Even though HubSpot has been publishing their State of Inbound Marketing Report for the past eight years, the data from 2016 shows a very surprising shift.

As Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, puts it:

“The world is becoming more inbound. It’s growing more authentic, less interruptive. And with the findings of this year’s report, I think it’s safe to say that over the next ten years we’re going to see an even more inbound world.”

So what does that mean for you as a savvy marketer?

Let’s take a look.

Today’s Marketing & Sales Challenges

First, marketers and sales teams each face a different set of challenges despite the fact that they have the same goals in mind.

Marketing Challenges Graph

Marketers reported their biggest challenges as generating traffic and leads (65% of survey responses) and proving the ROI of their marketing activities (43%).

HubSpot also shined a light on another major issue: “Marketers still lack access to tools that can help them track concrete results for their campaign.”

Can you relate to these challenges?

If you work more on the sales side, prospecting, closing, and identifying leads are still the biggest obstacles standing in your way.Sales Process Graph

Though these struggles don’t seem related, if you’re seeing a drop in new leads, a decrease in quality prospects, and fewer conversions, you can definitely bet there’s a disconnect between the sales and marketing teams.

Marketing & Sales Teams Must Be on the Same Page

The larger the disconnect between these two teams, the harder time each of them will have doing their jobs effectively.
We know this because 82% of companies that say their marketing strategy is effective admitted that their sales and marketing team’s service level agreement is “tightly aligned.”

Marketing Strategy Graph

The report also mentions that sales and marketing teams “need to continually communicate and refine,” especially since the highest quality of leads (a whopping 59%) is from inbound practices.

So if your marketing and sales teams are operating as two separate entities, it’s time to improve their relationship. And the best way to do this is through communication.

You need to establish a channel for two-way feedback between members of both parties so everyone is on the exact same page.

Let’s Talk ROI and Budget

While measuring ROI is another big hurdle facing marketers today, it’s one worth taking the time to figure out if you’re sick of working with a tight budget.

“Those who can calculate ROI are 1.6x as likely to receive higher budgets,” according to the report.

Inbound Marketing Budget Graph

Overrated Marketing Tactics

HubSpot also still holds firm that outbound marketing (think: paid advertising) is the “most overrated marketing tactic” consistently year-after-year.
Marketing Tactics Graph

The Future of Marketing & Sales

So where does that leave us and the future state of marketing?

Decentralized content.

Instead of solely focusing on pumping out content for your website, blog, or social media channels, you must think in terms of multiple platforms.

Videos, podcasts, and even posting content to Medium are all great examples of content distribution channels worth paying attention to.

The key is finding the right platforms where your audience hangs out. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting your time pitching to the wrong crowd.

Final Thoughts

In the words of Brian Halligan, “Inbound is about matching the way you market and sell with the way people actually want to shop and buy.”

This means taking a “more helpful, more human and more empathetic” approach instead.

Get both your sales and marketing teams to align with this focus and you’ll diminish challenges for both of them and help them succeed.

Click here to grab your copy of the full report.