5 Lessons from Hubspot’s Inbound 2015

MCDIA is a Hubspot Agency Partner and everyone at here was eager for a chance to stop in at Hubspot’s annual conference in Boston, #INBOUND2015.  I got my chance on Friday, September 11th (my birthday!) to visit for the day and check out a few talks.

It was my first ever conference, and it was way more fun than I thought a conference could be. I heard from other attendees that I was spoiled on my first conference ever, and that few other events are as fun and positive experiences as Inbound. I can’t wait to go next year.

Here is what I learned from my first ever Inbound about sales, content marketing, data, and fashion!

What I learned about sales from Inbound 2015

My first talk ever at my first conference ever was Bryan Eisenberg’s talk on Friday morning “Creating Legendary Brands: A Business Process to Align Metrics, Customer Experience, and Profits”.

The bottom line for me was that you need to stop selling in the traditional sense. Just stop. There will always, of course, be a place for traditional sales, but the future isn’t about the sales process you’re familiar with.

Today, online, people buy from PEOPLE. Even sales people can be humans, and they need to be in order to close deals. Sales today is about building trust. You build trust by telling your customer’s stories, not your own. That means telling stories they can relate to, that they see themselves in. Your customers need to see themselves reflected back in everything you do online – your written content, videos, social media posts, the design of your digital environment, and even the community you create around all of that, needs to be a reflection of your target audience.

The sales will follow.

Also related was a talk given by our good friend John Jantsch. I didn’t get a chance to see his talk, but read this nugget of wisdom tweeted out by a fan of his speech:

And again, the way to do that isn’t through a hard sell, or rock-bottom prices, anything like that. The way to convert 100% of your leads requires qualifying people before they even start to engage with you. It’s about creating a brand and building a community that reflects your target buying persona. You define that first, then create content that is interesting to your audience (and by interesting, I mean tells their story, reflect their hopes, dreams, fears, and needs, etc, as Bryan noted above). At that point, the people you’re going to attract are so well targeted to your product, you’ll be able to stop fretting over 2% conversion rates and generating thousands of leads to close a handful of deals.

What I learned about content marketing at Inbound 2015

These are some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom from the #INBOUND2015 hashtag stream:

What a learned about sales and marketing funnels from Inbound 2015

This concept made me laugh out loud:

Your buyers are checking out your products and services on their mobile devices across multiple platforms. They are making decisions in small increments across many micro-moments as they interact with your brand. So they don’t fit into a neat funnel anymore. Instead, they buy when they are ready, at the touch of a button.

Your job as a digital marketer and salesperson is to finely tune your message to a highly-targeted audience, and then create as many opportunities for those micro moments (and selling opportunities) as possible so it’s easy for that audience to buy.

There is, of course, a little bit of magic that’s required to make the process work, it’s not an exact science. But that’s why you hire marketing professionals. 🙂

What I learned about data-driven digital marketing from Inbound 2015

What IS an exact, science, however, is analyzing data to determine if your efforts have been successful. There is a concrete process to follow in doing so, and the first step is the most important: define the question you want to answer. As we know from Deep Thought of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, whatever answer you glean from your data is useless if you don’t know the question at the start.

"I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is."

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

Ellie Mirman had a great talk on that, you can check out notes from the audience members of her talk over at Inbound.org, which has tons of notes on many different presenters.

She also had a great concrete takeaway: pie charts are not helpful. They can illustrate a distribution – say, the percentage of traffic from each social channel that converts on a specific goal – but that’s where their usefulness ends. You get one piece of knowledge from that – which channel results in the highest percentage of your converting social media traffic –and that’s it.


What I learned about fashion from Inbound 2015

It’s not lame to wear comfortable shoes to the hottest marketing event in Boston for the year. You’ll pay for it later if you don’t. I regretted this choice of footwear:

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