Welcome to the Inbound Reporting podcast, HubSpot Academy's new miniseries covering the ins and outs of good reporting behaviors.

Here, your hosts, Jorie Munroe and Nakul Kadaba will talk to the experts about how to set yourself up for success when it comes to the flywheel, goals, reporting and everywhere in between.

In this episode, join us as we chat with Academy Professor (and HubSpot superstar) Kyle Jepson and unpack the concept of the flywheel.

Check out the entire episode below:

Prefer to listen? We've got you covered. 

Each episode will be uploaded to this SoundCloud playlist, so make sure to bookmark and like so that you can stay up to date:

 

That was a lot of content to cover! Let's talk next steps.

  • Get started by mapping your flywheel using this worksheet.
  • Want a second opinion? Email your completed worksheet to inboundreporting@hubspot.com. We'd love to hear from you!
  • Let's discuss! Stay up-to-date on all areas of inbound reporting and engage with other listeners of the series on the HubSpot Community.
  • Keep a weathered eye out for the new funnel to flywheel course!

Prefer to read? No problem! Check out the transcript of the entire episode below:

 - Hi, I'm Nakul.

 - And I'm Jorie, and welcome to the INBOUND Reporting Podcast. This podcast is meant to educate and inspire HubSpot users about all things reporting from your flywheel to the nitty gritty of visualization.

- In today's episode, we're gonna actually talk to Kyle Jepson from HubSpot Academy, who's gonna talk to us about what a flywheel actually is and how you can use it to better understand your business model. - I'm so ready to have this content just like out there, and people engaging with it.

- I'm ready too, man. I'm definitely ready. So yeah, like I said, my name is Nakul Kadaba, and I'm joined by my lovely co-host and our guest for today.

- So, I'm Jorie Munroe, I'm one of the INBOUND professors on the HubSpot Academy team. I focus primarily on reporting, since this is the podcast about reporting, and conversion, and advertising. Kind of everything that gets orphaned ends up on my bucket.

-That's great.

- So, we are also joined by a HubSpot Academy favorite, and that would be?

- I'm Kyle Jepson, I'm the Sales Professor at HubSpot Academy, but I've also been teaching a lot of stuff about the flywheel recently that sort of, somehow, fallen to me and I'm running with it.

- Yeah, definitely.

- Yeah, you've been in a lot of videos.

- So many videos, you're like HubSpot famous. You have a bobblehead.

- Right, and recently, it's starting to feel like I can't be on a video unless I say the word flywheel. Yeah exactly, that's right--

- To tee-up.

- To tee-up, what we're talking about today. Where do we start? Let's start at the beginning. So, awhile ago, I was finally given the ability, I had the time, to start to focus on the HubSpot reporting tools, and it was interesting because our HubSpot reporting tools, to be fully transparent, are constantly being listed as a top pain point for our customers, and it's constantly in the top 10 list that, driving tickets and support, that are driving questions and services, and I really started to try to figure out why that was, and that's when we synced up, Knuckle.

- Yeah, no, so I guess go fully introduce myself because Jorie did it very, very well, I didn't. I work as a Customer Success Manager, so naturally I'm actually talking to our customers on a strategic level everyday, and reporting almost always comes up.

- It's such a big input.

- I would say it's pretty high percentage of conversations, and whether it's, as you were saying, support tickets or low MPS scores, it certainly is something that needs to be tackled, and generally from my perspective, and Jorie, I wanna hear your perspective, and we're definitely gonna quiz Kyle in a bit. It's either the case of our customers don't have the data, and so they have a problem with it, without reporting. It's not relevant, the data they're collecting as a result to their business, and so that presents a problem, or they just don't know how to use the tools, to it's a combination--

- Of all three, which is when it becomes a beast, but I think that's a really good point, so we kinda set out to figure out what is it about the tools that are causing this consistent source of pain for our customers, really, and if we can try to solve for that with a lot of the BubSpot Academy education, and what we found was really that it was those three sources. It was that the data wasn't there, they weren't tracking the right data, or by the time they got to the reporting tools they kind of realized that they didn't have either the skills or the data they needed to report effectively, and so interestingly enough, we flipped it on its head, and we're like all right, so there's a cohort of HubSpot users that aren't successful with the tools. What makes someone very successful with the tools? And, it was interesting because in all the cases, Knuckle and I found that there were consistent behaviors on the people that were driving the most success with the HubSpot reporting tools, and it was very much along the lines of, they were incorporating INBOUND to every kind of stage in their business, seems like a no-brainer, but it was really important. That incorporation of INBOUND was also really goal-driven, so they had this sense of shared goals across their company. Then, there was the fact that, yep, their data, not only did they know where their data was, but they were managing it kind of effectively, whether completely in HubSpot or by in large in HubSpot because there are certain things with integrations that get a little complicated. They were really starting to manage their data in one centralized location so that by the time they got to reporting, they were able to kind of visualize effectively, but also ask questions that their data set in HubSpot could effectively answer.

- Yeah, and it also, and it suggests with those users, as we got together to start working on this, Jorie, that reporting doesn't happen in a bubble, or through an explosion of creative energy.

- Right.

- It is a constant process, and disclaimer, that's the framework. You're mapping your flywheel, right, you're implementing INBOUND at every layer of your business, you're defining your goals, you're managing your data, and then you're visualizing your data. Those are the four steps of the framework, but more importantly, it is a constant process. It's not a one day workshop where, after you come out of it, you're ready to go.

- Totally.

- It happens over time.

- Yeah, and so much has to go right for you to get to your report and have it be the exact kind data and report that you need to answer your question, and so that's kind of what we're gonna spend this mini series podcast thing, kind of unpacking, is these types of behaviors that you can kind of take up and implement to ensure that you're reporting effectively, because what I've found just especially with talking to customers is that, if you ask a majority of them, what is your reporting strategy, they don't have one, and I think that's something that's--

- Should I cue the cricket song? Crickets, crickets, exactly! It's, they don't have one--

- But it's true, no, yeah.

