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Thought Leaders In Sales 2.0: Mark Roberge, VP Of Sales, HubSpot (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, Oct 29th 2010

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Sudhindra Chada

Sramana: So, you put this website grader out, and you said that up to 2.5 million people are using it?

Mark: Yes.

SM: Help me understand how the process follows from there. What you do with these 2.5 million leads?

Mark: That process is aligned. I was the first salesperson to start here, three or four years ago. Back then I just called people; we didn’t have lot of processes. I set up a personal account at Salesforce.com. Today, our job in sales is to take these inbound leads and convert them to successful customers. We only hunt; we don’t do any farming. My job in sales is to take those leads and turn them into customers. All of those leads coming from website grader, our blog, our white papers, our webinars, organic search, whatever, go through a filter in our product and through Salesforce.com. Basically what we did is after years of doing this process, we ran a regression analysis that looked at data we collected – at the marketing level, B2b versus B2C, company size, how they found us, and so on, and we correlated that to whether those leads bought and whether they became an ultra successful customer with us. And using that regression analysis, we were able to devise a lead grade and devise a line by which leads need to exceed in order to be considered sales ready; we call them workable leads. So, every month our marketing team produces 25,000 inbound leads and those we filter into our lead funnel. In any given month, probably 35%–40% of those are sales ready, are workable leads, right from the get-go.

Sramana: You talked about lead grading; can you talk a bit more about the process of lead grading and what you learned from this process, the regression analysis process?

Mark: We captured maybe 30–40 parameters without talking to the lead through a combination of what they entered into the system. What our software does is captures the lead intelligence. Such as, how they found us, how many times they visited the site, what pages they looked at, what forms they downloaded, and so on. We had a lot of parameters, dozen and dozen of parameters to run this regression. I don’t remember the specifics, but we run it every quarter because it can change. Our marketing campaigns change and our buyer habits change. SEO was an enormous buzz word three years ago, and today social media is a much bigger buzz word. So, that lead grade can change because we run it every quarter. I’ll give you an example. One of the findings was, we have an open-ended question on most of our lead forums that asks, What is your biggest marketing change? If they have used the word “lead” in that answer, there was a huge correlation to success and closing for us.

Sramana: Oh, really?

Mark: Yes. That is an example of what would come out of that analysis.

Sramana: So, basically your step one, after you take a lead that comes into your website from people who have downloaded your website grader product, is to run these people through the lead grading system?

Mark: Yes, this happens within seconds; it all happens automatically.

Sramana: So, it automatically gets booted, bucketed, and binned.

Mark: Yes, some of the analysis in HubSpot software and some happens within our Salesforce.com instance. The two talk to each other, they are integrated.

Sramana: Ok. How many buckets are you creating out of this process?

Mark: Lots of them these days. The first thing we ask is, is it workable? Is it ready for sales or not? If it is not, it even goes into some different buckets. It may go into the e-commerce bucket or the international bucket or the enterprise queue for the big companies, so a couple buckets are on the non-workable side. Then on the workable side, we basically have two primary teams. One team is the small business team that sells to small business. They might not actually have a marketing team; picture a 15-person management consultant company with three partners, a landscaping company, a dentist, even a software company. They might not have marketing, they have only 15–20 people. That is a small business team. Then the other team is the professional marketer team. This is more like, a 50- or a 150-person, or even a 300-person company. It could be a software company with a marketing team, a manufacturing company, a finance company, whatever it might be.

Sramana: Ok. So those are the two major qualified leads buckets.

Mark: Yes, we segment our team according to the buyer persona. We don’t do territories, we don’t do verticals yet. We are starting to play with that a little bit, and that is where I go next, but for now we organize our sales team by buyer persona.

Sramana: And all the follow-up beyond is a combination of Web and telephone sales, right? None of this has any other form of selling?

Mark: No, we don’t meet our prospective customers in person.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders In Sales 2.0: Mark Roberge, VP Of Sales, HubSpot
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