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5 Inspiring and Insightful Takeaways from INBOUND 2017

Posted by Kirsten Onsgard

October 04, 2017

Personal. Empathetic. Authentic. 


They’re words to live by, and also the core of HubSpot’s philosophy of creating a delightful customer experience. This theme both inspired us and taught us, from big name speakers (yes, we heard a moving talk with a former First Lady!) to sessions from top-notch thought leaders.

Here are 3 teachable moments and inspiring takeaways from INBOUND 2017.

1. The customer experience is more important than ever.

Industries are disrupted because of poor end-to-end customer experiences, said HubSpot Co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan at INBOUND. What the disruptors — like Uber or Netflix — know, is that it’s about creating a delightful experience.

Halligan learned three things from these companies:

  • It’s more about how you sell, than what you sell
  • A light touch is better than a heavy touch
  • Word of mouth is more valuable than the word of a salesperson

These are the basics of the inbound philosophy: the process of attracting, engaging and delighting customers. But in a digital-first, self-service era, this is more important than ever — and so are your marketing, sales and service departments.

2. Make every customer experience memorable.

From the first sales and marketing touches to educating and upselling, it’s imperative that each interaction is personalized, helpful and simple. And marketers and salespeople are taking this to heart.

That was clear through a number of INBOUND sessions on the trendy topic of Account-Based Marketing, the process of aligning sales and marketing to attract all of the stakeholders of an account. This approach is hyper tailored and personalized. For sales and marketing, that means prioritizing quality over quantity.

But delighting customers is key in other inbound tactics, too:

  • Leverage content for every department — not just marketing. For example, sales can use content to establish a rapport, and HR to attract top talent. 
  • Use information to retain and educate customers, especially in the B2B space. Poor onboarding is part of the reason why 40-60% of customers open an application, only to never use it again.

3. HubSpot is your tool. Make it work for you. 

HubSpot isn’t your sales or marketing plan, or your sales and marketing team. It’s a powerful tool to execute your strategy.

But tools need to be organized, and those who use them should know what they’re doing:

  • Use integrations and Zapier (aka the “Duct tape” of the internet) to make your tools work as one machine.
  • Stay organized from day one with a strong plan and identified stakeholders. Then, go in for some easy wins.
  • But if your HubSpot is already a mess, Care.com’s Jessica Marble had some tips at INBOUND for reorganization. Priortize, Find your champions, fix your integrations and update your top content.

And some inspiration:

"It's all about us believing in our authentic self.” — Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is a former first lady, but she’s also a mother, a wellness advocate, a champion of women’s rights and a lawyer. And through it all, she never lost her roots as Michelle Robinson from the South Side of Chicago.

“In order to change the storytelling, you have to change the storytellers." — Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue editor-in-chief

Elaine Welteroth was the first black beauty editor of Teen Vogue and the youngest editor-in-chief in Conde Nast history. By changing who wrote the stories at Teen Vogue by hiring a more diverse force of editors, writers and artists, she transformed the stories it told. Today, it’s not a teen gossip magazine, but a glossy powerhouse of fashion, politics and culture.

With more than 20,000 marketing and sales professionals in attendance, INBOUND was bursting with inspiration and ideas about building a culture of empathy.

Did you attend? What were your favorite moments and biggest takeaways of INBOUND?   

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