Q: Good morning Hubsessed community. Super excited to have this interview about lead generation. Today, I have Liz on call and I'm going to let her introduce herself. So, tell our members a little bit about what you do.
A: Thanks so much, Sam. I am Liz Piontkowski from SmithBrown Marketing. I am our Director of Operations, but as everyone knows, when you work at a small agency in a small team, you wear many hats, so I am also our HubSpot expert.
I've spent about two and a half years on the platform doing everything from the Marketing Hub side to the Sales Hub side recently taken on the Service Hub side, so doing a lot of different activities there.
I work with primarily supply chain clients, so we spend a lot of time building different systems to help our B2B clients, make sure that they're prospecting accordingly and also delivering leads to the bottom line. Really excited to share some of my learnings today with y'all and hopefully teach you guys some new things.
Q: All right, and you just dropped the y'all, so tell us where are you tuning in from?
A: I am tuning in from Charleston, South Carolina right now.
Q: That explains it. We'll get into the first question here: One of the foundations to lead generation, I think, is understanding a brand's story. What are some pro tips you can give or that you prompt your customers, your clients, on how to really get clear on your story?
A: I love this question. It's one of the main things that we talk about as an agency. We are big promoters of Donald Miller's StoryBrand process. If you haven't heard of that before, Donald Miller is a speaker, he's written many different books across the spectrum and our favorite one is Building a StoryBrand. It's a seven step process on how to basically make sure you're talking to your customer in a very particular way, making your customer the hero of the story.
When you go in and read his book, which I would highly recommend everyone does, it's a quick read. It might ruin a few movies for you just because you'll be able to see that many stories follow the same overarching timeline, but we love it because it helps us talk to our customers about centering their customer as the hero of their own story. Making sure that you don't make your customer burn calories, learning more about you because they're centered every day when they wake up as the hero of their own story, so making sure that they understand how your product is going to make their life better.
Q: I love that. I haven't read it. It sounds like I need to get on that. I think that's one of HubSpot's main things is always thinking about your customer, making that the center of your business, and so making your brand story have the customer be the hero, that's great
A: We love to think and talk about our client's customers in terms of what messaging they want to hear from you. One of the things that we love the best about the Donald Miller framework is that he focuses on the philosophical problem that your customer's probably experiencing on a daily basis and how your services or product can help them get to the center of what they need from you to be able to win the day and be successful in either their jobs, or their careers, or their life in general.
What I really like is that he asks the primer of, what should your customer ought to be able to do with your product or what shouldn't they have to do? Double negative. But really starting to trigger what should they get from you and what should they not have to worry about?
HubSpot really helps us bring that all together with email campaigns. We love using the campaign feature just to make sure that we're tying all of our messaging together so that we can bring in the reporting and being able to share that back, as well as being able to track that to any deals that are in the system.
Q: That campaign feature is like money. If people aren't using it, you definitely need to hop onto that one. The other thing, when I was doing little research about you guys, I saw that SmithBrown was recognized as a platinum HubSpot partner for lead generation. You guys actually call yourselves lead generation engineers. You guys get a little scientifical about this. Give us maybe one or two tips on how our members can start thinking like an engineer with lead generation.
A: Lead generation is one of those things that you want to make sure that you're tracking everything that you're doing. What we love about HubSpot the most is the timestamp on every single property that's in there. Starting to think like a lead generation engineer means that you're thinking about all of the properties that are getting tracked from all of the marketing work that you're doing, as well as whatever your sales team is doing in your HubSpot engine, and making sure that you are using all of that to your advantage.
The properties are there for a reason. We like to think about the engineering in terms of how it's connecting everything throughout your funnel and your pipeline, making sure that those touch points are coming at the right time point where a property is getting updated and maybe that's influencing your messaging in a nurture drip campaign that's going out of HubSpot, or it's popping up in the progressive profiling on a landing page that they get to. If you know information about your lead, you should always use that to continue nurturing them throughout the process.
