4 HubSpot Features That Can Enhance Your Marketing Strategy (Or Just Make Your Life Easier)

4 HubSpot Features That Can Enhance Your Marketing Strategy (Or Just Make Your Life Easier)

Did you know that less than a quarter of HubSpot users leverage the full potential of the CMS? It’s certainly understandable—HubSpot is a choose-your-own-adventure of epic proportions. It’s hard not to think about all of the fantastic features that so many users are missing out on, though!

Not everyone has the time to complete all of the relevant HubSpot Academy courses (though we highly suggest them if you do!), so we’re here to talk about some HubSpot features that are worth checking out.

Insights reporting

If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time combing through analytics to find a relevant piece of information, you understand the need for customizable insights reporting. Maybe you want a create a new dashboard that fills just your weekly reporting needs. Or perhaps you want each member of your marketing team to create a dashboard that pertains to their duties. Either way, everyone will save plenty of time by not having to sift through data irrelevant to them.

Don’t worry about losing HubSpot’s default reports, either. You can create all of the custom reports you need and still be able to reference anything HubSpot automatically collects. Your report navigation will include:

  • All reports
  • Custom reports
  • Standard reports
  • In dashboards
  • Not in dashboards

Creating and sharing meetings

How much time do you spend each week coordinating meetings and rescheduling every time something comes up? The back and forth emails so necessary to modern office life can be such a time suck. And the sheer number of calendar programs that people in different organizations that you might be working with use can be chaotic. But with the HubSpot meeting scheduling software, you can sync your Google or Office 365 calendars, as well as schedule and hold group meetings. 

You might be thinking, “why would I complicate things by adding one more meeting scheduler into the mix?” Well, HubSpot automatically keeps records for meeting attendees and prospects for you to reference later on. Is that a game-changer? Yeah, we thought so. 

Image: HubSpot

Prospect tracking

Speaking of prospects, while it’s certainly possible to track them yourself, why not let HubSpot do the work for you? On the surface, it’s evident that HubSpot would include this feature, but you might not be aware of the breadth of it.

HubSpot’s prospecting tool detects the IP address of each person who visits your website and reports that information back to you. If someone’s checked out your site a bunch of times, delving more in-depth with each visit, it might be about time that you reach out. HubSpot makes getting that information accessible, as well as the subsequent reaching out.

You can also have this info sent right to your inbox each day with HubSpot’s daily prospects report. With this tool, you can sort your prospects using just about any criteria, from geographic location to the number of visits they’ve made to your site. Set reminders to follow up, right in the tool as well, so everything is in one place. 

A few other emphasized features of HubSpot’s prospecting tool include:

  • Email sequences
  • Email templates 
  • Email tracking
  • Email scheduling
  • Documents
  • Meetings
  • Live chat
  • Calling
  • Sales automation
  • Reporting
  • Predictive lead scoring
  • Salesforce integration

In addition to all of these prospecting features, HubSpot also offers a contacts dashboard. This dashboard gives you the option to filter your contacts in just about any way under the sun. If you’re keeping an eye on leads, you might want to keep track of their lifecycle stage or the last time each contact interacted with your website. If you’re already in the process of nurturing, you’ll want to keep track of the last time you reached out to them. HubSpot makes this all a reality!

Image: HubSpot

Integration with WordPress

While HubSpot offers you the option to run your website or blog through HubSpot itself, there are several reasons you might choose to use WordPress instead. Maybe you’ve already built it far before you started using HubSpot, or perhaps you prefer WordPress’s interface more. But we can’t deny that HubSpot’s analytics tools surpass those of WordPress. Luckily, you can integrate the two platforms. 

All you have to do is install HubSpot’s plugin on your site, and you can track things like your traffic and bounce rates, as well as step up your prospecting game. You were previously able to see how leads interacted with your website as a whole, but now you can see what they’re doing on your blog as well, so you can even send personalized emails and offers.

