7 Key Findings from the 2018 State of Inbound to Fuel Your 2019 Planning

December 6, 2018
Sales and Marketing Alignment

Don’t look now but, we’re on the fast track to the start of a new year. As we put the finishing touches on the fourth quarter, spend time with family and friends across a mountain of holiday parties – are you all set for 2019? Sales and marketing goals set – check. Budget in place – check. Awesome!

If not, you might find these insights from Hubspot’s 2018 state of inbound instructive as you finalize your 2019 planning.

Key Findings from the 2018 State of Inbound

Inbound is Mainstream

Inbound is now the primary approach to marketing across the organization’s surveyed. That means more organizations are listening to their buyers and creating marketing programs to attract, convert, and delight their buyers rather than push and cram marketing and sales messages down their throats.

Inbound Methodology is Mainstream

Traffic and Conversion Remains Top Priority

Getting more traffic and converting leads into customers continue to be top priorities for marketers. These two priorities emphasize the importance of aligning your marketing to the where your buyers are in their journey and always striving towards delivering content that is timely and relevant.

State of Inbound - Marketers Prioritize

Budgets Matter

One-third of the organizations surveyed spend $100,000 or more a year on marketing, and that doesn’t include marketing staff. Setting aside a budget for marketing – a real one – is critical to success. Expecting a unicorn college graduate to do everything and do it with only $1,000 a month to spend incrementally a month is a tough row to hoe – especially if you’re looking to grow.

While financial budgets are important, we find the clients who are the most successful are the ones who not only allocate financial resources but human resources as well. Committing the time necessary to collaborate and move marketing forward is a key driver of a humming marketing program.

Sales Wants to Focus on Closing

Sales folks overwhelmingly want to focus on closing more deals. Color us shocked. This really shouldn’t be all that insightful to anyone unless you’ve been under a rock. It becomes more insightful as we look at the other data points around sales priorities, capacity, and the alignment with marketing. Read on friends, read on.

State of Inbound Sales and Marketing Alignment

Getting a Response Has Gotten Harder

In order to be closing, you need a big ole’ pipeline which means you need to do a lot of prospecting. In fact, Jeb Blunt, the sales brain behind SalesGravy.com and author of Fanatical Prospecting, points out that, “the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipe, and the root cause of an empty pipeline is the failure to prospect.” Here’s the thing, modern marketing is well equipped to help in this area, and the best performing organizations understand this; they drive toward alignment between their sales and marketing teams to make this a reality.

State of Inbound Prospecting

Sales & Marketing Need to Better Align Roles Across the Funnel

Not only has prospecting gotten hard, but much of the presale activity, like prequalification, are also things sales folks struggle with. Again, modern marketing is equipped to help in these areas. Modern marketing is well intended to attract the right kinds of prospects and will put the automations and filtering mechanisms in place to qualify and identify them.

State of Inbound Presale

Teams with Sales and Marketing SLAs Perform Better

This all leads to the final insight that we found the most interesting. When sales and marketing teams come together around a sales and marketing SLA, the teams perform better.  There is naturally better alignment and accountability across sales and marketing teams, and each team is focused on what they are best equipped to do. Marketing – attracting, nurturing, and qualifying leads and opportunities at scale. Sales – identifying opportunity, advising on solutions, and closing deals.

State of Inbound SLAs

Our Take on Sales & Marketing Focus in 2019

Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen the best performance from our clients when sales and marketing tightly align around expectations and collaboration. Looking ahead to 2019, we expect to see more of this. The story the data from the 2019 State of Inbound tells is one of a tech-enabled evolution in the relationship between sales and marketing. One where the two teams realize they’re both playing with the same end in mind.

Download the 2018 State of Inbound Global Report


Interested in learning more about the latest sales and marketing trends sales and marketers are reporting globally? Download the 2018 State of Inbound.