Last week at Inbound, HubSpot announced a new product, Signals. In simple terms, Signals is a Chrome extension that tracks and notifies you when someone has activity on emails, LinkedIn, Salesforce and HubSpot. You get an on-screen notification, as well as a summary list of activity that you can review. In short, Signals is an app that lets you know when and how to engage your leads--timing, intelligence, and relevance.
Sales people now have actionable intelligence from the prospect. Knowing that they have seen your email or they clicked through a link or they are reading your website is gold. It also tells you one other fact...the prospect may be sitting at their desk, or at least not occupied with other activites. It's time to call them. If no response by phone, maybe email them again with a secondary email that you would logically have sent (ie: don't just respond saying "I know you are sitting there doing emails".
If you get them and have some intel such as a new LinkedIn update, or the knowledge that they read certain pages on your website, you can now open the discussion in a relevant way that the prospect will respect and resonate with. "Hi Brian, it's Mike from Green Leads. I was hoping to speak with you about Appointment Setting." (knowing he just read three pages on my site relating to b2b appointment setting).
Brilliant work HubSpot! Enhancing the Inbound experience for sales people.
Screenshot from HubSpot site:
Notification summary (as of the date of this post):
- A contact opens your email
- A contact clicks a link you’ve enabled tracking for
LinkedIn (after you mark a contact as a VIP)
- When a VIP changes their position
- When a VIP posts an update
- When a VIP adds a new connection
- When a contact becomes a new lead
- When a contact opens an email sent through Salesforce
- When a contact visits a page on your website
Note: The email open notification only works if the prospect has "display images" enabled. If they do not show images in their emails, email open notification will not work. Solve this issue, and the Gold Medal gets a Gold Ribbon with it.
Just prior to Seth Godin stepping on stage, for what was an entertaining and thought provoking keynote, HubSpot CMO, Mike Volpe, announced that "We saved the world from 2 Billion cold calls!" And they did. I personally may have benefitted by 1 or 2 a day.
Inbound marketing techniques continue to evolve, and HubSpot is the pioneer for Inbound. The tribe they've created in the past few years is amazing. Almost 6,000 attendees to this year's Inbound conference were gathered for lots of marketing goodness, not just the orange kool aid.
In the world of sales, selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect. Getting that conversation going has been revolutionized with Inbound Marketing. The prospect is typically educated more than an outbound generated lead, they are thinking about the topic that your product or service addresses, and the time is fresh to start the conversation. In short, they may be further along in the funnel (waterfall if you're a SiriusDecisions follower).
The top outbound marketers have embraced inbound marketing, not shied away from it. Compared to a purchased list or even a list of prospects warmed up with other marketing assets, an inbound list is the cream of the crop. However, unless your inbound lead comes in the form of a calendar invite, date, time and phone number booking one of your sales reps for a appointment, there is still work to do. The outbound function assigned to these leads is typically referred to as Inbound Response.
Things to remember:
- Scrub the data. Have a data team do list hygiene to correct and/or append needed data fields. Or use tools such as DemandBase to dynamically append data.
- Know your history. Use tools such as HubSpot, your CRM, or other tracking systems to know how your company has interracted with the prospect in the past.
- Intel. Research the prospect on LinkedIn, Google, Social Sites. The more you know, the warmer that lead.
- Score your inbound leads. Don't assume they are all orders ready to be had. Don't waste your time on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pounce! Once you have your ducks in a row, call them. If they don't answer, email them. The effective value of leads deteriorates every hour after they submit a form.
I just tested the above with a lead that came in through our HubSpot system within the hour. It took me 2 minutes to correct their missing title, see that her colleague talked to us at the SiriusDecisions conference in May, add her LinkedIn url to her profile, note that we're connected by 8 people, and she visited 5 blog articles today. Reviewed and scored -- 2 minutes.
Create great content. Socially surround your market. Optimize all conversion techniques. Gather these inbound leads, then follow the process above, and your ROI will go through the roof.
Let's get back to the 2 Billion cold calls saved. Inbound marketing certainly does reduce the number of cold calls an outbound marketer has to make to get the conversation started. It streamlines the process. The blended approach of Inbound and Outbound will increase the top line faster than any other methods available.
