As proud partners of HubSpot, we eagerly awaited their eighth annual State of Inbound Report, presenting the trends and growth of inbound marketing. We weren’t disappointed as we delved into HubSpot’s report, discovering the state of inbound marketing in 2016 and HubSpot’s predictions for the future of inbound marketing.

74% of marketers surveyed recognised the importance of converting leads to customers, rating it as their company’s top marketing priority for the next 12 months. If the time taken to convert leads to customers can be shortened and speed through the sales funnel increased, then inbound marketing is the perfect marketing strategy and is a highly profitable approach for businesses. Here at Napier, we understand the value of maximising lead conversions to make B2B campaigns more profitable, and are continually working hard to develop techniques that increase the speed that a lead converts to a customer for our client’s campaigns.

Interestingly, the State of Inbound report results showed that although conversions are named as the biggest priority, when companies were asked to look at their marketing on a project level, the projects that they actually prioritised were SEO and blogging. Less than half of the respondents prioritised marketing automation. Unsurprisingly given this information, HubSpot’s research shows that a quarter of companies convert less than 10% of their leads to customers, so there is clearly a need for companies to focus on marketing activities that drive conversions.

The report highlights the ongoing transformations in inbound marketing and how the methodology is being employed by marketers. For the last two years, marketers have been focusing on increasing the number of contacts or leads. Now we are seeing a shift from purely quantity metrics to a mix of quality and quantity. For 2016 and beyond, companies are concentrating on conversion rates and how to achieve a higher conversion rate for the best ROI. Inbound, by nature, is all about attracting the the target customers for your business and so it follows that the leads you generate will inherently be of a higher quality and which will lead to better conversions.

As we know, marketing and sales are dependent upon each other and the results of this latest HubSpot report reinforces the importance of this co-dependent relationship. The 2016 report shows that closing more deals is unsurprisingly the top priority for businesses, with 70% ranking this as the most important priority, however this percentage has dropped by 2% in comparison to last year. Improving the efficiency of the sales funnel is the next most important sales priority with reducing the length of the sales cycle following close behind. The stats for this are interesting as there has been a 2% increase from 2015 to 2016 in respondents focusing on speed. The increasing importance of reducing the sales cycle shows that companies are looking for ways to work smarter and implementing inbound marketing can definitely play a part in this.

We were encouraged to read that HubSpot’s findings are very closely aligned to Napier’s unique focus on increasing the speed at which visitors become leads and ultimately customers, and that inbound marketing is a great tool to support this goal.

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