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How HubSpot & sales enablement drove Belkins' 15% closing rate of outbound leads and $5M in new revenue

Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Reading time:12 m

Recently, Belkins was featured on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing companies, with a demonstrated 438% increase in revenue over the past 2 years. If the recession had happened 3 to 4 years ago, we would hardly have made it, as we had loads of leads yet a nearly zero close rate.

So how exactly did we manage not only to survive but also to become a top-rated company?

Long story short, we moved from our old CRM to HubSpot and built an effective sales enablement process. Altogether, it empowered our team of 6 business development representatives (BDRs) and 9 sales executives (SEs) to cover 1,500 marketing-qualified leads monthly, convert them to 400 opportunities, and close 10%–15% of them. 

Check out our journey to the top: from the challenges we encountered to the stunning results we have now.


Challenges we faced with our sales and marketing

Just like more than three-fourths of our clients, we used to struggle with establishing a transparent lead acquisition process, from the very first touchpoint to closing the deal.

From my experience, quite a lot of our clients have never built a thoughtful sales journey or pipeline management system. Most clients just know that they have a product they are passionate about or a problem they are passionate about solving. What they lack is a strategic way to connect with their prospect and start winning business. In 4 out of 5 cases, they just don't know where to start, which is why most companies go with referrals first.

Brian Hicks, VP of Sales at Belkins

But however good the referral channel is, it can’t secure you predictable income. That’s why we took a closer look at the issues with our sales and marketing and identified the key ones:

  1. Stagnant pipeline and low closing rate. We had little to no pipeline visibility, as our records weren’t regularly updated. This prevented us from properly tracking conversions from leads to appointments and then to signed contracts.
  2. Lengthy sales cycle. On average, it took us between 3 and 6 months to win one deal. Not terrible, considering 74.6% of B2B sales cycles last 4 or more months. Since we were small, it didn’t seem to be a problem. But when we realized we needed to scale, such a long time frame became unacceptable.
  3. No clear sales process in place. At the very beginning, our focus was on winning new clients rather than creating a sales process. Over time, we understood why companies with an established sales process increase their revenue 18% faster than companies without one.
  4. Teams didn’t use the CRM system. Our previous CRM was a disaster: It was far from convenient, so our sales and marketing teams did not use it, especially as it became overloaded with information.
  5. High SE churn rate. Another challenge we had to overcome was keeping our sales team motivated as the CRM was a mess, and the sales cycle was too long. 

We had thousands of leads and prospects, but the previous CRM system was literally a cemetery of lost opportunities. Most of the records and lead life cycle stages were outdated or even duplicated, deals had the wrong statuses and contained no notes after meetings with sales execs. All these factors turned new sales reps’ onboarding into a nightmare and held us back from scaling. It looked like a dead end.

We decided to break the vicious cycle and started looking for a way out. Our first action item was changing the CRM system, and this is where we stopped at HubSpot.

Why we chose HubSpot

After comparing and analyzing a number of CRM systems, we concluded that HubSpot suited us best. Here’s why.

HubSpot offers a free, easy start

This is the most convenient option for small companies and startups, as well as businesses that don’t have a CRM tool yet. HubSpot provides you with a basic set of tools to cover your sales and marketing needs, along with customer service. 

Within this package, you can:

  • Build a deal pipeline
  • Add contacts to the lists
  • Segment your leads
  • Create and automate tasks
  • Send emails
  • Generate custom dashboards and reports, and more.

HubSpot scores higher than alternative solutions

One of the main considerations for us was the price–quality ratio, and HubSpot won here as well. The reason is that it covers the full cycle of services for marketing, sales, customer success, and support, but is cheaper and better in terms of performance compared to its competitors.

Comparison of Salesforce, Buildertrend, and Hubspot CRM on Capterra

Comparison of Salesforce, Buildertrend, and HubSpot CRM, Capterra

HubSpot CRM scales with your organization

HubSpot is extremely flexible and scalable to match different company life cycle stages. For instance, you can start small with the free version, then switch to Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, or Service Hub depending on your needs as you grow your business. Over time, you can even scale to Enterprise solutions.

HubSpot has loads of features

Finally, it impressed us with a bunch of tools our team loved and started using from day 1.

The UI is extremely friendly and easy to navigate for even the most beginner user. There are also great how-tos and pieces of training that HubSpot provides for its users to help them familiarize themselves with all the functionalities that are at their fingertips.

