This work was awarded HubSpot’s 2016 International Grand Prize for Sales Enablement. Read how we did it.

'BabelQuest expertly implemented a comprehensive, multi product solution to help their client adapt to the shift in buyer behaviours that challenged their business. Using a holistic inbound marketing and sales solution, they generated hundreds of prospects and millions of pounds worth of pipeline that has been instrumental to their clients' business growth and resulted in an impressive success story.' Patrick Shea, Director of Partnerships, HubSpot

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LAN3 and BabelQuest Case Study

LAN3 has grown from modest beginnings as a networking reseller to one of the UK’s leading providers of Secure Infrastructure. Back in 2008, Martin Jones and Steve Thompson created a two man start-up, working from their respective homes.

Fast forward to 2015: LAN3 had established themselves as an innovative business with a significant customer base and more than £5m in annual revenue, and had set themselves an ambitious annual growth target of over 30% a year for the next two years.

BabelQuest Wins HubSpot Impact Awards

LAN3’s growth challenge

Martin and Steve realised that the traditional marketing methods they had used (including telemarketing, trade shows, and email) weren't generating enough leads and sales to meet their growth target. In addition, they couldn’t identify any deals that had happened as a result of an enquiry coming through their website. Not one.

The enterprise IT market in the UK was also undergoing disruption due to changing technology, most notably the move to cloud computing and from wired to Wi-Fi, which elevated networking (traditionally the boring bit of IT) to the most critical on-site issue for IT managers.

Just as IT managers were now faced with a fundamental shift in how to manage and secure access to IT services, they were beginning to think differently about solving those challenges. Their prospects were changing the way they made purchasing decisions, researching their business problems online and involving salespeople much later in their buying process.

Learn about the growing importance of B2B customer service strategies in IT. 

Using inbound to address the challenge

Recognising this shift in buyer behaviour, and that LAN3’s website and digital marketing had not adapted to it, Martin and Steve made the strategic decision to move towards inbound. The first step was to hire an experienced inbound marketing manager (Paul Sweeney) to implement the change in direction.

The next was to seek expert help from a leading inbound marketing agency. They invited us to implement HubSpot's marketing software, provide guidance on inbound marketing strategy, deliver marketing activity, and engage with the sales team.

We also brought our own trademark energy and innovation to the party, and the results were explosive.

What is inbound marketing and how can you get started?

Laying the foundations for inbound success

Right at the start, we ran workshops to ask LAN3 the big, important questions about who their buyers really were and how exactly LAN3 solved their problems (it's unique value proposition). We identified missing steps from the buyer's journey in their marketing and researched what was going to fill those gaps most effectively.

We also looked at their sales process, specifically the capacity of the sales team in handling marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and agreed a plan around our sales enablement services to build the right foundations and drive a rapid impact.

Within the first three months, the foundations were complete.

We put in place:

We even managed to squeeze in an enjoyable week in Boston at the INBOUND conference, immersing ourselves in the inbound community.

Creating the first high-impact sales and marketing campaign

With the foundations in place, we launched the first campaign. This involved:

  • A research project in the form of a survey and ‘State of the Industry’ report for existing customers and prospects
  • Buyer-focused articles and other assets for marketing channels and for the sales team to promote
  • Highly targeted content promotion on LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Adding enrichment data to leads at the marketing qualification stage
  • Adding a ‘play’ for the salespeople based on the contact timeline and persona profile. (This is inbound sales advice for reps on how to open the conversation in a way that is helpful for the buyer, and how to bring the call to a positive next step.)

Next steps: turning on the magic

  • Gem Latimer, our senior inbound consultant, worked daily with Paul (LAN3's marketing manager) to interpret results and implement continual, incremental changes to boost the performance of the new website
  • Our Campaign Centre tool brought accountability and visibility to all of the inbound activity and results across the team at LAN3 and BabelQuest, helping us remove roadblocks and accelerate progress
  • We built workflows that helped sales to engage with a lead and register deals with vendors. This reduced their time spend on repetitive administrative tasks and sped up the process of getting pricing support
  • We improved sales qualification and feedback to marketing with a clear ‘advance/nurture/disqualify’ approach at the connect stage. This helps us continually improve the quality of the marketing content to generate the right type of leads
  • Clear reporting was introduced to make sure every lead was picked up, and that connection attempts were made. Now, nobody gets left behind because 'sales are too busy'
  • HubSpot Sales PRO was used to prioritise active prospects. Being able to see which prospects are currently most active provides useful context for sales when they call those prospects; this has a massive effect on advancing sales and upselling opportunities
  • We implemented HubSpot CRM and created views of the funnel that showed the impact by deal type, by vendor, and by lead source. This enabled real-time decision making that opened up a significant pipeline of funded support from LAN3’s key partners.

Martin Jones LAN3

'Apart from the remarkable contribution to our growth and pipeline, our customers read our blog and get a much better understanding that we are experts in our field. I think new customers in particular feel they see us as less of a risk — they see that we are continually publishing articles that show our understanding of the problems they are facing.' Martin Jones, Managing Director, LAN3

Are you also looking for help with HubSpot? Get in touch.

The results

Integrating the marketing and sales activity provided an unprecedented amount of visibility into LAN3's pipeline. The survey campaign was initially thought to have been moderately successful, but as the responses and downloads led to conversations with sales, the huge impact of what was happening quickly became apparent. The conversion rate on leads was much higher than even we had expected.

With 86 qualified opportunities in just 10 days, a bottleneck had appeared with the sales team, so we used HubSpot Sales PRO and HubSpot CRM to identify those buyers who were most active and to quickly advance those opportunities to the technical pre-sales team.

BabelQuest Wins HubSpot Impact Awards for Sales Enablement

Within just five months of LAN3 deciding to start with inbound, this is what their sales funnel looked like. (See image)

Ongoing content production and audience engagement is continuing to fill the top of the funnel as sales close opportunities at the bottom. In their very first year of using inbound and HubSpot, we have helped LAN3 establish a process for repeatable, predictable, scalable revenue growth.

Read more about our experiences with IT channel marketing.

Paul Sweeney Marketing Manager LAN3'Inbound has certainly played an important part in meeting our growth targets this year. Using HubSpot has also given us a professional marketing process from start to finish. We use it to incubate each lead that comes in, wherever it has come from, and monitor that lead from start to finish. This demonstrates to the vendors that our marketing is effective and accountable, and encourages them to give us more Marketing Development Funds, which helps us to keep growing.' Paul Sweeney, Marketing Manager, LAN3

The positive impact on LAN3’s confidence in their own capabilities, in particular where we have helped them to focus on what their customers love about them, has been just as satisfying for us here at BabelQuest as the improved metrics in marketing and sales.

Our aim is always to help our clients grow their business through improving their communication, and it has been hugely rewarding to see LAN3 do exactly that.

For a deeper dive into how to go inbound, click below to download our free guide, How to Set Up Your Inbound Marketing Strategy.

How to set up your inbound marketing strategy

Topics: Sales Enablement, Inbound Marketing, Case Studies

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Inbound Marketing & Sales Strategist

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