Once you’ve integrated your HubSpot and WordPress accounts, you’ll have the option to view your reporting dashboard right in WordPress, as well as your contacts, lists, and forms. Keep in mind; you’ll also have the opportunity to install a HubSpot live chat or chatbot if you don’t have one on your site already!

What is BANT and How Does it Fit Into the B2B World?

What is BANT and How Does it Fit Into the B2B World?

If you’ve been in tune with the sales world long enough, the acronym BANT probably sounds pretty familiar. But that might not be the case to someone who came up on the marketing side of things, especially not in the last few years. In fact, it’s become a bit of an antiquated practice even in the sales world. It’s not broken, though, it just needs some adjustment for the modern B2B world. So, what is BANT?

Developed by IBM way back in the day, BANT is a sales qualification methodology that allows salespeople to determine whether a prospect is a good fit, based on a few different factors. The acronym stands for:

Budget: How much is the prospect willing to spend?
Authority: Does this prospect have decision-making power?
Need: Does this prospect have a problem you can solve?
Timing: Is there urgency?

What’s wrong with BANT?

There’s nothing wrong with BANT as a concept, per se. However, HubSpot points out that the way salespeople tend to use it can rub potential buyers the wrong way. This is especially true in these modern days of inbound marketing when potential customers are typically already heading through the buyers’ journey before even catching the attention of sales.

The fault in how BANT tends to be executed lies in using it as a checklist. Rattling off a bunch of questions to a potential buyer is a surefire way to seem pushy and put people off of anything that you’re selling. Getting all of these basic questions out of the way when talking to a new prospect might seem like an efficient method, but it tends to come off as an interrogation.

The thing about BANT is that you don’t need to rush through it or find out these answers in any particular order. You can use BANT, or TANB, or NABT, or any other combination of those four letters … BANT is just the only pronounceable order. 

How BANT can be outdated in B2B

Have you tried the old-timey way of using this method and nixed a prospect right up front because they couldn’t afford you? Well, that’s your first mistake. 

Most B2B products use a subscription model. If everything else qualifies this prospect as a good match for your company, there’s probably some workaround you can use to fit into their budget. That could mean offering a free month for a quarterly subscription or giving them the option to pay by the month even if you typically charge once per year.

Some potential buyers also have a looser budget than they might initially let on. Their budget might be based on the value they believe your service should bring—so your job might be to prove to them that your product or service is worth investing in. Don’t take their budget as a definitive way to eliminate them from your prospect list.

It’s also important to note that most businesses that have a group of decision-makers for any significant investment that eats into the budget. This antiquates the idea that you can talk to the decision-maker and just convince him or her that your product or service is worth purchasing. 

Also, consider

While there is undoubtedly a place for a modernized form of BANT in your sales qualification practice, Act-On suggests adding a few other factors into the mix as well, such as:

  • Buyer personas: While budget, authority, need, and timing should play a part in your prospecting, you should also determine whether these prospects align with your buyer personas. Make your buyer personas your jumping-off point before launching into BANT.
  • Demographics & firmographics: Look beyond the basic demographics like location and company size. What are the company’s pain points? How can your product address them?
  • Behavioral data: What’s the point of tracking the activity on your website if you’re not taking that info and applying it to your sales prospects? Take data like downloads and responses to email offers and your webinar attendance and consider it a first step to qualifying a lead, before even taking BANT into account.
  • Your sales and customer success teams: Surprise! We’re advocating once again for collaboration between your sales and marketing teams. Your sales team is the one having regular conversations with your prospects—so they’re most likely to have insight on aspects like how strict their budget is or how your product can address their needs.

BANT in 2020

We might love having unlimited options when it comes to where to spend our money, but we need to remember that our sales prospects also have that luxury. The fact of the matter is, no matter which problem of theirs your product or service can solve, there’s another B2B company out there that also can. 

It’s more important than ever, in this age of disconnection, that you ensure your prospects don’t think that you see them solely as a prospect. “Subtle conversation is how you’ll get the information you need–without scaring off the prospect,” says UpLead. “It’s preferable BANT is implemented as the second step in your sales process, right after initial contact.”

