Anastasia has been working in the B2B sector for the last 6 years, mostly focusing on lead generation, marketing automation, and sales enablement. A strong background in international business communication provided her with a unique skill set. The combination of a systemic approach to demand generation and empathy allows Anastasia to achieve excellent results and build rapport with potential and existing clients.
We started building our inbound appointment setting process by implementing a flow around handling incoming inquiries with a team of one BDR answering all incoming requests and one SE following up on referrals. Since an inbound lead can come from any geographical location or industry and it’s a bit more time-sensitive than an outbound lead, we focused on:
- developing a process of lead qualification (by creating a list of qualification questions);
- workflows to interact with website visitors and guide them through our sales funnel within 5 minutes after leaving their contact info on our website.
More than two years ago, we switched to Hubspot as our internal CRM system. It met our needs better and started expanding the BDR team to cover the increased number of inquiries and inbound leads.
How did you end up building an inbound appointment setting for your internal sales team?
Our current inbound appointment setting process is the result of several teams’ efforts at Belkins. The marketing team creates unique and valuable content to develop our brand awareness, generate more traffic to our website and grow our audience. The BDR team takes care of all inbound inquiries, lead qualification, and Hubspot (our CRM) maintenance. The Sales team is responsible for discovery calls, demos, referrals, and, of course, closing new accounts.
Tell us about the Belkins inbound channel
When it comes to B2B inbound marketing, we use various ways to attract potential customers and build rapport with them. Our website is the base where we keep the majority of the content that we produce and other online assets such as a blog, case studies, and social media profiles. At belkins.io, there are different types of lead capturing forms that generate a continuous flow of sales leads and an easy way to book a call with our sales team directly in a few clicks.
Additionally, prospects find us through referrals (both through word-of-mouth and site reviews on Clutch.co, G2.com, etc.)
Why is it unique?
We use a unique combination of human touch and automation process to make sure we leave no stone unturned and follow up with all the incoming leads, qualify them, and pass them to sales for closing.
What is the volume of inbound inquiries that you are working with on a monthly basis?
Over the past six months, we have grown a lot regarding the number of inbound inquiries without losing the quality while generating leads. For now, the combination of both marketing and word-of-mouth channels generates more than 1,500 new leads per month, with the average conversion into a demo call being more than 400 leads per month.
What’s your team’s structure and responsibilities?
Our team consists of business development representatives (BDRs) with solid sales experience and a deep understanding of B2B lead generation and prospecting. They are responsible for cold outreach and appointment scheduling as well as for handling incoming inquiries, lead nurturing, and lead database maintenance.
What are the inbound entry forms you guys have and how are they different?
There are different types of inbound lead capturing forms on our website, depending on the service and the stage of their buyer’s journey. Some forms are very simple and require only a name and a business email, others are a bit more complex and have additional questions about solution/service, package, or link to social media pages.
Tell us about Lead Lifecycle and how you utilize it
We use the Lead Lifecycle stages in our lead nurturing process to make sure our prospects go through them from their first engagement with Belkins to the point where they convert into customers. We understand that each person who interacts with our team is a potential lead; however, they all have different needs and life circumstances influencing their readiness to buy. So, depending on what actions they perform on our website and what type of content they consume, the Lifecycle stage changes to get leads the right way.
For example, website visitors who opted in to hear more from our team or signed up for our blog become Subscribers or Leads by Lifecycle stages in our CRM and go through the nurturing process. The contacts who have engaged with the marketing team or have filled out a specific form on our website (MQL/SQLs) are assigned directly to BDRs for initial qualification.
Do you do Nurturing and, if yes, then what does the process look like?
We use a lead-nurturing strategy which focuses on content marketing with the main goal of offering several forms of valuable, juicy content to gain prospects’ affection and trust. And building strong relationships with them with the intent of turning them into loyal, paying customers.
We actively spread our case studies describing successful outbound strategies as well as our best-performing templates and handbooks to educate our audience. Also, we have some complimentary offerings that help prospects better understand how we work and benefit from our expertise in their markets.
We’ve implemented a few Lead Nurturing flows to work with different audiences, from blog subscribers to prospects who have already spoken with our sales team, but haven’t converted into closed deals. We’ve automated the process of sending them the right content based on their status and tracking the standard metrics, but if there is any feedback/interest in learning more about the topic or Belkins in general, the BDR manually follows up and takes it from there.
