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Fes Askari

Head of Inbound Sales

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Building the business case for an Inbound Marketing & Sales strategy can be a challenge. To see success, it’s important that stakeholders in your organisation understand the benefits and potential ROI of inbound - and that their understanding is supported by data.


Related: Inbound Marketing ROI Calculator

The following statistics, taken from Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017, outline how inbound marketing and sales are being used today and can help support your case for inbound, whether you are in marketing or sales.

Statistics to support your case for inbound marketing


1. 46% of marketers using inbound marketing say it produces higher ROI, compared with 12% who say outbound gives greater ROI. As ‘proving the ROI of marketing activities’ is the priority marketing challenge for 40% of marketers, inbound presents a clear opportunity.

2. 71% of organisations around the globe now primarily conduct inbound marketing.

3. 68% of organisations using inbound believe that their marketing strategy is effective (vs. only 48% who prioritise outbound tactics).

71% of organisations around the globe now primarily conduct inbound marketing.

HubSpot State of Inbound 2017

4. 52% of organisations using outbound tactics feel their marketing strategy is not effective.

5. 40% of companies now say that marketing automation is a priority for their inbound marketing projects.

6. 69% of C-level executives now feel that their company’s marketing strategy is effective.

7. 53% of marketers now say ‘blog content creation’ is a priority.


Related: How Often Should A Business Blog? A Two Year Case Example


8. 31% or marketers say that visual content creation is a priority. 38% say the same of interactive content creation.

9. 36% of companies in Asia report that sales enablement is a top marketing priority, as compared to 32% in EMEA, 31% in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in North America and 25% in Latin America.

10. 32% of companies think that ‘paid advertising (for traditional channels like print, outdoor, and broadcast)’ is one of the most overrated marketing tactics.

11. Only 5% of respondents see marketing automation as an ‘overrated’ tactic.

Statistics to support your case for inbound sales

12. 59% of State of Inbound respondents said inbound practices provide the highest quality leads for the sales team in 2016. 52% said the same in 2015...

13. ...However, only 16% said that outbound practices provided the highest quality leads for the sales team in both 2015 and 2016.

14. 22% of businesses say their sales and marketing teams are now tightly aligned (with an SLA).

15. 81% of organisations with a tightly aligned sales/marketing relationship (SLA) view their marketing strategy as effective.

59% of State of Inbound respondents said inbound practices provide the highest quality leads for the sales team.

16. 66% of companies with a tightly aligned sales & marketing team say inbound practices produce the highest quality leads for sales.

17. Only 9% of sales respondents find it difficult to track sales with their CRM - an improvement on previous years, when 14% in 2015 and 12% in 2016 were reported.

18. Social selling is viewed as a top sales priority steadily rising from 22% in 2015 to 29% in 2017.

19. ‘Investing in sales enablement’ is ranked seventh as a top sales priority, by all companies globally, with EMEA at 19% and the others at 15%.

20. Only 3% of those interviewed rate ‘sales enablement’ as an overrated marketing tactic.

21. 44% of companies state that ‘improving efficiency of the sales funnel’ is one of their top sales priorities, behind ‘closing more deals’, which is the main priority - at 71%.

22. 27% of companies say that ‘training the sales team’ is a top priority.

23. 26% of respondents said ‘reducing the length of the sales cycle’ (a benefit of Inbound adoption) was a prime sales priority.

24. ‘Qualifying leads’ is the most difficult part of the sales process for reps in Australia & New Zealand (at 22%) compared to only 9% of reps in Latin America.

2017 Marketing and Sales Challenges that Inbound Helps To Address

Over the years, proving marketing ROI has consistently been a challenge for marketers

HubSpot State of Inbound 2017


As well as highlighting inbound trends and benefits, the State of Inbound outlines the stats on challenges that marketing and sales teams are currently experiencing.


Note that as the State of Inbound interviews a mix of teams who have - and have not - adopted inbound practices, often the concerns below can be addressed by implementing an inbound approach.

Marketing challenges (that inbound can address):

25. 63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their greatest marketing challenge.

26. 73% of organisations with ‘misaligned’ marketing and sales teams would class their marketing strategies as ‘not effective’.

27. ‘Securing enough budget’ ranks third and fourth globally as a top marketing challenge.

28. 19% of respondents named ‘Training our team’ as a top marketing challenge.

As ‘proving the ROI of marketing activities’ is the priority marketing challenge for 40% of marketers, inbound presents a clear opportunity. - HubSpot State of Inbound 2017



Sales challenges (that inbound can address):

29. 38% of sales say that ‘Getting a response from prospects’ is more difficult than it was 2-3 years ago.

30. 27% of sales teams say it’s more difficult to ‘engage multiple decision makers at a company’ than it was 2-3 years ago.


Related:  Stats and Quotes That Show the Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

31. 19% find it is getting increasingly more difficult to ‘Incorporate social media into the sales process’...

32. ...While 30% say that ‘identifying/prospecting good leads’ is also more of a challenge than it used to be.

33. ‘Getting a response from prospects’ ranks number 1 as being more difficult than in previous years by North America, Australia & New Zealand and EMEA...

34. ...Whereas Asia and Latin America say that ‘Closing more Deals’ has become more difficult.

35. An average of 38% of sales reps globally struggle with ‘prospecting’. 48% of reps in North America and 40% of reps in EMEA say it is the most difficult stage of the sales process.

36. 38% of sales reps in Asia say ‘Closing a deal’ is the most difficult stage of the sales process, compared with 24% in EMEA at the other end of the scale.

37. Globally, 21% of reps say that ‘Identifying the lead’ is the part of the sales process that most reps struggle with.

38. Data entry seems to be a major challenge:

  • 57% of sales teams spend up to an hour per day on data entry - time which could be spent more productively.
  • Data entry is listed as the number one challenge when using CRMs today.
  • 23% of sales professionals say they enter data manually into their CRM system...

39. ...However - only 14% of sales teams see ‘investing in a CRM system’ as important.

40. 38% of sales teams say getting a response from prospects is their greatest challenge - and that it is harder to do than it was 2-3 years ago.

Related:  5 Inbound Sales Takeaways From the State of Inbound 2017

Across niches and locations, from the State of Inbound, we can see that incorporating inbound practices into sales and marketing strategies continues to achieve results, easing many of the challenges that more traditional approaches present.  

To learn more about building your inbound business case, you may be interested in one of our three executive briefing guides, for Enterprise Technology, Pharmaceutical or Professional Services professionals.


Statistics courtesy of the HubSpot State of Inbound 2017.

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