HubSpot have today released the 2015 version of their long running study ‘State of Inbound.’ This years report covered 150 countries via 4000 respondents across all business types and sizes. 1/3 of those surveyed were affiliated with HubSpot but the other 2/3 had no affiliation. The study aims to quantify and record the attitudes, actions and challenges Marketers and Sales Teams face when it comes to Inbound Marketing.
The two biggest take-aways from this years report reinforce what a lot of SMEs practicing Inbound have been saying for a long time.
- Tracking and Proving ROI is absolutely key to retaining clients and increasing your budget.
- Aligning the Sales and Marketing departments is the best way to see Inbound accepted and flourishing in your business.
It’s no secret that SMEs love Inbound, it’s the easiest way to get bang for your buck on a small Marketing budget. What was surprising is that according to the report even 32% of businesses that define themselves primarily as Outbound Marketers agree that traditional paid advertising (Radio, Print, Billboard) is the most overrated and wasteful Marketing technique. Return On Investment on Inbound is on average 3 times higher than on Outbound Marketing. The report goes on to say that the best way to keep your Marketing budget growing year on year is to stay lean, keep providing maximum benefit without spending more than necessary. That’s something all business owners are going to be happy to hear!
How can Inbound Marketers increase their budget? The easiest way to increase your chances of getting a budget increase is to track and prove the ROI you bring. Even when not providing a higher ROI than in the previous year those that track and prove their ROI are 20% more likely to gain a budget increase than those who don’t. It seems like an obvious concept but the uptake on ROI tracking has been anything but universal.
Tracking your ROI is one thing, but how can we improve it? One of the simplest ways is to ensure you align your Sales and Marketing Teams. For a very long time Sales and Marketing departments have had an almost adversarial relationship. One blames the other when something goes wrong.
‘Sales aren’t closing enough! We send them the leads and they screw it up!’
‘The leads from Marketing are useless! And there’s not enough of them to begin with anyway!’
In todays world Sales and Marketing have to work ever closer with each other, often stepping into each other’s traditional spaces at times. After all, everyone working at your business should be a Brand Ambassador. Social Selling means everyone is doing a bit of Sales and a bit of Marketing all the time. When Sales and Marketing work together and consult on things like integrated CRM and mutually beneficial target setting they return better results in both departments. When Marketers are involved with Sales technology decisions they return 13% better results.
Cementing the Sales-Marketing relationship with a Service Level Agreement has been proven to increase the likelihood of a greater ROI year-on-year by 12%.
The biggest challenges Sales Teams face are increasing the speed and efficiency of the Sales Cycle & Funnel. Sales professionals also answered that prospecting is still the part of the job they find the hardest. All of these issues can be helped by Sales and Marketing working closer together. All of the information gained by Marketing through the various stages of Inbound Marketing can be passed on to Sales to help address any information deficit they have.
More information = better qualification = faster Sales Cycle
There’s a whole host more information in the 73 page report, some of it’s a surprise and some of it just confirms what we’ve been saying for the last couple of years. If you want to read the whole report you can for free by clicking on the link below.