How Kiwi tech companies can better leverage their investment in marketing automation
Use of marketing automation tools amongst New Zealand hi-tech companies has exploded in recent years according to the NZTE-sponsored Market Measures study, from 13% of firms in 2015 to 50% in 2017. Of that recent number, 54% were using the HubSpot platform.
A common question we get from business owners with HubSpot is ‘how can I get more out of this investment’? And it is a significant investment for any SME – in terms of time and effort, and of licensing costs.
Used correctly HubSpot can increase the efficiency of your selling process, slashing the cost of acquiring new customers. But how can you make sure you are getting bang for your HubSpot buck?
The HubSpot trifecta
What can you use HubSpot for? There are three principle areas:
- CREATING THE SHOPFRONT: HubSpot offers a content management system to build and manage your website.
- GETTING PUNTERS IN THE DOOR: HubSpot’s marketing automation platform enables you to attract visitors to your website to consume content and start engaging. You can build landing pages and forms on your website to capture visitors' details, use social media, email and online advertising to promote these to people, and then nurture them with automated email sequences.
- CLOSING THE DEAL: To manage people who have qualified as sales leads: the CRM enables you to record and track people through your sales process, monitoring their behaviour and tracking your interactions with them through to becoming a customer.
There are lots of other bells and whistles like presenting personalised content to website visitors, lead scoring intelligence, or providing sales teams with alerts, but these are the fundamentals. Many companies don’t use HubSpot for all three areas, and there are valid reasons for that.
For web development, many companies will already have a website when implementing marketing automation and unpicking that can be difficult. It is often simpler to just integrate HubSpot with your existing website as the process is seamless.
For CRM, companies also have sunk investments and acres of customer data in their CRMs and can be loath to transition off them. There is real benefit in doing so, as outlined below, but it’s not always feasible.
It is the attraction component (#2 above) where the biggest waste of HubSpot investment occurs. HubSpot users with a lament about cost-effectiveness are often not using the product in sufficient breadth. That is, they are using elements of it but matching it with other standalone solutions.
For example, they are building landing pages using HubSpot, but using a different email newsletter tool (like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor) to promote it. Or using a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to manage their social media publishing to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn etc.
HubSpot’s marketing automation platform doesn’t offer the best email tool, or the premiere social media monitoring and management tool, or the cleverest landing page design tool, or even the best analytics package. It is the combination of these into one that is the key, the power that makes managing lead generation projects much more efficient and enables you to measure them with greater accuracy. Ultimately to get more return on your investment.
It is the classic smartphone analogy. You could find a better camera, a better GPS navigation device, a better handheld computer, probably a better phone – but combining these functions into one device makes for a powerful solution. You have to make compromises along the way, but the end result is better for most users.
If you are worried about your HubSpot investment, that would be my first piece of advice, ensure you are actually using all of the pieces for which you are shelling out. Don’t be swayed by team members who say the pixels are rendered better in another email client, or the granularity of social media posting in this other tool is better. At the margins that may be true, but the overall benefit of using the combined tool far outweighs these minor differences.
With unlimited time and resources you could select the best point solutions and painstakingly integrate them, but if you don’t have that luxury, a HubSpot compromise is a better option.
You are only having to purchase, install, manage and train on one technology. There is only one support team to call when you need help. Less integrations with other tools reduces the risks of weak points in your system.
Connecting HubSpot marketing automation with the free HubSpot CRM can also be a powerful combination, although as outlined above, sunk investment and hard to extract data in an existing tool like Salesforce, Sugar or Capsule can be a barrier. However, having your prospect and customer data in one place, and connected with your marketing systems, means you can be a lot more automated and personalised than having a range of disparate tools.
For example, you can track a person’s journey from first touch of your website (for example via a Google search) right through to becoming a loyal customer. It’s a buying journey that for a typical Kiwi B2B tech company, can involve literally hundreds of online interactions and many months of elapsed time. With an integrated system you can follow the progress and provide help along the way, in the form of content and human interaction.
Are there other ways to get more out of your HubSpot investment? Apart from using the tools you are paying for, the other real gain people can make is using the HubSpot Academy and other learning resources.
Simply Google whatever challenge you have, along with the word HubSpot, and you will get a choice of blogs, whitepapers and other resources freely available to help. This is one of the reasons we were attracted to the technology, because it gave us the ability to bootstrap ourselves into becoming experts.
The HubSpot Academy is the company’s free educational resource. There are series of videos and written resources, backed with free certifications that you and your team can do to up your knowledge of the inbound marketing concept, and how to apply the technology.
Too many technology tools in a typical business end up as ‘shelfware’’, don’t let HubSpot be one of those.