Is a HubSpot CRM Right For Your Business?

If you do a Google search for “easy to use CRM” you’ll return more than 50 million results. Why so many? Because people hate using CRMs. Back in 2001, Gartner measured a 50% CRM failure rate. Chief among the reasons: lack of focus, complexity, and lack of commitment or buy-in. I’ve worked across multiple CRMs from Salesforce to HubSpot. As our client work spans marketing and sales teams, we inevitable tackle the CRM question. Many times we get asked if a HubSpot CRM is right for our clients. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. This is how we help our clients answer this question. 

Is a HubSpot CRM Right

TL;DR

If your organization matches any of the following, the HubSpot CRM might be a good fit for you:

  • You’ve struggled to adopt a CRM,
  • You’ve struggled to align sales and marketing
  • Your sales processes aren’t extremely complex
  • You like access to support without large costs
  • You’re looking for a functional CRM without blowing the bank. 

Don’t go it alone. Let’s figure out your best CRM option together.

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Where are you in your CRM journey?

If you’re relatively new to CRM, or an organization that’s struggled to adopt CRM across functions, HubSpot can be a great option. It’s been built to drive ease of adoption. Its integration to email inbox makes managing contacts easy, and it let’s reps spend more time selling and less time updating contact records. 

Are your sales and marketing teams in alignment?

If you’re looking to drive alignment throughout your marketing machine through the lead management – and you’re using the HubSpot marketing platform, HubSpot sales is a smart addition. Rather than adding more tools and tech to the mix, keeping with one platform helps drive data quality and reporting consistency. (Ps- here’s a way to check your Smarketing alignment if you need it.)

How complex are your sales processes?

Generally, the more complex the sales process gets, HubSpot (at this version) may not be the best CRM solution for you. The caveat being how you answer questions one and two. If your organization struggles with CRM adoption and aligning your sales and marketing team around consistent processes – HubSpot’s CRM is a great entry point to building your sales and marketing data muscle. 

Having a sales & marketing Service Level Agreement can help streamline your process. Here’s what ours looks like.

Is a HubSpot CRM Right

What kind of support and training do you need?

How do you learn best? Are you a self teacher who can poke around new software with ease? HubSpot is an intuitive CRM with a fantastic knowledge base and support team. If you’re looking to get a CRM up and running fast, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better support resources without shelling out thousands of dollars for training or administrators. 

What kind of efficiency would your sales team benefit from?

Ironically, sales reps spend the minority of their time actually selling. Too often they’re stuck with the administration of their CRM. HubSpot’s CRM is loaded with easy to use tools to drive sales rep efficiency so they can spend more time selling and less time administering software. 

What’s your budget threshold for software?

How much do you want to invest in your CRM? Consider all the costs. Subscription fees – term – setup and ongoing maintenance – support. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly CRM with some horsepower, HubSpot might be the right fit for you. 

What are your reporting needs?

Generally speaking, the more robust your reporting needs are, the more HubSpot may not be able to deliver. There are a lot of reporting options available within HubSpot, and with the reporting add-on, you can accomplish more. But compared with enterprise-level CRM, this is one area where the CRM doesn’t always stack up. 

inbound campaign checklist

Practical Ways to Implement A/B Testing on Conversion Funnels

A conversion funnel is what we call the path a user follows to convert on a landing page. You can read more about the basics here, but the parts that make up a conversion funnel are the CTA, Landing Page, Thank You Page, and the Thank You Email. As marketers and business people, we want people to convert, but sometimes our marketing underperforms or our guts say that good performance could be better. So then we test. Here are practical ways to implement A/B testing on conversion funnels and improve their performance. 

Implement A/B Testing

A/B Testing CTAs

CTA testing in HubSpot could not be any easier. By creating two versions of your CTAs- A and B- HubSpot will naturally serve the CTAs equally. When running multivariate CTA testing, we’re focusing the majority of our attention on the Click Rates because clicks are the main goal of a CTA. Submission rates are a secondary factor because they are mostly an indication of your landing page performance. The caveat here is relevance, though. High clicks and low submission rates can be an indication that the promise of your CTA is incongruent with that of your landing page. The messaging of one or the other may need to be adjusted. 

Not all leads are created equal! Download our Lead Scoring Guide to learn how to automate your lead qualification.

