Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

HubSpot Redefines CRM in an Integrated Sales & Marketing Platform

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

This is not an objective view of the new HubSpot CRM product, as I am a HubSpot customer and a HubSpot reseller and have not yet had the opportunity of using it. 

It is a first impression from watching the demo video. 
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Topics: hubspot, CRM

30 Lessons from the 30 day HubSpot Blogging Challenge

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Feb 04, 2014

Yesterday I published an article on the WittyParrot website about our experience and learnings from the 30 day HubSpot Blogging Challenge in January 2014. Below is an excerpt.

I joined WittyParrot as VP Marketing in July 2013 and recommended that WittyParrot use HubSpot for Inbound Marketing. 

There were no other candidates in our evaluation as I have been working with HubSpot for 5 years and have implemented it in 7 other technology companies.  

I did not need convincing of the underlying, technology, methodology or ROI on effort and investment… it works as advertised. 

We installed the software in July and began work on the new Website for the company launch in October.

We chose the HubSpot Enterprise system because we expect WittyParrot to scale rapidly and need the full functionality of the enterprise system from the start, even though we were starting from scratch.
When HubSpot announced the 30 day blogging challenge, we accepted the challenge as we were beginning to see the fruits of our early blogging effort with the direct correlation between a great blog and leads that followed.
Read the article in full ... http://www.wittyparrot.com/blog/30-lessons-from-the-hubspot-30-day-blogging-challenge
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Topics: hubspot, content creation, blogging challenge

HubSpot 5 Year Review - The Best Keeps Getting Better.

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Jan 28, 2014

December 2013 marked the end of our 5th year as HubSpot customers and 4th year as HubSpot partners.  

You can read prior reviews here:
HubSpot Review Year 1
HubSpot Review Year 2
HubSpot Review Year 3 
HubSpot Review Year 4

I realize now that we were very early adopters of an important new paradigm in marketing and one from which there is no turning back, once the journey is begun.
 
2013 marked the year that inbound marketing “crossed-the-chasm” from the realm of the early adopter into the early majority in the cycle of adoption of discontinuous technology.
 
HubSpot, in 2008 had a few hundred customers and the product compared to today was crude and limited in function.

It was basic and unsophisticated, but perfectly functional for content creation and inbound marketing as it was then.  

Today HubSpot is a company of more than 400 employees, 10,000+ customers and more than 1000 partners. The product is unrecognizable from its early beginnings and leads the industry in functionality and usability.
 
In short, the product is a complete integrated tool-set for inbound marketing, which if used in conjunction with the HubSpot methodology will produce predictable and measurable results, a high ROI and a content legacy that will produce traffic and leads for years to come. 

There are no short-cuts to inbound marketing success. The product and the methodology works as advertised. The results are tangible, progress is visible – or otherwise.  

The chart shows our traffic and leads and sources for the past 5 years.

In May 2013, I began a marketing consulting with a sales and marketing messaging alignment project WittyParrot, an exciting new Bay Area technology company. You can download my new eBook Sales and Marketing Alignment, Content Capture and Reuse which is a result of that engagement on their new website; one of the first on the new Enterprise Hubspot COS, which went live in late October.

Most of my effort is now going into WittyParrot in the role of VP Marketing, which explains the drop in traffic on Admarco.

The first 100 days with WittyParrot have been astonishing and I will write about that in a different article.


Crossing the Chasm into an Avalanche of Content

5 years ago it was relatively easy to rank for long tail keywords, with search volumes less than 200 per month.
 
You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to create optimized on-page SEO with HubSpot, it was common sense (and still is) with a well though-out set of keywords. We never spent a day building back-links, we bought into the quality content creation strategy and decided to let this drive our success.

If you wrote a solid article every week, followed the HubSpot methodology, it got read, tweeted and shared on LinkedIn and it was not unusual for a small business like ours to get 200-300 visits for an article and to rank for important keywords in a few weeks or months.
 
Publishing a new eBook or white paper could produce hundreds of downloads in a day.  

Five years later it is much harder to create content that ranks in Google.

