First time attendee of INBOUND 2021 - my takeaways from Canada

Posted by Sara Landry

This is my first time attending HubSpot's INBOUND as I joined Spitfire in March of this year. I knew I was in for an action packed and informative three days as my colleagues had told me about previous INBOUND sessions. This year is virtual, but it still has the power of an in-person event.

You are able to create an avatar, join networking meetups, enter to win gift packs, check out the LinkedIn Lounge and more. I was able to attend 5 of the workshops on Day 1 and the following is a summary and key takeaways of those sessions.

 

30 Virtual Selling Trends in 30 Minutes

Kim Orlesky, CEO, KO Advantage Group Ltd.

Kim Orlesky is incredibly engaging and her passion for business comes through in her words. You can tell she created her success through hard work and constant learning. She has immense energy for a 7am speaker and this was a great way to kick off INBOUND21. She kept me engaged and interested the entire time.

Kim Orlesky started the session with a discussion on larger online trends, particularly about how buyers nowadays are willing to spend more on a purchase without ever having met in person. She stated that 69% of people are willing to spend $50,000 without having to see a salesperson. The idea of making large virtual purchases is now common place in the business world. Companies no longer have to worry about geography and they can open up their territories. Considering the fact that the majority of B2B sales will be online means that we need to train for virtual selling.

One of the fascinating points that Kim made was that,

The client who has already spent one dollar with you is more likely to spend another dollar.

This got me thinking more about customer satisfaction and about how it is vital to not only retain customers but also to give them new services and features. When covering the topic of clients, Kim stated that “we should always be listening to them.” She explained that companies should be moving away from typical sales metrics, instead they should move towards a system of team metrics versus individual sales quotas. She made a great comparison in regards to LinkedIn, saying that you should, "think of it as walking around with a glass of wine, joining conversations.” She suggested that we need to write, comment, and share more on LinkedIn.

A few of Kim’s recommendations were that we need to train our people to be effective in the way that clients prefer. Clients now prefer virtual meetings over in-person, they prefer direct messaging. The messaging should also be concise, the number of characters are directly correlated to response rates. She explained that too many characters is a bad thing, instead use GIF and short video. Virtual selling will become your advantage against your competitors. 

 

Killer SEO Strategies Through Product Design Methodology

Tony Verre, The Integer Group, VP, eCommerce

Tony Verre was faced with some technical issues at the start of his session but he soldiered through to deliver a quality workshop. He was very personable and broke down the concepts to allow a full understanding. He opened up the session with an explanation on how Google has used Hummingbird to create a more wholistic view of content. He listed the other key google algorithms such as Penguin and Panda which focus on E.A.T. concept. There is a shift from strings to things – now it’s about the topic and subject matter in a paragraph instead of individual words

Tony gave a breakdown of what E.A.T stands for and how it affects SEO. He said that

SEO is now less about the keywords and more about wholistic content.

E.A.T. (Expertise, Authority and Trust) means that Google is now evaluating the following questions; does the author have expertise? are you a good source of knowledge? are you honest? Etc. The new SEO is user centred – it’s not about keywords anymore, we need to cover all the topics and answer the queries.

My favourite quote from Tony was when he said, “no one lies to Google.” This was a bold statement but it makes complete sense. Basically, what people type into google is the truth – we can take that information and find out what their needs are. Businesses need to find out what questions their customers are asking and at what volume are those questions being asked.

My key takeaway from this session was the concept of “The 5 Whys” which assists a company in figuring out the real trigger that caused customer behaviour. I plan on using the 5 whys next time I am puzzled about a certain outcome.

 

AMA: How to Maximize Video in Sales

Tyler Lessard, Chief Video Strategist at Vidyard

The title of this session is pretty straight forward but it included more than just information about video in sales. Tyler Lessard started off with a discussion on how we are seeing sales teams using recorded sales videos as a way to connect with potential clients. He explained that there is value in video as it impacts your deals cycle. In particular, it is shown that companies can shorten their deals cycle with the use of videos. Pre-recorded videos inform the customer quickly and on their own time. When used effectively it can also save your sales team some time – if your deals cycles get shorter that means you can be more productive.

