The days were long. The energy was electric. The smiles were countless. HubSpot’s Inbound 2017 was the biggest yet, wrapping up last week with a final attendee count of over 21,000 marketing and sales professionals from more than 100 countries!
Widely considered one of the must-attend events of the year, #Inbound17 was jam-packed with learning and inspiration for everyone, from thought-provoking messages on social responsibility to tactical, hands-on training for the latest in marketing and sales trends.
Marketing & Sales Has Become More Sophisticated
In the past three years of Inbound attendance has nearly doubled, but even more notable is the rapid growth of professional sophistication among marketers and salespeople in terms of knowledge, abilities, and expectations. Conversations between attendees have evolved from basic concepts to defined strategies that address the experience for an increasingly connected customer.
Customer Experience is Everything
It’s no surprise that the end-to-end customer experience is becoming increasingly digital. With this fact come many challenges, but also opportunities for marketing and sales to connect and expand the number of ways that customers have to engage with us. During their keynote, HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah pointed out that engaging with touchpoints that leverage the customer’s existing behaviors is key.
Expectations have risen and marketing and sales professionals are now realizing the possibilities of seamless and personalized customer experiences across websites, apps, devices, in-store, or in-person. This requires systems to talk/connect/integrate to share information. Platforms that do not connect will soon be forced into obsolescence.
It’s About the Message, Not the Content
Customers want their questions answered in a timely, relevant fashion. Whether that is via a blog post, a video, an infographic, a PDF, or [insert content type here], it’s important to focus on the message without getting lost (and losing attention) in the “content”.
Social Selling is More than a Fad
“Only 29% of companies are prioritizing social selling”
Many breakout sessions at Inbound focused on personalizing conversation and connecting with prospects and customers through the use of social media. Social media proficiency is no longer a skill reserved to just marketers (read: sales and marketing paths are merging). Well-built, properly used social profile give sales reps and marketers the opportunities to be resources for their prospects, while also being available in a more direct and personal way.
— Jessica Salley (@singingsalley) September 25, 2017
Real-time Customer Support
Hubspot’s integration with Motion.ai and their investment in Drift speak volumes about how people want to receive information and the direction that customer support is headed. Much like social selling, chatbots can bring customers closer to your company (and you closer to them) while providing instant answers. This is beneficial internally to help uncover common issues that arise as well as by providing an open-ended way to gather feedback.
People tend to buy from brands and companies that they trust. The problem? Only 3% of people consider sales reps to be trustworthy, according to research conducted by HubSpot.
Brian Halligan said in his keynote, “It’s not what you sell, but how you sell it.” The most successful companies take the focus off of the products that they offer and turn their story to how their brand empowers their customers and aligns with their overall purpose.
— Incentric Digital (@IncentricDigi) September 28, 2017
As always, there were more sessions and events than one could possibly attend, amazing food options, and seemingly endless parties. All-in-all, the best yet. Check out these tips to make the most of Inbound next year, and hope to see you there!