We really encourage our team to make sure that they're following that all the way through the funnel, as well as tracking that back to the bottom line. That's our biggest thing. You can't measure what you don't track, so we track everything. Once you track everything, you can see how it comes through in terms of your revenue and how you're going to reinvest that in marketing.
Q: This might be a dummy question here, but timestamp, is this a feature within HubSpot or is this just a tool?
A: Timestamp really just means the date and time that the activity happened in HubSpot. If you're on a contact, company, or deal record, the main three objects in HubSpot, you can go to the view all property history and see exactly what time things are getting changed. We love to use that to understand overall how the leads move through the system and then use some of those property changes to be able to trigger certain events from an overall marketing perspective.
Q: Next question for you, our members are always asking best practices. They want to reduce the repeatable just day to day tasks, so automation is key. Can you give us an example of a marketing automation workflow that you use for marketing qualified leads that's just blowing your customers out of the park?
A: I'm going to pull up a specific property here, and this is really going to be about lead scoring. I know your question was, how do you automate tasks and processes to be effective in terms of how you're working your empty wells and making sure that they're moving through the system effectively. What we really love about lead scoring in particular is that it combines that demographic information that you know about your prospects with any activities that they're doing in the system, and then you start to see that overlap in terms of who is your most targeted and warmest prospect, those people who are coming in on the MQL perspective that you want to get down into the SQL perspective.
We love lead scoring because it helps us recognize who those people are, start to put some specific things in the system that pull in either emails that reach out to them and say, "Hey, I see that you were interested in different parts of our platform in terms of payment processing. Let me make sure that you understand what this could do for you today." Bring them back in that StoryBrand perspective, understanding what they want to hear from you, but also making sure that it ties back into your product. Like, how is your product going to help them win the day? I will share my screen to bring up the lead scoring product that we have set up here.
I think that probably everyone who's listening to this is familiar with lead scoring as a property feature within HubSpot. We really like to pull in the properties and then use this as part of the automation. I've pulled up properties here specifically because we're looking at the positive and negative attributes that come from lead scoring.
What I pulled up here is specifically a client of ours that works with warehouses and repairing towing companies. What we're seeing here in terms of lead scoring is pulling together specific things that their prospects are doing. There's MQLs, clicking on CTAs, and then cross sectioning that against demographic information that we know makes a super qualified lead for them.
We really like to pull together this lead scoring property to show those attributes that they're seeing award points to that, and then share those points over with the team so that they see within several categories of our lead scoring framework, who is the right person that they should be reaching out to and who needs a little bit more nurturing before they should move through the pipeline, making sure that you get your MQLs to the right point in time before they move into that SQL status. And we feel like lead scoring really helps us do that as well as make sure that those prospects are getting touch points at the right point in time, too.
Q: This is so great. I can see why you guys are the engineers. Out of curiosity, the customers who do come and sign on with you guys, are they already using lead scoring when they find you or are you helping them break this down?
A: We're helping them break this down. This is one of the many things that we do for clients, and it's really part of when they come to us, usually our clients have used HubSpot in the past, but sometimes need a little bit of help in terms of how they can be using it better, making sure that automation is set up correctly because there's so much to do in HubSpot, especially nowadays, in terms of automation, making sure that it's connecting all the way through your pipeline, making sure that once you get a customer in the door, they have everything that they need from you and that you're touching points with them in terms of your website, as well as your service portals.
We really like that HubSpot can help us follow that whole chain of events and that we can make sure that lead scoring is then added into that overall architecture so that those customers of ours, in particular, are using HubSpot's, all of its nuts and bolts, as well as making sure that they're getting to the right prospects at the right point in time.
So to answer your question, Sam, because I know I was a little long winded there, we think that lead scoring is the perfect piece, the cherry on top of the overall sundae, once you get through the cleanup and making sure that all your pieces are in the right parts of the funnel and it's the overall wrap up in terms of using HubSpot and making sure that you're using automation well.