- Essentially, people are thinking about reporting as something that is entirely reactive, and that's not--

- It should be proactive.

- Exactly!

- It should be more proactive.

- There's a process there, and so we're gonna spend this series unpacking the different behaviors that we've found that have identified users to be successful, and yeah, really hope people can kind of implement them, and yeah, be effective reporters.

- Yeah, pretty much, yeah, like we hope that the framework will make things easier for our customers to basically understand how to do business intelligence and reporting within HubSpot, or with HubSpot. In terms of how many episodes, we're probably hoping that, with four stages, to concentrate two episodes per stage, so eight episodes, we will be reaching out and having some assets for our customers to use, some back to us, we also have an email that we're gonna talk about at the end of the episodes.

- Absolutely.

- So that if people want to actually take the assets, use them, and get some active feedback from us--

- We're here for that as well.

- Email us, I mean, we'll send a response back and give them some information of what they're doing right, maybe what they need to tweak if they need to tweak anything, but hopefully what we can do is just provide a perspective and kind of guide people in the right direction from our unique perspective of kind facing, and then from your perspective also curating and creating instructional design and educational content.

- So again, just to review what we found for reporters to be successful in HubSpot is, again, mapping your flywheel, implementing INBOUND to every stage of your business, defining your goals, ensuring that your team has a shared sense of purpose, managing your data in HubSpot, whether that's integrations or native to HubSpot--

- Or both.

- Or both, yeah, and then visualizing your data really impacting, like how's the nitty-gritty of reporting work, and I think that's usually what people associate with reporting, but often it's just a piece of the puzzle. So, let's dive in, so we're gonna start, of course, where you should start, the beginning. We're gonna start with this flywheel bit. We're gonna start with implementing INBOUND at every stage of your business, so that is why Kyle is here,

- Woo!

- Because we're gonna talk about the elephant in the room. We're gonna talk about the F word, and that is, people are freaking out about this concept of flywheel, and it's so interesting, right Kyle? 'Cause this is something we've worked closely on, especially in the INBOUNDs are, right?

- Yeah.

- This concept of flywheel has been around almost a year, a year, well, since INBOUND last year, with the fancy, Brian Halligan, flywheel--

- It is pretty fancy.

- It is, okay, there's a story there. First, we're gonna--

- Kinda eggy and a lot of viewers, let's talk about it.

- Yeah, yeah, before we get into fancy stage props, because I think that that's also something we wanna impact right now. Let's just throw it over to Kyle. Kyle, what is the flywheel?

- The flywheel is a new way of conceptualizing your business, of measuring the success of any aspect of your business, and you mentioned people are freaking out, and I think there's several really good reasons for that. First of all, nobody knows what the heck a flywheel is.

- Right.

- The first time I ever heard anyone really talk about a flywheel, I mean, my dad always worked on cars, and apparently cars have a flywheel in there, but I don't know what it does.

- Wait, what?

- Halligan, in internal meetings, started talking about, there's this thing called a flywheel, and Jeff Bezos has talked about it, and some other people have talked about it, and it would be better if we stopped thinking of businesses in terms of a funnel and started thinking about them in terms of flywheel, what do you think? And, what I thought was, what's a flywheel?! I know what a funnel is, but what is it? Like, all these slides you keep showing, it just looks like a circle, how's it different from, like, why don't we call it a wheel or a cycle? And so, you mentioned that the INBOUND certification, we wanted to overhaul the INBOUND certification to bring this idea into it and align with it. Jorie was in that project, I was in that project, a few others, but the task of creating a lesson on explaining what the flywheel is fell to the guy who didn't know what a flywheel was, and I started doing all sorts of research on flywheels--

- I remember that meeting. We were like, no one wants to do it, Kyle will do it. Well, I just, I really felt very strongly, the idea will never take hold unless people know what a flywheel is.

- Totally, absolutely.

- Mm-hmm, yeah.

- So, I started researching it myself, and I started, like, flywheels are pretty cool, and they can actually be a lot of different things. The definition we always give is that it's a machine that stores rotational energy, and I think that actually conjures the wrong image in the mind. I was at the Museum of Science here in Boston just a couple days ago.

- I'm thinking of a turbine.

- They have a, yeah, and they have a real flywheel there, and it's this enormous cylinder that probably weights a ton or two, and it's just turning very slowly. It looks nothing like the images we put on it, but, if you know those little cars that, instead of you back 'em up and there's a rubber band and they go off, but they're the kind that you can go zip, zip, zip, zip, !

- Oh, yeah, yeah!

- That's a flywheel, and the way that works is on axil, and so I did a lot of internet research on flywheels.

- Please keep going.

- This is like mini physics.

- On one of the axils on the car, usually the back one, you have the tiny little metal axil and the tiny little plastic wheels, and then you just take a thick, heavy, round metal thing and put it on the axil, kinda like just a really thick, heavy ring that, proportionately to the rest of the car, weighs a lot. It's still pretty small, but it's like some heavy metal, and so as you turn it, you are rolling the car, and pushing it, and making those wheels turn, but that heavy wheel in the middle, Newton tells us, things that are in motion wanna stay in motion, and the more rate you get, the more inertia you have, and so that little, the heavy wheel inside is spinning fast enough that it can just keep propelling the car forward. That's also a flywheel, and so flywheels, they look a lot of different ways, they behave a lot of, but this basic concept is that you get something that's heavy and you start it spinning, and if you have it on ball bearings or something, it'll keep spinning for a really long time.

- Right.

- I always imagined, you know the things you get at fairs where you blow on them and they spin?

- A pinwheel fan?

- A pinwheel, yeah, they sort of look like fans. I always was just like, "That's a flywheel!" I guess that's not even remotely close to a flywheel. But, and apparently, we learn that two things, one, we were able to check off the box that Isaac Newton could be mentioned on our podcast.