In this example, version A and B were created at the same time. After a few months of testing, both have nearly identical views, but the clicks on version B are a full percentage point higher. At this point, since we have a decent amount of data, it might be time to create a new version “A” to see if we can beat or at least match version B.

Implement A/B Testing

A/B Testing Landing Pages

HubSpot also makes implementing A/B testing on landing pages super easy. What you’re looking at when testing landing pages are submissions. WordStream tells us we want 10% or higher to be considered among the best. Some of the things you could vary are your headlines and copy. You can even try testing the medium of your offer- guide vs eBook vs infographic etc.- to see what your audience is more compelled to utilize.

One of the biggest advantages to A/B testing a landing page is to see how the length of a form affects your submissions. As marketers, we of course want as much data as we can get, but we also know that there’s a breaking point in what we request. High-value offers have a higher threshold for longer forms. To test, create two variants of your landing page- one with a shorter form and one with a more complex form- to find out where your persona’s threshold is. If you can get away with having a longer form and requesting more information without your submissions rates suffering, go for it.

If you’re not sure where to start with your landing page testing, you can try setting up heat mapping to see exactly how your users are interacting with your page. You might find people are leaving right away (a better headline or more appealing design, perhaps?) or abandoning the form (shorten that sucker up!). Bounce rates can also indicate where to start.

Bonus: are your landing pages optimized for SEO? Learn more about it here.

A/B Testing Thank You Pages

You create Thank You Pages (TYPs) variants the same way you do Landing Pages in HubSpot. So what are you looking for here? Engagement. You want people to access their offer (via a link or a button) and then go on to engage with the site. This is where you have the opportunity to move them through the funnel or charm them with delight. You can create full variants of your TYP or try testing a CTA within your TYP as we discussed above. 

A/B Testing Thank You Emails (Kind of)

Thank You Emails are the automated emails that send after a user submits a form. They can be set up directly on the landing page form or via a workflow. Unfortunately, you cannot implement A/B testing of automated emails in HubSpot. But, there are a few ways to get around it. What you want to measure by testing thank you emails are your open rates and click rates.

Lead Scoring Guide

Open rates are correlated to the strength of your subject line. To test, benchmark your current views and opens then manually make and publish your updates to the same email. Allow your updates to gather data and then measure performance against your benchmarked data. Rinse and repeat.

You can test the click rates in your thank you emails by creating multivariate CTAs as discussed in the CTA section above. You can also manually update the copy and hyperlinks to your “next step” offer (whatever action you’ve included in your TYE that you want your user to take next such as downloading a different offer or contacting you for a consult). Benchmark your stats and revisit often to check the efficacy of your updates. 

Must-Have Digital Marketing Technology to Facilitate SEO

When looking at the entire digital marketing technology landscape (all 7,040 options according to Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic), you have a lot of choices.

marketing technology for SEO

So when building your B2B search engine marketing tech stack, where do you start? With our article of course. Here are some of the must-have marketing tools for your B2B SEO stack.

But First, Strategy

We do need to preface this post with a word of caution and Intercom says it well, “a tool is not a strategy”. They go on to say, “you can compare different software packages by their features, but that’s like marrying someone based on their dating profile. The real value marketing software offers is in the strategy and approach it enables.”

So with that being said, start with the strategy and follow with technology. Don’t get lost swimming in the martech ocean of options.

Tech that Attracts & Optimizes

HubSpot’s new Flywheel is the latest and greatest model when it comes to how people think about their businesses. (Curious about the Flywheel? Learn more here). The Flywheel is broken down into three stages: Attract, Engage, and Delight. For this post, we’ll focus on tools that help attract visitors and as a little bonus, many of the tools serve a dual purpose with the ability to help curate data for later optimizations. Technology BOGO.

Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software. The mothership. The big Kahuna. It’s almost impossible to talk about digital marketing technology without at least mentioning it. So what exactly is marketing automation? According to HubSpot, marketing automation is defined as the following:

Marketing Automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions such as emails, social, and other website actions.

In addition to the tasks noted above, most marketing automation software has additional features that can help to attract website visitors, which brings us to HubSpot.

HubSpot

HubSpot is inbound marketing, sales, and service software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Although that definition is somewhat technical, HubSpot really can be a one-stop shop.

