Consumer habits are changing … drastically. That’s the driving force behind inbound, after all. What your customers want today is different than what they wanted 10 years ago. That means we must change the way we market and sell to match the way people actually want to shop and buy.
Why the changes? Well, the way people do business has changed, and companies are rising to the challenge to meet consumers where they are—whether that’s on Facebook, YouTube, in a messaging app, or on a mobile device.
Below, you’ll find our 2017 State of Inbound Report that will give you the data you need to benchmark your activities against 6,000+ respondents while also giving you insight on the top challenges and priorities facing marketers and sales reps today, as well as a glimpse into future trends and channels that will soon affect the way we all do business.
Together, let’s adapt for the age of the buyer — the inbound way.
Top Highlights & Stats from The State of Inbound Marketing 2017 report:
The biggest focus for companies worldwide in 2017? Growing their online presence through SEO and organic searches.
With respect to inbound marketing projects, marketers are focused on improving their SEO presence, creating more blog content that can be found via search, and distributing and amplifying content. A marketer highlighted their priorities as: “focusing more on online presence such as industry directories, fixing and improving our own website, interacting with potential customers or people within the industry through online forums … rather than print mags which don’t always reach our targets.” With respect to SEO as the top overall priority, one respondent summed up their main challenge: “Google makes a lot of changes to their search algorithms, and it impacts websites and SEO.” The changing technology landscape will continue to keep marketing teams on their toes.
As inbound marketing continues to rise and become a priority for many business worldwide, another thing is becoming a priority for marketers today: to drop traditional advertising. For 3 years in a row, it’s the top ranked “overrated marketing tactic”.
Sales people across the globe are now finding getting a response from prospects and closing deals are the biggest challenge they face. Why the challenge? Because people no longer need a sales person to assist them in their purchases. Just take a look at the next graph, out of every source sales people are least relied on!
Sales people no longer hold the power, buyers do.
Referrals, customer references, media articles, and vendor-authored articles have consistently been the most reliable sources of information for our decision-makers. Word-of-mouth is a powerful influence in a purchase decision: A business’s most important marketing asset is their customer base, who can advocate on their behalf. Word-of-mouth and customer case studies, the top two information sources, go a long way in impacting a decision-maker’s purchase decision. Our data also shows that a business’s content goes just as far as a media article or an analyst report. So lower profile organizations can still invest in content to influence their potential buyers. It’s key to focus on middle and bot – tom of the funnel stories that will resonate with an organization’s buyer personas.
Remember, salespeople are at the bottom of the ladder. Savvy businesses can make the best of lowered buyer expectations by outfitting their sales staff with helpful insights that buyers cannot unearth from media articles or case studies. Transform your salespeople into trusted advisors so that they make the best impression possible when they finally connect with a buyer.