What’s the hardest part of B2B inbound marketing?

This question was recently posed to a LinkedIn Group of which I’m a member, and it got me thinking, because it’s a question you could approach from a few different angles. For instance, one challenging thing can be setting up and measuring an effective lead nurturing campaign. So, instead of thinking tactically, I took a step back and thought about what’s been most challenging for me.

With that in mind, I’m an agency guy, so from an agency perspective in the B2B space, the number-one hardest thing seems to be getting buy-in from our clients. It’s not because there’s a question of whether or not inbound marketing works (Luckily, we have results to share that make that a low hurdle), but because inbound encompasses social media, which in a lot of cases is still met with raised eyebrows.

B2B inbound marketing challengesMany of the B2B marketers we’ve encountered seem to understand the importance of social media, and recognize that they should be doing something (if only listening), but many are still hesitant to take that first step. The challenge, therefore, has been putting social into the proper context (i.e. inbound), showing them how it relates to their current business objectives, proving that it’s not so intimidating and, finally, that they can hit the ground running once they have a game plan in place.

Along these same lines, the second hardest part is keeping the client engaged so they can sustain their inbound activity by continually creating fresh content. As the agency, we’ll step in to fill a void – whether it’s writing a blog or recognizing opportunities to leverage inbound for offline channels (e.g. tradeshows, existing media buys, etc.) – but, especially with content creation, we prefer that it comes from internal resources. It comes across as more genuine, is often more accurate and it adds a layer of credibility that resonates with the target audience. It’s challenging, and it takes a lot of effort, but the payoff makes it all worthwhile.

There have been other challenges for sure, but these are the ones that seem to surface more often than not. I don’t begrudge it. In fact, I welcome it, because each time we overcome these objections to inbound marketing, it makes us a better partner for our clients.

What have been your biggest inbound marketing challenges?