Selling copiers is becoming harder and harder year after year. Margins are shrinking, no one answers the phone, and with passcodes on elevators you can't even "drop in" to other businesses after a sales visit in a building.
You still want your business to grow.
You could double-down on existing sales strategies that worked 20 years ago, but don't today. Or you could be smarter.
Here at Convergo, I am the one who bleeds orange (HubSpot's logo is bright orange - that's their SPROCKET above). I've built two businesses based on HubSpot. As a diehard fan of the company, AND a HubSpot gold partner, I couldn't be more excited that copier dealers are now learning about a new company, software tool, and marketing methodology that can truly transform their business through inbound leads and sales growth.
What I'm NOT excited about is companies are throwing out the words "HubSpot" and "Inbound" and "Inbound leads" without completely understanding what they mean as they attempt to glom onto a new marketing strategy exploding within the copier community. I'm NOT excited by companies pitching to you about the benefits of inbound marketing without first explaining the hard work that needs to be done to make it work.
Most especially, I'm NOT excited about anyone who gives the impression that HubSpot is a magical solution to your lead generation crisis.
Wait, what? You sell HubSpot. I can read your thoughts: isn't this where you tell me HubSpot is the best thing for my company and that if I buy it, and your services, I'll double my leads in 6 months?
Nope. Read on for why.
What Is HubSpot?
So, HubWho? HubDot? HubWot?
There are HubSpot (the company) and HubSpot (the product).
Simply put, HubSpot (the product) is a sales tool designed to assist in the attraction of leads for your sales team. It's a marketing automation tool that combines email marketing, Web landing pages, content assets, lists, tracking, and more into a single tool so that you can trace a customer's path through your sales process from their first Web visit to their first purchase. HubSpot also offers CRM and a robust content management platform, each integrated with the marketing automation tool.
HubSpot the company is a great company to partner with -- their energy and support for partners is awesome. They are also a case study themselves in the power of inbound marketing. They sell it, true, but they also walk the walk and inspire marketing professionals, like me, to do great work for my customers.
Folks are talking about it and praising it for its lead gen ability. And it’s all true - HubSpot can help you generate high quality leads for your sales team. There’s a lot more to it than the silver bullet you may think it is.
One of the best quotes I can think of comes from the dealer owner I used to work for. He said that we’re all wonderful before the sale, but it's after the sale that matters. That’s the beginning. I’m paraphrasing, but that has stuck with me. It's so true. The sales reps at the dealership were some of the best sales folks I have had the pleasure of working with, but they believed in what they were selling because they knew the team coming in behind them for the setup, installation, and service were top notch. The didn’t sell a box, they sold our brand. Copiers can’t take care of themselves. They need attention and quality care.
HubSpot needs quality care too, or it will break. I’ve seen it.
So - What CAN HubSpot Do For Your Copier Dealership?
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing software platform designed to maximize your inbound lead generation efforts. In order to actually attract the right types of leads into your sales funnel, you’ll need to create content that your target audience wants to read. That would be answers to questions they typically ask, informative how-to blogs or videos, blog posts, and in-depth eBooks that explain in greater detail the information they’re searching for.
HubSpot is the mechanism and tool we can use to:
- Attract visitors to the website
- Convert them to leads
- Close them as customers
- Delight them with a continual stream of information (because it's much easier to retain than it is to acquire - let’s keep those customers happy!)
These are the four stages of the inbound methodology. Each includes numerous elements required in order to get from one step to the next.
Here's a screenshot of one of our clients that shows the slow, sure, steady growth of Web traffic that happens with a continuous inbound effort. Note that this is organic traffic only (essentially search engine traffic), not direct visits to their site.
Here’s a screen shot of their contact database growth. These are people who looked for a keyword phrase, found this dealership, and willingly gave their contact information in exchange for an education eBook or download that would assist them in their research. We began sharing content for them in June, which is when leads first began to accumulate. It took time, but the lead flow is steady, strong and qualified now. No list purchases, no buyer zone lead fights - all pure organic contact information giving willingly.
BUT… I can hear your thoughts… only 40 leads in 6 months? Like I said - this all takes work and time. What you’re not considering is this. When is the last time a single sales rep produced 40 highly qualified leads inside of 6 months? Let’s look at another customer with a little more time under their belt. Now, we’re at about 70 leads. And that’s after about 18 months of planning and full inbound marketing power. What you don’t see is the folks that were reengaged through other inbound efforts who were already in the database and were given a reason to come back around for more services or who were touched a few years back and all of a sudden are looking for a copier provider again. Now, we’re looking at 196 marketing qualified leads. Can we say powerful???
So - what CAN'T HubSpot do?
HubSpot is not a silver bullet. No marketing automation platform is.
Without understanding how inbound marketing works, it's just a piece of software. You wouldn't sell a customer a large MFP and expect them to know how to set up the machine, its apps, and completely understand how to use all of the equipment's bells and whistles would you?
Once the ball is rolling, it can’t continue the momentum if you stop rolling the ball. You need to feed it and use it properly so your target folks can find you. If you stop, it's like your website is playing hide and go seek. Google doesn't like that game. Google prefers olly olly oxen free.
Case in point. We have a client who wanted to stop services 7 months into the contract so they could re-do their website. We urged them not to stop their inbound efforts, however, they needed to stick to their budget and understood that in dropping services back, they’d need to wait and be patient for the content to again build up and get their organic traffic back to where it had potential to go. So, for four months, we have been doing scaled back blogging. We went from a full Inbound lead gen strategy, to a maintenance, keep the lights on, mode. No social engagement, no email nurturing, no landing pages or downloads… just a few blogs a month. Here’s the result.
The growth was steady and in line with the standard 9-12 month projection, then in September, we went "maintenance." It proved that social impacts organic. No social means less attention from Google. Blogging alone is not enough - you have to market your content too.
So, what are the main elements necessary to put into HubSpot in order to make it work?
- Optimized website pages (not a brochure page with product specs - real pages of information that speak to your buyer persona)
- Social Engagement
- Conversion Landing Pages
- Lead Management
- Assets (downloadable eBooks, podcasts, checklists,etc.)
In a nutshell - you can give me a state of the art oven, eggs, flour, milk, sugar, and eggs - then I’ll make you a cake. But it sure ain’t gonna look like the Cake Bosses’. Same principle here. You can get HubSpot, throw in some blogs, a landing page or two, post randomly to social media, but if there is no true strategy or targeted, research-based buyer persona work done on the foundation, you’re gonna have a pretty sloppy mess of unqualified leads, if any at all.