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INBOUND2020: Learning to inspire what’s next

September 22nd and 23rd this year saw a significant first for HubSpot’s annual conference, INBOUND. This year, the entire event went digital. 

Read more: Virtual Events in 2020: How INBOUND is getting it right

Each year, a huge number of attendees are treated to days of learning and insight from speakers who are leaders in their fields, from marketers to celebrity philanthropists. 2020, although digital, proved to be no different!

We were very grateful that this event becoming virtual enabled more of our team to take part and to soak in the experience! 

As a team, we’ve gathered the key takeaways that can help you and your business grow, as well as the important updates to the HubSpot platform.

“If I don’t come back with something I didn’t know before from INBOUND then there’s a problem but thankfully, this year, albeit virtually, there was loads to absorb! Creating the right business culture seemed to weave through all sessions; the idea that everyone is on your customer success team. The importance of building a culture around growth rather than solely performance. In a world where there is so much unpredictability at the moment, business success starts with your team and most importantly, the wider culture piece.”

- Gemma Hayes, Director, Karman Digital

Themes to take forward

Taking a human approach

Overwhelmingly, the focus this year was on the importance of people and building a culture based on empathy and values.

Increasingly, mission and values-led decision making is the key to building a successful path forward. By creating business strategies that are driven by human elements, we enable both our teams and our customers to know our brand on a deeper level and to build a closer affiliation with it.

In addition, expanding your reach needs to be focused on building communities that reflect the values your business operates under. And these values need to be reviewed, refined and lived by more than ever. 

“A key message for me was the value of human connection, regardless of the medium or the nature of the process. That human element is equally as important for sales processes as much as it is for content creation and other targeted marketing activity. You need to be more strategic about connecting with your audience and go beyond just demographics.”

- Kerry Thompson, PR & Engagement Manager, Karman Digital

Digital transformation

In addition to building your brand through empathy, the rapid pace of digitalisation is an important trend to note. Due to Covid-19, these already speedy changes have accelerated further and being prepared for and engaged with digital transformation is no longer an option. 

It is a necessity.

Read more: The four pillars of digital transformation - Data

“The acceleration of what we do and how we do it, utilising tech and making it the new norm, currently feels very powerful.”

- Adam Taylor, Head of Design, Karman Digital

Now is the time to experiment

During this time of newness and uncertainty, brands have the unique opportunity to put their efforts into brand building and experimentation because there is so much new and so much to be discovered about how to run a company in ‘the new normal’.

This means that you should be trying new forms of content, outreach, processes and more. As you do, be sure to pay attention to both what does work as well as what doesn’t.

You may find yourself surprised!

Platform updates

In addition to being a huge conference for learning, HubSpot uses INBOUND to announce changes to the platform. The most talked about ones this year were as follows:


  • Custom objects - The biggest announcement out of INBOUND this year seems to have been the introduction of custom objects in contact records. It is easier than ever to utilise data and segment your data based on the information that you, as a business, really use.

“As product announcements go, the launch of custom objects is huge. It places HubSpot firmly in the enterprise CRM market. Couple this with the platform's stunning UX and integration capability and you have a compelling futureproof CRM offering. Great work Brian and Darmesh!” 

- Jon Pittham, Managing Director, Karman Digital

  • Marketing contacts - HubSpot is now changing its historical contacts-based pricing model to one based on whether or not you use those contacts for marketing purposes. This enables you to retain contacts that you no longer wish to market to, contacts that are internal, and contacts that are external suppliers. 

This could be paving the way for HubSpot to introduce further internal management features.

Sales Hub

  • Sales Hub Enterprise - Another huge announcement from HubSpot was the introduction of a new Sales Hub tier: Enterprise. Sales Hub Enterprise provides an unprecedented number of features and tools that make scaling your sales enablement efforts more achievable and makes CRM adoption easier.

Marketing Hub

  • ABM tools - HubSpot’s account-based marketing tools were introduced earlier this year and were a highlight of INBOUND2020. These tools can help you identify high-value accounts and monitor the efforts of your sales and marketing teams.
  • Revenue attribution reporting - This type of reporting goes beyond the previously announced multi-touch attribution to automatically connect each and every interaction you have with a customer to revenue. This will help ensure that every team and touchpoint is accounted for.
  • Increased automation - There have been several updates to the workflow automation tools that allow you to automate manual processes, include advanced delays in workflows, and create complex if/then branches from workflow triggers.


  • Advanced reporting - HubSpot has increased their reporting capabilities by enabling better custom reporting and more flexibility in dashboard creation.

From what we got to see at INBOUND 2020, HubSpot is on its way to creating a full platform that can empower your whole team. They have also introduced elements that make it even easier to market and sell with a human-focused touch in a world where people-oriented methods are key. And, now, you can better report on that activity.

While the technical changes and platform updates may not immediately feel as exciting and jazzy as the session themes, each of them is designed to have more valuable interactions with customers and prospects. These updates will enable you to grow better with people at the forefront of your thinking and planning.

If you’re interested in these updates or want to know more about digital transformation, get in touch!

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