Nov 16, 2021Liked by Kamil Rextin, Sebastian Cuervo

I don't think you have the full story. Because of that, I don't think you are making the right judgments about inbound or HubSpot.

Disclaimer: HubSpot employee from 2007-2017.

We popularized the "inbound marketing" concept at HubSpot concept long before we even considered Marketo or Pardot competitors. We were, in fact, pushing marketers to create helpful content to attract visitors and convert visitors into leads. But, it was not because we thought selling was unnecessary, but that we thought that traditional advertising and cold sales prospecting was inefficient, difficult to measure and usually more costly. Something that is still pretty true today.

HubSpot was largely selling an SEO + blogging tool + landing page tool for the first few years. (There was a bit more to it, but that was the gist.) Marketing automation came along quite a bit later. CRM came along a lot later than that. I think this is important context for understanding the positioning. Inbound was very much about dissing outbound marketing/advertising. Not sales. Salespeople/leaders were not our target until later last decade. So, there was no benefit in positioning ourselves against sales.

As for whether inbound works for selling to mid-market and large companies, it does. Companies buy expensive things after doing research. It may not happen in a 30 day sales cycle. But, content plays a key role in those purchasing decisions as well. There is also a big opportunity to land and expand in bigger companies and Inbound can help attract a bigger company to buy something small at first in a very transactional way.

The key lesson about Inbound that is timeless is that it's helpful and focuses on building an audience. While tactics might change and it may make sense for your company to cold prospect (mine does), the focus should be on providing value quickly in every interaction and doing that over and over and over again, so that you build a community of people who follow you and what you're dong. Then, you can sell them lots of things-- big and small. HubSpot has certainly taken that to an extreme with the continuous launch of new products. And given what people pay for their software, I'd say they've figured out how to sell big tickets to bigger companies too.

PS. You're playing right into their playbook, btw. Even though you're flaming them, you're giving them attention.

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