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Building strong customer relationships with HubSpot
27 December 2022
How does a CRM tool help you build stronger, better relationships with your customers? By making their experience throughout the customer journey as smooth as possible. To make this happen, marketing, sales, and service must work together — with a tool like HubSpot. Lander Janssens (iO), Steven Van Duyse (iO), and Anneleen Boullart (InSites Consulting) will tell you all about it in this panel discussion.
About the experts
Lander Janssens is Insights Director at iO. He uses his experience in sales, strategy, and digital transformation to boost iO’s growth.
Steven Van Duyse is a Senior Business Strategist at iO. He guides organisations in their digital transformation and designs strategies to automate business-critical processes in sales, marketing, and customer service.
Anneleen Boullart is Senior Strategic Marketing Director at InSites Consulting. Her team serves as a link between marketing and other business departments.
Eliminating silo thinking
Steven: "In the past, there were sales, marketing and customer service departments in many large organisations. The biggest difference with today is how those departments used to operate in relation to each other."
It used to be normal for those departments (and, by extension, all the other departments) to work as silos —separate islands that each did their own thing, independently of each other. There were no shared goals, there was no communication between sales and marketing, and the collaboration between silos was difficult and laborious.
Steven: "An organisation benefits if marketing leads are properly passed on to sales, and if sales can clearly articulate what those needs are with certain customers and leads. But breaking down those silos is not easy."
Lander: "With the input of the marketing team, commercial teams can service the needs of prospects and customers better. This allows them to bring in new business more efficiently or upsell existing partnerships."
Also at InSites Consulting — a next-generation insights agency that has been bridging the gap between brands and consumers with rich, actionable insights since 1997 — there was a greater need for centralisation, automation, and insights. This was down to company’s strong growth and their global portfolio of customers.
Anneleen: "We are currently engaged in a major rebranding project. InSites Consulting employs around 800 people, we are active on all continents. In other words: it’s a slow a process."
The importance of strong, relevant content
InSites Consulting has been aware for some time that combining strong content with the right channels is becoming increasingly important for organisations when they are trying to reach customers and leads.
To this end, the company has been focusing on content in the field of thought leadership for years — with, for example, contributions from generational expert Joeri Van den Bergh and a clearly defined vision on sustainability, innovation, branding, and customer experience.
Steven: "In recent years, we have made the step from a product-based content story, with a strong focus on the decision phase, to a kind of thought leadership, where the focus shifts to the awareness phase — or even pre-awareness. Organisations are increasingly taking over the role of sector magazines: they demonstrate and prove that they know the market inside out with podcasts, webinars, videos, magazines, and eBooks."
People are looking for companies that can tell them something new. In that respect, that type of content is the perfect way to get your products and services in front of the right people in a relatively independent way.
That content may be the ideal way to reach people — and ultimately convince them to buy — but creating strong content remains very labour-intensive. To streamline that process, a tool like HubSpot is a godsend.
"HubSpot is more than a marketing automation tool"
In recent years, HubSpot has evolved from a marketing automation tool to a complete tool stack that offers solutions in the field of sales, marketing, and customer service.
Steven: "Organisations can link tools such as Google Ads, LinkedIn, and their ticketing and customer service systems to their HubSpot setup. The platform forms the basis for a large customer data platform (CDP) that displays data from different sources clearly and shares it between different departments."
HubSpot can be a useful tool for organisations that would like to take the next step — organisations where there is already some foundation, like an initial content plan, or a number of tests around data capture.
HubSpot is also an important part of the transformation at InSites Consulting.
Anneleen: "Digital transformation is always a complex process, but it goes a lot smoother if it is supported by a user-friendly tool with a low entry threshold and a lot of possibilities. In the past, our approach was ad hoc, now we want to map the performance of our campaigns and our content in more detail. A tool like HubSpot can help us to keep an overview of different touchpoints."
Websites, events, blog posts, social media, and more: depending on the industry, the size of the organisation, and the online behaviour of the customers, any channel can be relevant to build a lasting bond.
Anneleen: "One of the biggest advantages of HubSpot is that we can now connect and share a lot more metrics with internal stakeholders. Gut feeling is always going to be important, but with HubSpot we now have more quantifiable, black-and-white evidence that our efforts are paying off."
When an organisation uses a new tool, it inevitably has an impact on how they work. That is no different when it comes to InSites Consulting and HubSpot.
Anneleen: "The foundation is there now, but there is still a lot of room to automate and optimise further. We want to continue to streamline the relationship with our customers and start the conversation about things that they find relevant. That's why our marketing metrics are evolving from quantity-based to quality-based."
Account-based marketing and RevOps
When you start pushing more relevant content to your customer, you're engaged in account-based marketing — although you may not realise it.
In account-based marketing (ABM), the default marketing funnel is reversed. Organisations look for companies where they believe they can really offer added value, in order to approach those companies with a very personal approach.
Steven: "At ABM, sales and marketing teams work closely together. It's easier to reach the right people with personalised content than with broad campaigns."
ABM fits perfectly into the story of RevOps, or revenue operations, the latest way of working. In addition, the processes of marketing, sales, and customer service are put under one large umbrella with a common goal: increasing turnover.
So there is a new mindset.
Steven: "Organisations don’t trawl the oceans hoping to find random customers — they become, as it were, like specialist fishermen who are very focused on looking for the customers that they can build long term relationships with."
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