company.

Kathleen: Yeah. Yeah. You're all rowing in the same direction. So your organic traffic, it sounds like increased 40% year over year. What's happened with overall lead gen and company growth?

Tori: Yeah, so our company revenue grew over 150% 2019 compared to 2018.

Kathleen: That's awesome. Congratulations.

Tori: Thanks. We have seen tremendous growth in our net new business and we are looking to double that even next year with all of our strategies in place. So it's been a very successful and also just fun year to be at Allbound.

How Allbound's marketing team is structured

Kathleen: That's great. Now what we haven't talked about, and I'm curious to know is, what does the team look like that's supporting all of this? The marketing team.

Tori: Yeah. You're talking to 50% of the marketing team. So our team is very small. It's myself and Allie, and we are very nimble and agile with projects and what we're tackling.

But if you look at all that's in our project base, we're tackling everything from webinars to paid social to paid search to reporting and email marketing. We're kind of tackling the whole gamut.

So we definitely handle a lot that comes our way. But it's been so rewarding and I would say we've both learned so much and are so lucky also to have a wonderful CEO that says, you guys have carte blanche, test it, see if it works and let's find a new solution if it doesn't.

So it's been really fun and we're excited to... We're actually in the process of hiring a third marketing person to join in January. So if anyone's looking, please send your resume to me. But I think this person would have a hand in the piece of the puzzle to be that marketing engine in 2020 as well.

Kathleen: Wow, I am so impressed that you're doing all that with two people. That's a lot. And what amazing results too. That's great. Seriously, you guys are killing it. Do you have outsourced support as well or is it just the two of you literally doing everything?

Tori: Yeah, so we outsource our marketing automation and Salesforce ops right now. So that is something that's, like we talked about, so key to the puzzle. And then we outsource some of our content writing.

And so Allie does an amazing job managing the content strategy. We just put our first content marketing calendar together for 2020, so it's been great to have a plan for content which is good. But yeah, it's been primarily us tag teaming and then those outsourcing pieces.

Oh, and we also outsource our paid search agency. They manage our, you know, they pull all the levers for AdWords and Bing, and then we have our SEO consultant as well.

Kathleen: Okay, great. Well I'm super impressed that you've been able to do all that with a small team. That's amazing.

Tori: Thank you.

Kathleen's two questions

Kathleen: Yeah. Well there's two questions I always ask my guests and I would love to know what your answers are.

First, since you guys are doing so well with inbound marketing, is there anyone else, either a company or an individual that comes to mind that you think is really killing it right now with inbound?

Tori: That's a great question. I would say I love the progress that a company called Terminus is doing, the ABM company. I remember when they were very small and their CEO was, several years ago, pitched to our CEO in an office and now they're this huge company. And I think it takes a lot of different types of marketing for something that successful to happen in a few years. And so I would say Terminus is kind of crushing it in that sense.

And then I would also say, I've kept an eye on companies like Gong, I think Gong, the recording software does a tremendous job with relating and speaking to their target audience and they kind of nailed the messaging down. So I've had my eye on them and look to them as great inspiration as well.

Kathleen: Yeah, I totally second those. Both of those. They're great examples. The other thing I like to ask people is that digital marketing changes so quickly, and as someone who is a master juggler working on all different aspects of marketing for her company, how do you stay up to date and keep yourself educated on everything?

Tori: Yeah, well I love reading blogs like Search Engine Land and I keep up with the Google blog just to stay up to speed there.

I'm really lucky with our paid search agency, they give us tidbits of what the Google betas are and what's coming up from a paid search perspective.

And then we're really lucky at Allbound have something very special that's a monthly book club. And so we read sometimes the latest and greatest business books, but also other books that have proven to be successful in different frameworks like sales or marketing or product. So I stay up to date with that from that element as well.

And I think that's great too because then everyone can kind of get in a room together and share their insights and share their perspective on certain things. And then from there you bubble off into different tangents and can research that on your own.

So I love those blogs, but I also am a huge fan of just reading any sort of analyst reports like Forrester, huge fan of keeping up to speed with what the new tech reports are and who's entering the space from a technology perspective.

How to connect with Tori

Kathleen: That's a great suggestion. I love all those. If someone is listening and they want to learn more about Allbound or they have a question for you about what we've talked about today, what's the best way for them to connect online?

Tori: Yeah, so you could just visit our website and fill out either a contact us form or if you're interested in a demo or a request a demo. We're also available to chat on our website as well if you have any questions.

And you can reach out to me directly on LinkedIn as well.

You know what to do next...

Kathleen: Great. All right. Well, if you're listening and you feel like you learned something new or you enjoyed what you heard today, head over to Apple podcasts and do me a favor and leave the podcast a five star review. That's how we get discovered and more people can listen to these episodes.

And if you know someone who's doing kick ass inbound marketing work, tweet me @workmommywork, because I would love to make them my next interview. Thanks so much for joining me, Tori.

Tori: Thanks for having me.

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