It’s much harder to get people to read your stuff and download your Top of Funnel offers.

People are buried under an avalanche of content and most of its mediocre.

Quality is King

Content is no longer king, it’s suffocating me and I want to turn the volume off, or at least way down. 

Dr Mani’s brilliant article, published on the WittyParrot website, “whittle down and tune-in” highlights the problem and a solution.

Counter-intuitively, Dr. Mani suggests that smaller is better than big when it comes to social networks. 

That is you have to reduce the size of your social network to improve the quality of your interactions.  

I’m much more selective who I follow and what I read because there is so much of it coming past every day. 

I have no time for spammy email, I only read a few LinkedIn group postings and I’m very selective about the email open.
 
On content that I create, I strive to write original and thought provoking content and after 500 blog posts I’m getting better at writing.  

Quality is everything.
But this is old news.

Inbound Sales = Content + Context

HubSpot is leading the inbound sales movement in the same way they led the inbound marketing movement.
 
Buyers are most likely to be receptive to a conversation with a vendor/supplier when they are on your Website, when they are viewing a video or reading your content.   

Would you prefer, an in-context conversation with an informed salesperson who is offering help when you are actively engaged in exploring options? 

Or would you rather take a call from a sales closer who is trying to make their number this month, a week after you downloaded a white paper?  

Or perhaps an endless stream of canned email that someone has spent a lot of time in a marketing automation and designed for your “persona” hoping it will strike a chord? 
Download the guide to building highly responsive sales teams to find out more.

Real-time Signals
Responsive engagement in real-time in the buyer’s context seems intuitively to be a better strategy for engaging and facilitating buyers vs. programmatic canned responses.  

Signals is a new product incubated within HubSpot that facilitates real-time engagement, which is integrated with HubSpot, but is available as a stand-alone product.  

I tried Signals when it was released – and I could immediately see in real-time when someone opened my email or clicked on a link and watched a video or downloaded something.  

I was hooked on the product after a one-month free trial and gladly pay the $10 per month for the premium version.  

New Content Optimization System.

Hooray for the new CMS. The old one was a dog. I have not fully mastered the new COS yet, but its powerful, fast and positions HubSpot as a leader in terms of function and modularity and adaptive output… and did anyone mention it’s the fastest CMS out there?  

The Future

No doubt the content avalanche will continue and get bigger, but not better.  
HubSpot will continue to deliver tools that anticipate solutions to the problems and give us finer control over who and what we tune into.
 
I’m hoping to see the excellent HubSpot contacts system evolve more CRM functionality so that I can switch off Salesforce.com system as it adds marginal value to HubSpot.  

The future belongs to the innovators who combine Responsiveness with Context and where their sales and marketing organizations deliver insight.  

HubSpot is setting a brisk pace for innovation and leading the transformation of the marketing industry.

The future is very bright for HubSpot and I’m glad to be a part of it.
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Topics: inbound marketing, hubspot, inbound sales

What not to do on LinkedIn Groups - advice for sales and marketing

Posted by Mark Gibson on Sun, Nov 10, 2013

This article is a warning and some sage advice from someone who has been burned by making some of the mistakes listed below.   

The industry is rife with consultants offering best practices on Linkedin and selling services around helping you get started and leveraging the power of the network. This is not one of those articles and I have nothing to sell.
I offer this free advice so that you can learn from my from experience.

This article will be of interest to anyone using Linkedin Groups and in particular the HubSpot Social Media Publishing capability.

HubSpot allows you to set up and automate social media publishing and monitor buzz for any number of keywords in an integrated fashion… it's great, it's powerful and it's convenient.  

LinkedIN groups are very useful as well, - if you can find the ones that are well controlled and where people you wish to influence are participating in the dialogue.  

The fact that HubSpot-Linked combination is so powerful and convenient comes with some warnings and a few things to consider when you start up.
  
Here are few simple rules to follow:
  1. When you set up social media in HubSpot and enter your Linkedin credentials, HubSpot will auto-populate all of your groups. Do not check all of your "Publish to the following groups as..." or "select all" buttons when you post an article in HubSpot. 
This is how to get blocked on LinkedIn with just one post.
     
