"Only 3 days left in 2015" and I am still in disbelief.Do you think digital deluge has changed the concept of time? Or has a subtle time travel slowly crept into our reality?Maybe, I am thinking too hard to get the attention off my growing age. (Growing old, not growing up)Now, back to the topic.Mixed Bag 2015At Inbound Mantra, 2015 has been a real mixed bag. Here are the hits and the misses.
- Own Office: Two office moves, thanks to a growing team, meant that we were literally 'on the move'. It has been a big step for team Inbound Mantra to invest in its own private space. It is nowhere close to swanky, but it does stand up dignified.
- New Clients: On an average, Inbound Mantra added 1.16 clients every two months and successfully retained a little over 40% of them on long-term contracts.
- Friends: A new client is happiness. And when they become friends, it is pure joy. It was that special with a few.
- HubSpot 'Tiered' Partner: Inbound Mantra became HubSpot's first tiered partner in India winning the Silver Partner status. HubSpot continues to enjoy tremendous goodwill in India's inbound marketing scene and we are keen to build on it further in 2016.
- US Beckons: 2015 saw sustained enquiries from the US, requiring us to revisit our business plan for 2016 and beyond. The pipeline continues to be strong, primarily because of our association with HubSpot. Like the world, we need the US too :)
These are more than a hundred. I could talk about all of them.Hey no, don't worry, I will spare you the trouble.
- Client Churn: Though this is natural, the investment that goes into customer acquisition requires us to be ruthless about churn. It has to addressed. In 2015, we struggled with this. We came up with the 'Proof of Concept' initiative to service clients who were just keen to experiment with Inbound Marketing with a limited budget. Though early days, the initiative is showing promise.
- 'Expensive' HubSpot: Not just prospects from India, but even those from the US have reiterated concerns about HubSpot pricing. While we successfully justify ROI, we see the ticket size discouraging a successful first step often.
- Talent Acquisition: The big miss has been talent acquisition. It is more an admission (than a realization) that inbound marketing talent will have to be developed than acquired. An on-the-job management trainee program this year has seen a 50% success.
- Talk Inbound: This was a wonderful initiative to create a regular inbound marketing meetup in India. Somehow, it fizzled out. I was unable to put together the resources to make this happen. Should I take a shot again in 2016? It might be fun.
You cannot be, but excited about the New Year. It carries an implicit 'change' element. An opportunity to start something new, change old activities or just 'keep going' with renewed vigour.I am excited about:
- Business Goals: 100% or a 2X growth. Success is expected to be more a function of capacity than demand. And that is a 10X challenge.
- Process: As an industrial engineer (and a 'melancholy' personality type), I find process fascinating. Most of the times, I overdo it. And that is when I find project management software really useful to scale and minimize exceptions. Having done away with email for internal communication in 2015, Inbound Mantra will attempt to go mainstream with process workflows to deliver on all client engagements.
- HubSpot: The HubSpot team has a vision for marketing. The recent product updates and extensions into sales are testimony to this. Inbound Mantra is excited by the opportunity to make its little contribution in a market, as promising as India.