This past year at HubSpot’s Inbound 2019 conference, we were fortunate enough to fly the whole team in to Boston for the week. We were ecstatic to attend and be there for Doug’s session - The Ultimate Sales Manager: Coaching Reps to Coach Themselves. The week went by quickly, the sessions everyone attended either reinforced what we were already doing or inspired us to try something new, and we all (the Imagine team) left Inbound with some key takeaways. No two people had the same impact which meant everyone could bring something different to the table when we got back.
The Imagine Team’s Takeaways
Fiona - Head of Content
I thought one of the most interesting (and obvious in retrospect, as these things often are) tips from Inbound was from Kelsey Raymond. She recommended that content creators should sit in on a sales call at least once a month to hear first-hand what’s keeping potential clients up at night. That way, you’ll be able to keep these concerns in mind when creating content.
I also found Daniel Waas’ session helpful because he talked a lot about his ideal framework for a webinar. As someone who writes fiction in my spare time, it struck me how much it was like a VERY simplified structure for a novel. This just reinforced that all successful content, no matter the format, has some type of story structure.
Sammi - Inbound Marketing Manager
This year at Inbound, I walked away with three different learnings. First, when it comes to webinars (videos, any public form of speech), we all fear the same things. A great tactic I learned from one of the sessions is to list your fears and disprove them (Who cares if nobody shows up, nobody will know!).
Secondly, it’s not always about finding the next big thing. Sometimes, it’s about finding something that works and making it better. Great innovation can come from something that is good (for example 3D printing) and making it better (from 3D printing to carbon liquid printing).
Finally, using a chat bot for the sake of using a chat bot, isn't going to cut it. We have to be strategic with the use of AI and find ways to individualize experiences that go above and beyond a single script. People can sniff out automation that really isn’t helpful, not to mention the time and effort that marketers and sales professionals put into setting up the logic behind AI to see little (or no) real return.
Drew - Demand Generation Analyst & Product Manager
The HubSpot community is BIG! I was so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people involved with HubSpot. It was cool to find out where we were situated within the community, and how much of an impact we’ve made. Likewise, after talking with other attendees, I came to the conclusion that people > presentations. The conversations I had with people were way more valuable than any session. Even if I wasn’t directly in the conversation, just happening to overhear what was being said was insightful.
Hannah - Demand Generation Manager
Session wise, in the words of Larry Kim, find your unicorn and make unicorn babies. Sometimes finding something that works for you and performs well isn’t a new idea that no one has ever done before. Most of the time, it’s looking back through your previous work and finding that one campaign, blog, or piece of content that outperformed the rest and then duplicating what you previously did. Clone your successful ideas and look for patterns instead of the new best thing.
Non-session wise, as I was talking with some other people in our free time, there was something said that I’ve carried with me, “You can become anything you want to be in this space.” Take this however you’d like to, but this one line has inspired me since the day it was said.
Jess - Director of Operations
My biggest takeaway was that the key to success is diversity. As Dharmesh Shah put it, “Different is not just ok, it’s better.” We need to get over (and help our clients get over) the fear to ship. We need to dip our toe in the water and iterate rather than trying to make it perfect before we start moving forward. That’s the fastest way to progress, and the only way you will learn to “swim.” You have to dunk your head, then do it again, and do it again, and do it again.
Doug - Founder and CEO
How You Do It Is As Important As What You Do
Brian Halligan’s keynote has really stuck with me, and I find myself continuing to think about the point he’s making on the importance of becoming an experience transformer. The main takeaway is that the companies that are winning - really winning - today, are doing so as much or more because of how they’re selling/servicing their customers, and not what their product/service is. There are myriad implications with this, but the biggest (and best) for small and mid-market companies is that we have great control over how we do what we do - from how we position ourselves to how we converse, sell and ultimately serve. Companies are expending far too much energy trying to differentiate what they do (which is REALLY hard) when they’d be better off just adjusting how they do it.
The MarTech Industry Is Growing Up
While there are still a number of new MarTech apps entering the marketplace all the time (many with ambiguous value propositions), you could feel and hear a difference in the nature and maturity of the conversations taking place. From HubSpot’s focus this year on stability to many of the conversations that clearly delineated the difference between those organizations that are gaining meaningful traction and those still paying lip service to the new playbook. This year’s Inbound reiterated my belief that the next two years are going to be more about the steak and less about the sizzle.
There’s so much learning that takes place during Inbound. The conference keeps growing which means more opportunities for insights like the ones above. If you’re thinking of going, we would highly recommend checking it out next year.