  2. It’s OK to be a member of 40 groups, but as a rule your blog posts will be relevant to only a handful of groups. Therefore vary what you post according to the audience with highest interest/relevance.
  3. Quality, not quantity is the rule. 3-5 groups that you focus-on for a few minutes each per day, trumps 40 that you drive-by once a week. Think about it, what buyer is going to spend time on more that two or three groups? Your job is to figure out which ones they are.
  4. Don't post to Alumni groups unless it's relevant to the group;  e.g. you worked at say MicroStrategy and you post a story about your experience or a learning from working there.
  5. Whenever you post something to a group, you must add a comment, challenge or reason why you are posting it, so that it relates to the WiiFM antenna of group members.
  6. Many Linkedin groups are very spammy, much noisier than just a couple of years ago…. so being a member of a 40,000 member OPEN group may not give you as much clout as a 500 member group with the right audience, which is CLOSED and well controlled by moderators.
  7. The best way to engage on LinkedIn when getting started is to read and comment on others posts and ask questions…. Get the feel for the group before you post anything.
  8. Many LinkedIn groups are forum only groups and don't allow blogs or links. If you have something to ask they can be very useful and if your insights are helpful, people will check your profile and may visit your Website. If you post blogs in some of these groups, you will get a warning and if you reoffend will be ejected.
  9. First base on LinkedIn is to build reputation as someone with something of value to say with the audience and group administrators, -not to autopost everything you publish to your groups, unless it’s your own group. 
  10. It's perfectly OK to post other people's stuff in groups provided it's relevant and if it gives you an opportunity to add a comment that shows insight and will be of value to the group.
  11. Be aware that Linked is involved in a class action lawsuit of their own for their practice of emailing every contact you have ever sent or received mail from, when they offer to “invite your friends to connect” and you accept.
  12. Beware of trolls – certain groups have trolls that enjoy baiting, denigrating, criticizing and generally making a**holes of themselves. Do not engage and when it happens to you, flag it up to group owners.
  13. Do not download your first level contacts on LinkedIn and Spam them, unless you want them to hate you and disconnect. 
  14. Also please read this LinkedIn thread with informed comment on Spamming your first level contacts inside LinkedIn
  15. Finally, download this How to Use Social Media to Find New Leads Guide from HubSpot
I have been in LinkedIn Jail for over a year as I made the mistake of auto publishing into many groups when this feature was first release on HubSpot.

Very few groups allow me to publish my stuff (even if its fantastic) without it going into a moderation queue - from which it never leaves… unless I contact the group owner and ask them to publish it, which is a pain.
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Topics: inbound marketing, hubspot, linkedIn

Perspectives on HubSpot Inbound13 User Group and Partner Conference

Posted by Mark Gibson on Sun, Sep 01, 2013

Hubspot’s Inbound13 in Boston from 19-22 Oct. was the 4 th and best HubSpot User group and partner event I have attended and a milestone event for HubSpot.  

With 5300+ confirmed attendees, more than 1300 partners and outstanding keynotes, HubSpot made a very strong impression that they have arrived as a corporation to be reckoned with.

Beyond Inbound Marketing

Co-founder, Dharmesh Shah indicated a broader future for HubSpot beyond the traditional Inbound Marketing theme. The customer HubSpot seeks to serve wants inbound everything, not just Inbound Marketing and they want to be delighted with the experience of interacting with your company. While this wasn't a product announcement, Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales and Inbound Customer Support make up the new  end-to-end, human-focused experience.... watch this space.

The HubSpot Methodology


HubSpot’s progress in the past 12 months

Co-founder Brian Halligan reviewed the achievments for the prior year.
  • R&D investment up 58% YOY,
  • 300 major product enhancements including custom lead-scoring, email A/B testing, iPhone and Android Apps, Social Publisher, Custom Reporting App. Product quality better, UI better
  • Doubled investment in support. Av. support wait time 1 minute.
  • 600 HubSpot employees
  • 2 acquisitions in Chime and PrepWork  for IP and people for bottom of funnel developments
  • 10,000 customers in just 6 years – and Brian still calls HubSpot a start-up.

