INBOUND 2020: Top 3 takeaways from day 1

Thijs Messelaar, New Business Specialist
Posted on Sep 22, 2020

We’re wrapping up day one of INBOUND, and we have some great lessons to share.

What a day! From countless sessions to meetups and even virtual sponsor booths, every second was packed with new ideas. Our team of Imarcians took the “divide and conquer” route to make sure we were gleaning as much information as possible out of this first day. While we all sat in on different sessions, almost all of what we heard today can be categorized into one of three overarching themes:

  1. Serve humans as humanly as possible
  2. Sales and content are more connected than you think
  3. It’s okay to rock the boat

Let’s talk about these in a bit more detail.

Serve humans as humanly as possible

While we may have transitioned to a mostly virtual world, we can’t lose the human element of our content, sales, and marketing processes.

In Ask Me Anything Live: SEO & Acquisition Marketing with Matthew Howells-Barby, we learned about the importance of focusing on content’s relevance to the reader, rather than obsessing over domain authority, like backlinks. For years, long-form content was considered key to achieving higher SEO rankings. Now, though, Google places a higher value on quickly getting people the best info. User (human) experience is paramount, so instead of long-form content, focus on keywords and phrases that best answer users’ questions.

In another session, HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, as well as Chief Product Officer Christopher O’Donnell, discussed the future of HubSpot. For them, it’s about approaching everyone not as another prospect by building trust with human customers. This can be done by personalizing each customer’s experience with your brand - from marketing, sales, and customer service.

Sales and content are more connected than you think

A great approach for creating relevant content that educates the reader is to answer the questions they have, sometimes before they even know they have them. This enhances trust, customer experience, and even sales conversions. Many content teams use SEO to identify questions their readers may have. However, in Marcus Sheridan’s The Definitive Guide to Content That Sells: 7 Essential Steps to Massive Results and ROI, he mentions that the sales team can actually be a better source of relevant questions. After all, the sales team are the ones who are most often being asked questions about the company. By having your content team work closely with sales, the content will be more relevant to those interested in your particular company, rather than generic to your industry.

Sheridan says that by creating content that educates your customers about your product or service – no matter what it is – you begin to demonstrate customer service before they even reach out to you as a lead. And this seriously helps to build trust.

It’s okay to rock the boat

While companies boast diverse workforces, many also pride themselves on not allowing disagreements within teams. According to Amy Gallo in her session, Smart Fights: How to Create and Navigate Productive Tensions on Your Team, companies who do not allow for disagreements are actually doing themselves a disservice.

Racial and gender diverse teams navigate conflict better, but only when allowed to speak out and share opinions in a professional and constructive manner. Unfortunately, though, 56% of employees receive no training or advice on how to deal with workplace conflict. Especially today when most interactions are virtual, it can be difficult to navigate these conversations in the absence of body language and nonverbal communications. Gallo recommends that teammates make an effort to be very clear and intentional but to not hold back from sharing their thoughts. This prevents “artificial harmony” and stagnation, and helps to spark new ideas. While it’s important to speak out, consider what you need, what your team needs, and what the organization needs, and find the balance between them.

On to INBOUND day 2

Be sure to follow along with our Instagram stories @imarcagency for instant updates from sessions throughout the day.