As we highlighted last month in our recap, one of the biggest announcements to come out of this year's HubSpot Inbound conference in Boston was the introduction of the new CRM tool – a customer relationship manager that integrates seamlessly with your existing HubSpot marketing suite to extend the power of HubSpot into your sales strategy.
Today, let's take that announcement – and all its implications – a step further by considering how inbound has shifted slowly but surely from simply a marketing methodology to a true organizational strategy, and the rise of inbound sales as a result.
Inbound Marketing is Still a Thing
First of all, inbound marketing certainly isn't fading away. That's one of the coolest things about this sea of change that's happening in inbound of late. It's not trading one thing for another, but rather expanding the reach of a concept that's already proven itself to be powerful and effective in a marketing environment and applying it to other aspects of business, including sales.
As a result, you can expect to see many marketing professionals – especially those certified to assist with HubSpot installation and consultation – to begin branching out into sales-related services as well.
Inbound Sales is the New Thing
Inbound is no longer “just” a marketing thing as it once was. Sales professionals (along with other business units) have seen the light and are adopting inbound techniques, with impressive results.
As you can see from the chart below, many sales professionals who responded to the State of Inbound 2014 survey indicated a higher priority being placed on inbound lead sourcing in recent months than traditional outbound methods.
As that chart also shows, there are still a large number of sales pros who favor outbound methods, and outbound will always have a place in the sales and marketing world. But to see sales embracing social media, blogging, SEO, and other inbound tactics represents a real shift in the way companies are doing business, and it has to do with the power of the customer.
Inbound has proven highly effective at generating leads in recent years because consumers – with full control over their media choices and instant access to customer reviews, competitive products, and various pricing options – simply aren't interested in being “sold to” any more. They have little or no patience for advertising in its traditional flavor.
Instead, they want and need to do their research, ask their friends via social media, get their questions answered, and make an informed decision before stepping foot near a salesperson.
And that's where inbound shines. The ability to gather leads who have essentially raised their hands indicating their interest in a particular topic or product while in the midst of their own research closely links inbound marketing with traditional sales, and the value has not been lost on sales pros.
That's why 45% of survey respondents listed inbound as their primary source of leads as compared to 22% who cited outbound. But inbound has also proven itself valuable beyond the initial snagging of leads.
There is a proven inbound method for engaging with leads, prospects, and customers at every stage of the buyer's journey, which is traditionally a sales role. So it only makes sense for sales professionals, who want to see the leads generated by inbound marketing techniques make that entire journey, to embrace the inbound tactics that originally attracted those leads.
25% of Sales Pros are Practicing Inbound
The shift toward inbound sales has not affected everyone yet. As a matter of fact, it's not even a majority yet. According to survey results, about 25% of sales pros are routinely using inbound methods.
But 25% is enough to register a huge trend sweeping the sales world.
In these companies, sales and marketing – two departments that have historically battled for budget and recognition – are now finding their roles intertwining in new and exciting ways. To a lesser extent (around 10%) service roles like Customer Service and IT are also joining the extended inbound force.
That's surely why HubSpot saw the value in investing in inbound sales through the development and release of their CRM platform to integrate with their well-established inbound marketing suite and extend the opportunity to all HubSpot partners and customers to join (and grow) that 25% of sales pros who have already embraced inbound.
Is your organization going to be an early adopter and ride the wave as inbound sales becomes the industry standard? Hubspot is a great place to start. Let's discuss it.