INBOUND 2018 – The Brian & Dharmesh Keynote

September 6, 2018 by Nilanjana Dey

It’s time for ‘the’ keynote of the year, the one that all inbound marketers look forward to. Partly because they are interested in where “inbound marketing” is headed, but mostly because it super fun! I mean, remember the story with cold calling Kevin and the knights of inbound?

Anyway, it’s not just us. Dharmesh Shah himself gets pretty darn serious about the keynote, hell bent on choosing the right clothes to wear.

All this while we patiently waited for the keynote to begin, racking our brains to answer some trivia questions.

In true visionary style, Brian Halligan walks on stage with a model to grow your business n 2019-20, based on physics! He talks about the “ye old funnel” and how it’s time to update that model, because there are some cracks appearing in the model.

#Crack 1: He talks about how the purchasing decision is today influenced most by word-of-mouth, rather than sales or marketing.

Your prospects trust your customers. Period.

So now, customers are not just an output of the funnel, but also input value into your funnel.
Replacing the funnel is the HubSpot flywheel. It’s a device that conserves and releases energy in the system and is the best thing to replace the ‘ye old funnel’.

Why it’s great:

  • Because it’s a circle that represents how customers feed into the sales cycle
  • Because it takes all your sales into account, since forever, as something that drives new sales. It’s not a clean slate each quarter

Some more insights into this brand new flywheel.

Let’s see how this flywheel thingie works:

Apply force to your flywheel: Previously this used to be in the engagement stage, but today, the highest impact to your business comes from creating delight. Also, it’s not about delighting the customers through better customer service, but also delighting through sales and marketing.

Lower the friction on your flywheel: This is where you concentrate on generating the maximum ROI from the minimum effort, for customers. Brands that succeed are the once that have been able to take out friction from the buying process – faster interactions, easier interactions. Differentiation is no longer in “what you sell” but rather “how you sell”.

The key will be getting your IT investment focused on making your customers more efficient.

Build a high-quality flywheel: If you have a full force and low friction, you wheel’s going to spin fast.

What keeps it from breaking is very high-quality, skilled material.

You have got to have a scalable marketing platform, one that can handle all the fast spinning of your flywheel. HubSpot is already helping you get there with their range of solutions.

So with the flywheel in place, there is a new formula for growth.

With that last equation, it was time for Dharmesh Shah to take the stage.

After picking an appropriate T-shirt, he decided to focus on the things a little beyond force and friction, on the philosophy of how to grow your business

With his dad jeans on point, Dharmesh laid out how growing a kid is like growing a business

  • Moment of passion, followed by years of hardwork
  • Insufferable at parties because that’s all you can talks about
  • None will make money in the first years
  • All the wrong people eager to give advice
  • There will be days you want to sell them but you shouldn’t

There were some other comic moments in there as well.

But the core of it was that Culture is key to growing your business. His “Culture Code” may sound like a Dan Brown novel, but its actually a slide deck of what people want in a modern company. The highlight of this is the fact that you need to create a culture that is focused on the customer.

He then went on to add to Brian Halligan’s pointer on improving customer experience. He pointed out that improving your customer experience 10X faster is easier that making your product 10X better.

The 5 key ways to build a more customer-focused culture

Ask for permission: Earn their attention, not steal it. Apparently research suggests 85% of customers think less of a company that contacts them without permission.

Don’t make your process my problem: If your customers want to skip your process, let them. Make it as frictionless as possible. If your customers want to buy, do not force them to go through your ‘hand-crafted, artisnal’ processes.

Own your screw-ups: Say sorry, be sorry and make it better. Make sure to apologize for your mistakes.

Be transparent: Confusing pricing = prospects looking for alternatives. Make your pricing information open, clear, fair and transparent. Customers don’t mind paying, but they do mind being played. So make this information as easy to access as possible.

Don’t block the exit: Sometime relationships don’t work out and there’s no need to make it awkward. Make breakups simpler because data says that makes your flywheel more fluid. How about a “Cancel Now” button as prominent as the “Buy Now” button.

So how do you grow better? Just DO THE RIGHT THINGS!

It’s not easy but it’s simple. You make the hard choices, the right choices for the customer, and that’s how you differentiate yourself.

You get customer love, and that’s the most important force you apply to the flywheel.

Love the recap? Want more session notes and recaps. Check out our coverage of INBOUND 2018 to keep track of it all at Boston.