The other day, I visited a company to talk to them about their internet marketing strategy, and whether the HubSpot software could help them.
It was only the 4th HubSpot sales call I've ever made face to face and I've personally signed up 200+ HubSpot customers, and have been involved in probably another 100 more.
I had been speaking to the 2 person marketing team for several months, helping them with their SEO and lead generation strategy.
We identified a bunch of challenges that our software and methodology could help them overcome. But, it was hard for them to get internal buy-in, in order to demonstrate the value to their team.
Fast forward to the meeting this week, the following people were in attendance.
- Chief Operating Officer
- VP Sales
- VP Marketing
- Marketing Manager
- Product Manager
- Graphic Designer
- Webmaster/Salesforce.com Administrator.
Most of the meeting was about what they were doing now and what challenges they were having. We also talked about their lead generation goals.
Their biggest and most critical challenge was sales growth. The majority of their sales go through resellers, and until recently almost all of their sales were new seats from existing customers. In other words, they didn't really have any internally coordinated sales activities that helped them acquire net new customers. They relied on their channel for growth, but the channel obviously wasn't doing that by themselves.
The Role of the COO
If you've ever worked at any company, you know that when you put a lot of people in the room, it's smart to have someone who can understand how all of the pieces come together, and who can make some decisions. The COO at this company was a sharp guy who kept the meeting focused on what was most important to the goals of the company. This was a highly functional team, and there were only minor points of disagreement, which would actually be more accurately described as intelligent debate.
Nonetheless, at the end, the COO made the decision to move forward with HubSpot and kept the meeting on track. He'll also, of course, be the one to hold his team members accountable to their goals too.
The Role of Sales
This company actually is generating sales leads through their website already. They generate about 100 qualified leads each month that they passed directly to their resellers. They also have a free tool that helped them generate several hundred more email signups per month. Their inside sales team recently started following up with distributors to check the status of leads. They also started qualifying leads for their resellers up front. This has helped them grow their business.
Very recently, they've set new sales revenue targets, and even had monthly lead generation targets.
The problem, however, was that they didn't have a plan for generating those leads without spending a lot of money.
If they changed nothing, the VP sales would probably have a tough few upcoming quarters.
The Role of the Product Manager
The product manager for their main product was also present. He asked extremely good questions about whether and how social media and blogging could really help them attract the right traffic that would convert into leads.
He realized he would have to rewrite much of their content so that it "wasn't talking about how their products were different", but about how they could help solve their prospects' challenges. He realized that his role in inbound marketing would be doing primary research with customers and sharing stories on the blog. He rattled off several really technical new uses that their product was suited for, and how he'd write content about these new uses.
The Role of the Webmaster
This company is somewhat tied to their current CMS, based on custom development that has been done. However, up until now their 600+ pages had the same page title. During their trial, they actually discovered that they could change page titles and meta data. During the trial, they also realized that it was important. Since it's critical they do a really thorough keyword research evaluation before they start this, and because it's going to take a bunch of time and resources to map the keywords to the right pages, then add the keyworrds in the appropriate places, they needed everyone to understand the importance of this. So, we evaluated their competitors keywords, and I demonstrated how to find keywords they can more easily rank for, which will give them the largest amount of relevant traffic.
The COO understood the importance, and so did the webmaster. They agreed to make this a priority.
Their webmaster is also their salesforce admin. He also built an internal lead system which routes leads to the appropriate reseller. We walked through this entire system, and based on their new salesforce.com account and new sales processes, they decided that they would scrap their internal system in favor of a HubSpot-Salesforce integrated process, which provides superior lead tracking, intelligence and closed loop reporting, helping marketing send lead data to sales to help them prioritize sales calls, and helping sales send data back to marketing about which marketing activities were referring leads that became customers.
The Role of the Graphic Designer
In a HubSpot free trial, it's possible to quickly customize the look and feel of our landing pages and blog templates. When someone purchases, we further customize for them. And if they have design and css skills, they can do this themselves. The designer was present and needed to understand why and how this could be done. He needed to understand the technical skills required and the capabilities of the system.
The Role of the Marketing Team
In the past few months, the marketing team has been experimenting with how to attract more traffic and generate more leads. To their credit, they've done a lot with little resources. They started a blog (albeit on a blogspot.com domain), started a twitter account, learned a lot more about seo, started testing out different email marketing approaches, and started to understand the importance of compelling offers, even building a few landing pages for these new offers.
Now, they have a cohesive plan. They have lead generation goals, and a plan to get there. With HubSpot, they'll also have the systems in place to achieve their lead generation targets, as well as analyze and improve their results, at a very granular level.
When they implement all of these changes and strategies, they'll be driving the growth of the company. They'll be building their reach on social media, building their email database more aggressively with their free tool offer, qualifying more of these leads using their blog and email and more advanced compelling offers to nurture and educate their email opt-ins, filling their sales teams piepeline with more qualified leads with more information and intelligence attached, arming their resellers with sales opportunities and ultimately, growing their revenue.
But, they couldn't be doing it without the cooperation, buy-in and support from their entire team, including their COO.
In order to do inbound marketing right, it involves the whole organization. But, unlike any other advertising or marketing before it, it also has the potential to accelerate and control the growth of the company.
It's exciting times for marketers who embrace inbound marketing. This is an opportunity for marketers to lead the growth of their companies. This is an opportunity to apply discipline to marketing, and turn it from a cost to an investment.
Are you getting a measurable and improve-able ROI from your inbound marketing? If not, maybe it's because you don't have all of the right people involved?