HubSpot is a powerful tool that can handle almost all of your sales and marketing needs. With the many different directions you can go in terms of setting up your portal and customizing it to fit your business needs, there comes an increasing need to automate everyday tasks and processes that eat away from time you and your team could spend elsewhere.
This is where HubSpot’s powerful workflow automation comes into play. Now, there is a difference between “workflows” and “sequences” in HubSpot that many people get confused about. An easy way to remember the difference between the two is that workflows are more on the marketing side, while sequences deal with one-to-one sales communications.
Both can send emails as the most basic functionality, but workflows can be leveraged to do so much more for your sales and marketing team.
While it may seem like a heavy lift in the beginning, the time that it will save you in the long-run is huge — along with the actual return on investment. In fact, marketing automation can lead to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity!
Here I will break down my top five most used HubSpot workflows that I believe every business no matter the size should implement.
Basic Asset Delivery Workflow
Regardless of which industry you’re in, it’s extremely likely that you have some type of downloadable content on your website behind a form. While you can just have the form redirect to a thank you page with a link to download the final asset, it’s best practice to also have a “thank you” email deliver that asset to their inbox as well. This also offers you the opportunity to have a secondary call to action in that email.
Pro tip: if you’re having issues with leads putting in fake emails just to get to the thank you page and download the asset, have the asset delivered only by email so that they have to put in a real email to receive it.
The trigger for this workflow will be a form submission and the action after that will be to send an automated email to the lead that:
Thanks them for downloading the asset
Provides a link to download the asset
Has a secondary CTA (i.e. schedule a demo)
This workflow can be complete just with that, or you can then have it turn into a nurture workflow that promotes more relevant/related content to the asset that they just downloaded. To do this, set a delay after the first email — typically at least 3 business days — and then you can have another email go out to the lead. If your reps are actively working all leads, you can put in an “if/then” branch so that all SQLs, lead status = open, etc. leads are withheld from the rest of the nurture workflow.
Lead Routing with Rotation
When a hot new prospect comes in, your whole team is most likely chomping at the bit fighting over the fresh inbound lead that you’ve worked so hard to generate. Now, unless you have just one salesperson on your team, these leads need to get evenly distributed throughout your team in order to keep things fair.
Please note: this rotation functionality will require you to have a Sales Hub Professional or Enterprise or Service Hub Professional or Enterprise account.
This can be easily handled by creating a simple workflow in HubSpot that uses the “rotate contact to owner” function. The easiest method to catch all sales-ready leads that come through is to have the trigger of the workflow be the lifecycle stage is “Sales Qualified Lead.” Now, there are a million different actions that contribute to a lead being considered an SQL, but for the purpose of this workflow let’s assume that you have that nailed down.
The next step is to then put in the action to rotate the contact between the salespeople you choose. If the contact owner is known, you can keep that owner on there and have the workflow skip to the next step, or you can have that contact owner overwritten with the new owner. You can also choose specific salespeople to have the leads rotated between or if you have teams set up in HubSpot, have them evenly rotated between the team members.
The leads are now being rotated between your sales team and the last thing to do is to have an alert of some sort be sent to the new contact owner in order for them to follow up immediately.
This can come in the form of:
Regardless of which you choose, make sure your sales team is constantly checking that channel for hot leads that they should follow up with immediately.
Nurture Emails Based On Activity Other Than Form Submissions
While nurture email workflows after content downloads are essential, form submissions shouldn’t be the only trigger for these workflows. With HubSpot, you have the ability to put contacts that visit certain website pages into workflows.
HubSpot’s powerful insights allow you to trigger nurture workflows for known contacts based on specific website page visits. This is especially useful for high-intent pages like scheduling a demo or an ROI calculator that signal a lead is interested in your company.
These workflows can also be triggered off of lead scoring.
Now, lead scoring could be a 2,500-word blog on its own (and is on HubSpot!), but the gist of it is that you are able to assign positive and negative “scores” to actions contacts take in emails and on your website, as well as attributes from their data.
From there, you can set thresholds for when a lead should be considered an MQL and an SQL.
With this in mind, we can create various workflows triggered off of specific page views, or a HubSpot lead score.
For example, if I want to put leads into a nurture that visit the “contact us” page but don’t submit the form, I would set something up like this:
Or, if I want to trigger a nurture based off of a variety of actions that I have scored in HubSpot’s lead scoring, I would have a workflow start once a contact reaches a score of X:
Pro tip: if you want your emails to only go out during the week, in your workflow go to settings → specific times and select the days/times it should execute.
