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Inbound Sales Success Is Not A Secret

Losing sleep over leads and sales? You’re not alone. Prospecting is getting harder, according to HubSpot Research’s global report, The State of Inbound 2018. It certainly doesn’t help that salespeople are sourcing the most leads themselves. Hey, wait… isn’t that what a marketing budget is for?

It may seem like a no-brainer that when asked what their top sales priority was for next year, 75% salespeople globally said “closing more deals.” It’s even more cutthroat in North America, with 85% citing the deal as their priority. Trailing at a distant second place was “improving the efficiency of the sales funnel,” 48% globally. The priority gap suggests that the traditional sales funnel is dead. (Check out our post that illustrates why.)

At some point, you’ve felt the disconnect. Content distribution channels are plentiful, but casting a wide net doesn’t always yield a big catch. Generating traffic and leads was the top marketing priority for 69% of companies, according to the report, yet it was also the top marketing challenge for 61%. These challenges from the marketing team translate to the struggles of the sales team, as seen below.

prospecting is harder

Source: HubSpot Research’s State of Inbound 2018

Engaging decision makers and closing deals are always key challenges for salespeople, but why is it significantly more difficult to get a response from prospects than it was a couple of years ago? Also, with all the digital tools at our disposal, why is identifying and prospecting leads 28% more difficult than it used to be? These results hint at rifts between sales and marketing teams.

Another revelation from this survey is the number of respondents who reported more difficulty in tasks like research, writing initial emails and using day-to-day technologies. In fact, 27% of salespeople say they’re spending over an hour a day on data entry work instead of selling. Overall, it looks like companies need some help leveraging tools and technologies that save their inbound sales specialists valuable time. 

Closing the Gap

Growth in sales frequently comes down to better communication, both externally with prospects and internally within your organization. Look at the reported success of tightly aligned sales and marketing teams who operate with a service-level agreement (SLA) where objectives are clearly communicated. The teams are using the same playbook, and they report more success from their inbound marketing strategy.

highest quality leads

Source: HubSpot Research’s State of Inbound 2018

Information overload and a lack of strategy are stumbling blocks that inbound marketing and sales teams have to overcome together. The proliferation of content distribution channels can be a double-edged sword. While using the platforms helps the quantity of content you can produce, it might not enhance quality engagement, which matters a great deal to lead generation.

To put it in perspective, here’s a quick quality-control checklist

  • Are you tracking engagement on content distribution platforms? 
  • Do you actively participate on social media platforms by responding to comments and feedback? 
  • Does your landing page have a clear CTA with an offer that can help you connect with prospects?

And because quantity and reach can’t be trivialized:  

  • Are you launching targeted campaigns that leverage specific content and channel strategy?
  • Are you leveraging analytics, automation, and A.I. to streamline and enhance existing and future campaigns?



Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle

I help small- and medium-size businesses effectively leverage their online presence in order to increase brand awareness, target ideal clients and increase leads and revenue.


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