Every year the kind folk at Hubspot spend countless hours interviewing over 6200 marketing and sales professionals around the world, in different industries, at various levels of seniority from companies of all sizes…and the result? A thoroughly comprehensive report detailing benchmark data on the changing marketing and sales landscape. Gold dust to those in the industry.
However, it turns out that we are pretty kind as well, so we thought we’d let you have a copy too…but for those of you who are reading this between meetings, here is our take on some of their key findings…
Marketers prioritise converting leads into customers
The inbound methodology is now the most adopted marketing approach across the globe, with 74% of respondents confirming they primarily conduct inbound activities. This is obviously music to our ears and should be to most organisations as inbound teams tend to have more faith in what they are doing and are 13% more likely to trust their strategy than those operating outbound activities. But what is the main focus for the majority of ‘inbound marketers’? 69% stated that their primary objective is to convert contacts and leads in to customers, pushing increased web traffic and increased revenue from existing client bases in to second and third. This highlights how import lead nurture is within a campaign. Once customers are enticed in to the funnel, it is easy to neglect them and let them make their own way down, but we know that 50% of qualified leads are not ready to make a purchase when they first convert, so specific Bottom of Funnel activities are crucial to conversions. Free evaluations, trials and discount codes are often valuable assets here. Ensuring your activities are fully aligned with the IT Buyer’s journey is a must.
Generating traffic is a constant challenge
61% of respondents stated that generating leads and traffic was their number one marketing challenge, with ‘proving activity related ROI’ coming in a whopping 22% behind, in second place. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have ‘end-to-end campaigns’ playing on a loop in my head right now! I know some of you regular blog followers (hi mum!) may have heard this before, but demand generation is attributed to exhaustive planning and the implementation of an end-to-end marketing strategy. Continued optimisation and real-time reporting is simply part of the end-to-end campaign cycle. Lead Generation and ROI reporting could become less of a challenge and more of a daily occurrence if more businesses adopted end-to-end techniques. But where are businesses looking to invest going forward to ensure the leads come a-flowing? It seems that video is still the popular option for new content as YouTube and Facebook video were both in the top three with 45% and 41% respectively, with businesses stating they would be adding these channels to their content distribution. This correlates with the Global Trends Report that Hubspot released earlier this year. It’s good when it all adds up!
Sales want to close more deals
A huge 75% of companies said that closing more deals was their number one sales priority over the next year. This isn’t a huge surprise, but ironically only 48% prioritised improving the efficiency of the sales funnel. Surely, they go hand in hand? Creating a fully efficient sales and marketing funnel, where both disciplines are fully aligned would in turn lead to more lead conversions. However, only 26% of respondents had an SLA (Service Level Agreement) in place and less than half said their sales and marketing teams were aligned. With neither sales nor marketing being held accountable to each other, lead nurture becomes obsolete, leads fall through the gaps of the fractured funnel and there is no scope for growth. A frightening vision.
Prospecting has become harder.
It is no surprise really that 40% of respondents indicated that getting a response out of prospects is much harder now than 2-3 years ago. People are BUSY and buried under a mass of ‘communications’ and to-do-lists; most us are time-poor and work-rich. However, 31% of businesses stated that engaging multiple decision makers at a company in the buying process was also much harder. This is a good example of how marketing trends are shifting efficiently, as more and more marketers are adopting Account Based Marketing methods to combat this. ABM involves marketing to named account or companies; targeting individuals through intent scoring, targeted messaging containing relevant value propositions and complete alignment of sales and marketing to ensure the account/individual is fully guided through the funnel. I’ll bring you more on ABM in the next few weeks (watch this space as exciting things are brewing!), but it seems a perfect answer to many businesses prospecting issues.
So, there you have it…our key takeaway points from the State of Inbound 2018. Still got a little time before that meeting? Download the full report – I can guarantee it’s worth it.
If you would like to know more about anything mentioned above, please get in touch – we’re a nice bunch!
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