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20 Stats From The State of Inbound 2017 Report

State of inbound 2017

Posted in Inbound Marketing. 4 min read

It’s that time again, folks – HubSpot just released the State of Inbound 2017 report and we’re here to recap standout trends and statistics impacting the field of marketing. In case you’re just tuning in, this annual report compiles data from 6,000+ respondents in 141 countries regarding their top marketing and sales challenges, as well as upcoming trends and channels that will affect the way we all do business.


It’s clear from the report’s introduction by HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan that sales strategies have been shifting, and that inbound is evolving with the rapid development of new technologies and tools – all with the main goal of cultivating customer relationships and service.


To build on this, a big overarching theme from the data has shown that “without clear communication and alignment, a company will struggle to build strong and lasting relationships with its customers.”


This mega-report is marketing superfood – so get your kale and antioxidants ready – we’re going all-in.

Insights for Marketing, Sales, and Beyond

The lines are blurring between marketing and sales, so it’s time for you to get acclimated with the priorities of each so you can help align your organization and build momentum! Sales and marketing alignment is like getting a beach body… you won’t get it unless you earn it (trust me, I’m in the “earning it” stage).


To help you along, I broke the stats up based on sections of the report:

The State of Marketing and Sales

  • 70% of respondents’ top priority over the next 12 months involves converting contacts/leads into customers

  • 61% of respondents list growing SEO/organic presence as a top priority for inbound marketing projects (this has fluctuated slightly from last year, down from 66%); 47% say content distribution/amplification are a top priority

  • Paid advertising is considered by many to be the most overrated marketing tactic (32%)

  • Sales is focusing more on “thought leadership to start the conversation;” this should be something marketing teams share with their sales counterparts

  • The top 3 challenges of marketing are: generating traffic and leads (63%), proving the ROI of marketing activities (40%), and securing marketing budget (28%)

  • The top 3 sales challenges are: getting a response from prospects (38%), closing deals (35%), and identifying/prospecting good leads (30%)

  • 38% of salespeople struggle with prospecting the most of any challenge

  • There’s still a disparity in knowledge regarding CRMs, as the report mentioned “18% of sales respondents didn’t know how to answer our question on the biggest challenge of using a CRM–pointing to the fact that they might not be familiar enough with their CRM to confidently discuss what’s working and what’s not”

  • Data entry remains one of the biggest time sinks for sales respondents – they spend up to an hour a day inputting information instead of contacting prospects

  • Although North American sales respondents mention a big challenge is connecting over the phone, it still remains among the most successful channels for connecting with prospects according to contributors, managers, and VP/Directors – 40%, 42%, and 35%, respectively (there’s a disparity between these job positions and C-level execs, who give a lot more credit to email)

The State of the Business

  • Companies enlisting inbound strategies feel their marketing strategy is effective (68%, compared to 48% of those who use outbound)

  • “Marketing respondents whose organizations have a service level agreement (SLA) in place are 3x more likely to say their strategy is effective compared to those in misaligned organizations”

  • 46% of respondents said inbound marketing gives them higher ROI than outbound

  • There’s a clear need to adapt and evolve strategies to suit where buyers live, rather than relying on traditional methods of marketing

Looking to the Future

  • Video remains a main disruptor in marketing, along with AI (including AI-generated content), VR, social media and apps such as Whatsapp

  • Many companies intend to use YouTube, Facebook video, and Instagram as their top 3 social channels, with SnapChat dropping off as being “a mystery for many businesses”

Understanding the Modern Buyer

  • Understanding the modern buyer means getting closer to your customers and understanding what they’re looking for

Evolution of the State of Inbound: Trend Data

  • Because buyers have a lot of the power now, there’s a gradual shift of salespeople becoming more trusted advisors “so that they can make the best impression possible when they finally connect with a buyer”

  • Word-of-mouth remains the most powerful source for purchasing decisions at 54% – it’s followed by customer references (45%) and media articles (39%)

  • Opportunity for growth remains the top thing to consider when looking for a new job (60% in 2016 and 58% in 2017)

What All This Means

Much of this data points to some big changes happening in marketing and sales across all industries. Communication between executives and contributors needs to be streamlined, as well as fine-tuning the way salespeople interact with the modern buyer.


The next step involves strategic initiatives and thorough research on what works for your buyers, as well as how you can refine your current objectives to be even more effective than before.


Trust me, it isn’t an easy balance – but it’s possible for every business to succeed in iterations of doing everything that does work, instead of what doesn’t. For example, don’t spend so many resources on Facebook if your buyers are on LinkedIn. This is simple in theory, but the insights needed to lead you to these analytics and metrics take time and deep-dive research.


Download the State of Inbound report by going here!


If you’re wondering where to start aligning business’s marketing or sales, feel free to subscribe to our blog or check out our free resources!

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