Tyler moved onto the AMA part of the session where he answers questions from listeners. The first question from the crown was; at what point in the sales cycle is video most beneficial? Tyler answered that before or after a meeting with a prospect you can send a video that summarizes the meeting instead of a email summary. He gave the suggestion that before a meeting you could film a quick video of yourself that shows your passion and how your looking forward to the meeting while also confirming the date and time. People are more likely to watch a short summary for a few minutes instead of watching the full 45 min recording of the actual meeting. In the summary video, you should explain what their pain points are and how you will solve the problem. This shows that you were listening and the client feels heard.

Tyler described that the days of needing a big video company to make the videos are over. He said that if you don’t a video resource in your marketing team then you should think about having someone in house who can capture and edit videos quickly. The way to make this possible is with Vidyard. He suggested that you can make educational videos or turn a blog post into a video. Creating authentic content from a genuine person is more favourable than a professional drone video in his opinion.

My key takeaway from this session was about the importance of the thumbnail of a video. Tyler explained that the thumbnail is the reason why people click on the play button. It needs to create curiosity in the person so that they will feel inclined to press play. Tyler believes that this is all you need to grab their attention and make sure that you keep that video in the sweet spot of 30-60 seconds.

 

AMA: SEO, Leadership, and Career Building

Kevin Indig, Shopify, Director of SEO

This session was entirely an AMA format with questions coming in from the attendees. Kevin Indig had a conversational approach to the AMA which I found was relaxed and felt as though you were having a chat with a friend. His content was easy to understand and informative. The first question from the group was; should you include your brand name in every meta title of your site? Kevin answered that yes you should include your brand name in the meta title. He recommended running some experiments where you test out putting the brand name at the beginning or at the end of the title to see if it makes a difference in SEO.

One of the most intriguing questions was; what do you think about the pillar and cluster model at HubSpot? Kevin answered that he believes the model works very well. He said that he has used it at multiple companies with great success. When he was asked why it works, he stated that his theory is that it leads to a favourable interlinking structure, which creates links for good content.

My key takeaway from this session was focused on metrics. Everyone knows that metrics are a vital part of reporting. But, what are most important metrics for SEO? Kevin answered this question by saying, “if you measure the right metrics you set yourself up for success.” He believes that the metrics that are most important are the ones that are closest to revenue. It’s not always easy to express SEO in dollars but you can make the connections. He suggests that you pick a metric that you can influence that is as close to revenue as possible and then communicate your success to stakeholders.

 

The Epic Debate of Booking Demos

Tyler Lessard, Vidyard Chief Video Strategist
Amanda Bagley, Chili Piper, Growth Manager
Ken Marshall, RevenueZen, Chief Growth Officer

To start off the debate, we find out which side each speaker supports - Tyler is pro chatbot and Amanda is pro forms. This session was set up in a way that allowed for banter along with great evidence from both sides. Amanda began her argument with the statement that forms are the best way to keep people immersed in your brand. She explained that when you fill out a form you have intent, you have purpose. At Chili Piper, they supercharge their forms which means that they autofill your information. Tyler’s rebuttal was that chatbots offer a natural experience compared to forms which are static. Amanda said that when deciding which one to use, it is best to ask yourself the question - how often are you using a chatbot? Do they want to get straight down to business quickly – then use a form. Tyler was adamant that chatbots are the better choice but you need to go all in with chatbots – they can fail if you don’t invest in making it a great experience. Tyler explained that they can track interactions with the chatbot and it gives them insight. The chatbot needs to be smart enough to pre-qualify and send the customer to the sales rep. Tyler admitted that chatbots can become a burden to a sales rep and competitors can also use chatbots to cause harm.

My key takeaway from this session was the fact that, in the end, both of the speakers agreed that chatbots together with forms makes the perfect combination for a website. Tyler said that Vidyard uses both because in today’s world, different people want to interact in different ways.

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