Brian Hicks, VP of Sales at Belkins

Here are some of our departments’ favorite features:


  • You can create a pipeline (even in the free version), build funnels in it, and track all your sales. Another awesome thing is that you can set up automation. For instance, if you haven’t worked with your leads for 5, 7, 14, or X days, they’ll be marked as inactive. Thus, you’ll get a task-reminder that you’ve missed someone and need to do something with them.
  • HubSpot also makes goal setting and tracking super easy for all sales executives. Everyone can view their goals and progress toward attaining them, which gives us more visibility. What’s more, you can forecast team performance.
  • Thanks to numerous seamless integrations with other tools that we use, like Gmail, Chili Piper, Fireflies.ai, and PandaDoc, we’ve managed to streamline our sales process and journey.
  • We can store all our sales materials (decks, documents, templates, etc.) at hand and retrieve them in a few clicks. No more manual searching or saving items to your desktop for quick access.
  • The reporting by HubSpot makes it extremely easy to track metrics for all sales executives within the organization. And the dashboards allow us to aggregate multiple reports for a clear picture of how our revenue engine is running, including sales–cycle length, closing probability, current performance versus last year, meetings booked, and so on.
  • HubSpot provides outreach campaign visibility, as it tracks email openings. Thus, sales reps can see whether a lead has read an email and adjust further communication accordingly.


  • Website forms help us gather leads and move them down the funnel, creating an automated workflow, depending on the form type. The greatest thing here is that we can set up instant round-robin call scheduling with our sales executives.
  • We also love the HubSpot score, which empowers us to evaluate and rank our contacts based on their engagement with our content (e.g., whether they read our emails, respond to them, visit our website, etc.). The more points a lead gets, the faster they move to the next stage of the funnel, and we normally automate the scoring and transition too.

Apart from this, we enjoy having all our channels gathered and orchestrated in one place, including social media, emails, paid ads, organic outreach, and so on.

Use case: To reengage with inactive leads, we created an automated workflow that triggers upon meeting certain criteria and adds those leads to nurturing or follow-up sequences depending on their track record. We also used pre-designed templates to create those sequences. It helped us return 5% of the total list size.

HubSpot helps us provide better service to our customers

As HubSpot CRM integration is an inseparable part of our B2B appointment setting service, we roll out Sales Hub from the get-go. With its help, we create and process deals, book appointments, automate the calendar for call scheduling, add and close tasks, and give our SDRs visibility of the client’s pipeline. Thus, we can keep our process clean, forecast our KPIs, and deliver timely reporting.

When the leads’ inflow increases, we can launch Marketing Hub Professional and upgrade to Sales Hub Professional. Thanks to this combo, we can automate and align inbound and outbound efforts to the fullest — for instance, qualify inbound leads, book meetings with them, and build pipelines.

How HubSpot integration streamlined our processes

As you might remember, our pipeline was a mess. Upon migrating to HubSpot, we noticed it gradually clean up.

Thanks to HubSpot, gone were duplicated records, life cycles and statuses became more transparent, we gained better differentiation between leads and improved their engagement, streamlined transitions between stages, and started to track conversions. Overall, it facilitated our scaling.

Here’s how HubSpot ensures we have a smooth, clear sales process.

  1. Single storage for all our resources. We keep all our marketing and sales data in HubSpot. It helps us stay on top of our leads’ information, view communication history with each of them, and pay enough attention to each of our existing or potential customers.
  2. Optimized life cycles and funnels. From the first touchpoint, our leads are added to relevant flows that guide them through different nurturing stages — MQL, SQL, Opportunity, and Customer. These funnels allow us to see how many leads are there, how they convert into MQLs and SQLs, and how customer acquisition cost varies.
  3. Predictable pipeline. Conversions analysis shows which of our activities worked best and provides an opportunity to forecast how many SQLs we need to get one opportunity or how many opportunities should be there to get one customer.
  4. Automatic workload planning. With a clean, predictable sales process, we can equally distribute the workload between sales teams. To do so, we set up an automatic round-robin workflow, which assigns leads to SDRs one by one.
  5. A 360-degree view of our activities. With multiple reports to choose from (including the possibility to create custom ones), we can keep our finger on the pulse of vital sales and marketing metrics. We use advanced analytics dashboards to monitor ad and email campaign performances, track our revenue, check progress toward sales goals, and a lot more.

HubSpot: Dashboard example

On top of that, the sales teams are finally using the CRM to the fullest, thanks to a lot of extra tools at hand, such as HubSpot Sales Chrome extension for Gmail (or add-ons for Outlook), multiple task types, customizable workflows, automation, and the ability to sort leads and deals into lists based on their activity. Higher sales–rep engagement has a positive impact on overall team productivity and retention.

By having clear sales stages for each deal in the pipeline and the ability to set future tasks with reminders, I know exactly where each deal sits and what the next step is for that deal in regard to my sales journey. It takes out the guesswork and keeps my follow-up process streamlined so nothing slips through the cracks!

Brian Hicks, VP of Sales at Belkins

Belkins tip: Be consistent in updating information about your leads and stay in touch with them through regular follow-ups. Move records to the appropriate stage or status after a call and create a task for the next step so as not to miss an opportunity.

To ensure each lead gets enough attention from us, we’ve introduced and polished our own sales enablement services and process.

How sales enablement helps us close more deals

Another integral part of our enormous growth is a perfected follow-up process. Unfortunately, even warmed-up leads aren’t always ready to buy. That’s why after a call with our sales executive, we usually send 3 to 4 emails to guide the lead to the next stage.

Check out a few tips on how to get the most out of post-meeting communication based on our experience:

  • Equip your team with the right tools. Starting with a handy, easy-to-use CRM system is the first step to helping them win more opportunities.
  • Cherish freedom and personal touch. Give your SEs room for creativity — they might know what your potential client needs better than you do, as they’ve talked to them. Let them build relationships with the leads as they see fit (within reason, of course).
  • Analyze and scale the most successful tactics. Establish your own best practices. Monitor leads’ activity, analyze their feedback, reflect on what worked out, and try those approaches with other leads. 
  • Never give up. If your lead went with a competitor, it doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. Reengage with those who chose a different vendor — our experience says there’s around a 20% to 30% chance of winning them back. Of course, it’s only possible if you listen to them and choose the right messaging.

And here are some of the messages we use to follow up with our potential customers:

Message 1:

Hi {{FirstName}},

I wanted to touch base and check on the progress from your end. It’s been a while since we last talked, but I understand you might have a lot on your plate, so I just want to keep this on our radar. I would appreciate the chance to reconnect soon and explore the potential for a partnership between {{CompanyName}} and Belkins. Let me know if the quick 30-min call will make sense. 



Message 2:

Hi {{FirstName}},

Just wanted to check if you’ve got any updates since we last spoke. I’d value any feedback you might have. Feel free to drop me a line or book a quick sync-up in my calendar.



Though introducing sales enablement increased our deal-closing rate by 50%, it wasn’t a walk in the park. The most challenging thing when we started was motivating our sales team to work with the pipeline and keep it tidy by regularly updating deal records. 

Most salespeople don’t like CRMs as they require extra time. Salespeople already spend more than 2 hours daily sending emails, around 1.5 hours entering data, and almost 1 hour scheduling meetings. Add some internal meetings, and they have little to no time left for actual selling. No wonder they don’t like mundane tasks that prevent them from reaching their KPIs. 

To solve this problem, we’ve allocated a team dedicated to CRM to make sure everything in the pipeline is up to date, everyone is contacted, notes are added, etc. Having a sales support specialist who helps SEs with follow-ups brought us twice as many deals and even more perks we’ll list below.

4x revenue boost: Results we get from HubSpot and sales enablement

Long story short, sales enablement is super cost-effective, as it only requires a few additional sales supporters and HubSpot. For instance, in some projects, we’ve reached a 300% to 600% increase in ROI. Other positive shifts we’ve noticed over the past few years.



Streamlined nurturing: 43% higher conversions from lead to MQL to SQL to Opportunity.

25%–30% shorter sales cycle: 60 days without sales enablement, or 40–45 days with it.

2x faster transition from the first touchpoint to opportunity and a closed deal.

30%–40% higher revenue. Saving time on routine time-consuming operations, our SEs close more high-dollar deals.


SEs reaching their KPIs 4 quarters in a row. This makes our pipeline predictable and easily scalable.

Among those tangible achievements, sales enablement together with HubSpot helped us increase sales-rep retention by keeping their focus on their goals and strategic clients. Finally, we orchestrated our inbound and outbound activities and aligned the marketing, BDR, and sales teams, which ultimately shortened our sales cycle by 25%–30%.

🎥 Related video: 6 strategies to shorten your B2B sales cycle

To sum it up

As you can see, optimizing our vital business metrics wasn’t easy. 

It’s been a long journey — from lost potential revenue, wasted budgets, and sales rep burnout (just to name a few) to regular YoY growth. We had to try multiple approaches until we found a working solution in HubSpot CRM + sales enablement. 

That’s why now we’re ready to help you build a successful appointment–setting process and enable your sales team to close the leads we generate for you. Get in touch with our sales experts to discuss how we can fuel your revenue engine.

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Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Co-founder and Managing Partner at Belkins
Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.