Inactive Contact Workflow
Leads inevitably get lost in the day-to-day operations of your business, so it’s important to have processes in place to catch them and bring them back into the fold. Having a workflow for inactive contacts is extremely beneficial for both the marketing and sales sides.
For sales, qualified leads that were handed off to them can sometimes stall out or have other leads take priority. When this happens, reps sometimes put them on the back burner or forget about them entirely. Those are already qualified leads that could be easy pickings for new business!
To alert your reps to follow up with these forgotten leads, create a workflow like the one below:
Feel free to put your own timeframe in the second criteria. With this workflow, reps will always be alerted of leads that were once qualified but fell through the cracks for some reason. After they reach out if they find out that the lead is no longer sales-ready, have them revert the lifecycle stage back to an MQL so that lead can continue getting nurtured.
On the marketing side, contacts that haven’t been that engaged with your website or marketing emails can also be brought warmed back up. A good way to do this is with a “special” offer for just those contacts that are unengaged.
This could be a special e-book (or one that’s not behind a form), a discount, or whatever offer you can think of that would entice your audience.
From here, you just set the criteria on what you deem as “unengaged” such as:
Length of time since last website visit
Length of time since last email open/click
Last form submission
And after that, set your automated email nurture to go out. This is very similar to the other nurture workflow I covered earlier, but the trigger criteria and content of the emails is much different.
New Customer Welcome Workflow
Hopefully, you are at (or soon will be!) a point where you’re onboarding so many new customers that manually completing all of the actions is overwhelming. This is the perfect opportunity to create a workflow that simply triggers off of when a contact’s lifecycle is changed to “Customer.”
From here, a variety of actions can be scheduled such as:
Adding the contacts to a running list of “customers” that can be used to send company/product updates to
Changing the contact owner from the sales rep to a customer service/success employee
Starting the contact off in a “New Customer” onboarding/welcome email
Setting the lead status to “Closed”
This workflow is very simple to set up but is invaluable in that it pushes you to think through exactly what you want the journey to look like for new customers, as well as keeping it consistent for everyone.
These are the top five workflows that we use all the time with our clients and see the best results. If you have any questions setting up your own version, or have a new one in mind that you just can’t quite figure out, drop us a line and we’d be happy to help!
SmarkLabs is a Platinum HubSpot partner so we’re just the experts you need not only to get your HubSpot portal operating at peak efficiency but also to create and execute a full-funnel marketing strategy that pushes your business to the next level.
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.
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.”
If you’re in marketing or sales, odds are you’ve heard of account-based marketing (ABM). It’s a method that’s been gaining popularity in the marketing industry because of its ability to deliver high levels of ROI. In fact, “companies with ABM in place generate 208% more revenue for their marketing efforts,” according to Marketing Profs. This type of marketing involves honing in on a few accounts and targeting them with a highly-personalized strategy.
Although ABM is an excellent tool for any company, small businesses stand to benefit the most. This is because “SMBs can’t afford to scatter their money across various marketing tactics and a huge pool of prospects and just hope to generate enough qualified leads to make a profit,” says Niraj Ranjan Rout, Founder of Hiver. Unlike traditional lead-based marketing, ABM enables small businesses to focus all their resources on a few high-value prospects that are likely to buy.
Besides, small businesses are likely to gain internal buy-in across departments with ABM. It can be pricey due to personalization and a multi-channel approach. With more buy-in across the company, the budget for an ABM program can come from multiple departments.
Sound like something interesting to you? Here’s our account-based marketing guide to get you started:
Develop your ICP
First, you’ll want to develop your Ideal Client Profile (ICP). An ICP is different from a buyer persona because it focuses on a company rather than an individual. It should include firmographic data such as company size, industry, number of employees, and estimated revenue plus unique characteristics such as technologies used, hiring trends, or external industry events. Doing this will help you determine the criteria for your target accounts. Take advantage of your CRM or marketing automation platform to begin searching for target accounts.
ABM is different than most marketing methods because the content and messaging revolve around the specific needs of the targeted account. It offers a highly personalized approach. For example, you could send a detailed analysis report to a company that is specific to their business. Avoid sending generic emails at all costs. Ask yourself, who am I creating content for? What content do I already have? This way, you’ll be able to find out where any gaps exist and create content accordingly.