- Done.

- Done, right? And two, Kyle is a physics teacher.

- Okay, true story, I actually never took a physics class.

- No, really?!

- So it's like, this feels like weird kind of justice for me never taking--

- I wasn't into physics, I like math, but I didn't, physics just never spoke to me too much.

- Once I took calculus, I was like, nope, we're done with this, we're done.

- Yeah, so like, but anyway! So, we're thinking, right, that traditionally, it is a machine that is storing rotational energy. The concept of the car is a good-

- Yeah, and that's the important part, and that's why I think the flywheel is actually a better metaphor than a wheel or a cycle because if you have something that's a flywheel and you started spinning, it will keep spinning.

- Yep, yeah.

- Right, whereas, if you just have a normal, like a little Matchbox or Hot Wheels car and you try to spin the wheels, they'll spin like a few rotations and then be done, whereas if you have a flywheel, you start it going and it will just keep going, and that's the difference we're really trying to get to. When you think about a traditional funnel, especially in the context of a reporting podcast, I don't wanna cast any aspersions on the idea of a funnel generally, because with any conversion process, any sales process, you're gonna have this stair-step where you have a lot of people here and fewer people here, and fewer people, and it's shaped like a funnel, and so it makes sense to call it a funnel, right?

- It's the best way to visualize that.

- Yeah, and in moving to the flywheel, we don't mean to say that's ineffective or a bad way of measuring things, we don't mean to deny the fact that that's a reality that's always going to exist. The big thing funnels miss, and if you think about a real funnel in the natural world, if you're pouring oil into your car--

- Stick with the car analogy.

- Yeah, exactly, then what you're doing is you're taking this big stream of fluid, and you're narrowing it down to a narrow stream so you don't spill it everywhere, right?

- Right.

- But the thing is, once you stop pouring, once your oil can is empty, or your car is full--

- Capitalism hits.

- Whatever, the funnel just stops, right? You might get a couple drips coming out, but there's no sense that you've built up anything that can sustain itself at all, and hopefully, in your business, that's not the case, right?

- Yeah.

- Hopefully if, your entire company just went on vacation for a month--

- Hopefully things will still keep running.

- For a little bit, at least, depending on the business, it'll vary a lot depending on how touchy you are and things, but there's still going to be something there. It's not like your business will just cease to exist. If you all come back from vacation after a long weekend, you can probably pick up where you left off and not start from scratch, whereas this idea of a funnel is the funnel would be empty, you would have no customers, you would have nothing and you would have to start all over.

- And, that's such an important point, too, because something that you keep kind of bringing up and bringing up is like, this is a business model, like this is a high level kind of way to think about your business and its relationship with its customers, versus something that is very much more aligned with internal processes, and this is a question I get all the time because, reporting funnels are so core when thinking about data management, that I think it's important that you differentiate the two from the get-go. The flywheel is something that, is how you're going to continue to sustain an INBOUND business over time versus the function of a funnel, at the end of the day, is looking at conversion data, and looking at, kind of like, how well you're encouraging users to take particular actions, which they can work in tandem, but a funnel isn't an effective way to think about your business anymore.

- Yeah, and for sure, and to give a concrete example of that from my own world, which is sales, every company that has a multi-stage sales process is still going to have a funnel shape, they're gonna be stepped down from a, but the real problem is that if you look at that funnel and you think that's the whole story, you start to miss things, and that's why we get into this world where it's very easy for salespeople to push and push and push and push and sale things to people who don't really want them and slam the door and be done, and think that I hit my quota, so it's okay, where in reality, that person on the other side of the door now has a product that doesn't do what they want it to do, or that they didn't want in the first place, and they feel they've been used, and they take to the internet and tell their friends, "Don't do business with this company," and their friends listen, and so that little sales rep who, 10, 20 years ago, could happily rip people off and push people to do things they didn't wanna do without any repercussions at all, now suddenly can't find anyone to do business with because everybody, the secret's out.

- Yeah, everyone knows.

- Everybody knows, and that's the real thing the flywheel is trying to capture, not only that negative energy of, hey, if your customers are speaking badly about you, they'll scare prospects away, but also the positive energy that comes in the opposite scenario, right? Someone has such a great experience with your sales team, feel like they were really aligned with them, get a product that they love that does exactly what they hoped it would, any weaknesses we're told ahead of time so there are no unhappy surprises. They take to the internet and tell all their friends, "This is awesome, you should try it."

- Go buy this product.

- And suddenly, that sales rep is living on easy street, right, because instead of having to go out and find new prospects, all these good fit prospects who are in the network of the person they sold to are coming and saying, "Hey, I wanna try this thing, I heard it's cool."

- John Dick wrote a really good blog post about this where he was comparing, I should say John Dick of HubSpot marketing, wrote a really good blog post about this where he was saying, he was so used to the funnel for so many years that when Brian Halligan started talking about it, he just didn't really understand it. Then thought about it, just saying, well, today's business is what Kyle is saying. It's word of mouth, it's much more conversational, it's much more natural to follow somebody on--

- It's relationship building.

- It's relationship building where, if you sell a product with it, let's just say, and Jorie, you really like Kyle and you guys are friends, and Kyle talks about it and raves about it, well it's more likely that you're gonna go to the sales rep that Kyle worked with and say, yeah, I wanna buy you a widget because Kyle just talked about it, talked it out.

- And I think it's important to note, too, that some people, sometimes as it's painted in very bright colors, like the flywheel is dead, we don't need puddles anymore! But, I think it's important to think of this as purely additive, like whatever good work the funnel concept is doing for you, great.

- Keep that.