At Lake One, we’re big fans of HubSpot and not to mention, we’re also a HubSpot Gold Agency. However, admittedly, HubSpot is an investment in time and in most cases, money. Pricing varies from free to paid based on different services and Hubs.

Want to know what other marketing tools make our favs list? Find out here.

Why we love it: We love HubSpot for its multi-use features that allow our marketing activities to stay connected in one platform. A few of our HubSpot favorites that further B2B SEO efforts are:

  • Landing pages: HubSpot makes it easy to create and duplicate landing pages that are optimized for conversion.
  • Forms: Forms are a must when it comes to capitalizing on the traffic you drive (whether paid or organic) to your website
  • Reporting: Although this doesn’t directly impact SEO, it sure does when it comes to optimization and measuring the effectiveness of your efforts. You can see where traffic is coming from and how visitors are converting (or not converting) on your site.

If you are hesitant to make the leap and purchase marketing automation software, rest assured that there are other tools out there to help you with your SEO objectives. Read on dear reader, read on.

Analytics Tools

If you’re an avid Lake One blog reader, you know we love data-driven decision making. The same rules apply for B2B SEO and especially, keyword research.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a well-known tool for backlinks and SEO analysis. You can audit your website, research competitors, and explore keywords and content. For keywords specifically, you can see top questions, new keywords, and keyword suggestions.

marketing technology

Why we love it: Among other things, Ahrefs gives you insight into how many backlinks it would take to rank on Google’s page one. We can plan our goals and outreach efforts accordingly with their additional insight.

For more Keyword Research Tools, read our blog.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you a birds-eye view of your organic traffic but also allows you to drill-down into specifics like channel or by segment such as audience, behavior, and conversion reports for your organic traffic segment.

Why we love it: It’s a time-tested, reliable source- it’s the Granddad of web analytics. We also love that we can set up goals to track traffic as it moves through specific funnels as a means to monitor how audiences navigate through the site.

For more info on GA, check out this article by Medium.

Content Creation Tools

When it comes to B2B SEO, content creation is inevitable. You must be doing it. Here are a few of our favorite content creation tools.

WordPress

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) which accounts for both entire websites and stand-alone blogs.

Why we love it: We’ve found it to be easy to use and really allows for concentrated SEO efforts through plug-ins like Yoast.

Unbounce

Unbounce is a platform that allows you to quickly create, launch, and test-high converting landing pages, popups, and sticky bars without developers.

Why we love it: If you decide to go sans HubSpot or another marketing automation software with landing page capabilities, this is the next best thing. You can easily create customized landing pages and have insights into the data for optimization.

Digital Outreach

Digital outreach and backlink building are critical, yet manual, components of SEO. If done right, outreach should be personalized and tailored to each opportunity. As you can imagine, when it takes several earned backlinks to make an impact on B2B SEO, digital outreach can be time-consuming.

BuzzStream

BuzzStream helps automate some of the outreach processes through researching influencers, managing your relationships, and conducting outreach that’s personalized yet efficient all in one single platform.

Why we love it: Especially as our team continues to grow, it’s critical we have outreach housed in a visible platform for the team at large to access. It takes outreach out of the depths of our inbox and puts it in front of our team.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t mistake tools as a strategy. Lead with a strategy and tools and technology should follow.
  • Marketing Automation Software like HubSpot is awesome, but not necessary to achieve your B2B SEO goals.
  • Content tools that help you easily create and optimize landing pages are a must.
  • No matter what tools you use, you can’t forget about the linkage! Digital Outreach can be time-consuming, but critical.

Lake One’s Favorite Marketing Tools for Making Life Easier

Part of the Lake One Modern Marketing philosophy reloves around utilizing a smartly crafted tech stack to research, execute, and analyze marketing. There are many tools we collectively use, but independently, we have a few front-runners that allow us to work smarter and harder. Here are our favorite marketing tools for making life easier.

marketing tools

Ryan’s Picks

Keywords Everywhere

Keyword research can be laborious. With the Keywords Everywhere extension, it becomes part of all your activity. Some of the best features include seeing keyword data across multiple sites from search to Amazon. Set KW to highlight keywords at a certain volume, price, or competition threshold so you discover them quickly. Then, you can to add to and export lists. Keywords Everywhere is a marketing tool that makes research become part of regular internet browsing.

