We went to INBOUND!

INBOUND was jampacked full of great keynotes and breakout sessions. Here are some of our key takeaways.




Brené Brown

I’ve heard of Brené Brown before and have a couple of friends that are big fans. But wow, her keynote was definitely in my top three. She’s a researcher at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Endowed Chair. Brené studies courage, vulnerability, empathy and shame.


“Only the men and women who are confident in themselves truly belong.” - Brené Brown


Did you know that loneliness is a greater predictor of an early death than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day? Brené discussed how we can overcome loneliness in a world where it is increasingly easier to disconnect from the people around you.

Her key takeaways:

  1. Get closer with people—move in.

  2. Speak truth to bullshit, but be civil.

  3. Hold hands with strangers. Be more connected.

  4. Have a strong back, a soft front and a wild heart.

And… we won her book!

Brene Brown's Book

Thanks INBOUND for the freebie! :)


Piera Gelardi and Refinery 29’s Tenants of Creativity

Piera Gelardi is the Executive Creative Director and Co-Founder of Refinery29, a digital media company dedicated to creating stories that empower and inspire women, who shared some key takeaways for fostering creativity.


“Courageous creativity is contagious.” - Piera Gelardi


Be the Most You

If something doesn’t fit, tailor it to fit you better. Being comfortable with who you are and being able to be open with the people around you allows you to be your most creative self.

Piera Gelardi

Friction Creates Sparks

How can you solve problems creatively? Embrace uncomfortable situations and combat frustration with imaginative solutions that allows you to stay true to your brand or culture.

Create the Right Conditions for Creativity

Get out of your comfort zone when you need to unleash your creativity. Piera suggests bringing elements of play into brainstorming sessions, but also not to shy away from anger or other emotions for sources of inspiration.


Breakout Sessions


Predicting Inbound Results

Mike Lieberman from Square2Marketing gave us some great tips on how to predict inbound marketing results.

First, he shared some things to keep in mind when thinking of a new sales strategy:

  1. Pick a market and be disruptive

  2. Create real differentiation

  3. Disrupt people’s thinking

  4. Evaluate competition

  5. Change sales behaviors

  6. Invest appropriately in marketing



Second, figure out what tactics you’ll need to implement to move your users through the funnel and identify what metrics you need to track along with them:

  • Figure Out Who You’re Talking To

    • Account-Based Marketing

    • Advertising

    • Influencers

    • Trade Shows

  • Getting Them to Your

    • SEO

    • Social Media and Social Ads

    • Email

    • Blogging

  • Turning Visitors into MQLs

    • CRO

    • Landing Pages

    • Email

    • Web Optimization

    • Top-of-Funnel and Middle-of-Funnel Offers

Last, use digital marketing tactics to help your sales team:

  • Qualify Leads Using:

    • Bottom-of-Funnel Offers

    • Lead Scoring and Nurturing

    • Sales Technology

  • Turn SQLs Into Opportunities Through:

    • Advocacy

    • Personalization

    • Contextual Content

    • Proposals and Decks


Upgrading Your Client Onboarding Process

Karl Sakas is an agency consultant that helps agency leaders make digital marketing work fun and profitable. Karl focused on client onboarding and gave us some advice for creating a great partnership from the very beginning of a project.

Slide from Karl Sakas

Made your go/no-go list. What does your team need before they can start a project?

Create and use a pre-kickoff survey. Ask clients what they expect during the process?

Organize client and team member requests. The overall wants and needs of the client will  likely be cross-departmental, requiring a high level of alignment.

Assign roles. Make sure that everyone working on the project knows what is expected of them and ensure your clients have a go-to contact.

Revise your process regular. If you’re growing fast or adding new services, your onboarding process will revise often.


Aligning Sales and Marketing Using HubSpot

HubSpot’s Senior Field Marketer Juliana Nicholson showed us her sales-enablement tips and how to create alignment across sales and marketing departments.

Slide from Juliana Nicholson

Macro Alignment

Set goals with your sales team. Juliana uses MSPOT (Marketing, Strategy, Plays, Omissions, Targets) to create goal synergy across teams. From there…

Create service-level agreements. Sales needs to be clear about how many leads they can handle and what makes a quality lead. Marketing needs to commit to a predetermined amount of qualified leads based on sales goals.

Quickly hand MQLs off to sales. Use automation to quickly and easily give sales the information they need to follow up with a prospect. If people aren’t sales-ready, use workflow automation to move them along the funnel.

Micro Alignment

Have sales help determine what content is created. Ask sales what questions they are hearing from prospects and what types of content will help them close deals.

Set clear communication expectations but use a variety of channels. Be sure your sales team has access to updated marketing content. Use email, Slack or even an internal wiki to house resources for your sales team and provide them with real-time updates.

Think like a marketer when enabling your sales team. The tactics that work on your prospects work on your sales team as well. Make it easy for your team to access valuable resources, use compelling email subject lines and help with prioritization when you can.


Until Next Time Boston

To close off a great week of insights, we headed over to Legal Harborside for a lobster roll and a Boston Lager. When in Rome, right?

Legal Harborside

Couldn’t make it to INBOUND this year? No worries. Watch some of the presentations featured above and get access to HubSpot’s archive of keynotes, spotlight sessions and more.


Hearing about growth-driven design for the first time? Learn more about the three pillars of GDD and how this methodology can help you solve your greatest marketing challenges.

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blog author


Nick Osler

Designzillas’ Account Manager and most organized Zilla in the office, Nick heads the partnership and communication with each of our amazing clients. 

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