- Keep that, but let's build onto it. What we're really doing is we're zooming out on whatever funnel you're focused on, whether that's the conversion rate on your website or your sales process, or whatever that may be, we're zooming out and giving you a larger context of, hey look, there's a story of the people before they come in the funnel and there's a story of the people after they come out the bottom of the funnel, and the two stories are related. Those people are affecting each other in a way that, if you're just thinking of it as a funnel, doesn't, it can't really capture it.

- Definitely, and I think this is a good segue on into, there are these concepts of force and friction when it comes to the funnel, and I think, again, you add more terminology, you're already talking about marketing jargon, where do the concepts of force and friction come in?

- So again, if we're thinking of a, my favorite example is the little car toy because I had one of those car toys and that was the one that when I came across on the internet, I was like, that small, that's one of, why didn't you say the little car, okay.

- Yeah, yeah, that's great.

- So, if you think about that, right, if you wanna make that car go faster or you wanna or you wanna make it go further, there are two real ways you can do that. One is adding more force, which just means, make it go faster.

- Spinning it.

- Faster, harder, whatever, that's gonna make it go. The other is removing friction, so if you could go into that car and give it ball bearings, oil the gears a little bit, whatever, then it will go farther and faster, still.

- I have less obstacles.

- Right, so basically, in the one way, you're giving it more energy and speed in the first place, and from the other angle, you're making that energy and speed last longer, you're increasing your efficiency.

- So, that makes sense to me, like the car analogy was something I thought of when I was thinking about the flywheel.

- Alignment.

- Alignment, yeah, I feel aligned, but let's talk about it in a context of an actual business, because we have, for example, some manufacturing customers, I'm sure, but not all of our customers are in the manufacturing industry. Some are in SaaS, some are in construction, some are in hospitality, some are in, I can name a million examples, but you get my point. Yeah, give us an example of where you could see and point out, yep, this is this person's flywheel, or here's the forces, or some examples of a force.

- Versus friction.

- Yeah, just to keep it general before we hop into any sort of specifics. I think the easiest way to think of force is the investments you make in your business, not just like financial, certainly, if you allocate all your budget to sales, then your customer service might not be awesome, right? Your marketing and website experience might be bad. But, your sales team will probably do great.

- Yeah, it's true.

- And, if you look at that and you realize, wait, maybe we reallocate some of this money somewhere else, we re-budget, that's one way to spread force around, but your money is a fairly fixed, like you really only get the ad budget over here by taking it away from over here.

- Not all of us have $10 million.

- Right, exactly, and so I think it's important to think of investment in a broader sense, like who are the employees that you are most invested in training? Who are the employees that you're trying to take care of them in such a way that they stick around a long time. That's also a force because your happiest employees are gonna be your best employees, are gonna give the best experience to your... Customers, and so, if all of the perks are going to the people in your C suite, for a lousy example, that's not gonna be as good for your customers as if you have really happy frontline employees who are just eager to help answer questions, help people succeed.

- And again, just to kinda tie what Kyle was saying, remember, this is not just thinking about the traditional funnel model, which was, here's the marketing funnel getting leads to be qualified, here's the traditional sales model to get people to close as customers, but also, okay, what after they become customers, hence that circular motion and just saying yep, I want those happy customers, hopefully happy, to talk about us more in a positive light that will spin that wheel for their, i.e. force, to encourage more and more people to come around, right?

- Definitely.

- To talk about us, and so that's a force piece. The friction piece is really, there are a couple different ways you can think about it. The one I think makes the most sense, and is the most applicable across the industry is looking at your internal processes. If I'm on the support team, and Jorie calls in with a problem, I wanna help you solve this problem, but I've gotta get permission from my manager and get a form signed in Triplicate, I'm just gonna tell you sorry, I can't help you, right?

- Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

- It's not going to be worth the energy for me, and like that's probably ridiculous example, but not actually totally ridiculous, and so you wanna make it as easy as possible for your, especially your frontline, your customer-facing employees to make things easy on your customers, whether that's reducing the amount of process in the first week, we don't need Triplicate forms, right?

- Yeah.

- Or whatever, or you can do that afterward, or giving them tools, whether that's technology or whatever it may be to help them do their jobs better, to find the customer information they need to make whatever changes, just empowering those sorts of people is great, and then, I mean, don't forget your back office. You don't want... The number of interactions your customers have directly with your accounting team are probably very few, but those can make or break your relationship with it, like if they get to the accounting team and the accounting team doesn't care about them at all, and there are all these fees for no apparent reason, that's friction, too, and so you gotta, if you can align everyone internally around doing what's best for the customer, and just make it as easy as possible for them to do that. Worry more about your customers' experience and their happiness than about your internal whatever it is that people get caught up in.

- Yeah, and I'm sure you, I mean, I know you think about it in the context of sales.

- Yeah, for sure.

- Moving friction for sales, I mean, what does that look like? Is it like this similar example about customer support that you were talking about where--

- Because, yeah, I think that's really important because, and it might've been you, if it was you, let me know. I once actually heard that the flywheel, it is effective to identify, like force, like what's working but oftentimes, companies don't need to be told what's working, they kind of, they have a general sense. It's like, go ahead.

- And in sales specifically, force is what sales are good at. You hire sales teams who can force through the deals and push and not give up and go and go, and most sales organizations, I'm willing to bet, are maxed out when it comes to force. They're spending all the budget they can get their hands on, they're hiring all the people they can get, they're doing everything they can to have the best possible sales team, raising the quotas, ratcheting up the commission, whatever they can do. That force, like, chances are, whoever you are, whatever company you're at, you've done force, if anything, too much, right?

- Right, okay.

- And, where you're gonna get more benefit for your sales team and for your, the rest of your company is focusing on that friction piece, and we're actually getting ready to launch a new certification course called Frictionless Sales, teaching sales leadership--

- Yep. Yeah, how to--

- Nice little plug in there.