Marketing Tools

Ghostery

I’m a martech nerd. I love to know what tools are being used. With the Ghostery plugin, you can dissect a competitor’s marketing stack quickly by seeing what tags are installed. For me, I usually stumble upon a new tool once or twice a week worth exploring.

Want to know what it’s like working with Lake One? Give this blog a read.

Pixel

I was a long time iPhone user, since the first generation. A couple of years ago I converted. First, for battery life. I’m on the road a lot during the day with clients and prospects, so not needing to carrying a charging cord with me every second is huge. Second, with new generations of Pixels, they’ve built in spam tracking and call screening. Unfortunately, with number spoofing, it’s too easy for spammers to take up space in my voicemail. At a glance or with a call screen I can weed them out and not interrupt my day. Third, the camera/video is awesome. The Pixel makes for a great tool to produce quick content on the go.

Rachael’s Picks

Jing

I’ve had Jing installed on my machine for nearly a decade.

Jing makes taking and sharing screenshots a breeze, and in my opinion, is a must for those in client-facing roles. Why? Because of its ease of use and quick sharing capabilities. My favorite feature is the option to take a screenshot, annotate it, save it as a ‘copy’, and then share it simply by using “paste” vs having to save it to your computer and upload. You can paste it wherever you need it to go (in an email, in a slack conversation, google doc, and even in a text message).

Preview (Mac)

If you have a Mac, you’ve likely used Preview for one thing or another like viewing a picture or a PDF. But file viewing isn’t why Preview makes my list… It’s the ability to easily resize images for the web.

As best practice, images should ideally be under 500KB if possible, and Preview makes it happen with a few clicks. Simply click ‘Tools’ and then ‘Adjust Size’.  Voila. 

Marketing Tools

Slack

By definition, “Slack is a collaboration hub for work, no matter what work you do” and that’s pretty spot on.  The possibilities with Slack seem endless, but at Lake One, we use it for ideation, collaboration, and oftentimes, we share client updates. Here are a couple of our favorite features.

Channels: Slack allows you to sort your conversations by channels. On our #LakeOne channel, we often discuss our internal marketing efforts, like this blog, and team wins. 🙂

Integrations: Slack can integrate with several platforms (think HubSpot, HeyTaco, and Google Docs) and provide real-time updates.

Giphys: You can easily incorporate Giphys into your slack conversation and this feature alone has provided so many laughs. I may be biased, but our slack channel is pretty entertaining.

Marketing Tools

In all seriousness though, Slack allows the ability for instant communication which is a must, especially for virtual teams.

Danielle’s Picks

Yoast

Yoast is a blog plugin for WordPress. There are so many reasons why this makes my favorite marketing tools list. First, without Yoast, there’s no way I can edit my meta description or SEO Title. Yoast allows me to do that- they call it the Snippet. In addition, I can enter in a “focus keyword”. By doing so, Yoast scans my post and helps guide my optimization process. I can get a snapshot of how well I’ve included my keywords through the blog, meta, and alt-texts. It gives suggestions to make the post more SEO-friendly by offering improvements and pointing out potential problems.

Marketing Tools

Additionally, Yoast offers a “readability” analysis. This tells me if any sections are too long, how the writing scores on the Fleche Reading Ease test, and if there are too little or too many transition words. It gives me an overall audit of how well the post is written.

Google Hangouts

Because, #ViturtalTeam. We use Google Hangouts for all of our internal meetings. We love it because we already use Google Calendar, so adding Hangouts is a simple extra step. We even have one specific Hangout URL bookmarked that we pull up for impromptu meetings or check-ins with each other. This saves our team a ton of time and allows us to connect via video chat to keep projects moving.

While we love Slack for instant chat, the voice and video calls can be glitchy, not always picking up on the microphone. Hangouts saves the day in reliability there, so it’s always our default for voice and video.

RiteTag

Whenever we start doing social media posting for a client, we conduct a hashtag analysis. We look at the hashtags they tend to use already and then brainstorm what we think would be beneficial for them based on their content strategy. I run those hashtags through RiteTag. RiteTag tells me how popular (or not) a hashtag is in three categories: get seen now, get seen over time, and don’t use. It also gives me related tags I can add to our list and allows me to decide what the better choice between two may be. For example, #DigitalAgency is good for long-term exposure whereas #DigitalAgencies is no bueno. #DigitalMarketing is a great choice to be seen now. RiteTag is a marketing tool every marketer should have bookmarked for easy access.

