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Should Your Sales Team Only Call Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)? Hint: No.

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 14:30:00 GMT

Chuck Malcomson from Screwpile communications published an excellent article about the different stages that inbound leads go through: Information Qualified Leads - These leads are at the awareness stage. They've shared their "information" in order to get some educational information from you.  Marketing Qualified Leads - They've investigated your products or services by reading something related to them.  Sales Qualified Leads - They expressed interest in talking to a salesperson about their needs.  I like the way he's defined these different stages for inbound leads. However, I have one big problem with part of his article. I have a problem with the part where he says that salespeople should wait for marketing to generate sales qualified leads: "Smart companies will develop a feel for the right time for sales to reach out to their leads. Obviously all SQLs should be called since they have identified themselves as being ready to talk to sales. Calling IQLs may come across as too pushy or aggressive. However, reaching out to MQLs may make sense and help get more leads converted into opportunities that the sales team can work with and bring on board as new customers." If your salespeople are only interested in talking about their products, then that's the right way to think about it. (You should fire them if that's all they're interested in doing.) Great salespeople are experts and approach prospects in a way that is helpful, regardless of stage. A great salesperson can move a lead from IQL to SQL in 20 minutes.  The problem is that most salespeople aren't experts at what they do. Assuming they do have the expertise, they also rarely know how to start the conversation in a helpful way. But, it's simple. For example, when a prospect downloads an ebook, a salesperson can call and ask, "I see you downloaded our ebook on xyz. I am an expert at xyz. What were you looking for help with?" This is often the start of a very welcome sales conversation.  A good salesperson should be able to do a little homework about their prospect and find 5 other ways they can be helpful too.  Don't wait for prospects to realize they have a problem and raise their hand to talk to you because they've already determined your solution is the best. That's not selling. That's customer service. Great salespeople create demand, not just satisfy it. They pick target accounts and they pursue them persistently and creatively. Prospects supposedly conduct 50% of their buying process these days without talking to a sales rep. Let's not make it more than 50% just because we don't know how to be helpful, or we don't know how to avoid being perceived as pushy.  PS. You might have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for your marketing funnel to deliver sales qualified leads to your inbox. Some agencies actually do and it works for them because they only want to acquire a few new clients per year and their marketing is damn good. But, most companies who are serious about growing, would leave a lot of $ on the table if they sat back and waited for SQLs to arrive.  [...]



You Still Aren't Blogging Everday?

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 13:13:00 GMT

I manage 130 people. I've found the time to write a few words every day. You can too. It doesn't need to be a novel. Not every article needs to be awesome. But, blogging frequency is key to growing traffic, leads and sales. And key to connecting with people in a meaningful way over a long period of time. It's the best tool a marketer and a salesperson could ever ask for. 

Mark Gibson's team at WittyParrot stepped up over the last month. They did the HubSpot 30 day blog challenge. Here's their results

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In case their results aren't impressive enough, I previously shared some results here about the impact of blogging frequency on traffic. HubSpot's data across our customer base shows, "customers who write just 3-4 blog posts per month get 20 more monthly lead submissions, get 800 more monthly site visits, have 60 more Twitter followers, and have 50 more Facebook like's than customers who only write 2 blog posts per month".

Don't want more traffic, leads, fans and followers? Don't blog more. 

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Equity for Sales & Marketing Leaders

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:29:00 GMT

Dan Lyons has an interesting article about compensation and equity for sales and marketing leaders. The article states that it's rare to find someone who can lead both marketing and sales. 

"Who gets 5% [equity]? Santinelli says that’s usually an experienced executive who can come in as a VP of sales and marketing, “the person who can handle the whole funnel, from lead generation to lead nurturing to closing deals. That person is worth a lot of money. But it’s very rare to find them these days.”

I agree. It's rare to find someone who has lead both and knows the right playbooks for both. Most sales leaders don't know anything about modern marketing. And it's rare to find a CMO that even cares about learning anything much about sales. At HubSpot, we've had the opportunity to learn best practice in both. It's a rare thing to have on the resume, I've found. 