Is that lead an Innie or an Outie?
(took restraint not to post a pic of a belly button)
On March 6, 2012, Green Leads is teaming up with HubSpot to host a fund raising event powered by New England's inside sales talent pool. Volunteers from the inside sales community are invited to raise money for NEADS. National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS), also known as Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans. Volunteer for Inside Sales for Charity now.
NEADS is a non-profit organization that was established in 1976 to provide canine assistance for people who are deaf or have a disability. Since their founding, NEADS has trained over 1,300 assistance dog teams. NEADS does not receive any government funding for the spectacular work they do. They rely on the support of individuals, foundations, corporations and service organizations to keep their incredible work going.
Inside sales is an industry in New England, and we are hoping to tap that industry and harness talent to raise funds for NEADS, harnessing our skills and community raise donations for this wonderful cause.
This charity event will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at our co-sponsor HubSpot’s offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are located at 25 First Street and are easily accessible by public transportation or by car. There is plenty of available parking nearby. The event will begin at 3:30 pm and run until 6:00 pm and will be followed by a casual reception with dinner and prizes. Volunteer for Inside Sales for Charity now.
Turkey and B2B Lead Generation? What is the gravy that makes your demand gen programs sing?
Even companies such as Green Leads do our own lead gen. Here's a quick list of what I'm thankful for this year as it pertains to b2b lead generation in hopes that you might find an idea or two that you could implement:
- Alumni - Our largest source of leads. After 5 years of 2x plus growth year after year, the tribe is huge. Nurture your alumni, don't just let them move on. Deliver quality service and stay in touch with your clients. They will come back if you did a good job. LinkedIn is your tool.
- Expand - In one day we acquired a company that overlapped 90% with Green Leads' offerings, delivered the market a one stop shop for Americas/EMEA b2b marketing, and doubled our size again. We were able to expand many of their European clients to the US and many of our US clients to Europe. Look at your existing client base and ask "how can we expand?"
- Inbound - Yet again, our inbound leads consistently came in and our SEO was kept fresh by using HubSpot. Our blog subscriber list doubled, and our rankings improved. The two key elements we find to a successful inbound program is content and social activity. Keep the visitors interacting and coming back and SEO will follow.
- SiriusDecisions Summit - By far the best place to be if you are into b2b sales and marketing. We sponsored both Scottsdale and London and in both cases walked away with tons of valuable information and new network contacts. Always be learning.
- Technology - No inside sales/outbound lead gen team should be without VoIP, Click to Dial, and some sort of power dialing system (we use 8x8, Skype, Salesforce CTI adapter and ConnectAndSell). Selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect. Do what you can to have more conversations.
What are you thankful for? What filled your pipeline this year?
In a perfect world, all of our marketing efforts work exactly to plan, don't they?
Unfortunately, our world isn't perfect, and as great as our plans may seem at the beginning, sometimes they're going to fail. Sometimes, they're going to fail miserably. But, much like a rising star in the boxing circuit, the victory comes not from how many times you get knocked down, but rather, how many times you can get back up. So in that regard, what do you do when your outbound marketing efforts fall flat?
First of all, evaluate the current plan. A pretty simple step, but sometimes one that gets overlooked because of the severity of a failed marketing plan. In a race to fix the problem (especially if it's a big one) we can neglect the evaluation process:
- Did you target the wrong audience with the "right" message?
- Did you target the right audience, period?
- Did you take the time to put your buyer personas together?
- Did the list you marketed to contain data that, at the outset, should have been cleansed?
- Was the content or offer valuable to the prospects?"
- Were the calls to action clear? Were there calls to action at all?
- Was the implementation team spread too thin?
- Was it the right team for the job?
Measure and Review KPIs
There really isn't time to overlook details. Hopefully, you'd determined the metrics that you'd hope to hit and have measured and evaluated them. No stone is to be left unturned. When you think you've asked all the questions, it's time to go back and ask some more.