Major product announcements:

  • New Content Optimization System (code for CMS), this is the first of a new wave of CMS’ that will offer contextual personalization based on buying cycle maturity and responsive design to optimally render on any device.
  • Social Inbox, a very powerful way to pull the needles out of the social media hay and to give context to the communication.
  • Signals, a product incubated inside HubSpot that runs independent of HubSpot, to provide near real-time alerting. Signals is a freemium product that enables users to be notified when the email is opened, when a link is clicked, or when a lead or customer visits your Website. You can download Signals and start using it in a minute or two and prove its value.

Social Inbox

Context is a core theme for Hubspot's offering; today’s social media apps are all hay and no needles. Very early adopters of social media tools, reimagined how they work to match the modern buying experience.
  • Easy to use, Brian demoed it. Listening for HubSpot on Twitter, lines next to pictures indicate context, prospect, lead, customer
  • Create a stream – Who do you want to listen to? – Reuse lists in Contacts app.
  • What do you want to listen for? “Inbound marketing” or “HubSpot”
  • How would you like to be notified? Email, email digest, login to app?
  • Awesome new social media stream, - orange stripes are leads… drill in and get additional context, who is rep, what contact record looks like. Get context, forward tweet to rep (who has context) to respond.
  • Runs on iPhone.. Droid in a few months.
  • Social Inbox created on top of Contacts - contacts is core to all HubSpot new apps.
  • Set up list of leads per rep, keywords mentioned, get alert!

The Content Optimization System

Wildly competitive content management industry… no context. Then and Now.
Visitors keep getting the same experience regardless of #visits or status. Applies to 99.99% of Websites.
  • Websites can't tell difference from complete stranger or customer or where you came from iPhone or computer (13% of HubSpot visitors from Mobile)
  • Re-imagined for modern buying experience, optimized for where they are in buying cycle and what device they come from.
  • CMS turns your brochure into a Website, COS turns your Website into your best sales rep
  • Helps marketers accomplish the mission of thinking about the visitor as a human.
  • Conversion rates much better for COS vs. static CMS - others in the market will follow HubSpot's lead.
  • Demoed personalized landing page with context to give 3 different experiences for first time visitor, lead, customer.
  • Demonstrated responsive design and difference between mobile and desktop versions of blog
  • Complaints from designers in past with difficulty of designing on old CMS – (agreed)
  • New COS, designers will love it,
  • Context creates the inbound experience.

  Signals

  • Big gap in sales technology available and what’s needed.
  • Most technology built in 1990’s – how to enable reps to have context when context wasn’t even an afterthought in designing those tools .
  • Dramatic power shift in sales - salespeople are now facilitators in the buyers journey, little control.
  • Sales process – a problem for sales - lack context and ability to keep up - in sync.
  • Signals was developed as Startup inside a HubSpot. HubSpot bought 2 companies this year to infuse context into sales.
  • Signals lives inside other apps. HubSpots’ existing technology for lead revisits can take 20-30 minutes to deliver lead revisit notification into a browser. Signals does it in a minute. (Works in Outlook on Windows, not on Mac, works in SFDC and Gmail) Rep gets notified when the email is opened, notified when link is clicked, notified when a lead or customer visits the Website. When a salesperson picks up phone to call a prospect, know so much, more context, then ever.
  • Don’t need anything to make it work, go to getsignals.com. Call to Action: Get sales and service set up on Signals. Basic version for email $0, SFDC and HubSpot $10/mo. 

HubSpot Partner Program Highlights

Exciting changes for Hubspot partners building on the success of the existing partner program that leads to 18% higher customer retention.
  • HubSpot partner strategists will work with Partners to help move prospects through the buying process.
  • Content to help generate leads has been expanded and enhanced for easier partner co-branding to drive more inbound lead conversions.
  • Co-marketing with HubSpot and editorial support for partner featured articles on HubSpot main blog and social media to increase reach. 
  • Shared landing pages on HubSpot main Website for registered leads to leverage HubSpot content and landing pages for nurturing for middle and bottom of funnel prospects. 
  • Automatic lead registration connectors for HubSpot leads and synchronization with HubSpot to enable tighter collaboration for partners who install the software.