- How to take the flywheel and use that as a way to evaluate their sales organization and find places to remove friction, and so some of that is enabling your sales reps to spend more of their time selling. There's sort of a famous statistic floating around the internet that sales reps, in general, only spend something like 30 of 35% of their time selling.

- Which is insane to think about.

- Right, the rest of their time is spent on data entry, on meetings, internally, like all these other things they have to do, and if you could just remove that friction and let them spend 70 or 80 or 100% of their time selling, already, ta-dah! Without hiring any new people, without increasing your budget, suddenly, you're getting more for your money, and then also aligning them with their target buyer, the things that they want. If you can make your incentive structure such that what the salespeople want is your customers to succeed, that's gonna be really good, and I've heard of some companies, I believe, helps a lot, and other companies have this clawback in where you close the deal, great, you get a commission, but if three months from now that customer leaves, then that commission comes out of that paycheck.

- Right, right.

- Yeah, yeah.

- You're giving that money back, and so now, oh, I'm not just focused on closing this person today. I'm focused on at least making them happy enough to stick around through the clawback period, right?

- Definitely.

- And then the final piece we talk about in the certification is using training and coaching and transforming your sales organization by fostering a culture of learning, which is important because sales reps so often are heads-down working working, and again, 65% of that working, working is doing stuff that doesn't really matter, so they're sweating and trying to work the parts.

- Trying to make it, right.

- And, being able to take time to evaluate how you're doing, look at some reports, see where you can improve is gonna--

- Love this guy.

- Learning's so important!

- Love this guy, yeah.

- Gonna make a big difference, right?

- Right, yeah, now that's true.

- But I mean, I think to pander to my audience here, I guess, it's like, how are you gonna know where the friction is unless you have some visibility in.

- Yep.

- Yeah.

- If you look at a sales pipeline funnel chart for each one of your reps, you'll see drop-offs in different spots, like whoa! Chuck over here is doing really poorly on step three, where everybody else is doing really well, so--

- Why is that?

- Why, and how can we fix it, and what's missing, yeah, from all ends.

- If you don't have that visibility, and you just sit down in your monthly one-to-one with Chuck and say, so how is it going? He'll be like, fine.

- It's okay, fine. And great, see you next month. Yeah yeah, right, right, right.

- End scene.

- Yeah, yeah right.

- Definitely, so when it comes to, and this can be like sales specific, but also just in general, like, how do you advise people, and it can be that we turn to kind of reporting as a topic, or just otherwise, just start going about evaluating whether they're in their sales process or not, like where their biggest points of friction are. There are the metrics that you should think about in terms of your business, so revenue's a big one, but also in terms of just net new leads, traffic to your website that's gonna help you kind of evaluate the health of your business as a whole. Now, you can call them health check metrics, you can cal them key metrics, you can kind of, it's going to differ company to company. HubSpot themselves calls them health check metrics, but it's really kind of evaluating, like how well are your teams attracting, engaging, or delighting customers, and that's gonna vary depending on the handoff and what team you're working with, so in the case of marketing, for example, traffic's a big one, also referrals, like reviews on your website. It's really going to be first establishing baselines where you are now, and then your goals, where you wanna be, and then using metrics to kind of solve for what's working and what's not across your business, so I think that if you're a new business starting out, the first thing that, the best thing you can do is start gathering data on what's working. Just kind of establishing like where are you currently, that's a huge problem for current HubSpot customers when they come on is having no data to kind of determine how they're doing. From there, I think it starts to become kind of apparent as you start to establish those dashboards, look at trends over time--

- The analytics tools.

- Yeah, and like from just like experience working with customers, starting with the hand-offs is kind of like the big win in terms of identifying, especially points of friction, because chances are, especially if you're moving from a funnel model, those handoffs are going to be a problem.

- Yep.

- And I'm sure you have experience with this, having done the sales enablement certification, but I mean, we even see it just in the sense of those clawbacks, sales to service or service to marketing. These are key areas that, in a funnel centric business model have been kind of left to the wayside for a long time because, as long as you were a marketer and you hit all your tofu.

- Top of the funnel.

- Top of the funnel.

- Yeah, right, no but you go to the point.

- I always hear tofu and then I'm like, ugh food. But, as long as you hit those metrics and you kind of like hit those conversion rates, you were fine, and it's just like whatever, and then as long as the next team then hit their conversion rate, based on industry standards, whatever that means, you were fine, and then it was kind of this ether of gray area.

- I think it's important to realize, and I never thought of putting it quite this way before, but based on what you just said, whatever team you're on, whatever it is you're doing, the bottom of your funnel is the top of someone else's.

- Yeah.

- Exactly.

- And, if you're not paying attention to that fact, whoever's downstream from you, and since it is a circle, that'll be you eventually, is really gonna suffer.

- Definitely, and I think, so those handoffs, I don't have a really good name for them. I just call them handoffs.

- Oh, I mean like, at least from a customer facing perspective, I mean, it usually is, that's how customers talk about it. It's a marketing handoff, marketing to sales handoff, sales to service handoff.

- Service handoff. And I think you know, the service marketing handoff is like, it's always been there, but I feel like it's been largely ignored because it's like, I don't know, it's our customers, and now you have these new terms like customer marketing popup, and it's like, no, this has always been here. Your customers talk to each other, and it's just that now we're in the stage where your customers can be loud. They can be the loudest people in the room, and if you're not kind of inspiring the good ones to come to the top and lessening how many bad ones there are you've got a problem on your hands.

- Yeah, I mean, the best type of meetings I usually have are those meetings where you are talking about a lead hand-off process, let's say from attract to engage, or to delight back to attract, right?

- Yeah.

- Like, know the flywheel. Where they have that epiphany where they're like, oh man, this is a problem, I need to remove this friction.

- Yeah.

