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Technology can make or break a sales development team's effectiveness. However, super technology is nothing without the right systems in place. Infinityn had the right processes and was looking to build the ultimate sales technology stack for its demanding enterprise clients.
When building a sales tech stack for/as a tech-focused organization, a major temptation to avoid is overcomplicating and overstuffing the arsenal of tools.
Our experience shows that integrating a few pieces of carefully selected and configured software will be much more widely adopted, than a pile of specialist tools that often lack proper integration.
As always, the focus and emphasis should never be on software alone. Technology goes hand in hand with processes and systems, so these two should always be evaluated and discussed on the same plate.
Below, we share our journey with implementing three key pieces of software at Infinityn: Hubspot, ZoomInfo and Aircall, but there are two important points we must make before-hand.
1. A major goal in implementing technology is not only the obvious gains in productivity and sophisticated operations; but also data insights. It's imperative that we have key performance indicators in one place, preferably the CRM, so creating dashboards in Hubspot that also include performance data from Aircall was a major step.
Performance data and insights directly translate into better SDR performance, better business intelligence and happier colleagues.
2. While this impact study concerns specific pieces of software, it isn't about these software in particular - but much more about the process and how we use them. Each software mentioned in the article has alternatives and we are comfortable working on any platform with our clients.
Our engagement with Hubspot began from the marketing-end many years ago, using it as a website- and later as a CRM-platform. A significant transformation occurred soon after our initial implementation - when we began fully utilizing its capabilities on all three segments of the flywheel: sales, marketing and service; and began using workflows and sequences.
Just weeks after Hubspot was launched full-on as our agency's own flywheel system - the platform we relied on for inbound and outbound activities - we started using it for client projects as well, using it to manage the process by which we acquire SQLs for our clients.
While we had utilized Hubspot’s CRM function in the past, prior to extending our usage of their software’s capabilities, it was primarily as an augmentory component to how we used Salesforce to keep track of opportunity creation, which is still the main metric by which we define our performance. Using the new functions in Sales Hub Enterprise, we also began to focus on how we kept track of prospects, which both serve as a powerful addition to our full-scale outreach, but also came with several challenges.
Indeed, we ran into a few bumps on the road while we were integrating Hubspot Sales Enterprise with other components of our sales Tech Stack. Other tools we utilize to support our outreach to prospects are Aircall’s VOIP, ZoomInfo and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Fully integrating these tools into Hubspot’s platform required our technology team to endure some trial-and-error.
Aircall proved particularly tricky. After the company-wide launch, some of our reps continued to use Aircall independently of Hubspot’s platform to call their prospects, which would then incorrectly record the calls in the system. Inbound phone calls (the calls that prospects made to our SDRs) would also incorrectly be recorded in the system as ‘New Contacts’.
This was a problem because the value of Sales Enterprise Hub’s reporting function comes in visualizing the performance data for the management team to utilize.
However, our sales technology team was able to work through these challenges by making sure that the contacts in the Hubspot system had correctly inputted telephone numbers and by encouraging our SDRs to understand how the reporting function worked. Now, our reporting reflects an accurate and holistic view of our SDR team’s performance.
Why did we choose Hubspot Sales Hub Enterprise?
Before we opted to become a Hubspot partner, Infinityn International decided to utilize their Sales Hub Enterprise to help our SDR team gain better visibility into our performance, automate certain functions within the outreach process (so our SDRs could better focus on personalizing other aspects), to enable us in delivering a beneficial service to our clients and because Hubspot’s values matched our own.
Infinityn’s mobile SDR team utilizes an omnichannel approach when engaging new prospects. This includes a heavy amount of personalized communication, spread out across a number of communication channels. All sales development points of contact eventually culminate in a telephone call where we qualify prospects and arrange ‘Next Steps’ meetings. Prior to this, we recognized that there were some outreach stages that we could automate, which would benefit our SDRs by allowing them to focus on the communication that required very heavy personalization, such as the qualification telephone call with prospects.