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"Honesty Is The Best Policy", Especially In Sales

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 22:39:00 GMT

This is a guest post written by Amanda Walters, a Business Development Representative, on my sales team at HubSpot.   Let’s be honest, when the term "salesperson" comes to mind, it doesn't always have the best connotation. A prospect’s thoughts as they answer the phone are usually something along the lines of "Oh god not another salesman harassing me with cold calls”. This of course, is if they even answer the phone at all. I used to be one of those types of prospects and then I found myself on the other side of the phone line...as the salesperson. I'm technically a business development rep who has only been in sales for 8 short months. But in sales I've been forced forced to learn fast, so I figured I'd share a valuable concept that I've learned thus far. No matter who you're calling, "HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY". This is, in my opinion, the best way to gain trust, establish credibility and break through the preconceived notion that you're just another swindling, dishonest salesperson trying to make a sale.  My Experience: I was lucky enough to spend a few month sitting next to a Senior Inbound Marketing Specialist, Mike Fradette, here at HubSpot who had once been in my exact position! One of the first things he taught me is to find companies like our customers, and leverage the knowledge about our customers to connect and relate. Mike told me that if you can tell someone about a time where you have: Spoken to someone in their similar position At a company that is similar to them (give an example of similar industry services or products that they offer) Who were facing x,y and z problems or were looking to improve on x,y and z and what you did to help them ....it should enable you to establish yourself as a credible resource to them and get them to feel comfortable opening up to you. Once you've done this, you can actually get the information you need to understand how and if you can help them. WHY IS THIS? You have been upfront in why you're not just calling anyone, but why you're calling them. You're using relevant industry terms that will resonate with them and you'll be speaking their language. You're giving examples of problems they too may be facing and you're explaining how you were able to help someone in the past. SO HOW DO I DO THIS? What that essentially is, is something called a positioning statement. These are very powerful and speak to the idea that "Honesty Is The Best Policy" whether you're using a positioning statement on a call, in an email, or on a voicemail.  Be upfront, make them feel special and explain why you were EXCITED to call them, excited at the opportunity to potentially help them in the same way you were able to help someone else, due to your EXPERIENCE! This is especially valuable for a person newer to sales but also to someone who has been in the game for some time now. Since learning this valuable advice, I almost always start off any conversation with some sort of positioning statement that is honest and true. I'll leave you with a personal experience where this has worked for me: One day I turned to Mike who was sitting next to me at the time and said "Mike, give me some ideas for good fit companies I can source today and start calling". Mike replied "One of my best customers is a company out of New Jersey and they are in the clinical research and testing services industry and specialize in clinical trials, clinical testing etc. They typically have a very consultative sales cycle and give their industry they have no problem creating awesome content because you have to be knowledgeable in order to be competitive in this space. Those types of companies are a great fit to be successful with Inbound Marketing" Perfect. I called the VP of Business Development and set up a time to speak. When we connected for the call I opened with this positioning statement which I'll admit I took the time to write out in advance: "I'm sure you have a lot of questions about HubSpot which I will d[...]



This Blog Post is for People Who Email Me Incessantly Even Though I've Never Expressed Any Interest in Their Product Ever

Mon, 27 Jan 2014 18:16:00 GMT

If I've sent you a link to this blog post by [a personal] email, that means you are probably emailing me incessantly about something that I have zero interest in talking to you about. You missed the mark with your approach. Further, your so persistent that it's actually really annoying. If I could report you to someone that could stop you, I would do that. 

Further, if you want to improve your sales and marketing effectiveness, try learning about how to attract prospects to you. You can do that through improved sales approaches and/or modern marketing

Update: If you subscribe to my blog by email, I didn't mean this for you. Sorry for confusion. If I sent this to you personally, then I do mean it for you. 

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Why the Marketing Software Space Needs a Winner