- Right, and usually it's to Kyle's point, it's not, I don't need to put extra investment into this. I need to actually view the amount of investment that I've actually put into this and the existing infrastructure, and they need to remove the friction, that is, remove the obstacle in place. That's typically, I mean, obviously, in a customer facing perspective, it's really much more technical on their end, but if you think about it strategically, which is usually kinda my conversations, it's like, well why is only X percent of your marketing only qualified leads only going to sales?

- Right.

- Why isn't it more? Why are only X percent of your opportunities closing? Why isn't it more, right?

- Mm-hmm.

- I think, going back to completing the circle, why are X percent of customers not talking about you, or why do X percent of customers not like you, right? What is their pain point, to put it bluntly.

- Totally.

- But, all of a sudden, you've just seen all three of those handoffs, and then you've got somebody thinking, and just like, oh yeah, there's a problem.

- And I think too, if you can zoom out a little bit, you'll start to realize, they don't have to be handoffs in the sense of like a relay race where it's like, I hand this off and then I stop running.

- Right.

- Yeah, yeah, like you can start to make them overlap, like where in the sales process is your customer support team introduced? Why should you wait until after the close and be like, here you go!

- Good luck with the stranger!

- Yeah. Introduce them a little bit earlier, like hey, this is whoever--

- Here are the avenues you could go to, yeah.

- Real strong introduction. Here's this guy!

- This is whoever, but no, I just mean like, even if you just, speaking to the customer, if you decide to go with us, you're gonna have--

- You're gonna have a full team ready to go, yeah.

- Here to help you, or this dedicated individual, or whatever it is in your business, so it's not just like thanks for money, see ya.

- Right, right, right.

- Good luck.

- I mean, sorry go ahead.

- I have a hard pivot, so if you have something related, you should say it now.

- I had a question, but yeah, I was gonna say, I have a question, but--

- Do a question.

- So my question is, I'm thinking in terms of goals 'cause I love goals. My customers will make fun of me because that's all I ever talk about with them, right, I'm just saying. Great, what's your goals, what's your metrics? You were kind of just relaying all that. So, talking about this flywheel is just saying great, I've understood the things that are making my business turn faster and faster, and I've also understood that things that are helping my business not have as many obstacles. That's a really poor way of saying forces and friction, in a long-winded manner.

- That's why we've got these neat terms.

- And these wonderful guests.

- Oh, lovely.

- How would you translate a flywheel, or someone's business model into say great, it looks like this is your business goal. It looks like this is an identifiable metric that we need to start measuring.

- Well hopefully, going back to this idea again of the flywheel is the zoomed out version of all of your funnels connected together, hopefully you can start to see where these handoffs aren't working, whereas there's usually, each individual funnel, you have a sense of, if your the sort of, if you're like a services company and you have the dedicated person who's going out to give the service, you can see, oh they had this many people come over from sales, they did this many onsite visits, whatever, this many return appoint, but you may not see, from that chart, the drop-off between the number of deals that were closed and the number of people they actually connected with, and where did those folks go? And similarly, more famously, perhaps, between marketing and sales, as you were saying before, why is sales not contacting all these leads from marketing? What's happening to those people? And I think, I think to Jorie's point about starting with the hand-offe, those are gonna be the biggest leaks because they weren't ever part of any fund, right?

- Mm-hmm, yeah, yeah.

- There was just stuff splashing out in between, and so once you get those figured out, you might start identifying other problems upstream somewhere, like oh, maybe if we introduce the customer support person or team earlier, this hand-off would've gone much smoother. Oh, maybe we need some sort of review process for the leads marketing ascending to sales to make sure all the actual good ones are being qualified and we're getting fewer bad ones.

- Yeah, I'm kind of thinking about it in my head of, like, let's say, there is a business goal of, I wanna earn X amount of revenue, and a metric being a marketing sales handoff. What is that transition, and how high is it, right? How high are the retention numbers if we're thinking post-point-of-sale onward, right?

- Yeah, and if you can reporting at every step and the big overview, then you can start connecting things together. We wiggled this thing way up in the marketing process, and we wiggled this other thing way down in the services process, and we made a couple of adjustments in sales, and we can see all these things together are having this outsized influence.

- Yeah, all of the sudden, it's all connected.

- Right.

- Right, people are able to start talking to each other.

- Whereas, if the sales team is running their own experiments and the marketing team is doing their thing, and nobody else what anyone else is doing, then everybody's just doing random stuff.

- Yeah, like sales might say, look, we cracked it, we had so many more! And marketing is like, no actually that was us. Actually we need the budget. Yeah, it'd be really nice if we could hire a second marketer.

- Yeah right.

- Exactly, and I think it's important to keep in mind, as you're thinking about where the leaks are and what's going wrong, and what are we experimenting on, that it is going to be largely dependent on what your company is. It's like the exact metric and the exact business goal is highly dependent, and that can be kind of frustrating at first 'cause it's tempting to be like, okay, what's the industry standard, or what's the metric that everyone and my competitor is looking at?

- Yeah, and I think, sort of going out on a limb here, if you ever go look at any HubSpot stuff about flywheel, you're going to see the stages you just mentioned, attract, engage, delight, but I would, I think the right thing for individual companies to do is to take that as their starting point and say, how do we attract people, how do we engage with them, how do we convert them, and then start to realize, like you know what, I think we actually have a fourth stage right here, and I think maybe these two, like the division is over here, and like oh, we can measure these things, and as you iterate and iterate and iterate, you'll get this flywheel that no longer looks like the HubSpot branded, attract, engage, delight, INBOUND methodology. You'll get this thing that actually describes your company and is only relevant to your company, to nobody else, but is super relevant to your company, and this is now, now you can start to see, and you have a way to discover what those metrics are and what the, how it's all working together, and as you, you'll probably go through several versions of that over time, and you might think, oh, you know what, there's actually a fifth stage here, and you're trying, like actually that didn't work, can we combine those back together, and I just, I mean, your flywheel should be made out of Play-Doh instead of carved into stone, and just like, mess it and rearrange it until it's beautiful.