Get SIGNALS - try it free!
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Topics: hubspot, inbound 13, brian halligan, dharmesh shah

The State of the Union between Sales and Marketing

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Feb 13, 2013

The news is that the state of the union between sales and marketing is not all bad. Like President Obama's State of the Union message, we're doing well in some areas, but have a long way to go in others.


The state of the union between sales and marketing is imperfect, but growing stronger and the hard work and dedication of the pioneers is beginning to deliver quantifiable results. It is our unfinished task to ensure that both sales and marketing teams are served by the sales and marketing alignment process, not just a vocal few in sales.

The changes in buyer behavior are permanent and both sales and marketing must unite and adopt a new vocabulary, new methods and embrace new technologies to more effectively serve buyers, achieve revenue goals and to lower the cost of acquiring and servicing customers.

We need to recognize that for sales and marketing to best serve today's Internet savvy, socially connected buyer, we need to evolve one contiguous and tightly coupled revenue generation process. The outbound "hunter" B2B sales role as we knew it, is giving way to scientific methods of lead generation, lead nurturing and scoring, marketing automation, free trials and light-touch engagement across the IMPACT buying process.

Inbound Leads vs. Traditional Outbound Leads

Mark Roberge, VP Sales at HubSpot is a 10 on a scale of 1-10 of the smartest sales leaders I know. When he talks about sales and marketing alignment, I listen.


HubSpot has created what is probably the most effective sales and marketing union in the industry and one of the fastest growth rates of a SaaS company in the history of the software business.

Mark published an article this yesterday on the HubSpot blog entitled, "Help, my sales team thinks our inbound leads suck" which captures with great clarity, a number of issues I was planning to write about in my sales and marketing alignment blog today. I will discuss them from our viewpoint as facilitators of change and enablers of the sales and marketing alignment process. 

Buying a list of names vs Inbound Lead-gen.

Generate lots of leads, but only pass the good ones to sales.

Inbound marketing has turned the fit/pain funnel on its head.
In an outbound model, companies start with a list of executives at a “perfect fit” company and bombard them with hundreds of calls and emails until 1% or 2% call back and admit they have pain.

In an inbound model, all your leads have the pain your company solves. Otherwise, they would have never conducted that Google search, downloaded that whitepaper, or read that blog article that led them to you. The problem is that your company doesn't sell to the entire world. Some percentage of these leads are just not a fit for your business. However, the inbound leads who  are a fit are exceptional -- and they close much faster and at a higher rate than your outbound opportunities.

The problem here is that marketers get so excited to be generating hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of  inbound leads each month, that they end up passing  all these leads to sales. If Marketing passes the sales team 1,000 leads, only 100 of which are good, and Sales has to sift through 900 bad leads, they're going to hate it, and they're going to say things like,  “These leads suck.” 

However, if Marketing can filter out the 900 less-fit companies and pass along just the 100 good ones, their sales team will think they have the best marketing department in the world. As a result, Marketing and Sales must align to develop and  implement a lead scoring system that makes sense and results in only good fit leads getting passed from Marketing to Sales.

Comment: We generate well in excess of 500 leads per year for our consulting business over more than two dozen landing pages, but only about 5-10% are a fit for our business. Prior to new capabilities delivered in the HubSpot3 Contacts System, we struggled with the above problem. However we have now implemented a lead scoring algorithm to help us figure out our best-fit prospects and to engage and market to existing contacts more effectively.

Don't Call High 

When I started Advanced Marketing Concepts nearly 9 years ago, we used to teach salespeople a combination of techniques, including a cold calling workshop, how to get access to the decision level or VP. Today, those executives are virtually impenetrable to outbound cold calls. Mark's advice is spot-on.

