Driving Internet Leads for UK SMB using Hubspot Inbound Marketing Part 2

Posted by Chris on December 21st, 2010

following the blog post


We decided that we needed to create some ” Call to actions ” on the website and that these might include the completion of the sign-up form

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which was not completed as we were in a rush to get the new website up for the Cisco Small Business Workshop.
and also a ” white paper ” or ” Top 10 tips ” to be downloaded. These would need more thinking and work.
Shortly, following consideration of the target market and messages referred to earlier we would need to do some keyword/phrase analysis.
We  have already done some posting around the following phrases:
” Cisco Hosted Voip ” , ” Cisco Hosted Telephony “, ” Cisco Hosted UC ” , ” Cisco Hosted Unified Communications ” etc etc
Further analysis will reveal the best words/phrases to optimise around.

Driving Internet Leads for U.K. SMB using HubSpot Inbound Marketing

Posted by Chris on December 19th, 2010

This blog describes an effort to drive Internet leads for U.K. S.M.B. FutureLine using HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing process.

FutureLine ( http://www.futureline.net.uk/index.html ) is a U.K. based Hosted Voice solution being promoted to SMB’s and SMB resellers in conjunction with Cisco Systems. FutureLine addresses a particular demand from small SMB’s ( say 1-50 telephone users ) for a Cisco based hosted voice solution. The FutureLine solution allows small SMB’s to adopt Cisco solutions at a very low initial cost and then to upgrade seamlessly and inexpensively and grow as the business grows.

As a Hosted or SaaS ( Software as a Service ) solution it is believed to be best practise and important that the FutureLine website and FutureLine marketing messages be found by interested SMB buyers via Internet search.

It is believed that FutureLine’s target market will find FutureLine via Internet search to a very large degree and indeed the Internet Marketing efforts carried out so far bear this out as there have been a number of leads and indeed sales that came from Google searches.

I have been aware of HubSpot for some time ( see earlier blog posts on them ) and there are a number of interesting parallels here. For example:

  • HubSpot’s founder, Brian Halligan, founded HubSpot when investing in and mentoring SMB’s. He realised that a different marketing approach was required to really drive sales.
  • HubSpot has a dual focus on the SMB end user and the SMB reseller as with FutureLine.
  • HubSpot has a very sales orientated approach which fits with the sales philosophy that we and FutureLine believe in. We all believe in tracking visits, leads and actual sales.

Those involved in this effort are already aware of some of the main principles of on Internet marketing e.g. the importance of relevant content, on and off page optimisation and good, powerful links.

We are also aware of the main components of the HubSpot solution e.g. website usage tracking, content management, SEO, CRM etc etc

We also have a network of experienced and potentially suitable contacts and resources, including website designers, SEO specialists, Social Media Marketing experts, CRM consultants, HubSpot qualified resource, Sales and Marketing specialists, P.R. Experts and Business Strategy and Business Value Creation specialists.

We decided that, in this instance, whilst it was obviously very important to generate leads for FutureLine it was also important to work through and prove the HubSpot process thoroughly.

It was decided that the first tasks included a thorough review of FutureLine’s target markets ( even though this has been done before ) which are broadly SMB end users and SMB ICT ( voice,data, PC/Server/Application ) resellers and a review of the message to each of these target markets.

It was also important to install HubSpot tracking and content management code on the FutureLine website so that we can gat a clear picture of the situation regarding visits, leads and sales , now and in the future.

Further posts will follow as we work through the effort.

Database Marketing in the Social Networking age

Posted by Chris on March 28th, 2010

When I started LanSwitch ( which became Voyager ) in the early 90’s I set aside a bedroom for an office and on my desk I had a telephone, a fax machine and a laptop ( initially not connected to the Internet , later connected with a dial-up connection ) with Office and a Contact Manager application and a printer. Luxury, I thought because it was the same as I had at Fibernet and much better than I had at Memorex.

My target market was basically: Companies that had busy Local Area Networks; that were in either The Midlands ( where I lived ) or London ( where I could easily commute to and knew people ). So, I basically targeted a combination of London based Financials and other general companies in London and the Midlands. I think I bought the Computer Users Yearbook as my basic database. ( Actually a very comprehensive and detailed source of information ).

I went through the process of identifying a target market and building a database of prospects and suspects many times over during my sales and business start-up career.

Typically now I will segment by horizontal ( size of company ), vertical ( type of company ) and geographical ( location ) and then various other factors eg structure of company, people within that company eg IT Managers etc etc.

Then a database can be purchased which is targeted and therefore typically lower cost than purchasing 1000’s of contacts many of which are not within your target market.

There are many database suppliers these days so it is possible to get some great offers on targeted data.

The equipment side has obviously come on in 17 years but not incredibly so – broadband and wi-fi; scanning software and fax software; CRM versus Contact Management; softphones ( eg Skype ) and video conferencing ( Skype, Webex etc ); standalone traditional and IP phones;printers. 

Where there has been enormous progress has been in Internet search and Social Network Marketing.

If you know what vertical you want to concentrate on eg Lawyers in Staffordshire you will find much of the information that you need online via Google or some other search engine.

