After three fun and intensive days at HubSpot’s annual Inbound conference, I thought I’d share some of the key lessons and themes that really hit home for me when thinking about channel sales and marketing. I like to keep my posts simple and to the point, so here we go:
1. Relationships and Emotion are Critical to Today’s Sales Cycle
Storytelling has always been a big part of successful sales and marketing and the conference keynotes – from best selling author Seth Godin to author and professor Dr. Brené Brown and comedian Aziz Ansari – really set the tone early and often. We’ve heard time and again these last 2-3 years how prospects and customers are further through the sales cycle than ever before they engage with a sales rep. Well, that means they’re engaging with your brand, your content, your story and your fan base on their own. Building a relationship is NOT one-to-one. But it CAN still be human thanks to the technology that sales and marketing folks have at their fingertips.
2. Collaboration is the New Automation … But, What Does that Mean?
Marketing automation, sales automation, content automation, partner automation… not one is really automated. Listen, building workflows and eliminating a few clicks is awesome and really important, as time is of the essence these days, and it all adds-up. But as the complexity of “automation” continues to kill its buzz, we’re hearing more and more about collaboration as the second coming. Teams are getting really creative and seeing great results with tools like Slack, Huddle and Podio. It's clear that collaboration is key to any partnership. And, we’re going to be learning a lot over the next few years as more and more collaboration technologies hit the market.
3. This isn’t About Evolution…It’s About Revolution
Amen. HubSpot Co-Founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah had the entire audience of 15k+ marketers glued to his every word as he shared his perspective on the future of sales and marketing, several innovative new features HubSpot is releasing this week, and the “why” behind them. What really inspired me was he and CEO Brian Halligan’s vision and mission when they started HubSpot back in June of 2006: REVOLUTION. It wasn’t about taking current marketing practices and technologies to the next level. It was about re-writing the script and building a company that continued to disrupt and revolutionize how businesses grow. Today, in 2015, this is EXACTLY what the channel needs. Not another PRM. Not another deal registration process or incentive program. A new way of thinking and doing. That’s what we’re doing here at Allbound.
4. Same Old Channel…err, No Channel at All
More than 70% of all products around the world are sold through indirect sales and marketing partners. Heck, even HubSpot has one of the most successful and thriving partner programs in the world – and they’re doing it in SaaS! But not once did I hear the word partner or channel mentioned at Inbound. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Building a sales and marketing channel is the fastest and most efficient way to scale a business – period. Partners are the lifeline of the customer in many cases. They deliver the story, move the pipeline, close the deal, drive the renewal. But they’re last in line when it comes to marketing and sales technology, content and data. Time for a change. A revolution ;).
5. The Millennials are Here... And, they’re Awesome.
I’m 37 years old, and I will not be surprised (nor offended) if I’m offered the senior discount to next year’s Inbound conference. It’s time to stop writing about millennials. Stop trying to figure out how to manage them and relate to them. It’s time to let them lead. They love marketing. They love sales. They love SaaS. They love figuring things out, bending the rules, seeing results. They love working on their Macbook Airs and texting and emailing on their iPhones. They love business. Embrace it.
We like to call team members here at Allbound #AllStars because it’s truly what they are. And our Director of Marketing, Jen Spencer, proved it again with her amazing talk on day two. It takes guts and confidence and leadership and so many other intangibles to get up on stage in front of an audience of peers with this level of sophistication. She rocked, as you’ll see shortly when HubSpot posts videos. But for now, I encourage you to reach out and chat with one of our #AllStars. We love talking channel, marketing, fantasy football, burgers, fine wines... You name it.
So, there you have it. Inbound was awesome (I’ll be okay if I don’t see the color orange or another hashtag for a few weeks, but there was so much to take away from this conference and so much for us, as channel leaders and partner marketers, to put into practices). Let’s start a revolution – a partner revolution. A partner sales acceleration revolution.
Were you there? If so, I’d love to hear some of your favorite takeaways, as well. Feel free to reply below or email me at email@example.com.
And stay tuned for my next post on “The Single Most Important Slide from Inbound 2015” – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.