What are your conversions?
Our conversion rate from an inbound lead to an appointment varies by channel, however, on average, it’s around 40%; from an appointment to a closed deal, it’s 9-10 %.
What is great about your inbound process?
Despite the fact that leads come from different inbound channels, we’ve implemented a unified approach in terms of lead qualification, follow-ups, data keeping, and maintenance. The great thing about our inbound lead generation process is that we use the feedback and insights we get from inbound leads to adjust our outbound strategy as well.
For example, sometimes, we receive inquiries from niche markets and discover a great interest / opportunity there, which helps us expand our portfolio and ICP for outbound lead generation campaigns. Or even while getting requests for lead generation services other than email marketing, we create new programs and special bundle offers to satisfy those requests.
Why is HubSpot the tool you resorted to in this process? What’s good about HubSpot?
Hubspot is a great tool that helps us facilitate lead capturing and nurturing processes. It has a great automation potential. We took advantage of being an official Hubspot’s partner and fully integrated Hubspot CRM into our lead gen inbound process. Since Hubspot is connected to our websites and tracks visitors, it allows both biz devs and sales teams to access the information related to our demand generation and sales activities. Also, we actively use the Sequence and Workflows features.
By the way, we recently launched a new service — Inbound Appointment Setting to do the same for our clients and help them build inbound lead generation and lead capturing with Hubspot CRM.
Tell us about Workflow: how do you utilize it and why is it cool?
The Workflow functionality is awesome! It is a powerful tool for automating our work. We also use it to clean and optimize the HubSpot data, communicate with potential and existing customers at scale, and even distribute the leads between BDRs and SEs on a transparent and fair basis.
What are your challenges?
Since we utilize several different lead generation channels and lead capturing forms, it’s very important to reach out to prospects in a timely manner with the right messaging. We should also take the appropriate next steps, and, at the same time, accumulate all the data we capture, keep our database clean & updated, and ensure equal opportunities for all BDRs.
Also, we had an issue with sending multiple confirmation messages when a website visitor took several actions and/or filled out more than one lead capturing form during one web session. Very often, B2B leads fill out a contact form and book a call with the sales team through the direct link on our website.
What solutions helped you overcome the challenges?
We’ve implemented a process by which, immediately after submitting a form on our website, Hubspot checks if there are any upcoming calls scheduled with the prospect. If not, the prospect receives an email from us with a few qualifying questions, next steps, and a follow-up in 24 hours in case of no response. Also, our team greatly benefits from the round robin algorithm to distribute the leads between BDRs on a transparent and fair basis.
Explain the technical aspects in detail: how to resolve this kind of problem?
We created a bunch of automation emails to send out through workflows when prospects show some level of interest in our services (triggers include a How-to guide download, Lead Capture Form submission, etc.). When it’s done, Hubspot assigns a task to a BDR to follow up with the prospect to qualify and schedule an introductory call for our sales team if there is a fit. We added a “rotate record to owner” action to the workflows and now all leads that submit a form are distributed within the BDR team.
What knowledge helped you in resolving the issue?
We were constantly doing the Visitor behavior analysis on our website and have created a lead flow structure with the most frequently repeated patterns of behavior. Speaking of the “round robin” algorithm implementation, we made great use of the technical capabilities of Hubspot, our CRM system. In particular, we adjusted the Workflow settings to the flows to our specific needs. Communication with hubspot support helped us a lot to determine the functionality that suits us.
What would you recommend to users facing similar issues?
Hubspot is a great tool if you are looking for a way to automate lead nurturing and the lead communication flow. However, the quantity of features and automation options available is one thing which can be both its strength and weakness. I would recommend that those who have just started the path to automation do some research. There are numerous cases described within the Hubspot community, so try different options to see which one works best for you.
What did your typical day working on this project look like?
A typical working day starts with the current status check-up, including CRM reporting and the sales team calendar overview. The core activity is, of course, email responding and intro calls setup, but I also set aside a couple of hours a day to send follow-ups, review the newest marketing materials, and read the industry updates.
Choose a metaphor to describe the project in one sentence (e.g., it was like climbing a rock in total darkness).
Get the right people on the bus and make sure that everyone understands their role.