Using Sales Hub Enterprise, our SDR team created a sophisticated set of automated email sequences, which our SDRs utilized when recruiting VIPs (SVPs, Heads Of Technology, IT CXOs) to attend one of our client’s industrial conventions. Each SDR personalized their own set of sequences so that their method of outreach was authentic to them, which is an important factor in developing the kind of personal relationships necessary for top-of-the-funnel enterprise opportunity creation.
Additionally, sales hub enterprise allows for greater sophistication in terms of reporting. After all, sales development performance is measured in terms of inputs & outputs (the terms that we are borrowing from one of our other technology partners, Aircall). “Inputs” refers to your team’s level of effort, whereas “outputs” are the indications of performance. While we are always keenly aware of “output”, the level of new business that we drive for our clients via generating sales-qualified pipeline, Hubspot Sales Hub Enterprise helped us gain greater insights into our team’s performance, which empowered the SDR teams management to make suggestions and optimize overall performance.
By visualizing & keeping track of performance metrics and sales activities (also known as ‘inputs’) such as the number of phone-calls made, the number of phone calls connected, emails sent and notes inputted into the CRM, our SDRs were able to gain a holistic understanding of how the level of their inputs impacted the level of their output.
Being a Certified Hubspot Partner Agency
Infinityn International joined a global ecosystem of other customer-centric agencies, service-providers and resellers. Hubspot created the Solutions Partner Program to help this ecosystem better serve their clients in achieving their growth goals.
Of course, our company differs from the traditional mold of Hubspot partners, which are generally Digital Marketing agencies that offer services such as developing marketing campaigns, website analysis, web development & design. As an outbound sales service-provider, we stand in contrast to their median partner. That being said, we do share in common with the other partners in the Hubspot Ecosystem a deep commitment to growing our customers’ overall business.
Becoming a Certified Partner requires this commitment at its foundation, along with completing a series of training courses, and heavily utilizing core features of the extended platform.
Sales Hub Enterprise: Implementation Process
We implemented Hubspot’s Sales Enterprise in stages, to ensure that our growing company and teams could adapt to the extended service of the new platform’s capabilities. After a careful round of planning and then testing, we went forward with a company-wide launch.
At the time, we were preparing for the previously mentioned VIP-recruiting assignment on behalf of one of our existing clients. Hubspot’s software seemed like a great way to help us maximize our outreach. Therefore, it was important that we launched Sales Hub Enterprise without a hitch, since we were operating on a strict timeline.
We decided that we would test out the new capabilities on a few SDRs, the ones who had already been utilizing the capabilities of Hubspot’s CRM the most before we upgraded. These SDRs began to incorporate Sales Hub Enterprise capabilities into their existing sales cadence, taking advantage of the increased sophistication in automated email outreach and measuring their performance with the upgraded visualization of performance metrics.
Once these SDRs had fully assimilated Hubspot Sales Enterprise into their overall sales development process--working out the ‘bugs’ along the way--we were ready for a company-wide launch. All Infinityn SDRs, who had been assigned to work on the VIP recruiting assignment, began to develop their sequences, observe their performance through the reporting platform, and personalized their usage of Hubspot’s capabilities to support their sales development efforts.
Much sales-tech experience has been gathering at Infinityn - we are happy to share our experience to aid your decisions!
Hubspot Partner Training includes 6 virtual training sessions, access to the Hubspot library of resources, workshops and 1-to-1 consultation meetings with Hubspot representatives. Participating in the training sessions means getting briefed on the way that Hubspot conducts its prospective customer outreach.
One of the interesting things to note is that Hubspot’s sales organization developed their own Qualification Framework, which they acronymized as “GPCTBA/C&I” (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline,
Budget, Authority & Negative Consequences and Positive Implications). This framework differs greatly from the classic
- “BANT” (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline) as well as
- the other technology-company-standard “MEDDIC” (Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion).
The GPCTBA/C&I differs from classic frameworks in that it places the project in a larger, holistic setting - especially the identifying of negative consequences and positive implications. We have found this enhancement to be useful in planning for contingency and getting traction inside the company for the implemented systems.
