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What's Holding Back Growth in Your Startup? Key Startup Growth Insights from INBOUND 2022

Kayla Keller |5 min Read

What's Holding Back Growth in Your Startup? Key Startup Growth Insights from INBOUND 2022

Approximately 90% of new startups fail with 20% of new businesses failing within the first two years of operating, 45% within the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. That’s a pretty somber way to open up a blog, isn’t it? But it’s the unfortunate truth (and we’re telling it like it is, as per usual 😉). So what’s causing these startups to fail? Often, this failure is due to a lack of funding, testing products based on assumptions rather than data, and insufficient marketing. But this isn’t an extensive list of reasons. In fact, at HubSpot’s INBOUND 2022, the topic of startup growth was buzzing from the stages to the booths and session rooms.

During the HubSpot Spotlight, Yamini Rangan, HubSpot’s CEO, made the claim that we’re living in a crisis of disconnection. And it’s this disconnection that’s creating a gap in your startup's growth potential. In this article, we’re summarizing and expanding on Yamini’s presentation and sharing how you can maximize your startup growth by focusing on building connections.

Companies are Struggling with Disconnected Systems

Yamini continued her presentation by reporting that through HubSpot’s research, they determined the biggest pain point organizations are experiencing today is disconnected systems and data. It makes sense. Because of the pandemic, organizations had to quickly change their processes and systems from in-person work to remote or hybrid workforces. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, organizations are left with disparate data, inefficient processes, and isolated point solutions. This is especially challenging for startups. 

This disparity is causing strife throughout the internal teams at startups. Marketing teams aren’t sure if their contact database is hygienic, sales teams aren’t being notified of when the right leads come in, and organizational processes overall are slow, causing friction and low productivity. What’s more, is that the customer experience is suffering because of these disconnected systems.

Today, the average organization has 242 SaaS applications! While managing all these tools is cumbersome enough, the main challenge is that these apps are disconnected. Here’s the truth: disconnected point solutions are not the solution. Startup leaders need to align their systems and teams to experience exponential startup growth. Without this connectivity, the odds of your startup succeeding are slim.

People Feel Disconnected with Each Other

There’s a lack of human connection in the workplace. And even though the startup culture emphasizes collaboration and creativity, we’re seeing 45% fewer interactions and a 57% decrease in social activities at work. As humans, we need support from other people. And the same holds true for workplace interactions. Prior to the pandemic, when you needed help on a project at work, wasn’t it so simple to reach over the cubicle and ask your co-worker for help? Now, people are disconnected from each other and that often makes it difficult to not only get help, but feel supported.

People crave community in good times and in bad times. One reason your startup growth could be slighted is that the lack of community within your organization is causing inconsistencies, obstacles, and conflict throughout your teams. How? Siloed teams inhibit growth by preventing innovation and creativity. When one team is disconnected from another (i.e. the marketing and sales teams), the lack of alignment shows through the work. The result? Poor lead generation, fewer deal closures, and declining revenue. Now more than ever, it’s vital to amplify startup growth by connecting and aligning your teams toward a shared goal.

Companies are Disconnected From Their Customers

Not only are internal teams disconnected from each other, companies are disconnected from their buyers and customers. All marketers think they know exactly what their ideal buyer wants—killer content, an easy to follow buyer journey, and a simplified onboarding process. All of that may be true! But one thing is for certain, with all these marketing teams distributing content and bombarding leads with emails and blog posts, today’s buyers are experiencing digital fatigue. 

According to Yamini, digital fatigue and distrust are at an all-time high. And together, they create the disconnected customer. The channels that companies have relied upon to connect with their customers are no longer working. According to HubSpot, today:

  • 65% of google searches end up without a click
  • There are 40% fewer response rates to sales emails
  • The average blog growth rate is -1.6%

And that’s not the end all be all of friction between customers and companies. Customers distrust companies that they feel invade their privacy. Consider this example. When you go to download a “free” white paper from an organization and you need to fill out a form to access the content, does giving away your personal information feel “free”? Not in today’s privacy-first world. To ensure your startup growth is always on the upswing, it’s important to establish connections with customers by offering value at every interaction they have with your brand.

To Amplify Startup Growth You Need a Connected Customer Growth Strategy

The truth is old go-to-market strategies won’t work in this new world. Instead of pumping out content stuffed with keywords, startups need to publish quality content full of context, based on data-driven insights. At INBOUND 2022, we learned that the key to connecting with customers is to establish a connected customer growth strategy. Don’t worry, it’s not as heavy of a lift as it sounds. 

A solid customer growth strategy is based on HubSpot’s Flywheel components, Attract, Engage, and Delight. But now, there’s an innovative twist added to the strategy behind each component:

Attract: Leverage your first party data—buyer engagement with your website or app, CRM data, social media analytics or survey results—to the fullest extent possible. Companies who sync their first party data with Google receive a 20% improvement in their conversion rate. This will help ensure your leads, buyers, and customers are getting the most relevant ads shown to them and the conversion results for you will be awesome. It’s a win-win! Plus, be sure to diversify your content distribution so that you can meet your ideal customers where they are, whether that's on a certain social media channel, via email, or SMS.

Engage: Earn your open rate. Bring context and personalization to your content, especially in marketing and sales emails. Try offering something valuable right off the jump such as:

  • A unique statistic or piece of data
  • Access to an expert
  • Access to an informational resource or video

Meaningful conversations need context. Using data insights to understand the content a lead has already engaged with, what their last support ticket entailed and how it got resolved, equips sellers with the data they need to create valuable and personalized interactions for their leads and prospects. This will ensure the conversation between a lead and a seller never starts off cold. B2B buyers expect personalization and an easy buyer journey. Why not give it to them?

Delight: Once the lead becomes a customer, delighting them at every stage of their customer journey is imperative. To do this, make the buying process a breeze, offer various payment options like PayPal and Apple Pay to streamline their buying process. If your product requires a monthly subscription, offer autopay options. But take it one step further and give your customers channel choice when it comes to receiving information. Some people may want to receive their notifications in your app, through SMS, or email. Drive the connection between your customers and your company by giving them the option to choose how they interact with your brand.