Regroup, Replan and Share, Share Alike
The plan may not be worthy of a total re-write, but make adjustments. Realize that you cannot do everything yourself. Mike Volpe, VP of Inbound Marketing at HubSpot, shares that, "...all of [HubSpot's] implementation and support consultants also sit among sales and marketing, so we have sales, marketing and post-sales all together, helping to build even more cross-functional communication." HubSpot shares ideas and accepts input from others so that they can build a better all-around offering.
Augment with Experts
Don't be afraid to look outside of your own organization. If you have a new product launch or new sales reps being added to your team, you may need assistance. Use these opportunities to work with good outsourced vendors. They aren't specialists at lead gen and appointment setting just because they stumbled upon it -- they have a playbook that works and they are experts at what they do. Take advantage of it.
Lastly, it's time to execute the modified plan. Having spent time evaluating what went wrong with your original campaign, regrouping and replanning, now you're ready to try again. Be confident in your new plan. If you're not, how can you expect anyone else to be!?
What do you do to ensure success in your marketing efforts?
Photo Credit: Chris Devers via Flickr
About 18 months ago, Green Leads embarked on an aggressive plan to increase our inbound marketing activity. We focused first on content and blogging and then decided to dig deeper into SEO best practices. Along the way we started drinking some Orange Kool-Aid in the form of Hubspot's inbound marketing educational materials. We weren't looking for a content management system at the time, but they had so many valuable pieces of content on their site that we soon became Hubspot junkies without even being a client. Eventually, we jumped in headfirst and signed up.
We were able to get the site migrated and up and running in less than a month. The first lead came in during the first six hours of going live. Here's the process we went through; I recommend you pay attention to the "homework" parts:
- Pre-Project Education -- We went through all sorts of webinars, videos and documents on Hubspot's site. Knowing the basics was key to the planning of the project: Understand SEO. Understand the value of Content. Understand the basics of online lead gen. Know how moving forward will impact your site and resources.
- Migration -- Hubspot's conversion team takes your existing site and migrates it to their platform. I recommend that you don't peek at the work in progress until it gets a good deal of the way there. You'll want to tweak things and until the team is complete, you'll probably throw wrenches in the works.
- Expert -- In parallel to the migration, your Hubspot Inbound Marketing Consultant will book some sessions to go over best practices. Be religious about doing the sessions and doing your homework between sessions. Hubspot is about education more than it is CMS. If you educate yourself and you implement their methodologies and best practices, you will be successful. (our expert, @kylejames, rocked!)
- Content -- At every trade show I've attended in the past year the mantra "content is king" was heard over and over again. If you want to be successful with SEO, you have to have people visiting and people linking to you. The only way to do that is through content. Make a commitment to yourself that this is a top priority and an ongoing effort. Don't start/stop. Budget time and resources to create content constantly.
- Conversion -- In the end, it's all about capturing the visitors and converting them to leads. Don't lose sight of that. When you are laying out your pages, spend as much time on calls to action as you do content. Make them click on those compelling offers. Then make your landing pages convert.
- Go Live -- I almost made the mistake of holding off my go-live date until I perfected every page. Huge mistake. After a few weeks of tweaking and working on content, Kyle said "Go live, man!" I just turned off the public view of the pages that weren't ready yet and made the switchover. Six hours later the first lead came in. Within a week, the fact that it was live forced us to fix the loose ends. It was up and running.
- Focus -- Once you're live, it's time to start working on your keywords, rankings, content, and ultimately ... leads. However, you can lose sight of the short-term successes by going too wide. Example: Green Leads' obvious keyword that we want to own is "appointment setting." But there are already tons of people ranking high on that one, so we put our initial focus on some other keywords that were easier to own. It worked. In just one month, we had five major keywords that are now on the top of Google's search results. We're still focusing on "appointment setting", but it's not the holy grail.
- Action -- Don't just watch the leads pile up. If the call to action was appropriate for a sales follow-up, then take it. If they did multiple visits or multiple page views (Hubspot tracks this), increase the lead score and contact them. Treat inbound leads as the ultimate prospect lists. Just because they raised their hands doesn't mean they want to buy. You still have to reach out to them and ask for the introductory appointment or the presentation. That lead produced by inbound marketing now turns into an outbound marketing pursuit. Dial the phone. Send the emails. Close the loop. Engage with that prospect, then get the sale.
et-Net. Don't just drink the orange Kool-Aid, savor it. Buy into the methodology, not just the license fee. Invest the time and effort to implement the program exactly the way Hubspot teaches you to. You will be handsomely rewarded.