Fri, 24 Jan 2014 16:00:00 GMT

Scott Brinker has released the 3rd edition of his Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic. I copied and pasted the graphic below.  Crazy, ha? Imagine if manufacturing or accounting folks were subject to this mess? Companies would fail. How the hell is a marketer supposed to figure out what software to buy and use? I don't think it'll be like this forever. Every year, the number of marketing software companies grow. But every year, the number of different types of marketing software companies seem to shrink as different companies enter each other's space by adding functionality.  This is the first year that Scott has broken out software into only 6 different categories: Marketing Backbone Platforms, Marketing Middleware, Marketing Infrastructure, Internet Players Impacting the Marketing Environment, Marketing Experiences and Marketing Operations. You can read the full article to see what he means by these 6 different categories.  Although there is no perfect way to categorize chaos, it's the first time I've seen someone make any sense of the space so fully. I am completely biased of course, but my prediction is that the "Marketing Backbone Platforms" will eat the space. These companies include CRM players, marketing automation providers, web content management and ecommerce engines. Of course, HubSpot falls in this category as probably the broadest platform with both marketing automation and web content management built in, plus 10s of other needed software capabilities, for seo, social, analytics, etc. Then, the marketing middleware category turns software like HubSpot into a full platform since we have both our own integrations that connect HubSpot's data and functionality to CRMs and ecommerce engines, as well as third party integrations like Bedrock and Zapier that connect us to many more systems. Scott seems to agree that the backbond platforms and middleware will continue to bring structure to the market,  "Marketing Backbone Platforms and Marketing Middleware. These two classes of products are bringing some much needed structure to the marketing technology stack."  Buyers are driving this consolidiation. No buyer in their right mind would ever want to evaluate and purchase 100s of software products or even 10s of software for one function: marketing.  I'd go one step further than Scott and wager that marketing, sales and service will have one software platform.  In the near term, the marketing software space will have a winner (or a small # of them) when the software makes it easy for marketers to execute a brilliant marketing strategy; a strategy that supports the sales and growth strategies of their companies. I'd further wager that that'll happen through a proven marketing methodology and an integrated, all-in-one marketing software platform.  PS. Another great article from Luma Partners dissects the valuations of marketing tech companies and ad tech companies and shows that ad tech and marketing tech are destined to collide too.  [...]



Explaining Inbound Marketing to Engineers

Tue, 21 Jan 2014 19:44:00 GMT

As a trained engineer, I love inbound marketing. I love it because it's predictable, measurable and improve-able. You can predict, deliver, then systematically grow the traffic, leads and sales that a company generates by employing a strong inbound marketing strategy. In short, inbound marketing makes sense for my engineer-brain. 

Recently, Trew Marketing - an agency that serves companies who sell to scientists and engineers - asked me to write the foreward for their new ebook called, Smart Marketing to Engineers via Inbound Lead Generation. It's an excellent ebook. If you're an engineer curious about online marketing, it should make a lot of sense to you. There's even a section called, "The Math of Inbound Marketing". 

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1 Click from a Twitter Profile to Information About How That Person Interacted with You and Your Business

Mon, 20 Jan 2014 21:14:00 GMT

HubSpot launched a new feature last month via a Google Chrome extension. Now, when you're navigating Twitter, you can see which of your twitter followers are also in your HubSpot powered contact database. In the screen grab from Twitter.com below, you can see the highlighted text that says, "View in HubSpot."

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With HubSpot's social media monitoring and publishing tools, there's not a lot of reason to visit Twitter, except for browsing around. But, I tend to use Twitter by visiting Twitter.com. So, this is a cool way to see which of my twitter contacts are in my HubSpot portal.  When I click on the "View in HubSpot" button, I can see much more about each contact.  For example, below is a screen capture of Rick's profile from my HubSpot portal. In my HubSpot portal, I can see much more about Rick including: what pages he's viewed on my site; what he's shared with me previously via forms on my site; and information I entered into HubSpot (or my CRM) about him. 

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As a salesperson, I can see how this could help me connect with people on Twitter at the right time with the right message on (or off) Twitter - by using the information I have about them in my HubSpot contact database. With it being one click away, I'm much more likely to go through the effort. 

You can read about this feature and learn how to set it up on this support article from HubSpot

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Discussions I Had in the Second Week of January, 2014

