Hubspot has released their annual State of Inbound report, in which they survey over 6,000 marketing professionals on their expectations and focus points for the year. The report covers a vast variety of topics including the status of sales and marketing, modern buyer understanding, and future disruptors like virtual and augmented reality.
According to the survey, the top marketing priority over the next 12 months is converting contacts or leads to customers. There can be can be multiple reasons for why one would prioritize this. For example, you might be bringing traffic that converts, but has no further interest in your product, or your lead nurturing and sales aren’t functioning as you’d like.
Having functioning lead nurturing is extremely crucial but, alas, it gains the least attention in the marketing ecosystem. Many companies and media agencies will boast about getting tons of cheap relevant traffic to your website, but if the visitors are not converting or there is no nurturing in place, it will prove to be a costly endeavor.
Another significant issue is that marketing and sales are aligned, or even worse, work in complete silos in the organization. This will hinder the transition of leads from marketing to sales and capturing them for maximum efficiency.
In sales, we can see a clear trend in priorities, which is, naturally, closing more deals. Who wouldn’t want their sales team to make more sales? Marketing can provide remarkable help in closing more deals with efficient lead nurturing campaigns and alignment with sales. It is even possible to make a service level agreement between functions, in which you can specify how lead transition from marketing to sales will be expected to happen, and how many sales ready leads marketing is supposed to deliver to sales. How you define a sales ready lead is critical for the performance of the sales people, as they will be wasting their time if the lead is not actually ready. Predictive analytics or a clearly defined rules can help immensely here.
17% of respondents reported that they will be investing in customer relationship management software in the EMEA region this year. This is a clear sign that some companies still do not have an efficient CRM to which marketing can transition sales ready leads.
Tackling the Sales and Marketing Priorities
Well, how should you tackle the priorities in marketing and sales this year? I recommend you start by mapping out all current marketing and sales technologies used in your company. After this you should figure out whether they are integrated, or in other words, whether they communicate with each other on some level to ensure closed-loop reporting. Integrations are the key enabler with the rise of iPaaS (integration-platform-as-a-service).
Once you have grasped the missing links and activities that are needed to enable tight integrations between software and functions, you can start building a roadmap for bringing new solutions to your company. However, you should also remember that the marketing technology landscape is wide with over 5,000 solutions available at the moment; it can turn out to be quite a challenge to dive into it. You can check out the new marketing technology landscape here.
As the final step, if you haven’t already, you should take on a dashboard for reporting. I highly recommend using a dashboard to easily get a bird’s-eye view on your business goals, making it easier to focus your efforts where they are proven to be most fruitful.
But most importantly, I suggest you enjoy and make most of this period during which marketing is taking leaps forward and there is always something new to do and discover in the field. Download the full State of Inbound report from Hubspot here.