If you’re not sure how to break the ice with a target account, it helps to mention them on a blog or social media post. Compliment them on a recent win and highlight what they did well. They’ll appreciate the praise, and you’ll be on their radar because of it.
Set your targets
After you’ve created your content, it’s time to figure out the best way to reach your target accounts. There are a plethora of options, such as email, social media, video, website, blogs, webinars, infographics, and white papers. If you’re targeting a company that values creativity, you may want to take advantage of video to grab their attention. Or, if you’re looking to reach a tech company, a white paper may be the best way to connect with them.
Your sales and marketing teams need to be aligned for your ABM strategy to be successful. ABM relies on the perspective of a sales team who understands the importance of relationship building, knows how to address a business’s pain points, and has experience working to resolve them. According to Sirius Decisions, “B2B businesses with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth.”
Measure your results
Additionally, be sure to measure the results of your ABM campaign. Hubspot recommends focusing on coverage, awareness, engagement, reach, and influence. Here are some metrics you should pay attention to for each:
Coverage: take a look at the number of target accounts you’ve identified and reached, how much custom content you’ve sent out, the number of stakeholders or key decision-makers you’ve made contact with, the amount of account information you’ve gained
Awareness: check the number of critical accounts visiting your website, opening emails, reading blog posts, attending events, subscribing to a podcast or newsletter
Engagement: focus on the amount of time key accounts are spending with your brand and whether they’re responding to marketing activities (click-through-rates, content downloads, email response rates)
Reach: track how successful each channel was in reaching target accounts, check what percentage of campaign success is coming from your target accounts
Influence: review how fast you were able to move target accounts through the funnel and close deals with your ABM campaign compared to previous marketing campaigns
Use this data to continue optimizing your campaigns for the highest ROI.
We hope this account-based marketing guide gave you a better idea of how to implement ABM for your small business. When it comes to ABM, it’s all about targeting high-value accounts with highly-personalized content. If you’re looking for help with your ABM strategy, contact us.
Have you ever heard of a healthy, successful company with just one person behind it? I haven’t either. Differing personality types, barriers, dependencies, and meeting deadlines are some reasons for cross-departmental avoidance. The tension between teams is especially common when it comes to your marketing and sales departments. It doesn’t have to be that way, though! Here are a few key points that highlight why cross-departmental collaboration is not only crucial to a company and its bottom line, but how it’s also beneficial to each team member.
Viewpoints and Perspectives
Every individual has a unique background, point of view, and a pool of experience that brings a unique perspective to a situation. So bringing a group of people together to discuss solutions or ideas can result in more innovative thinking. Sometimes, just bouncing the bud of an idea off of someone else turns that bud into a flower. Solution-based thinking leads to new perspectives, and problem-solving becomes more creative. A new set of eyes is always a good thing. An idea that might have been right under sales’ noses all along could be brought to the forefront by marketing.
Collaborative working allows ideas to cross-pollinate. Discovering that your lead creative also has experience with business development can certainly help bring the team to a solution. But it also enables everyone to realize how their work and skills fit into the bigger picture and the company’s high-level goals. We all get tunnel vision sometimes – and a fresh perspective opens doors. Collaboration between teams that have historically been at odds with each other, like sales and marketing, can also eliminate the illusion of a hierarchy. When we are all able to see the value each individual brings to the table, we can execute each other’s ideas and elevate the project as a whole. This insight, in itself, builds team strength.
Understanding and recognizing the value that comes from making sure each person on your team feels rewarded and incentivized to participate is key to finding the potential in collaboration. A lot of growth can happen when there is space to speak up and listen to ideas, benefiting both sales and marketing. Not only is that good company practice, but it’s excellent for each team member as an individual.
When there is an understanding between sales and marketing, there will ultimately be better results. Think of a time you had the opportunity to explain exactly why you felt a certain way or why you did something someone else may not have understood. I bet being heard felt good. Cross-departmental collaboration fosters a healthy environment. And in a healthy environment, coworkers will establish deeper connections and make more progress toward both team’s end goals. Understanding each department’s challenges and goals cultivates creative solutions and encourages teamwork and growth.