- It's disgusting.

- Really?

- Yeah.

- Well, you're not supposed to eat it.

- Yeah well, that didn't happen ever. Okay, but like, I was little, okay, like whatever.

- So was I.

- Okay, so anyway.

- We digress.

- But see, that was the hard pivot, Kyle, you did that so beautifully, just like organically. That's the thing, I think that people often confuse the flywheel 'cause they see the INBOUND methodology, and it's like this stagnant attract, engage, delight, but I think it really is important to think about, it is ultimately going to be the reference, that's not the word I'm looking for, but kinda like the framework you're, the guidelines.

- The template.

- I love all those. That works, all of those.

- We're here to help you.

- Yeah, see? That you're gonna use for your business, but your business, at the end of the day, is going to be unique, so as you need to kind of alter that, use that as a guiding starting point, but at the end of the day, you need to also think about adapting it to what really defines your business and what is authentic to your business, and that might not, I mean of course, like the, start using the INBOUND methodology as the starting point, and it helps you ensure that you are remaining true to your customers, but also kinda those principals of INBOUND, but then kind of using that as that building point, that foundation for your actual flywheel is important.

- Right, and I think, attract, engage, delight is going to be, in some sense, relevant to every company.

- Right, forever, we've simplified it.

- If we just gave you a blank circle and said, draw your flywheel, that would be a really hard ask for any, like what would that even mean, right? But, if using that, like you said, as a starting point, like here, okay, where do your customers come from? How do you find them, how do they find you? This engage stage, like who are the humans on your team that are working with those humans out there? How is that communication happening? What sorts of metrics can we put in place? Is there a formal sales process? Is it a self-serve system, like all that, and then delight? When they actually get the product, what does success look like, what does it mean for someone to be happy that they purchased your mattress or your landscaping services or your, whatever it is, and how do you then gather whatever positive energy is out there, and direct it towards--

- Attracting more.

- Right, and then, once you start to answer those questions, that's when you start realizing, like you know what, we have more stages here, we have less stages there, we have this entirely other thing over here, and depending on how many products and how many different things you do, you might have multiple flywheels supporting each other. Just visualize it in whatever way it makes the most sense to you, but use the attract, engage, delight as the jumping off point.

- Totally, and I think the best example to this date that I still like the most, so Kyle and I were also part of the team that graded who won Brian Halligan's contest, so. Behind the scenes spoiler there! Hope no one's disappointed, but it was one of a charity, who will remain unnamed, but their flywheel, they had kind of adapted this concept of the flywheel to encompass their donors and their sponsors and all these different people that are involved with effectively running a charity, and at the end of the day, it didn't really look anything like the initial kind of attract, engage, delight because there are these moving pieces, and it's like--

- And independent from each other.

- Right, exactly, because, and I think it was like, I might be misremembering, but there were like two core components that were kind of working off of each other, and I think it is kind of, it goes back to, it is that springboard for you because, even across industries, it's not gonna look the same.

- No, no, yeah.

- Well in the charity example, if I remember, they had a lot of flywheel for like, here are the people who are giving us money, and here are the people we're helping, right?

- Right, exactly.

- And so, that's two very different motions, right?

- Yep, yeah.

- You're not gonna be asking for money from the same people you're helping, otherwise you wouldn't be a charity, right, you would now just be a business.

- Right.

- Right.

- And I think, for a lot of places, they might have a product arm and a services arm, and maybe that's one big circle, maybe it's two little circles, but ultimately, there are right and wrong answers, but the proof is in the pudding, right? You found the right answer when you learn something about your company that you couldn't have figured out any other way.

- It's only effective if it gives you insight.

- Right, if it's not giving you insight, then you haven't done it right yet.

- Then it's a circle on a piece of paper.

- Well no, it's only effective and then I think the barometer is, if you're able to see, yep, this looks like our central business goal, just looking at all these insights together, about the flywheel. It looks like it's a retention goal of needing to retain X number of customers. It looks like it's a revenue goal of attaining this much. It looks like here is the key metrics just based on what it says under attract, engage, delight, or whatever other sub-stages or creative stages you wanna input in the middle, as you were saying, Kyle.

- I'm gonna get a little meta. It's almost like it's a report. Oh my god!

- Of your business, and then it's only a hope--

- Genius!

- I know, wow. And, it's only helpful if you can then action the insight that your flywheel is actually giving you, like if you're not having a conversation, if it's not driving action or insight or telling you what's working, what's not, then it's not set up correctly, and it's kinda like start at the beginning.

- Kyle, you'll be proud of us 'cause we both presented hubs, different hubs--

- Which are HubSpot user groups.

- HubSpot user groups, thank you, where we both presented the framework on both of these, and we didn't get a one confusing question about the flywheel in either of them, because we talked about it in a very, very simplistic way than what we just did here, but basically saying, guys, just think of your business model. What's working well, what's not working well, right? What are you getting out of it? Can you actually translate that into your reporting strategy later down the line, right?

- Yeah.

- Physically.

- The metaphor I like a lot when it comes to the flywheel is I think of it in terms of language learning. You gotta start kind of like a basis of vernacular, where it's like you have to see, the flywheel is attract, engage, delight, and there's this thing called force and this thing called friction that's like what's working, what's not, cool, establish that, get that running, see how it maps your business. Then, okay, you see what's going on, you kind of see how INBOUND is working with your business, now let's take it a step further. Let's adapt it to what you're, like, let's apply what you've learned about the flywheel, and then kind of almost break it to fit the needs of your business.