Mon, 20 Jan 2014 19:35:00 GMT

Most companies aren't very natural when it comes to blogging. They try to make everything a "how to" article or they report things in 3rd person like a journalist. That's pretty boring and un-natural. People don't talk that way. Commerce doesn't get done that way. With this post, I'm going to get back to blogging the way I used to blog: more like a teenager's diary.  I'm going to start by sharing some of the conversations I had last week. Met a few new interesting people doing cool stuff and talked to a few old friends. If you're interested in getting some time with me to talk about your sales and marketing, you just have to leave a comment on this post. If I know you and you want an intro to anyone below, let me know. Otherwise, just reach out to them. None of them barked or bit.  Neerav Mehta, founder of Red Crackle, a 5 person Drupal web development shop. Neerav and his team are very technical. So they often find themselves working for technical buyers who need help designing and developing custom drupal sites.  Steve Ka, of Intralearn. I've known Steve for the better part of a decade now, when we last collaborated on some nightlife promotions. He runs sales and channel development at Intralearn. They are launching a new product that is a lightweight LMS for Sharepoint users called NanoLearn. Any company who uses Sharepoint and needs to verify that their internal teams are learning something can benefit from NanoLearn, especially if employee training is required for legal compliance.  Andrew Teman and I had beers last week. Andrew is founder of We Make Heart and was most recently a VP at Hill Holliday. His agency specializes in working with larger brands who are seeking new ideas for grabbing serious share. Andrew has seriously legit experience across traditional and the many facets of digital marketing, and has been helping clients bridge the two. Lots of agencies talk about this. He's done some cool stuff that actually brings digital into the real world and vice-versa.  Douglas Barth, founder of SimplyDirect, Jon Kennedy, sales at SimplyDirect, and I spoke for :30 minutes last week so we could learn more about each other's companies. I recently received a personalized message via email with an invitation to take a survey. I would normally ignore these things, but the email was compelling, I was interested in the topic and they offered me a free gift to complete the survey. It was also only a few questions and they offered to send me the results if I took it. I visited the company's site who ran the survey and discovered SimplyDirect, a sales prospecting service that helps companies reach executive decision makers.  I caught up with Brent Hodgins, founder of Mirren Business Development, Hillary Miller, VP of Training at Mirren and Stephanie Ostrander, Event Manager at Mirren - last week. Brent and I began collaborating a few years ago when I first attended his Agency New Business Conference in NYC. Brent spoke at the Inbound conference last year and we sent a whole crew to his conference last year. Look forward to working together more. Brent said that he hears about HubSpot everywhere he goes. :-)  Rick Kranz of Overgo Studios lead a small group discussion last week, where he talked about his agency's marketing plan for next year. Rick is an online video marketing expert. So, in addition to learning about a few new video creation tools, we talked about the value of video when it comes to making your company more personable/relate-able. Rick told a story about how he walked into a prospect's office and everyone already knew his name. He had never met them, but they had been watching his videos. In order to make his marketing even more personal this year, Rick launched a new blog appropriately called, "Grow Your Business with Ri[...]



3 Theories I'd like to Prove About Selling

Mon, 20 Jan 2014 15:00:00 GMT

There are 3 things I'd like to prove about selling over the next year.  Product differentiation drives sales results. HubSpot has been lumped into the marketing automation category by analysts and marketers. We entered the space and by many metrics have taken the top spot. But, we're so much more than marketing automation and marketing automation by itself will not help companies grow in the coming years; a full approach to attracting and converting strangers into buyers is necessary these days. We already do all of that, while everyone else is playing catch up. Further, our product will get even more differentiated over the next year as our excellent product team further builds and broadens our platform. My goal #1 is to prove that differentiation is the key to winning sales. That's hard, though. It's easy to sell things that people are looking for, that they expect. What's hard is selling things that are different. It requires our salespeople to truly be experts at our product, at our industry (marketing) and at selling.  Salespeople should help first, sell later, in order to build a massive never-ending pipeline of qualified referrals. Salespeople are notoriously focused on finding low hanging fruit; quick sales that require less effort. They ignore the importance of helping people first. They're quick to run their sales process instead of helping prospect's manage their buying process. They're focused on hitting short term goals instead of long term goals. Too often, they turn prospects off without even realizing it - by showing that they're more interested in selling their product than helping their prospect. I want to teach salespeople that helping first helps them in the long run. I want to teach salespeople how to build a massive pipeline of future deals by creating a circle of people who refer them business because they trust them, like them and respect them.  Salespeople should build their expertise publicly, in order to command respect and trust from prospects - more quickly and more easily. I want to teach salespeople how to develop and benefit from having public expertise. One of the smartest things I've done in my sales career is devote time to marketing my personal expertise online. When I had my startup back in the day, I blogged about it. When I joined HubSpot in our direct sales organization, I built the first version of this site to talk about how I was helping my customers. When I started HubSpot's agency partner program, I wrote blog posts, ebooks and put on webinars. This has helped me establish more and more credibility over the years, amongst a small but loyal group of followers. I'd never join a sales organization that doesn't have a strong inbound lead generation team in marketing. But, whatever organization I ever join will most likely benefit from my ability to bring my audience with me. Back in the day (and still these days), salespeople were hired for their rolodex. The new salesperson's rolodex is a personal web presence.  What do you think of these theories? Have you already proven any of them? Interested in helping to prove any of these with me?  [...]



