Experience Inbound 2014 Recap: A Milwaukee Marketing and Sales Conference

Author: Jack Martin

Milwaukee was lucky enough to host a few of the premier minds on the topic of inbound marketing.  Stream Creative hosted the event, called Experience Inbound.  Stream Creative was able to put together a group that hit on all things inbound marketing.

Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot – a software platform changing inbound marketing
Frank Belzer, Author of Sales Shift, VP of Corporate Training at Kurlan & Associates
Christine McMahon, CEO, Christine McMahon & Associates – Highly touted business strategist
Wayne Breitbarth, LinkedIn expert – Author of Power Formula for LinkedIn Success
Jeff Coon, Partner and Creative Director of Stream Creative – An inbound marketing agency
Jake Athey & Nina Brakel-Shutt, Marketing & Sales Manager and Business Development Strategist at Widen Enterprises

Image on the left:

A view from the Milwaukee Inbound Marketing Conference

hosted at Harley Davidson Headquarters:

Brian Halligan – Keynote Speaker on the Inbound Experience

The keynote speaker kicked off the event with a bang.  Halligan talked about the future of inbound marketing.  One of the most intriguing comments of the event came from Halligan:

Interactive websites will happen within the next year.

What does this mean?  Say, for instance, you visit a quilting website.  The site has tons of content, ranging from quilt ideas, purchasing quilts, buying quilting gear etc. – but you are only interested in quilt ideas.  Over time a website will track the content you are consuming.  Before you know it, the next time you visit the website quilt ideas litter the homepage.  Amazon, NewEgg and Google are doing this already to a certain extent.

Frank Belzer – The Irreversible Impact of Inbound on Salespeople and Sales Methodology

Belzer gave insights into the sales side of inbound marketing.  The whole point of marketing, inbound or not, is to increase sales, right!?  Belzer noted that he hates the stigma of a salesperson – canned responses, sales lines and the rest of the cheesy tactics we hear day in and out.

Be a smart salesman by using inbound marketing tactics.

Cold calling doesn’t work like it used to.  By integrating your marketing tactics with your salesforce you can create a dynamic strategy for increasing ROI.  Be smart with the information you already have.  When someone fills out a contact form on your site, you already know what they are interested in and their intent.  Personalize your sales message; don’t read from a scripted sales pitch.

Christine McMahon – Innovation…because growth matters!

McMahon quieted the crowd a bit by forcing attendees to take a step back and truly look at the unique selling proposition of their company.

Innovation in the workplace determines growth.

McMahon asked, “What products/services do you sell.  Are you an innovator in your industry, a market leader or just competitive?”  Bottom line – it’s great that we are using inbound marketing to succeed, but it starts with your core product.  You need to be true to yourself.

Wayne Breitbarth – Top 10 LinkedIn Features for Your Inbound Marketing Plan

Scheduled right after lunch, Breitbarth had the challenge of keeping everyone awake – no problem!  Right off the bat Breitbarth gave half the room a heart attack by saying a few words (not an exact quote, but close): “I wanted to show examples of good and bad LinkedIn profiles, so I figured, let’s get live examples from the crowd.” We’d be willing to bet most in attendance checked their LinkedIn profile that night or next morning.

LinkedIn has qualified leads. You can sort by businesses and job title – other social media sites don’t compare to these stats!

More or less, Breitbarth showed that LinkedIn is an underutilized tool.  People visit the site, but are not using it to scout or find prospects, post status updates, or to be found, in general.  You’re missing out on qualified leads if you are not regularly using LinkedIn.

Jeff Coon – Achieving Irresistible Results in an “Unsexy” Industry

Coon is the head of Stream Creative, who headed the event.  He spoke on a topic that hits home for a majority of businesses – how do you achieve results in an “unsexy” industry?

By being unique and creating intriguing content that is useful for your followers, you too, can make your industry sexy!

Coon stated Wolf Paving as a case study, proving that even asphalt can be a sexy industry if you look hard enough. It doesn’t need to be sexy to everyone, just to those it applies to.

Jake Athey & Nina Brakel-Shutt – Grow Visits, Leads and Sales by Creating an Inbound Culture

Athey and Brakel-Shutt rounded out the day by presenting a live case-study.  The Widen Enterprises employees were shame-free about their unsuccessful outbound marketing tactics.

Inbound Marketing is a long-term approach, but is more profitable than outbound marketing tactics.

Widen enterprises was able to shift from cold calling, to inbound marketing tactics.  The result was tremendous – more qualified leads, and increased sales closure rates.

What have you learned from Experience Inbound, or similar inbound marketing events?  Comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Read More:
Tangible Key Takeaways from Experience Inbound 2014