INBOUND 19 - Takeaways, Trends and Disruptions to Watch in B2B

Written by Heidi Corcoran

Sep 10 2019

What takeaways do the Strategic team have after HubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference? Strategists Heidi and Jack joined 26,000 marketing and sales professionals in Boston to find out why removing friction, disrupting experiences and facing fear will be core to B2B marketing and sales success in the next 12 months.

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Remove Friction, Disrupt Experiences, Face Fears: 3 INBOUND19 Trends to Impact the Next 12 Months

Every year, for one week in September, Boston’s 516,000 square-foot BCEC becomes a hub of inbound sales and marketing expertise, connection and inspiration.

2019 has been no different; and as a Strategic IC HubSpot Platinum Partner Agency, Executives Heidi Corcoran and Jack Rawlings joined the conversation to uncover what trends, tactics and strategies will deliver impact in the year to come.

Related: How to Use Intent Data in B2B Campaigns

Partner Day Takeaways

The first day of INBOUND week is a dedicated Partner Day, this year held at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston. As HubSpot Platinum partners, the Strategic IC team were treated to sneak peeks of new, upcoming HubSpot features - enabling us to fuel our ideas on how the HubSpot CRM platform can help our clients and ourselves to ‘grow better’.

As an example, we’ll soon be expecting HubSpot functionality such as:

  • A new, improved app marketplace. Featuring hundreds of new integrations with easier to navigate curation.

  • Contact de-duplication, drag-and-drop editors, and easier workflow management. This will feature new drag-and-drop editors for email, web pages, and knowledge base articles (currently in beta). Users will also be able to find and merge duplicate contacts and companies, create folders for workflows and create actions that skip to different workflow steps.

  • Facebook messenger integration with LinkedIn lead gen integration on the horizon

  • For HubSpot free, free email creation, sending, and analytics. New to HubSpot free, users will be able to create contact lists and send up to 2,000 emails per month for free. Also in free, we expect to see expanded ads tool capabilities of up to $1,000 per month of ad spend across Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn ads - plus conversion-level reporting, and up to two account connections.


Breakout Speakers and Keynote Takeaways

With the main conference kicking off on Tuesday, we saw breakout sessions from a number of thought leaders. INBOUND is, of course, a huge event, full of insightful sessions and knowledge. However, some top speakers to note include:

  • AJ Wilcox, Founder of B2Linked.com, who detailed some inspiring and advanced LinkedIn strategies to achieving scale and performance while minimising costs.

  • Justin Keller, VP of Marketing for Sigstr, providing motivating stories on how to create an award-winning Account-Based Marketing (ABM) programme.

  • Brian Halligan, HubSpot’s CEO. Brian’s INBOUND keynotes are never to be missed! This year he stole the show with his take on ‘Experience Disruptors’; a.k.a the brands he and his dog, Romeo, use in their daily routines and how just a few key disruptors have taken a mundane buying experience and enhanced it. 

  • Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot’s Co-Founder and CTO, followed Brian with an equally motivating speech on facing your fears and growing better by growing bolder, the importance of diversity in empowering multiple perspectives, and building brand trust. 


Related: What is Account-Based Marketing?

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From these, plus other key INBOUND discussions there are a few stand-out themes that are set to be an inbound focus over the coming year. 

3 INBOUND 19 Trends and Themes for the Next Year in B2B

1. Friction Fighting


Lou Orfanos, HubSpot’s VP Product for Sales Hub, introduced us to the idea of being a ‘Friction Fighter’. 

That is, ‘To make the buyer journey go faster, you’ve got to apply force. To make it go smoother, you’ve got to remove friction.’ 

As an example, successful brands today take an experience and remove friction. Take Netflix. A few years ago, to watch a movie, you had to go and rent a DVD (or VHS!). Netflix have gradually worked to take that experience and remove the friction in that process; first with their postal rental service, then today by streaming content right into your living room, and even giving personalised recommendations each time you click on the app. 

Removing friction from experiences; taking a flywheel approach to continuous improvement, and making the most of the technology available today to remove blocks and friction in the buyers journey, should be a priority for any marketer.

2. Experience Disruptors


In his keynote, Brian Halligan talked about his daily routine with his dog Romeo  - detailing the brands that disrupt their everyday experiences. After all, the brands that disrupt the mundane, that remove friction and stand out will be the ones who see best success and customer loyalty! 

For me, my latest experience disruptor was my flight from London to Boston on the Norwegian Airlines Dreamliner. Having worked for half of my career in travel, the in-flight experience is something I relish. Taking the 787 Dreamliner as an experience example; if you haven’t ordered an in-flight meal, you can order snacks and drinks directly from your touchscreen - at the swipe of a credit card. Mood LED lighting changes throughout the flight in a rainbow of colours, designed to be friendly for your body clock all add to experience, and ultimately make the brand stand out as unique. 

3. Face Your Fears


In marketing and sales, sometimes facing your fears is the key to pushing boundaries and driving competitive success.

This was a key focus or the talk given by Dharmesh; discussing his son’s philosophy on facing Dharmesh’s fear of the water: ‘Just dunk your head!’ Sometimes, even if we don’t know where to begin - if we’re wary of trying something new, just dipping in can be the best way to begin. Perhaps it’s time to try a new tactic? 

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After a week of INBOUND questions, curiosity and discussion, we’ll now take new ideas back into work - and our processes. Thank you Boston, thank you HubSpot. We’re ready to be Friction Fighters to disrupt the marketing future.

B2B Marketing Zone