A more detailed product review coming that will focus on some key features and benefits. Stay tuned.
Whenever I get a new lead from a prospective company, I always check its web site to see if it looks like a good fit. A good deal of the time I'm unimpressed with what I see. The home pages are cluttered, not structured for a quick read, and no actions are suggested.
Isn't a home page the ultimate landing page? Granted, you don't want the home page hiding all the navigation and consisting of a form, but take landing page best practices and use what makes sense. Make the goal of your own Home Page "Landing Page" to convert the single-page visit to a multiple-page visit.
We all put a great deal of effort into landing pages. Studies show how people read a web page and what triggers response. Last week at the MarketingSherpa summit in Boston, for example, we heard that "people read a landing page like the letter "F:" Top scan, down the main body, scan right, take action (if triggered).
Here are two great examples. The first is Salesforce, which I've always criticized because of the big, animated ad in the middle, but then I changed my mind. The ad gives you a quick message -- six messages in fact. Then it's surrounded by calls to action and the flow leads you to a next step.
But the animation is not SEO-friendly, you ask? No it isn't, but does Salesforce need its home page SEO optimized? Most likely they rank OK as it is.
The second is Hubspot, the inbound marketing gurus. The home page reads just like a landing page with call to actions and a next-step arrow to learn more (upper right).
Both are easy on the eyes. The design is clean and uncluttered, with a clear call to action on the righthand side.
Home Page as the Ultimate Landing Page considerations:
- keep it above the fold (little to no scrolling)
- keep it clean, uncluttered -- whitespace is good
- the headlines should make the statements, not the text
- the text should be simple and not get in the way of the next steps
- calls to action should be clear, mostly to the right
- the goal of the page is to convert a single-page visit to a multiple-page visit
Is your home page designed to convert? What about Green Leads new Home Page? Comments?
RoyHP: Collaborate with Data Analysts: 4 Strategies to Improve Relationships with IT http://ow.ly/qM0Q MarketingSherpa
mvolpe: "design your website first for search engines" use the free tool http://www.websitegrader.com/ to check how you are doing #sherpab2b09
NetSuite_Mei: Focus on providing valuable content on your website to drive traffic #sherpab2b09
mvolpe: I agree!! "you can make your website as pretty as you want, but if search engines don't list you, no one finds it" #sherpab2b09
ajdun: Jaren Green: "Not everyone searches like you do" Amen. There is no such thing as the average web surfer #sherpab2b09
MarketingSherpa: Audience poll #sherpab2b09: Majority of marketers using lead scoring can't quantify the value they're getting from it.
kimalbee: Look at the big pic 4 success - metrics: # visits > #leads - initial > #leads - more info > #sales-ready leads > Sales closed #sherpab2b09
viewstream: #sherpab2b09 Julie Wisdom, Babcock: content is KING, but expensive. SO leverage content, and find inexpensive ways to produce.