Anyone Want to Talk About Sales & Marketing? Book me Free.

Tue, 14 Jan 2014 23:20:00 GMT

I've blocked off a few hours each day in the afternoon to make some calls to help people with their sales and marketing strategy. 

If you want to talk, leave your name and company name below. Leave a link to your Linkedin profile if your company is not easily findable online. Or reach out to me via Twitter @pc4media.

Here's crteria: 

  1. You can't be a HubSpot customer or partner. 
  2. Your company must be 2-200 employees. 
  3. You can't be a marketing agency or marketing consultant. 
  4. You have to be in sales or marketing. 
  5. You must want to talk about sales and marketing. 
  6. You and your company must be based in North America. 
That's it.  I might not get to you right away. So, please be patient. 

Feel free to share this with other people who might be able to benefit from my help. 
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Gravy & Mashed Potatoes, Hammer and Nails, Email and Analytics

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 11:37:00 GMT

HubSpot is pretty famous these days. Well, maybe not as famous as the Beatles or bicycles. But HubSpot is as famous amongst marketers as let's say... One Direction is amongst teenage girls. Just like teenage girls and One Direction, there are different levels of fandom. Please don't ask me to explain what would make someone go gaga over these pubescent boys. But, maybe it's just that not every teenager gets to see One Direction live, up close and personal. I don't know. Probably taking this analogy too far. But, when my wife and I walked by them performing at a mall once, I saw firsthand how much their fans adore them. Most of the concerts I attended were in the 90s. So, it was new thing for me to observe. Anyway, the marketers who use HubSpot effectively are kind of like that. You can see it in the case studies. We get gushing notes every day from customers about how we've changed their fortunes and their lives, and helped them change the lives of their customers.  So, why is it? There's a reason, I think. Why do we have these gushing fans? Most companies would say that their fans are fabs because "of a lot of little things all wrapped up into one". That's true for HubSpot in two major ways. Yes, we pride ourselves on caring about our customers; providing support that backs that up, we focus on educating the market and especially our customers and partners; our software team is brilliant at UI and usability. There are lots of reasons. But, these are secondary to the one big one.  The big one is integration.  Yes, integration is a cheesy over-used marketing word. Totally. We prefer 1+1 = 3. It's the same thing, though. The important thing is that our founders were ballsy enough to say from the beginning, "We want to be the only marketing software that a business needs!". And we did it. We'll never be done, of course. But, we're as done at this goal as anyone else is. Especially companies that don't innovate from within and have to acquire to try and keep up. The claim was certainly was more hyperbole in the beginning. We started with search engine optimization (SEO) tools and small businesses (SMBs) and a shitty content management system (CMS). But, we've broadened that big time beyond SEO tools-- all while serving many different types and sizes of businesses. The claim is true now. So, why is 1+1=3 so important to our customers? Two words: Efficiency and Effectiveness. Yes. Also over-used and cheesy sales words. Let's get beyond the cheese. Let's start talking about cheese and crackers. Maybe a bit of PB&J? Or how about screw drives and screws? HubSpot has integrated things together in ways that no other marketing software company has. We've done it in a way that our customers can't imagine living without. A grass lawn with no lawn mower? A garden without a shovel? Cars without wheels? Ha? What are you crazy? You can't take this stuff apart?  The thing we don't talk about enough is that long list of things that make 1+1=3 equations. We're not talking about just 2 things that make three. We're talking about a whole lotta math equations that just don't make any sense. There are a handful of 1+1=5 equations in there and even one equation that goes something like 2+2=12.  Here are a few of my favorites:  Web analytics + contact database = lead intelligence  CMS + Analytics = Smart CTAs Social Media Monitoring + contact database = social prospecting  Email marketing + website analytics = marketing automation SEO + Web analytics = you still do manual SEO reporting, you fool? CRM + HubSpot = closed loop marketing Blogging software + CTAs =  lead generation Landing pages + analytics = lead tracking What are your favorites? How do they help you be more effective and more ef[...]