Follow These Webinar Best Practices for More Viewers

Follow These Webinar Best Practices for More Viewers

Webinars are one of the most efficient methods of content marketing out there. However, they’re really only effective when they’re engaging. Think about it— how many times have you tapped out ten minutes into a webinar because it was so… boring? 

Don’t worry, you can admit it here. We’ve all sat through videos that definitely didn’t have webinar best practices in mind. We’re here to teach you how to make sure your webinars aren’t the ones that have people clicking out ten minutes in.

Choose specific topics

Webinars are a great lead generation tools. But their main purpose is to serve your audience, not boost your email numbers. When a webinar holds a viewer’s attention, Adobe found that the average attendee stays onboard for 54 minutes. When considering whether you should invest the time and money it takes to produce a webinar, give some thought to what your topic is going to be. The best webinars are specific, thorough and address certain issues that are important to their audience.

Add value with thought leaders

Consider hosting a panel of thought leaders in your industry, doing a deep-dive on a niche topic, or hosting a detailed how-to video in the form of a webinar. If the ideas you’re considering have been done before, or are a thinly disguised sales pitch in the form of a webinar, hold off on execution until you have a more fleshed out topic to talk about.

Wordstream gives this great piece of advice: “If you claim that your webinar is truly amazing, be sure you can live up to your own hype.

Don’t talk at the camera

I know, this seems like Webinars 101. But we all know there are plenty of webinars out there that don’t follow this very simple rule. Many people look at webinars as videos for people to watch, and technically they are. But this outlook can lead to some pretty dull videos unless you have the energy of a YouTuber. 

A better way to look at a webinar is to think of it as something that viewers are engaging with, so it’s your job to be engaging. Nobody likes being talked at, so talk to them as if they can respond directly to you. 

When the webinar begins, welcome your audience and give them a quick rundown of how the presentation is going to go. Let them know the topics you’ll be covering and in what order— this will allow viewers to know whether the webinar is relevant to their interests and if they should skip ahead or join later.

Use technology to your advantage

You’re obviously pretty technologically savvy if you’re hosting a webinar, but take it a little further. Rather than using screenshots of a website you’re discussing, do a screen share and walk your viewers through the process. Use markup capabilities or even a slide presentation to illustrate your points.

However, I cannot stress enough, do not read slides. Do you enjoy having slides read to you that you are completely capable of reading yourself? No? Then don’t put your viewers through that!  While it’s perfectly fine and even to use slides to enhance your presentation or give your viewers some visual examples of what you’re discussing, it’s the opposite of fine to use them as a crutch. Don’t read slides in webinars, presentations, meetings, or anywhere, really.

A great way to avoid falling into the trap of robotically reading along with your slide presentation is to write a script. Whether you choose to rehearse and memorize the script or just create a list of talking points to make sure you reference, having that backup document with you will keep you from going off on tangents or losing your train of thought as well.

The more the merrier

Consider bringing another person on board. Or two people. Or a whole panel! While a one-person presentation is sufficient, having more people onscreen partaking in an organized discussion is a great way to keep a conversation lively enough to hold a viewer’s attention.

Another way to engage your audience is to actually engage. If they’re viewing the webinar live, dedicate a portion to viewer questions that they can send in via a hashtag. There are even webinar platforms that allow you to insert polls and other interactive aspects into the presentation. Just because you’re not hosting the webinar in front of a live audience doesn’t mean you can’t act like you are!

Give them something to take with them

OK, so people won’t be leaving your webinar with a cool gift bag, but there are other things your viewers can leave with:

  • Actionable advice
  • Contact information
  • Recommendations
  • Whitepaper
  • PowerPoint slides (Adobe also found that 50% of webinar attendees download presentation slides— so it’s worth the effort!)

Search Engine Journal also suggests making your takeaways only available during the webinar or from your webinar promotion. This makes the materials exclusive, and people are more apt to take advantage when there’s a time limit.

