Inbound Marketing at its Roots: How HubSpot’s Tools Employ Deep Data Insights to Attract & Convert Prospective Customers
10.21.16 Marketing

Inbound Marketing at its Roots: How HubSpot’s Tools Employ Deep Data Insights to Attract & Convert Prospective Customers

By: Adam West

The Crunch: When it comes to modern marketing and sales, knowing as much about your ideal customer as possible is crucial. In the past, sales teams focused on casting a wide net through strategies like cold-calling and mass mailing lists, but their efforts were often wasted on customers they never had a chance of converting. HubSpot created the concept of inbound marketing, which suggests brands provide content that allows prospective customers to self-identify to salespeople. The company is leading a revolution with its harmonious, data-driven marketing, sales, and CRM software that work to create a more efficient process for businesses to connect with the right person at the right time using the right messaging.

Loren Padelford joined Shopify as Head of Sales in 2014 and was asked to find ways for the e-commerce platform to improve its sales. Based on feedback from his team, the CRM and sales software they were using was disjointed, antiquated, and too complex to serve salespeople.

Loren already had experience with the data-rich marketing tools provided by HubSpot from his previous job. When he learned HubSpot was releasing a free CRM platform, he was intrigued. After trying out the beta version, he felt it would be a game-changer for his sales team.

Screen grab of Shopify Head of Sales Loren Padelford

Shopify’s Head of Sales Loren Padelford said his team increased conversions using HubSpot’s data-rich software.

“The thing I probably like the most about HubSpot has been how easy it has been to adopt,” Loren said. “The sales team picked this up and used it in an hour — that’s the fastest I’ve ever seen a sales organization adopt anything.”

Since the switch to HubSpot, Shopify’s salespeople are much happier because, thanks to a data-driven approach, they are converting more sales and have a simplified CRM system that fits the way today’s consumers shop.

Marketing and sales are shifting toward a more personalized approach. When businesses know exactly what a customer wants, they are able to market much more effectively and close more often, as noted by Adobe’s marketing ROI research.

Not only does HubSpot recognize this trend, but it has built its marketing, sales, and CRM platforms to provide a more helpful, human approach to selling, which, in turn, leads to more conversions.

“HubSpot is now the core of our sales process,” Loren said. “Without it, I don’t know how we’d manage sales at Shopify.”

Inbound Marketing is More Than a Strategy — It’s a Movement

Simply put, traditional marketing and advertising efforts no longer work. Cold-calling is stunted because of the Do Not Call list, much of direct mail is never opened, and thanks to DVR, television commercials are often skipped.

Customers recognize when they’re being sold to and tend to block out advertising that interrupts them. The phrase “inbound marketing” refers to providing useful content, such as blogs, videos, and social media, that allows prospective customers to identify themselves to companies by opting-in and consuming said content. Conversion numbers go up for marketers and sales teams because their top targets come to them, eliminating time wasted with disinterested clients.

Photo of HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan

HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan literally wrote the book on “Inbound Marketing” with HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah.

We recently spoke with Nathaniel Eberle, the Director of PR & Brand at HubSpot, and he told us about how his company’s embrace of inbound marketing has driven growth for HubSpot as well as its clients and partners. HubSpot’s co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah codified the term “inbound marketing” so it’s safe to say the company understands the concept well.

Many mid-market companies, HubSpot’s primary customer base, invest too much money in advertising with a limited shelf life, something Nathaniel refers to as “renting space instead of owning it.” The moment they stop an ad campaign, the tangible worth ends along with it.

Portrait of Nathaniel Eberle, Director of PR & Brand at HubSpot

Nathaniel Eberle, the Director of PR & Brand at HubSpot, explained to us the long-term value of content.

“We think that the long-term value is extremely important for businesses that might be lacking overall resources and budget and want to make sure they’re making investments that will help them in the near term and long term as well,” Nathaniel said.

Investing in a few blog posts each week instead provides long-lasting results for small to medium-sized businesses and gives companies a voice to better connect with consumers’ values.

In the years since the inception of inbound marketing, the concept has spread like wildfire, contributing to HubSpot’s growth. The company now has more than 1,400 employees in six global offices.

Inbound marketing is now so widely practiced that HubSpot hosts an annual event called INBOUND, which has attracted more than 14,000 attendees and featured speakers like The Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington and best-selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin. The goal is spreading the latest marketing and sales strategies and providing training on inbound techniques.