Q: Totally. I'm just so curious about this, but how often do you advise our members to review their lead scoring and update these properties?
A: Definitely advise for lead scoring, as with any good nurture campaign, it's not a set-it-up-and-forget-it, you should always be coming back and making tweaks. I would say with this particular client and their lead score set up, we set it up about four months ago and we've tweaked it two or three times since then. You should always be paying attention to reporting, making sure that things are getting through the system and that they're getting through the system in the right way, so you're not seeing a bunch of close loss leads, that generally means that things are working and there's something you probably want to tweak there in terms of your overall either qualification process or how touch points are getting to customers and that overall story that you're providing them with.
We usually will set something up like this, let it run for two to three weeks. We generally want to see a good number of leads go through it. It depends on the client and definitely their sales cycle and that kind of stuff, something that you always want to be thinking about. But once we see a good number of leads start to go through this, then we will come back and reevaluate, was the number of CTAs clicked was that actually how they, on average interact, with the website, or do they come through and really only interact with one page? Should we be focusing more on specific pages and specific activity types? Or should we be focusing on the overall picture in terms of lead scoring?
We find that there's a lot of different things that you want to tweak and fiddle with. And then as you add more products or you start to see a new customer base as economic forces change, lead scoring should always change with that as well.
Q: So valuable. Good insight here. Thank you. Did you have anything else that you wanted to mention on the workflow automation before we hop onto our final question?
A: I would just say make HubSpot work for you. The workflow has so many different things that have been added within the last year. In particular, one of the things that we really celebrated as a team was the lead rotation assignment. We have a few different clients who love to keep the competition at an edge with their sales team, so making sure that that's being used is really key. There are a lot of great things that are getting added to HubSpot. I would always recommend checking out the betas and stuff if you have access to them.
Q: Right, like the multiple if/then branches. All of that.
A: We were so pleased too to see that go to action item with the if/then branch, it was one of those things where back in 2018, I remember us having 20 different if/then branches, because we couldn't just hook it back up.
Q: It's much cleaner. I listened to the HubCast and Duff Meister has some great screenshots of just the older version versus now and they're so much cleaner. Final question here. What is currently working best when it comes to lead generation and what is something you think that's going to be working well in the future as marketing continues to evolve?
A: I think everyone knows we're in the midst of a pandemic right now. COVID has definitely changed many things that we've seen in the overall lead generation cycle. And one of the things that we've really focused on and something that we've continued to build out in terms of our overall product structure is that the value of the human connection is not gone. Just placing a phone call is so key still. Making sure that there's touch points in your overall cycle in terms of how you talk to your leads, the phone call can be the last thing that really gives them that human connection that makes them ready to buy, and something that you can track through HubSpot. So, why don't do it?
Q: I love that, because I feel like probably about a year ago, it was like phone calls were out of the market, and you should only use email. Now, with this, and maybe the lack of human connection, phone calls make it seem like this company is going an extra mile and giving a call. And obviously those are probably going to be sales qualified people you're giving that call to.
I would say that definitely sales qualified people, but you can never start too early with that phone call. Something that you could always try at the top of your funnel to see if it helps qualify people a little bit faster. But I would say that with everyone in March and April really hitting the email and the inbox super hard, it definitely brought a bit of fatigue into the overall structure, so the phone call is definitely a way to get that person’s attention.
Q: I love it. I always am just interested and I love to ask our interviewees, what is your morning beverage that you love to begin your day with?
A: I am a through and through coffee person. I'm on my third cup of the day. But yeah, love the percolator coffee. That's my go to.
Q: I was going to say, well, how do you brew your coffee, because that can get specific. A percolator, good stuff. All right, well, thank you so much, Liz, for coming on. I'm excited to share this with our members. So much value here. Check out SmithBrown Marketing. They are amazing engineers.
A: We definitely look forward to seeing you guys and would love to chat some more. Happy to provide more tips and updates. I'm in the network, so you can hit me at any time.