jill_rowley: Remember - even if you're doing B2B marketing, you are marketing to humans - per Julie from Babcock & Jenkins #sherpab2b09
BabcockJenkins: RT @viewstream: #sherpab2b09 @juliewisdom Top 4 Content Mediums For B2B: 1: video, 2: white papers, 3: ondemand webcasts, 4: case studies
MarketingSherpa: 97% of SMBs say email newsletters ‘important' or ‘very important...only 27% say same about Twitter. #sherpab2b09
kimalbee: SMB Newsletter Response: Look beyond the opening click to conversions when examining response and best day to deliver #sherpab2b09
viewstream: @KenricVanWyk landing page driven site fueled only by organic search. #sherpab2b09
LaBergeLLC: Acoustics By Design -Great example of using blogging to add SEO content for your web site. http://www.acousticsbydesign.com/ #sherpab2b09
Quality vs. Quantity:
damphoux: Quality v Quantity RT @MarketingSherpa Jaren Green: Work lead quality into every discussion to improve relationship w sales #sherpab2b09
For a chuckle (congrats @andrewspoeth for both of them):
andrewspoeth: Can anyone read the font size on this slide? #sherpab2b09
andrewspoeth: Picture of today's crazy, complex sales funnel according to Forrester. #sherpab2b09 http://twitpic.com/iywkj
TJMcCue: RT @MarketingSherpa The 5 levers for improving lead-gen performance: http://bit.ly/10TUGy #sherpab2b09
amberjwallace: RT @juliepower: Best viral marketing campaigns by b2b and b2c from Sherpa http://snipurl.com/s2h9i
ajdun: Great stat from Sirius Decisions via #sherpab2b09 80% of leads DQ by sales go on to buy in 24 mos
MktgExperiments: @brianjcarroll: study shows 28% of early-stage leads take 100+ days to become sales-ready. #sherpab2b09
mvolpe: Brian Carroll just quoted me when I quote @dmscott the originator: "Think like a publisher, not a marketer" #sherpab2b09
andrewspoeth: RT @damphoux: answer these questions on landing pages: where are you at? what can I do here? why should I do it? #sherpab2b09
mvolpe: Quick Landing Page Tips from #sherpab2b09 http://hub.tm/?QYdmH
alanorourke: Clarity trumps persuasion! Landing page conversion #sherpab2b09
ardath421: sell the download (content) NOT the company on your landing page (Flint) #sherpab2b09
jepc: Genoo chose not to blog, but to create microsite http://www.b2bonlinemarketingpros.com/ & promote it in their own LinkedIn Group #sherpab2b09
MarketingSherpa: Albee: Creating a LinkedIn group gives you a great list: Genoo's enewsletters to LinkedIn Group members avg. 19%-44% CTR. #sherpab2b09
mvolpe: I disagree!!! www.facebook.com/hubspot has 6,000+ fans & FB is a top 10 source of leads for HubSpot #sherpab2b09
InboundMarketer: Almost everyone at MarketingSherpa has a corporate Twitter account, though less than half of those people read Twitter daily #sherpab2b09
InboundMarketer: Less than half of those at MarketingSherpa have company Facebook pages, & less than 10 update those pages daily #sherpab2b09
And for the lighthearted chuckle...
damphoux: @repcor most interesting part of the conference is listening to the ambient conversations next to the camera during breaks ;) #sherpab2b09
repcor: Going to turn off the lifestream for a few. Back on in 15. #sherpab2b09 http://bit.ly/sherpa09
Even though I preach my own brand of outbound marketing Kool-Aid, for the past six months or so I've been drinking some of the inbound marketing variety (the orange kind from Hubspot). Before discovering this particular flavor, we had invested a year or so working on SEO, blogging, social media, and link building. But I didn't start formalizing some of the new marketing ideas I'd been learning until I took a deep swig and discovered the great taste.
Outbound marketers live off of lists. It's like candy to a kid. Companies like Jigsaw, Onesource, and Netprospex provide the candy; the more contacts we have and the better targeted, the greater our success.
What if you had the same size list, but it was on steroids? What if it was comprised of people already researching your offerings, thinking about the issues you solve? These are inbound leads.
Inbound leads come from whitepaper downloads, free trials, blog subscriptions, you name it. From the surface, it sounds like the best lead you'll ever get. However, they don't all show up downloading a whitepaper and then issuing a P.O. And they don't all come calling for appointments with your sales reps. You still have to work them, nurture them, and call them. You still have to get them to engage in the sales process. You can't take the outbound work totally out of the process.
Inbound Leads = Über List = Outbound Success
Outbound marketers should embrace all this and consider the leads coming from inbound marketing efforts as the Über List. Granted, some leads may just be tire kickers or even competitors. Work through them. Use lead scoring. Weed them out a bit. Then use them as the fuel for your outbound marketing efforts.
Consider inbound leads a list source, but a much warmer list than a purchased one. And don't neglect to share the credit. The inbound marketers created the lead. The outbound marketers got the prospects to engage. It's a team effort.