Sure, these things aren’t as cool as a Soda Stream or whatever, but they’re valuable in other ways. Make sure these materials end up in your viewers’ inboxes no more than 24 hours after the webinar ends— you want to stay at the forefront of their minds!

Making a Content Strategy Template? Here’s What to Consider

Making a Content Strategy Template? Here’s What to Consider

The internet is a vast, infinite hole of everything you’ll ever need to know. What makes up just about everything on the internet from the B2B-centric articles that you read to the games you play is all content. In the modern age of internet jargon, we tend to think of articles or blogs when we hear the word “content,” but there’s so much more to it than that. Webinars? Content. Video posts? Content. Social media feeds? Content.

According to HubSpot, content is any piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise that you bring to your industry — which brings us to the topic of this particular piece of content: your B2B company’s content strategy.

Why you need a strategy

You don’t put anything out into the world without any purpose behind it, do you? (At least, from a business perspective, I’m not going to draw any conclusions about your personal Twitter feed.) So why would you release content willy-nilly, without thinking about your strategy for rolling it out? But where to start? First off, think about what role content plays in your company’s marketing strategy. What kinds of content marketing ideas do you have that not only fall seamlessly into your company’s strategic marketing process and maybe even enhance it?

When creating your content strategy template

It’s understandable to be intimidated by the idea of creating a bigger picture plan for content that you’re used to just creating when you get the chance. However, you’ll quickly realize that doing this allows you to have more purpose behind your work, and it might even begin performing better once it’s more tailored to your audience. Here at SmarkLabs, we have ten tenets in mind when brainstorming our content strategies:

Publishing consistently

Have you ever looked at a webpage and seen that the last thing they released was from 2017? Or even earlier? Did you stop and think that maybe they’re not even in business anymore? The key to any content strategy template is regular publishing — not only do you want to stay at the top of potential customers’ minds, but you don’t want them to write you off for inconsistency.

Content should provoke action or have a goal

With each piece of content that you create, make sure there’s a reason behind it. Maybe you’re not trying to make a sale with a specific blog post, but perhaps you’re trying to establish trust with your audience, position yourself as a thought leader, or inform people of your services. There might not always an action taken after consuming a blog or video of yours, but there should always be a goal behind it.

Content is relevant to the buyer’s journey

Nobody is going to read or watch something that doesn’t serve them in some way. Try to make sure your content reaches your potential customers at an appropriate time in their buyer’s journey and, hopefully, even moves them forward to their next step.

Clear documented production process

Chances are, you’re not the only one at your company producing content. Whether you’re working with a team of writers, videographers, and graphic designers, you’ll want everyone on the same page when it comes to the production of these items. If there are deadlines, everyone should be well aware of them and given ample time to produce their pieces.

Align content with the strengths of the brand

This is yet another opportunity to get your company in front of people who may not be familiar. You want it to emphasize your strengths, not your shortcomings. What do you want people to know you can do? 

Prioritize original content

Sure, you might not break new ground with each blog post you write or video you create. But that doesn’t mean you should just regurgitate what’s already out there. Whatever you create, you want it to be on-brand for your company and add a little something new to the conversation.

Set a clear plan for promoting content

How active are you on social media? Do you regularly send out newsletters? How big is your reach, and how do you plan to grow it? These are things you should ask yourself when creating your content strategy template. Some things, like visual content, work better on social media, while written content might perform better in a newsletter.

What about SEO

For a while, there was a conversation about how important SEO really was in the world of high-quality content marketing. Needless to say, it’s still pretty important — it just takes more thought than it used to. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing. We’re talking about thorough keyword research and targeting now.

Think about tone and style

Your content is an extension of your brand, so it should seem like it. If the rest of your content marketing ideas are conversational and light, your videos shouldn’t be bland. If your marketing materials are strictly professional, you shouldn’t be using slang in your blogs.

Prioritize visual content

Humans are naturally drawn to visuals over blocks of text. If you’re writing about a topic that’s explained better with charts, have a graphic designer on your team put something together that will really enhance the piece. This is especially important if the piece is shared on highly visual mediums like Instagram.