With great timing ( !! ) I have just been reading this article about Linkedin


that I picked up on Twitter ( posted by Jon Besag who is in sales at Linkedin 😉

This is well worth a read for many reasons. 

This article includes comments about in house and external recruiters using Linkedin to find the people that they/thier clients are looking for . There certainly are a lot of recruiters on Linkedin – in fact when I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is a Linkedin trainer he told me that there were about 68,000 people on Linkedin who called themselves recruiters ( I just did a Linkedin search for ” Recruiters ” and got about 48,000 ) and that there were probably about 100,000 because a lot of recruiters did not call themselves recruiters.

I used this fact recently to help a company that I am working with, who are selling multi job board posting software, to target recruiters. From a small, personalised ” mailshot ” to selected Linkedin recruiters we got a few very positive responses and made a proposal to one within a week and got an order from it.

Recruitment is an obvious thing to do on Linkedin but  as said in the article ” The obvious one is jobs, but it’s not just jobs. It’s also clients and services.”

For me the goal is to make a ” personalised ” approach to potential clients and ” personalisation ” requires research. The difference between what you can do now and what you could do 17 years ago is that you can gather far more information on people and companies before you make any approach whatsoever.

If you combine a targeted database with internet and social media search then you have a fantastic tool to help you personalise your ” intelligent ” marketing and sales approach.





If you are a member of eg Ecademy, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed,Skype or MSN then each of these have thier own search facilities – some more sophisticated than others.

Just today I was asking someone how they prospected on the Internet and they said Linkedin, Skype and MSN.

Using a combination of Internet search and Social/Business networks you can find out an awful lot about people and companies.

The Targeted Researched Cold Call

Posted by Chris on January 10th, 2010

This blog is about targeted, researched cold calling. It is looked at from the perspective of an ICT reseller to the SMB market.

This is what I call the sniper rifle approach rather than the shotgun approach.

It is about targeting the types of company that you can ( easily and effectively ) provide solutions for. Actually, you are looking for prospects where your strengths and experience help you to outshine or get an edge over the competition.  

This requires at least 2 things:


1.       That you understand the prospect as far as possible both initially (  even before you have spoken to them ) and after you have met with them.

2.       That you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the solutions that you are selling.


So, this might lead, for example ( if you were a ICT reseller ) to you looking for companies with an  inbound and outbound calling requirement  ( say small sales departments or small customer support departments ) because you have good CRM to telephony integration. Or it might lead to you avoiding other prospects with say, warehouses,  because you don’t have cordless phone facilities
(    eg DECT )



What are your target markets and how do you describe them??


There are a number of ways to describe your target markets:


Horizontal size


You may be aiming at “ SMB “ but what does this really mean ??? 1- 10, 10 – 50, 50 – 100, 100 – 250, 250 + ???  ( A 10 person company is very different to a 250 person company )




You may only be interested in a particular geography or it may  be practical and efficient to deal only with a particular geography.  




Where have you got references/case studies/testimonials ?? ( In other words so that when you talk to prospects you can say that you have worked with that type of firm and provided them with effective solutions ).


If you segment your existing database by customer/prospect and by industry you can see where your strengths lie at the moment.


You may have eg legal firms and accountants appearing to come to top of the pile of your preferred verticals. Are there any more verticals you should focus on ??




By structure I mean are they single site or multi-site ?? What departments do they have ? sales ? admin ? customer support ? manufacturing ? financial ? This is going to tell you eg if they have or need a WAN and also whether they are likely to need things like CRM/Telephony Integration or cordless phones etc etc




Financial Strength


Some companies are more profitable and cash generative than others. They can afford to spend more on ICT systems.



Growth Rate 


Some companies are small but rapidly growing and if so they need flexible, expandable systems and keep coming back for more.





Some companies are forward thinking in terms of their use of ICT and some are not. ( If they have a good Internet presence this may e an indication of thier attitude to Information Technology.




Cisco’s classification


Interestingly Cisco recently proposed   a classification of “Elite “ users, “ Open to suggestion “ users and “ Basic “ users.



Your best customers


Another way of identifying your target market is to say “ Well we want more customers like …. one of our existing customers “ and we could describe them as being … ( use the above classifications ).



What I am suggesting  is that you get to the point where you can say  – these are our top targets. You can  then develop supporting collateral to help sell to those target markets. By analysing your existing database of customers and perhaps getting testimonials and case studies from and about some of them you will be able to build on a strong foundation.



You can then either acquire data for these targets ( N.B. Once you know who your targets are you need only buy data for those particular prospects – this saves a lot of money )  or  apply the internet search approach outlined below.





Lets say that you decide to target lawyers in Dorset




We Google them and we have a sort through.


Which ones are tiny, small, medium size ??


Do they have multiple offices ( ie they have a WAN and a LAN ) ??


Which ones have a good internet presence ??  ( ie they are high tech ?? )


Is there any news about any of them ??




eg they are expanding,growing etc etc


we can usually get the partners names or a contact.


Maybe we can get an idea of numbers of staff ??


What can we predict about them ??


We can then make a warmish cold call ???? (or we could do a ” targeted mailer ” and then follow up ?? ) 



So you don’t really need lists of data to get started. 



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