Every year our friends at HubSpot survey inbound marketers around the world and release their findings in the State of Inbound report. Reading the report is a great way to keep up with the latest inbound trends and find inspiration for forward-thinking marketing and sales strategies.

We’ve read all the nitty gritty details and summarized what we found to be most interesting so you don’t have to. Read on to learn the latest trends for inbound marketing in 2017.

Marketing Is Being Evaluated By Its Ability to Affect Revenue

In the past, marketing was seen as a cost center for businesses. Now, it’s becoming more common that marketing is on the hook for revenue generation.

Of the 5,000 inbound marketers surveyed, 70% responded that converting leads to customers was a top priority. Meanwhile 39% responded that proving the ROI of marketing activities was a top priority.

What It Means for Marketers: It’s becoming increasingly important for marketers to show how they impact the bottom line. Here are two ways marketers can do this:

  1. Enable your sales team close more leads by providing content along the buyer's sales process.
  2. Communicate with your sales team to understand what barriers they face and what kinds of questions potential clients are asking.

More than likely, the marketing team can create content to answer common questions and sales objections.

Marketers Are Moving Towards Visual Communications

The days of writing a few blog posts have been over for a long time. Now more than ever, people are consuming their content visually. Whether it be through videos on YouTube or a chat window on WeChat, marketers must meet people in these online communities to stay relevant.

Video is considered the main disruptor in 2017. According to one inbound marketer surveyed, video is becoming one of the core components of their inbound strategy:

“We’re moving towards more live videos and video content on social media and adapting our approach to be less ‘in-your-face’ and more subtle to acquire conversions.”

What It Means for Marketers: Get up to speed with video and other emerging distribution channels or fall behind. The State of Inbound Report revealed that many marketers worry that video could eventually make their jobs obsolete, while others are working to get trained in video creation and new content distribution channels.

Salespeople Are Moving From "Hard Seller" to "Trusted Advisor"

Salespeople have shown signs that things are beginning to evolve.

One salesperson expressed that sales reps are no longer the “gatekeepers of information,” because much of a business’s information can be found online, instead of a brick-and-mortar location. The same person surveyed also remarked that sales will likely become more of a “concierge-like service” in the future.

Here’s one stat we can’t ignore. Of those salespeople surveyed, 38% say that getting a response from prospects is the most difficult thing to do in sales compared to 2 to 3 years ago.

What It Means for Salespeople: In 2017, the new sale is all about becoming a trusted advisor. The power of the sale has shifted from the seller to the buyer.

Forward-thinking sales reps that understand this shift in power are meeting buyers earlier in their customer journey and are more consultative than aggressive.  Salespeople that will be successful now and in the future will begin offering helpful tools or information that can help potential buyers make better purchasing decisions.

Final Thoughts

There's a commonality among marketers and salespeople. Both see converting leads to customers as the main business challenge.

The report also revealed that there is a disconnect between business executives and individual contributors. Many executives tend to believe that their marketing strategies are effective, whereas individual contributors find them to be less so. This unveils a bigger communication issue among senior leaders and contributors that businesses should work to mend.

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