Cross-departmental collaboration creates an environment for learning and understanding. It leads members of both teams to work harder for each other, innovation to blossom, and goals to flourish. Like Aristotle says, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”
Alicia Griffin is SmarkLabs’ Project Admin and Ops Support Specialist. With a drive for seeing people reach their full potential, Alicia is passionate about creating collaborative and inclusive environments. Otherwise, you’ll find her staring for hours at a painting, stuck in a book or hanging out with her super handsome golden retriever, Bentley.
There’s a lot of debate about whether sales enablement is the responsibility of the sales team or the marketing team. The truth is, it’s a concentrated effort between both. Marketing provides sales with the resources they need to make sales, like videos, blogs, and other types of content marketing. The sales team then passes this content along to potential customers to lead them through the sales funnel.
What is sales enablement?
HubSpot defines sales enablement as “the iterative process of providing your business’s sales team with the resources they need to close more deals.” The examples HubSpot gives includes content, tools, knowledge, and information to sell your product or service to customers effectively.
Sales enablement doesn’t just consist of marketing assisting sales, though. It’s up to the sales team to relay any relevant information back to marketing about what kind of content works. Sales should also be able to offer up any information about what types of marketing materials are missing from their arsenal. This way, your company’s sales enablement strategy (and web content strategy) never stagnates.
According to CoSchedule, sales enablement focuses on four core elements:
Sellers having access to the right content at the right time.
Improved collaboration between marketing and sales.
Ongoing training to help sales staff deliver on the bottom line.
Analytics to understand how content resonates with potential customers, then iterating on it for constant improvement.
Read on to learn more about how you can enhance your own B2B company’s sales enablement strategy.
What makes sales enablement effective?
According to LinkedIn, four things must align for your sales enablement strategy to be effective:
People: Your sales team has to understand, as well as have documented information on who the ideal client profiles are. Think about your buyer personas! Keep lines of communication open between the sales and marketing teams, ensuring that they’re collaborating. After all, you all have the same end goal. Sirius Decisions found that 19% more growth occurs when businesses align their marketing and sales departments.
Content:Your content is what your potential buyers see before they have any contact with your sales team. So you want to make sure that content makes them want to move forward in the process. We’ll touch on this more in-depth later on.
Technology:Segment your client profiles in your CRM, so your sales team can easily distinguish between them. According to HubSpot, 57% of high-performing sales reps say that technology is their top sales enablement priority. Specifically, “deployment of and training on new technology was closely followed by improving rep usage of social media, and restructuring or creating enablement function.”
Process:Be sure there’s a documented process for what approaches you use during the prospecting process and how often. Continuously reexamine what’s working and what isn’t. Then keep that information in your CRM, accessible to both teams.
Sales enablement for marketers
Many people struggle to determine who “owns” sales enablement. Spoiler alert: nobody does. The entire concept of sales enablement revolves around the collaboration between teams. Sales enablement doesn’t solely fall on the shoulders of the company’s marketers. But, it does mean something a little different than it does for your sales team. In many ways, it’s up to a company’s marketers to even get leads interested in talking to sales. According to the market research firm, Forrester, 60% of B2B buyers get most of their information from sources other than sales reps. You want your marketing materials to be those sources, and you want them to be good enough that they lead buyers to your sales reps.
It’s also a common pain point when the marketing team has loads of useful content that would benefit potential customers, but the sales team just doesn’t know that it exists. Or even where to find it! It seems like a simple enough issue to avoid, but we’re all aware of how bulky and messy workflows can get when they aren’t maintained. Take extra precautions, and keep all of your finished content in a place that each team can easily find.
The types of tasks that land on the marketing team to smooth this rocky road include being proactive and using content mapping, providing a smooth transition between the groups, and sharing customer insights. Which brings us to our next point.
Keep an eye on competitive and market insights
Marketers have inside knowledge of the customer’s buying journey before the buyers even get around to speaking to sales. Use that to your advantage and relay that information to sales! This way, your sales team can directly address the things you all know are on your customers’ minds.
What content you’ve created has done well? What pages on your site get the most traffic? If any of your content is lagging, what can you do to make your message clearer and better answer your potential buyers’ questions? Not only can this information aid in the sales enablement process, but it can also help you polish your website strategy.
Don’t minimize the importance of automation
Could everything in your sales strategy be done by hand? Sure, I guess. But why would you take on that burden when there are so many automation tools at your disposal? You don’t want to get bogged down with tedious tasks. HubSpot recommends automating the following:
Email sequences: An email sequence is a follow-up email automatically triggered when a prospect hasn’t responded within a certain amount of time. They’re completely customizable, from the timeframe that passes before the email sends, to specific details included in the email.