A Wide Range of Data-Backed Resources Help Brands Captivate & Sell

HubSpot has three types of software that are helping businesses grow. Thanks to the prolonged success of its marketing software, the sales and CRM suites are now being adopted at a rapid pace. A company that chooses to use all three software platforms essentially benefits from an all-in-one package with seamless integration. Customers can choose an à la carte option that fits their needs, but Nathaniel tells us that many businesses tend to realize the efficiency of using all of HubSpot’s tools in concert.

“People come to us with different needs,” Nathaniel said. “We try not say you should be using HubSpot for everything. Maybe they’ll come for one solution and realize that their marketing and sales would be much more powerful if they used all the tools together.”

Marketing Software that Nurtures Prospects into Closable Leads

Since HubSpot’s origins are in inbound marketing, it makes sense that its marketing software would carry the torch for the company, and its 20,000 marketing platform customers illustrate that well.

HubSpot’s marketing software is essentially data-rich content software because the marketing is the content. Analytics are integrated within every piece of content, including blog and social media posts, landing pages, websites, emails, e-books, and virtually anything else that can help to spread a company’s marketing message.

Screenshot of HubSpot Marketing Software

HubSpot’s marketing software helps clients create striking blog posts and websites with effective CTAs on landing pages.

“(Customers) come to us because perhaps they’ve been using more antiquated marketing tactics, like going to conferences,” Nathaniel said, “and they don’t understand the power of blogging and creating meaningful content.”

HubSpot also provides software that allows for SEO analysis during the process of typing and drag-and-drop creation of websites and landing pages that sales teams can use to gather data on potential clients.

The purpose of marketing through smart content is to drive more conversions with dynamic forms and calls to action that adapt to every visitor you get based on location, language, the device they’re using, and whether they are already a contact or are previously unknown to a sales team.

Tailored Sales Tools Help Connect with the Right Clients at the Right Time

HubSpot’s sales tools are all about knowing the right prospect to contact at the right time with the right message to generate more effective conversations. This includes the ability to template and automate your email outreach based on how the prospect is interacting with your content.

Photo of a HubSpot salesman

HubSpot’s sales software seeks to equip sales teams with actionable information on their prospects.

Salespeople can better book appointments with software that puts scheduling power in the hands of prospects with a personalized booking link that shows clients a salesperson’s calendar and lets them choose their own meeting time.

Sales teams can also take advantage of HubSpot software that allows them to prioritize targets based on data and create a phone call “playlist”. Prospects are called one after another directly from a salesperson’s browser, allowing a sales team member to take notes, record calls, and log them into CRM.

Data is behind everything HubSpot does, and sales teams using HubSpot’s sales tools are empowered by the amount of information they’ve gathered on their leads, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Free Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System Tracks Interactions

Nathaniel told us that while marketing software may be the original flagship of the company, the free CRM offered by HubSpot is going to be the foundational product of the future as more companies seek to make sense of data.

While HubSpot’s marketing and sales software integrate with other CRM options, such as Salesforce, many companies find it easier to seamlessly integrate their marketing, sales, and CRM with HubSpot because it’s convenient having everything in one place.

Screenshot of HubSpot's CRM

HubSpot’s free CRM keeps sales and marketing professionals organized and informed about their customers.

HubSpot allows marketing and sales teams to manage a contacts database with up to 1 million prospects, logging every interaction with marketing content along the way. This gives salespeople a clear picture of the entire sales funnel organized onto one easy-to-understand dashboard.

“CRM is valuable because of the knowledge it provides,” Nathaniel said.

In modern sales, knowledge is considered power. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to spend your time efficiently with prospects that actually want to hear your sales pitch.

HubSpot Continues to Evolve to Meet Changing Consumer Trends

As Loren at Shopify discovered, using HubSpot’s information-driven technology can do a lot for a company’s sales conversions.

“Sales is now less about magic and more about science,” Loren said. “So it used to be that salespeople were magicians. If you were good at sales, everyone just chalked it up to some ungodly capability that no one could explain. And now, because of data, when you’re good at sales, people can explain it.”

HubSpot is centered on information and that extends to how it goes about helping its customers understand the software. And because HubSpot uses its own CRM, its customers always receive efficient support.

“Like a gym membership, we make sure a personal trainer is there making sure you are familiar with all the tools,” Nathaniel said. After all, what good is having all of this useful software if you don’t know how to employ it to drive sales?

Photo collage of HubSpot's office environment

HubSpot’s more than 1,400 employees use the company’s software to better assist its clients.

The HubSpot system offers an approach that works for everyone involved — salespeople spend time with clients interested in what they’re selling, and prospective customers are only approached by companies and products they’re most interested in.

With a focus on helping people sell in a more thoughtful way, HubSpot understands the value of knowing prospects’ needs within the sales and marketing industry. That’s why the company is leading the data-driven marketing and sales revolution.