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Four 2019 Marketing Trends You Can Count On

If you’ve been paying attention, the most likely 2019 marketing trends will come as no surprise. With an over-arching theme to connect to consumers personally, we expect 2019 to be filled with content intended to engage and meet consumers where they are rather than getting in their face. Here are the four trends we’d like to call attention to for the upcoming year.

Continue reading “Four 2019 Marketing Trends You Can Count On”

7 Key Findings from the 2018 State of Inbound to Fuel Your 2019 Planning

Don’t look now but, we’re on the fast track to the start of a new year. As we put the finishing touches on the fourth quarter, spend time with family and friends across a mountain of holiday parties – are you all set for 2019? Sales and marketing goals set – check. Budget in place – check. Awesome!

If not, you might find these insights from Hubspot’s 2018 state of inbound instructive as you finalize your 2019 planning.

Key Findings from the 2018 State of Inbound

Inbound is Mainstream

Inbound is now the primary approach to marketing across the organization’s surveyed. That means more organizations are listening to their buyers and creating marketing programs to attract, convert, and delight their buyers rather than push and cram marketing and sales messages down their throats.

Inbound Methodology is Mainstream

Traffic and Conversion Remains Top Priority

Getting more traffic and converting leads into customers continue to be top priorities for marketers. These two priorities emphasize the importance of aligning your marketing to the where your buyers are in their journey and always striving towards delivering content that is timely and relevant.

State of Inbound - Marketers Prioritize

Budgets Matter

One-third of the organizations surveyed spend $100,000 or more a year on marketing, and that doesn’t include marketing staff. Setting aside a budget for marketing – a real one – is critical to success. Expecting a unicorn college graduate to do everything and do it with only $1,000 a month to spend incrementally a month is a tough row to hoe – especially if you’re looking to grow.

While financial budgets are important, we find the clients who are the most successful are the ones who not only allocate financial resources but human resources as well. Committing the time necessary to collaborate and move marketing forward is a key driver of a humming marketing program.

Sales Wants to Focus on Closing

Sales folks overwhelmingly want to focus on closing more deals. Color us shocked. This really shouldn’t be all that insightful to anyone unless you’ve been under a rock. It becomes more insightful as we look at the other data points around sales priorities, capacity, and the alignment with marketing. Read on friends, read on.

State of Inbound Sales and Marketing Alignment

Getting a Response Has Gotten Harder

In order to be closing, you need a big ole’ pipeline which means you need to do a lot of prospecting. In fact, Jeb Blunt, the sales brain behind SalesGravy.com and author of Fanatical Prospecting, points out that, “the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipe, and the root cause of an empty pipeline is the failure to prospect.” Here’s the thing, modern marketing is well equipped to help in this area, and the best performing organizations understand this; they drive toward alignment between their sales and marketing teams to make this a reality.

State of Inbound Prospecting

Sales & Marketing Need to Better Align Roles Across the Funnel

Not only has prospecting gotten hard, but much of the presale activity, like prequalification, are also things sales folks struggle with. Again, modern marketing is equipped to help in these areas. Modern marketing is well intended to attract the right kinds of prospects and will put the automations and filtering mechanisms in place to qualify and identify them.

State of Inbound Presale

Teams with Sales and Marketing SLAs Perform Better

This all leads to the final insight that we found the most interesting. When sales and marketing teams come together around a sales and marketing SLA, the teams perform better.  There is naturally better alignment and accountability across sales and marketing teams, and each team is focused on what they are best equipped to do. Marketing – attracting, nurturing, and qualifying leads and opportunities at scale. Sales – identifying opportunity, advising on solutions, and closing deals.

State of Inbound SLAs

Our Take on Sales & Marketing Focus in 2019

Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen the best performance from our clients when sales and marketing tightly align around expectations and collaboration. Looking ahead to 2019, we expect to see more of this. The story the data from the 2019 State of Inbound tells is one of a tech-enabled evolution in the relationship between sales and marketing. One where the two teams realize they’re both playing with the same end in mind.

Download the 2018 State of Inbound Global Report

 

Interested in learning more about the latest sales and marketing trends sales and marketers are reporting globally? Download the 2018 State of Inbound.