For the past five years, Hubspot has compiled and published a wealth of data in their annual “State of Inbound Marketing” reports. This year, they have dropped the word “Marketing” from the title to reflect an overarching sea change: inbound is no longer just for marketers. “Inbound,” as defined by Hubspot, refers to a methodology that focuses on creating quality content that acts as a magnet, pulling people toward your company and product. And this year, the State of Inbound report surveyed more than 35,000 marketing and sales professionals across all levels.
It’s easy to see why salespeople are starting to employ inbound tactics. Who wouldn’t want a magnet to pull in qualified leads? And since inbound has become an interdepartmental phenomenon, we thought it would be helpful to compile what we feel are the top three takeaways that inside sales professionals should glean from the report.
25% of Sales Organizations use Inbound
According to the report, 25% of companies are currently using inbound methodologies to accelerate sales. And here at RingDNA, we expect that number to grow much larger over the next few years. This is because more and more salespeople are seeing themselves, at least to some degree, as marketers. They’re creating blog posts, employing social media and creating other content in order to connect with new customers and drive sales.
Sales & Marketing Alignment Correlates with Larger Inbound Budgets
According to Hubspot’s report, As such, it can pay in dividends for Sales and Marketing to align on an inbound strategy. One way to help Sales and Marketing align is to institute a service-level agreement (SLA) between Sales and Marketing. When an SLA is in place, Marketing is on the hook to provide Sales with a steady stream of qualified leads. Salespeople carry quotas, and are thus used to being held accountable to numbers. But when marketers are held to numbers as well, sales teams are going to be more likely to collaborate. It’s therefore not hard to see why, according to Hubspot’s data, larger inbound budgets tend to correlate with SLAs between Sales and Marketing.
More than Twice as Many Leads are Now Inbound Leads
More than twice as many of the respondents to Hubspot’s study cited inbound (45%) as a primary lead source versus outbound (22%) [Let’s take those figures with a grain of salt, given that Hubspot’s customers have traditionally been SMB marketers, many of whom are just getting the hang of this whole “inbound” thing]. Even so, expect to be selling to more customers that are well informed about your company and solutions. According to the report: “inbound-sourced leads are consistently more knowledgeable about the company prior to speaking with a rep than leads sourced through outbound means.” This is a good thing, as the more educated customers are, the more sales-ready they tend to be. Secondly, companies that are selling via the telephone should be expecting their phones to ring more often.
This being the case, it’s becoming increasingly vital to arm sales reps with the tools that they need to successfully convert inbound leads. That’s why we provide our customers with not only tools to route inbound callers to the most suitable reps, but also tools that deliver data about those inbound callers in the context of calls. As an example, suppose you’re selling marketing automation software. Let’s say that the CMO at a prospective company sees your site, she reads several of your blogs, then she downloads an eBook and calls a number she sees in that eBook, ready to have a serious sales conversation. RingDNA can bridge the gap between your phone and business data from CRM and marketing automation in order to help reps have more intelligent sales conversations.