- Yeah, no no, but it's true--

- Modify, that's a positive--

- You're amending it, you're modifying it, you're structuring it to fit with--

- What is actually happening with your business, yeah totally, and then it's like, okay. So then you start to see kind of more nuanced insight with your business. Maybe you do have five stages. Maybe it's not just those three, attract, engage, delight. Maybe your customer segment is very different, the product you sell, et cetera, and you get a little bit more than nuanced, you get a little bit more advanced, and you can start to think of the flywheel more effectively in terms of how it applies to your business, and then you kinda continue to get more advanced until you actually have something that directly one-to-one fits your business, and potentially no one else's, but you gotta start with INBOUND methodology. That's where it's like, very kind of simple and approachable, but then it's like baby steps. You have to build off that foundation.

- Yep, similar to what, Jorie, you were saying earlier about you and Kyle sitting there with, I can't even imagine, the number of papers, or flywheels that you guys had to grade.

- You know, no comment. No comment.

- We are, well Jorie, Jorie is apparently a maniac because we are offering that ability as well to anyone listening or watching or both, this show.

- Yeah, it's true. We have this handy dandy alias. Knuckle is smiling, if you can't see. It's actually hot off the press, just set it up this morning, and we're going to be attaching, so this is going to live in the blog, for the first week?

- Yeah, the blog post.

- We might live other places eventually, but there's gonna be a worksheet at the bottom where you can start to kind of map your flywheel, and we will look at it for you, actually.

- We'll give you feedback, we'll give you, what you're doing right, what you may need to tweak.

- Yeah, or just kind of initial thoughts when looking at your flywheel, so there's gonna be a downloadable asset, and if you want to email that to INBOUND reporting at HubSpot.com, we will take a look at your flywheel, and we will email you back comments, we'll consult with you, we'll look at it, yeah.

- Yeah, for sure.

- See what's working, what's not.

- 'Cause I think, yeah, 'cause again, and I'm sure I get, you guys have mentioned that, I should've mentioned it, a lot of it is a lot of unwillingness to look at the flywheel from our customers' perspective is just not understanding it fully, or not able to understand it fully. So hopefully, this kind of word run, sort of data dump, is a good way to kind of simplifying it a little easier, past just the metaphors, which actually did help a lot for myself.

- I like the car.

- Yeah, it really does help you understand it a little better, so hopefully you can get a little more people, our customers and viewers, to say, yeah, let me just take a stab at it, and just see what I know, at least.

- And I think, another good asset, as Kyle has mentioned, is that we do have an entire lesson in the learning center that is just purely focused to this concept of flywheel and kind of making it applicable. There may or may not be more content coming soon, I don't know, I can't say officially on the record, but there may be, so Kyle, do you have any other final remarks about the flywheel? You excited to see the flywheel spinning around?

- I am excited, I mean, I feel good, I feel good, I'm done. Kyle, just tell the story.

- Okay, so I was tasked about making a lesson about what a flywheel is, and as I'm researching it, I'm getting a sense of what a flywheel is, but what I really want is a prop that I can use on camera to say this is a flywheel! And, I looked and looked and could not find anything on Amazon that would do the job, I couldn't find anything anywhere that would do the job, and I was talking to one of our folks on our video team, for HubSpot Academy, and he said, "What you need is like a game wheel you have to spin."

- Wheel of Fortune.

- Yeah, and in my mind, I was like, I have this vague remembering that HubSpot Academy had a game wheel at INBOUND that we got in trouble for one year 'cause it made so much noise.

- We did, yeah, it was loud!

- And, I wonder if that's still around somewhere, so I talked to Chris LaDolce, who is one of the founding members of Academy. The flywheel, this is HubSpot Academy allure, this was before I was on the team, and I asked him, true story, is that still ours? It's like, oh yeah, it's in the basement, and so I found someone who would take me down to the basement, I don't have access to that normally, but we went down there, we found it, we set it up, and then we had this game show wheel. It was like, I don't know, five feet wide or something--

- It's big, it's a big thing.

- Yeah, and I took the little brr, we had to be able to point it so it would spin quietly, and it's super rickety plastic, like I would spin it, and it would wobble, but I was like, this is going--

- Yeah but it works, it works.

- I took our graphic and I got it printed at Staple's on a huge size, and I got one of these tri-fold cardboard things you use for science fair projects, and I cut it into a circle, and I got some glue, and I did this arts and crafts project on the floor of the office.

- DIY flywheel edition.

- And then I had it, and we made this lesson that we've talked about about funnel flywheel, and it's onscreen for like maybe five seconds. It totally belies the week of work that I put into this thing, but I'm just like, a flywheel goes like this, and please don't notices that it's wobbly all over the place, but I got it all together, and I took a video of it and sent it to our CEO, Brian Halligan, who was then working on his INBOUND keynote, and had sort of like spinning graphics on PowerPoint slides, but I just sent him an email and the subjects, he was like, "So I heard you like flywheels," and then just dropped a video in there of me of me spinning it and I'm like, "Oh, it spins!"

- Yeah, right!

- And then, suddenly I'm in meetings with the CEO and the people who are helping him write his speech, and they're like, "Can we use it onstage?" And, he did a dry run with it, and every time he spun it, it almost fell over, and the team in charge of INBOUND was like, okay, we like the concept, but it's too small, for one thing, and it's too fragile, and so--

- It will fall apart.

- So I was tasked with can you make a better one? And I was like, well I, no, this is the best I can do.

- Pretty much it!

- I found a company online that makes custom game wheels, and we got this six or seven foot steel-- It weighed like 150 pounds, and that's what Halligan had onstage, and he was spinning it, and people afterwards were taking selfies with it, they loved it, and it's now been chopped off its stand and mounted on the main lobby of the HubSpot offices, so if you come in, you'll see that flywheel up on the wall, mounted like a trophy.

- Right in the front area.

- And it's funny to me, whoever mounted it decided it needed the brr, so they added a really noisy, and if you spin it, it like, the sound would ricochet through the whole lobby area, it's very loud, but it's fun, and it's a great photo op if you're ever in Cambridge.

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Originally published Aug 14, 2019 10:00:00 AM, updated August 14 2019