Sunday, February 14, 2021

Which CRM & Marketing Automation software will work best for your company?



Our Company had serious Marketing. Automation problems. I had just started as Marketing Operations Manager at a startup that was expanding rapidly towards a hoped-for IPO, But there was no effective, integrated Marketing system to operate. I needed to decide which one was the best for the Company.

How could I fix it? First, I needed to examine the available CRM and Marketing Automation systems. I also needed to understand the needs intimately from an automation perspective of the critical stakeholders - In this case, Sales, Operations, Account Management, and Services.

Once we'd decided on which CRM and Marketing Automation tools to purchase, I had to execute the strategy and roll out the system. The board had to be convinced that we maximized our ROI. The various teams also had to be confident that we had a fine-tuned Sales-integrated Demand Generation Marketing engine. I joked that we needed to turn a bicycle into a sports car over Xmas!

Initially, we needed to decide whether to keep Pipedrive, our current CRM. Stay or Go? We decided on 'Go' - We needed Hubspot CRM or Salesforce. Second, Mailchimp Marketing Automation. Stay or go? Definitely 'Go': Mailchimp did not have the sophistication we required for the highly integrated, professional-looking campaigns we desired for the B-2-B business.

Ultimately, it all came down to Salesforce with Pardot or Hubspot Sales Hub with the Marketing Hub.

We broke it down like this:

The sales team really liked Hubspot CRM, and it was cheaper. I love Pardot and Hubspot for marketing. But I have a soft spot for Hubspot because it's delivered great results for my marketing teams and myself over the years. Fun fact: I lived four blocks from Hubspot's HQ in Cambridge, Massachusetts (by Kendall Square), for seven years, up to 2015. 

Also, they have brilliant explainer articles, videos, and templates I’ve been using for many years. I also read Brian Halligan’s book ‘Inbound Marketing back in 2010, and I was a convert immediately!

Here were a few of the pricing options once we narrowed it down to Hubspot:

And here are a few examples of how we weighed up the options in a more Qualitative way.

Negotiating all the different parties and teams within the Company and Hubspot was challenging. Luckily, the negotiations workshop I attended whilst an MBA student at Northeastern University Business School, run by Professor Wertheim, kicked in.

The agreement went down the wire, and we signed the last thing at the end of the quarter. We secured an excellent 20% discount. £42,000 for a two-year contract, which Italy followed shortly afterwards. I also closely assisted with the Italian team's roll-out a month later. 

The next step was rolling it out and migrating all our data from Pipedrive. I took Six Hubspot certificates over Christmas, so I’d be on top of it, including; Marketing Automation, Reporting, Inbound Marketing, Sales Hub admin and so on. 

I managed to hook it up to our WordPress site, Migrate all our data from Pipedrive, integrate it with all our social media and Digital Ads Campaigns and create subdomains and branded landing pages, a blog site and email templates.

- How long should it have taken, according to Hubspot? 3 months.

- How long did we take? Six weeks - one of my direct reports was out for three of those weeks with COVID-19

It would have been a month had not one of my team contracted Covid.

So how does this Startup Marketing Automation Engine work today? We’ve been ‘Live’ for two weeks. Here's my latest Marketing Operations company-wide report;

  1. We started promoting our new Retail X Sustainability report (Top 50 retailers on eco-friendly commerce) when our site went live a few weeks ago. 
  2. InPost has yielded 125 leads and counting since going live two weeks ago through contacts downloading the Report through our promotions. Seventy-seven of those are Marketing Qualified Leads: We have reduced the cost per lead from £25/Lead to £6.25.
  3. We have created a comprehensive plan to promote, market and generate leads for our new contactless returns, the ‘Instant Drop.’ campaign.
  4. I have set up automation flows for our Sales team, which has already created five good Opportunities with decision-makers at our target accounts (Account-based Marketing Campaigns).
Marketing Automation & CRM IT Consulting Project - Key Takeaways
  • Yes, it was stressful and demanding work (I only took three days off over the Christmas period & worked many long days and almost every weekend), but we rolled this out in record time.
  • Make sure you are entirely on top of the software before you complete the setup - in my case, I took Hubspot Certifications. But you may have other ways to accomplish this and be confident in your mastery of Hubspot.
  • Utilise the Hubspot team. Our Account Executive, Andy Boland, with whom I negotiated our package, and our Senior Customer Onboarding Specialist, Giada Tedesco, were both outstanding.
  • Work with evangelists in your own Company. One salesperson helped me every step of the way. Our IT lead and web manager also pitched in nobly. 
  • Don't lose heart. I now have a delighted sales and marketing team and the warm fuzzy feeling of doing a great job. It was well worth all our hard work - nothing beats that feeling!
Find out more about Marketing for startups here. Or CRM and Marketing Automation Solutions for your Company here.

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