Mark Roberge writes, "... not every inbound lead is going to be a C-level executive. In fact, very few of them will be. You’re much more likely to get a mid-level manager, associate, or even an intern on the other end of the phone. So what does your typical salesperson think?  “This isn’t a qualified buyer. This is an intern. These leads suck."
However, who do you think told the intern to do the Google search that led to your company? The C-suite. The inbound lead indicates that pain exists at that company -- the pain you solve. So call the mid-level manager. Call the associate. Call the intern. But don't try to sell them.

You're right -- they're not buyers. Instead, use that call to prepare yourself for the call with the executive. Ask them, "Why did you download that ebook? Why did you read that blog article? Who told you to conduct this research? Why? What are your boss’ key initiatives for 2013? What did your CEO talk about at the annual kick-off?" If you're doing inbound marketing well, you'll be surprised how much these leads trust you and how honest their answers will be.
Now you're in a position to call high. You don’t have to leave the typical voicemail ...
“Hi John, we help companies like you get more leads and customers from your website. Give me a call back so I can tell you more about ways we do this.” 

Instead, you can leave one that says ...
“Hi John, a number of people from your company have contacted me about effective lead generation strategies. I understand you're hiring 10 new sales reps next quarter and need to increase lead generation by 35%. I've been working on a strategy with your team that I would like to run by you.” 

The Elevator Pitch is Obsolete 

Lead with your buyer's interest 

By the time they get passed on to your sales team, a typical inbound lead might have visited your website 15 times, read 11 blog articles, opened 3 emails from you, and downloaded 5 ebooks. They’re already several stages into the buying cycle before they’ve even spoken to someone from your company. So what do you think happens if a sales rep calls them up and leads with a stone-cold elevator pitch?

It comes across as completely tone-deaf to the prospect, right? It might even erode most of the trust your marketing team has worked so hard to build up. The lead hangs up on your salesperson, and again, your salesperson thinks,  “These leads suck.”

Instead, salespeople need to leverage all the data you've collected about your inbound leads in your contacts database. How they found your website, what pages they viewed most, what emails they opened and read, how often they shared your content on Twitter and FaceBook: All of this tells you loads of information about what the prospect’s problems are and how you can help. Your salespeople should be using  that information to open the conversation on the phone ...
Sales Rep:  “Hi, Mary, this is Mark from HubSpot [pause because at this point Mary may start telling you how much they love your content and your company]. I noticed you downloaded our ebook on lead generation. What specific questions did you have?”
Mary:  “Oh, I was just doing research. I didn’t know I’d actually get a call from a salesperson."
Sales Rep:  “That’s okay. I’m actually looking at your company's LinkedIn page right now and had two quick tips for you. Do you have a minute to go over them?”
Mary wants to hear those tips. Mary will ask more questions. Mary will be impressed with how helpful and smart you are. Mary will wonder what she can buy from you. Congratulations! You no longer have a salesperson-prospect relationship, you have a doctor-patient relationship. Now you can diagnose whether you can help their company -- and how.

Comment: The elevator pitch, along with features and benefits, are dead! Try using a positioning statement and invite the buyer to either agree with you, or tell you what their biggest problems are.

Don’t beg for appointments 

Do qualify out non-buyers. 

If you’ve never cold-called before, you’re not missing out on much. Imagine a day where you dial the phone 100 times, leave 95 voicemail messages, and not one person calls you back. Of the five people who did pick up the phone, three hung up within the first five seconds. And when you do get somebody on the phone who’s willing to talk, it’s clear that he’s not really qualified to buy from you. But because you’re having such a lousy day of cold calling and feeling unloved -- and because you don’t have enough leads to begin with, and beggars can’t be choosers -- you book an appointment with them anyway. It happens more often than most salespeople are willing to admit.

But with a steady stream of inbound leads flowing in, your salespeople can approach these initial conversations from a position of strength. Every minute you spend on the phone with an unqualified buyer is time you could be spending with a warm lead. Do build trust. Do understand the prospect’s needs. Do attempt to provoke pain if it doesn’t exist. But most importantly, do move on if they're not a good fit. Thank your prospect for their time. Introduce them to someone else who can help if you know somebody. Encourage them to continue to enjoy your content. And quick ... call that next inbound lead.