Another part of the partner training is also getting to know the Hubspot partner community, all of whom have similar goals of helping their customers grow. Infinityn International is proud to have joined this global ecosystem and looks forward to helping our existing and new customers achieve their growth goals utilizing the power of Hubspot’s platform and through the human effort required in sales development.
HubSpot offers a full stack of software for marketing, sales, and customer service, with a completely free CRM at its core. Hubspot’s platform helps businesses build a flywheel for growth, with a particular emphasis on delighting the customers of those businesses.
Helping business grow with a customer-centric approach is one of the foundational elements of Infinityn International as well. This is one of the main reasons that we’ve chosen to march forward alongside Hubspot as one of their Certified Partner Agencies.
Leveraging connected databases: LinkedIn Sales Navigator and ZoomInfo
Any sales organization needs leads at large, and the best place to acquire tier 1 B2B leads in an efficient manner is LinkedIn Sales Navigator and ZoomInfo.
The two complement each other, as we often use LinkedIn to validate the adequacy, the "freshness" of the vast lists that we acquire from ZoomInfo. Partnering with ZoomInfo has been a particularly beneficial addition to our stack. Our clients don't have to invest mid-to-high 5-figures USD to have access to one of the largest and best databases on the market; they can leverage Infinityn's infrastructure and access hundreds of thousands of potential prospects through us.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator works in a similar way, and goes hand-in-hand with Zoominfo when doing research. It is also the most up to date datasource and - as mentioned above - is sometimes used to validate the information from other databases. The data about prospects is obviously richer on Linkedin than anywhere else - prospects' past, skills and sometimes the technology they use can be obtained from Linkedin profiles. The data that Linkedin often doesn't contain and Zoominfo does, is contact data; email addresses and phone numbers.
While Zoominfo is great for getting a list of contacts with phone numbers, Sales Navigator is indispensible for prospect research.
Needless to say, both Linkedin Sales Navigator and Zoominfo integrate natively with our Hubspot CRM, so contacts are imported directly into our systems for SDRs to take action on.
(Cold) calling 2.0
When it comes time to make and receive calls, it is again, vital that integration with the CRM happens seamlessly. This is where Aircall, the cloud-based call center does great service.
Not only are we able to track and record calls, not only do we use nifty features such as listening in on SDRs' conversations with prospects... All call-related performance data gets pulled into Hubspot for SDR- and team-level performance metrics. For a deeper understanding of how we utilize Aircall, take a look at the Infinityn customer story on their website.
With Aircall, we should circle back to the point we made initially about the importance of data and insight into employees' work. Aircall provides crucial data often in real time about SDR performance.
One such important feature is the live activity feed. We can see in real time what calls are being made, and by which rep as well as important parameters of the call.
Another "on the fly" feature in Aircall is the so-called whispering mode. This allows a manager or our internal mentor to "listen in" on calls in real time, while being muted. This is useful for two reasons.
- The mentor can give advice to the agent during the call.
- They can discuss learnings from call right after it happened - without the need to record it. For outbound calls, GDPR-compliant call recording (where the rep has to ask for permission to record) is awkward - especially in case of cold calls - for obvious reasons.
As mentioned in the introduction, SDR-performance data is synced into Hubspot for rich analyitcs and insight.
It's important to note that our technologies cater for all styles of selling; some reps prefer to make large amounts of outbound calls with less research and don't mind being rejected. Other reps like to make less calls with more preparation and research beforehand.
Neither style or preference is good, nor bad. Our philosophy is to give freedom in this respect to our SDRs to go with whichever style feels comfortable. Results show that this is the way to go, and support from technology should enable this freedom.
Finetuning and upgrading the tech stack is a perpetual process - as is our continuous strive to improve our business processes. In our experience, getting expert advice ends up being the fastest and most cost-effective way to select and implement technology.
If you would like to discuss sales tech for your organization, we are happy to connect you with one of our experts, who boast both bruises and triumph from past projects. They are happy to start the conversation with a complimentary discovery session: