Sales Enablement With HubSpot: Halving The Sales Cycle By Aligning Inbound Marketing & Sales Activity
Written by James Self
Aug 6 2017
Learn how Strategic Internet Consulting helped Learnlight align their sales and marketing activity and implement an effective sales enablement process; shortening the sales cycle and streamlining activity across the business.
Since implementing sequences, we’ve reduced the sales cycle by c.50%; Learnlight’s average close rate in 2016 was 6 months, and it is now down to 2-3 months.
Learnlight is an EdTech company that provides language and skills training to corporate clients in more than 150 countries. Blended virtual, face-to-face, and digital training programs are delivered by an award-winning platform (2017 EdTechX Global Growth Award winners) which harnesses the the latest in online learning practices with the world’s best trainers.
Learnlight adopted HubSpot in 2015, but, via the acquisition of Communicaid, is one of Strategic IC’s longest standing clients and have been working with us since 2000. Over the past 17 years we have seen great results and digital change together.
This case explores some of our most recent work with Learnlight; helping them to develop a successful Sales enablement process to align with their inbound marketing activity and drive results through every funnel stage.
Learnlight Wanted To Align Their Inbound Marketing And Sales Teams To Develop An Effective Sales Enablement Process And Complement Inbound Marketing Activity.
Prior to considering inbound sales/sales enablement, Learnlight was already conducting a full inbound marketing campaign via HubSpot. This activity began in 2015 and included activities such as email marketing and workflows, plus persona-focussed content production and promotion (via social and paid channels). While Learnlight was already seeing great results on the marketing side, they wanted to expand this into their sales process, taking their sales strategies to the next level with an inbound sales model and sales enablement process. Learnlight did have a sales process in place prior to considering sales enablement. However, this process was largely traditional sales focussed.
1. To develop a process to help sales teams align better with marketing activity.
2. To create a more persona-centric sales strategy which puts an in-depth understanding of the buyer first.
Sales enablement is the technology, processes, and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. - HubSpot
As a top level overview, Strategic IC began to deliver sales enablement value for Learnlight in May 2016:
Process: Firstly we worked to train, advise and consult with Learnlight sales staff, to help them develop an understanding of the inbound sales methodology and adopt sales enablement processes.
Technology: A large part of this training centered on how to make the most of HubSpot technology in order to action sales activity via the HubSpot Sales platform and HubSpot CRM. By using HubSpot across sales as well as marketing, Learnlight could align both sides of the business for shared clarity on everything from goals to lead focus and intelligence.
Content. As of May 2017 we started to implement HubSpot Sequences with Learnlight, working together to best optimise sequence content to ensure the best, buyer-resonant messaging and propositions. As a result of their prior, in-depth inbound marketing activity, Learnlight was able to support their sales messaging with a range of inbound considered content assets, all already mapped to appropriate personas and buyer’s journey stages.
Looking in more depth, Strategic IC delivered Sales Enablement value across multiple areas:
Sales Enablement Training and Sales/ Marketing Alignment
Firstly (starting in May 2016) Strategic-IC worked to train, advise and coach the client. Through a series of face to face workshops, webex and telephone support, Learnlight sales staff learned how to use all areas of the Hubspot Sales platform and CRM and develop their Sales Enablement process.
Alongside basic training on how to use the HubSpot platforms, a large part of this activity revolved around ensuring Learnlight understood the value of sales and marketing alignment to achieve true sales enablement; both sides of the business must be able to have regular, frank and documented discussions, to further inform strategies and develop a deep understanding of the buyer.
For our campaigns, HubSpot features such as the CRM (which allows both sides of the business to make contact record notes, share actions and more) and HubSpot Sales Dashboards, helped to ensure both sides of the business were equipped with the insights they needed to align.
Inbound Sales Strategy Optimisation
Once the client’s sales team understood the motivations, process and technologies behind a sales enablement strategy, Strategic IC helped Learnlight with the practical execution and optimisation of their activity across the HubSpot CRM and Sales platforms.
Considering specific tools, this was achieved using multiple HubSpot features:
Sequences Optimisation. As of May 2017, Strategic IC encouraged the Learnlight team to build out sequences and advised on how to best optimise and adapt messaging to ensure best open rates, engagement, conversions etc.
Deals. Strategic reviewed deals and helped to advise re: lifecycle and pipeline stages.
Leveraging HubSpot Hosted Content Assets. Strategic IC helped Learnlight review how they could best leverage their (many) buyer-focused content assets within sales messaging. This further helped to align sales activity with marketing:
Firstly - because the sales team had the assets they needed to engage appropriately, and ;
Secondly - with the benefit of an integrated marketing automation and sales CRM platform, the sales team could now access marketing insight and lead intelligence to ensure that they were always engaging buyers with fresh, relevant and helpful content.
HubSpot Sales Dashboard. Strategic IC supported Learnlight in creating sales dashboard views for quick, easy business-wide reporting and clarity (over detail such as revenue, sales performance, deal stages, content lifecycle pipeline, revenue etc). Note, the image is an example of a bespoke client dashboard, actual data not shown.
Continuing Inbound Marketing Support via HubSpot for a Complete Inbound Solution
Truly effective sales enablement cases rely on marketing/sales alignment and shared insight. So whilst providing sales enablement support, Strategic IC continued to use HubSpot to conduct inbound activities to attract and nurture relevant leads and build the lead pool and lead intelligence that sales teams need to truly engage effectively.
What was achieved in what timeframe?
Learnlight first became a HubSpot customer in 2015
We first began implementing sales enablement strategies/activities/ training in May 2016
Sequences were first introduced in May 2017
We are continuing to provide sales enablement support at the time of writing (August 2017)
Since May 2017 (when we first introduced Sequences) we’ve seen:
MQLS - 56
SQLs/Opportunities - 71
Customers - 6 Closed/ Won
Other impact to the business - As a result of sales enablement activity (supported by inbound marketing) we’re continuing to see an increase in relevant enquiries.
Lastly, remembering that “Sales enablement is the technology, processes, and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity.” - by introducing more streamlined, efficient technologies and a buyer-focussed, aligned sales process, Learnlight were able to see some definite improvements in sales efficiency:
As of July 2017, since implementing sequences (a 2 month timeframe), we’ve reduced the sales cycle by c.50%; Learnlight’s average close rate in 2016 was 6 months, and it is now down to 2-3 months.