If you have had a productive conversation with a prospective lead, send a qualification confirmation note to confirm agreement in the points discussed in the recent conversation and the next steps you agreed to in the meeting.

Don’t “Always Be Closing.”

“Always Be Helping.”

Most salespeople, following the directive of the infamous movie  Glengarry Glen Ross, adopt the rallying cry, “Always Be Closing.” But this is a disastrous approach to take with an inbound lead. The internet has shifted control from the salesperson to the buyer. People can research your company, research your competitors, understand your price, and sometimes even try your product -- all without speaking to a salesperson. And by the time an inbound lead reaches your sales team, that’s exactly what that person has done.

Sales should not start out by looking to close. They shouldn’t even be thinking about pitching your product. Instead, they should look to  help the buyer. Strive to uncover the thing your buyer is worried about -- the thing she's stuck on -- and if you find it, help her with it. Don’t try to tie it to your product. Just help them. Buyers don’t need to talk to Sales anymore. Make them  want to talk to you because they trust you and you've been helpful in the past in solving their problems. If done correctly, your product and how it can help them will naturally come up at the right time.

Just as the internet has changed life for the modern buyer (and the modern marketer), life has also changed for the modern salesperson. In all cases, it’s for the better. If your salespeople still complain that your inbound leads suck, try running an experiment. Choose a sales rep with an open mind, and tell them they need to make their goal this month from inbound leads alone, using the guidelines above.

Then tell the rest of the team to watch as their colleague starts closing business faster and at a higher rate. Nothing succeeds like success. The rest of your team will soon follow suit.

Connect Buyers to your Big Idea in a Matter of Moments 

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Topics: inbound marketing, hubspot, sales & marketing alignment, content creation, lead scoring

How to Succeed at Inbound Marketing and then Totally Fail

Posted by Mark Gibson on Mon, Oct 29, 2012

Inbound Marketing is the future of marketing and the marketing and PR industry is rapidly transitioning from the old World of outbound interrupt marketing to inbound or permission marketing as it is also known.

Inbound marketing works and has been proved in thousands of instances to lower the cost of marketing and to create a content legacy that keeps on generating mind-share, traffic and leads for both very small and very large companies.

We can now assign rules for the execution of a new inbound marketing project to ensure the likelihood of a positive outcome and rapid return on the investment.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the effort required to be successful with Inbound Marketing, not to lay out the rules for inbound marketing success, that is another article.

I have excerpted a passage (in italics) from a recent article, Inbound Marketing Benefits by the Numbers, by John McTigue at Kuno Creative to identify the effort and costs of inbound marketing success.
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Topics: inbound marketing, hubspot, inbound leads

Hubspot Review - Year 3 a 250% increase in leads, ROI of > 60:1

Posted by Mark Gibson on Thu, Jan 12, 2012

This HubSpot Review marks our third anniversary as a user of the HubSpot system for Inbound Marketing.

We had a record year last year, which we attribute to increasing inbound traffic more than 50% and doubling our average visit lead conversion rate. Our ROI on HubSpot license fees last year in terms of revenue directly attributable to our inbound marketing activity is more than 60:1
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Topics: inbound marketing, hubspot, hubspot review

Hubspot triples R&D, gets a B+ for 2011, sets bold course, #HUGS2011

Posted by Mark Gibson on Sun, Sep 18, 2011

#HUGS2011 Report

I was in Boston last week for #HUGS 2011, the 2nd HubSpot User Conference and this is my report.

Last week in Boston there was even more for marketers and HubSpot customers to get excited about than at this event a year ago.  HubSpot’s community has grown in the past year to more than 470+ partners and 5000+ customers and more than a thousand of the faithful gathered for the second Annual User Group Meeting. You can read my report on last year's event HubSpot 2010 user group meeting here.

HubSpot was founded just 5 years ago by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah (pic on stage taking Q&A at HUGS 2011), with a grand vision to make marketing easy for everyone. It is clear with the recent funding from mainstream V.C. firm Sequoia, as well as Salesforce.com and Google that the bets the founders made in Inbound Marketing are beginning to look extremely valuable.

Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing method and product suite are very much what the market needs and wants as evidenced by the rapid adoption of the Inbound Marketing methodology and dramatic growth of the company.

Co-founders Brian Halligan and  Dharmesh Shah reviewed progress made in the past year and outlined the strategic direction for the company. (Disclaimer; - we are a San Francisco Bay Area Hubspot Value Added Reseller, focused on creating clarity in marketing messaging  to drive inbound marketing and sales performance and have been using the system for nearly 3 years.)

HubSpot 2011 Report Card

HubSpot is a tool that almost everyone in the user community uses every day; the founders use the product in same way as customers and experience the same frustrations with the product imperfections.
Co-founders Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan reviewed their progress over the past 12 months against the goals they set in 2010, based on qualitative and quantitative evidence and rated their performance as follows.

HubSpot Self Assessment Report Card

Fewer Bugs; bugs/customer/month reduced from .12 to .06

   A- 

Page Loads reduced from  4-6 seconds to < 2 seconds

 A-

Call wait for tech support from 220 secs to 43 secs

A

Application Maturity

 C+

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

B

Throughput on Idea implementation

A

12 Month Product Plans

If you’re a HubSpot user you will be delighted with what is coming. Hubspot is tripling its investment in R&D and has grown the R&D team from 15 last year to 70 this year and will grow to 130 people in the coming year. This means; -
  • Tighter integration between applications in the existing product
  • Improved usability and functionality of applications
  • Rewrite of the Content Management System
  • Better social media integration
  • Snappier performance
  • Integration of the Performable functionality in the platform to enrich Middle of the Funnel. The vision here is very exciting and with the implementation of Performable, Hubspot intends to Leap-frog the competition in functionality in the marketing automation space

Big Ideas

A Market of 1

Brian Halligan framed the big idea that will drive the innovation and medium term direction of the company.  In the same way that Amazon, Netflix and Google learns more about its customers with every transaction and presents highly attuned offers to increase conversions, HubSpot’s goal is to create a platform that will allow mere mortals to be effective in marketing to a market of one, whether via the Website, email or social media interaction.

Outbound to Inbound:

HubSpot started with the goal of changing marketing from Outbound to Inbound and the team is delivering on this vision. Inbound Marketing is the future of marketing and the changes HubSpot has championed are already being felt in most parts of the industry.

Application to Platform

The product is a currently an integrated set of 19 core applications that work together to improve productivity in performing the tasks required to execute the Inbound Marketing Methodology.

Over the past 12 months, the API has been opened up to partners with the goal of platformization.
3 rdParty applications integrated today and available in the HubSpot Marketplace include:-
  • CRM
  • Email
  • Blogging and content creation
  • Content Management System
  • PR News feeds
  • Webinar lead capture
  • HubSpot productivity applications including social, search, benchmarking, keyword and search analysis.

Software System to Ecosystem

HubSpot was quick to recognize that success is dependent on an effective and vibrant partner channel. The HubSpot Services Marketplace will enable the VAR community and service providers to market and deliver their services via HubSpot and for their performance in partner projects and implementation to be delivered, analyzed and, rated within HubSpot.

Take-Aways

  1. Like great software companies before it, HubSpot has a vision that is changing an industry and is attracting lots of really smart people to make the journey with them. Don’t bet against HubSpot or Inbound Marketing.
  2. If you are thinking about HubSpot, or on the fence waiting for a bolt of inspiration from the blue, what else do you need to convince you to make the leap?
  3. Don’t have the time or the manpower to do Inbound Marketing yourself? – don’t worry you can hire in certified talent and make it happen from the HubSpot Services Marketplace.
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Topics: inbound marketing, hubspot, hubspot user group

Mark Gibson finally posts his long overdue news update

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, May 31, 2011

A few things that might be of interest.

It's the official start to Barbecue season here in California with the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Much has happened over the past 8 months since arriving in the US; including buying and renovating a house and settling in Pebble Beach and working as an affiliate with WhiteboardSelling.

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Topics: hubspot, whiteboarding

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