Today HubSpot published its annual State of Inbound report. Available for free online, the 2015 report features in-depth analysis of global industry trends based on data from thousands of the world’s foremost marketers and salespeople. The annual report also monitors yearly progress and the emergence of new patterns and themes within marketing and sales.

With nearly 4,000 respondents from over 150 countries, the report revealed that businesses around the world predominantly prefer inbound to outbound marketing and sales activities by 3 to 1. Inbound marketing entails the creation of remarkable content for distribution and promotion across social channels, while outbound includes the use of banner ads, direct mail, cold calling, and other intrusive ways of grabbing the customer’s attention.

“As the inbound marketing and sales methodology continue to take root around the world, the State of Inbound report serves as the annual bellwether of emerging and continuing trends,” said Kipp Bodnar, HubSpot CMO. “As an industry, we can use the report to determine which facets of inbound people are gravitating towards and which elements, or markets, remain nascent.

Meaningful marketing to many

Key marketing takeaways from the study include:

  • Inbound is the norm rather than the exception, as 3 out of 4 marketers across the globe prioritize an inbound approach to marketing
  • Companies are 3x as likely to see higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound campaigns
  • Paid ads are the single-most-overrated marketing tactic, according to both inbound and outbound marketers, signaling a great opportunity for a better way to do ads
  • 84% of small businesses are predominantly using inbound marketing
  • Inbound is the preferred marketing strategy regardless of company type, meaning B2B, B2C, and nonprofits are all adopting and implementing inbound tactics
  • Lead generation and conversion are the biggest challenge for marketers, proving the value to be gained from the convergence of marketing and sales

Sales shifting to inbound

This year, the report increased its focus on trends in sales and sales technology. Key sales findings include:

  • Manual data entry is the #1 issue for salespeople when trying to use their CRM systems
  • Unsuccessful sales teams are 2x as likely to use Excel, Outlook, or physical files to store lead and customer data
  • Salespeople cite prospecting as their #1 challenge when ranking the most difficult parts of the sales process

The State of Inbound 2015 report had a much greater emphasis on global trends than the 2014 report. Compared to the 2014 report, in which 78% of respondents were from North America, only 18% of respondents in the 2015 report were from North America. The 2015 report also examined different segments at a much more granular level, analyzing trends by region, company size, and role in the organization.

Download the complete State of Inbound 2015 report for free.

About HubSpot

HubSpot ($HUBS) is a leading inbound marketing and sales platform. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 15,500 customers in more than 90 countries use HubSpot’s software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. HubSpot’s inbound marketing software, ranked #1 in customer satisfaction by VentureBeat and G2Crowd, includes social media publishing and monitoring, blogging, SEO, website content management, email marketing, marketing automation, and reporting and analytics, all in one integrated platform. Sidekick, HubSpot’s award-winning sales application, enables sales and service teams to have more effective conversations with leads, prospects, and customers. HubSpot has been recognized by Inc., Forbes, and Deloitte as one of the world’s fastest-growing companies and by the Boston Business Journal as the #1 best place to work. HubSpot’s culture of transparancy and inclusivity has made it a 100 Best Workplaces for Women by and Great Place to Work®. Learn more at

Originally published Oct 13, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2023