Prospecting:Why go through the hassle of setting up call times with each prospect when you can let them come to you? In your follow up emails, include a link to your calendar that allows them to schedule time with you. You’ll have a full calendar of qualified leads, without having to lift a finger!
Direct messaging:Chatbots are nothing new. How you can use them in your sales enablement strategy is. Add filtering criteria to the chatbot on your website, so only quality leads are matched up with sales reps.
You can automate many of these things with sales enablement software, such as HubSpot, Outreach, or Zendesk.
Pay attention to your sales content
Whether we’re talking slide decks, presentations, proposals, or your collateral, all of your sales content needs to be great. And it needs to be used. It might sound silly to have to point this out. However, multiple studies have found that an alarming amount of marketing content is produced and perfected, only for it never to see the light of day. The Content Marketing Institute recently reported that up to 80% of the content provided by marketing teams goes unused. There could be several reasons as to why this happens. Perhaps the content produced is outdated or doesn’t answer the questions prospective buyers have. If that’s the case, that information must be relayed back to the marketing team so that they can re-examine their strategy.
This takes us back, once again, to ensure that both sides have open lines of communication and have easy access to these materials. However, if you’ve taken these precautions and truly find that the content you’re working on ends up being busywork that doesn’t contribute to your bottom line, focus your energy on other aspects of the sales enablement process.
When you read the term “demand generation,” it sounds like it just means that you’re “generating demand” for your product. While in some ways, that is accurate, there’s a lot more to demand generation than that. Plenty of things you do as a marketer each day fall under the “demand generation” umbrella.
What is demand generation?
Think of it as any activity that brings attention to your B2B company to bring people into your sales funnel. It’s about keeping in mind where people are in their buying journey when tailoring your marketing materials to them.
You’re not going to launch into a hard sell to someone visiting your website for the first time. And you’re not going to leave out important details for someone who is potentially looking to close a deal. Demand generation is truly your sales and marketing teams working in tandem. After all, the sales cycle of a B2B customer is quite different than a B2C customer. So it’s imperative that efforts to educate, nurture, and convert potential leads take place at the appropriate time.
Where it all starts
The B2C world can use demand generation, especially in areas with longer sales cycles, like home or car buying. However, it’s most common in the B2B world. The whole process begins with getting the word out. B2B companies probably won’t be filming commercials or taking traditional ad space out, so it’s essential to think outside the box. Some common ways B2B companies build awareness of their brand include tactics like:
Investing in search engine optimization: One of the best ways to allow people to discover your business is to help them solve a problem. Using keywords in your website content that people might search for while looking for a solution will get them on your page and potentially land you a customer.
Advertising on search engines: I know, it’s like Google is the gatekeeper to business and we have no choice but to play along (unless you choose to use like, Bing or something). But it would be silly to ignore the impact search engines have on business. Shelling out some cash to have your business’s information at the top of relevant searches is a way to kickstart your web presence.
Hosting webinars: Similar to investing in SEO, hosting webinars is an effective way to demonstrate your value by offering a solution that your potential customers may be looking to solve. Webinars are a low commitment way for people to see what you have to offer and how you can help them.
Free trials: How many free trials have you signed up for before actually investing in something? From streaming services to gym memberships, free trials are one of the best ways to get someone’s foot in the door. For a B2B company, this could be a consultation call or a free e-book that gives potential customers a taste of what you can offer, without giving too much away.
How demand generation fits into the sales cycle
If you think a lot of these demand generation tactics sound like inbound marketing, you are correct! HubSpot’s simple explanation for this is that inbound marketing is a type of demand generation activity. It’s effective, too — HubSpot found that inbound leads are five times more likely to become customers than outbound leads. That’s not where the connections between the two end, though.
WordStream states that demand generation is a “long-term relationship between a brand’s marketing and sales teams, and prospective customers.” Once the marketing team has created content and used that content’s performance to determine prospective customers and taken it a step further with projects like email campaigns, these contacts are passed along to the sales team. From there, the marketing and sales teams can determine where in the sales cycle each of these leads are. Then they can tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.
Lead scoring, ranking, and routing are all a part of the sales teams’ role in demand generation. Determining which leads should be contacted ups the chances that a sale will be made by focusing energy on the most promising leads.