How HubSpot can improve its tele-program through the principles of inbound marketing (they did invent it after all)

I didn’t appreciate the interruption on my cell phone – especially when I found out WHO had interrupted me.

On the other end of the line was HubSpot – the company who literally wrote the book defining Inbound Marketing and trashing interruption tactics such as cold calling. Yes, it was a HubSpot tele rep calling me on my cell phone on this Friday afternoon – to me, the epitome of disruption.

I pointed out the irony to the rep – “Is this really representative of the HubSpot brand, the company that Brian and Dharmesh built?” I asked.

The conversation drove  me to Tweet this –  when HubSpot chooses to interrupt me on my cell phone, I hold them to a higher standard:

True story: @HubSpot tele rep interrupts me with call to my cell phone, I said this isn't #inboundmarketing is it?

The funny thing is that it wasn’t the disruption that bothered me the most  - it was the low quality of the touch from HubSpot.

HubSpot, with all of their means and resources – and content – and all the rep had to offer in terms of conversation was: “It would be great to take you through how we compare to Marketo.”

A feature / function comparison – no thank you.

The issue cuts deep – the principles of inbound marketing upon which HubSpot has built its business (and a $100 million IPO and now near-$1 billion valuation) – should not be limited to the lead acquisition phase upon which HubSpot initially brought their focus.

These are five ways HubSpot can improve its teleprospecting program – through applying its very own principles of inbound marketing to the middle stages of the buying process.

#1 - Lead with insight

The same principles of inbound marketing apply to touches from teleprospecting – insight is the currency. Reps should establish credibility and earn the right for deeper conversation through sharing insight that establishes they have a subject expertise in an area of importance to their prospect.

#2 - Appeal to problems/issues/pain

The feature/function proposition from the HubSpot rep was not something that I had interest in going deep into. If he had focused the conversation on solving issues that were of high priority to me, that would have been a much better way to start a conversation and convince me that further conversation could be of value to me.

#3 - Be relevant based on content consumed

Perhaps most striking – I’ve been consuming HubSpot content for years – so there should be some strong clues around topics of interest to me – but there was no attempt from the rep to make such connections. That tells me either the HubSpot product isn’t oriented around that, or the company’s thinking around helping buyers doesn’t naturally extend from an inbound lead to a tele lead. 

#4 - Incorporate social media research

If you are reading this you know that I’m not a hard person to find on social media. The best teleprospecting reps incorporate social media intelligence to their conversation. This can either be done on a 1:1 basis, or part of where the predictive lead scoring vendors are going is doing this at scale by helping customers incorporate social intelligence into their lead scoring and the data passed to sales as part of a lead handoff.

#5 - Add value by organizing content for your buyers

HubSpot has contributed to building a world overloaded with digital content – and most buyers are challenged by how to organize that content for themselves and their buying teams.  Teleprospecters can add value through personal pages organized around content as they reach out to customers (see more on this in example #2 in this article), or offer to help a prospect to organize content based on a specific issue – and the content that they then deliver and how they organize it can then help them earn the right for the next conversation, the next positive touch. Tools such as Postwire are worth looking at to help reps deliver content to buying teams – and in fact a HubSpot or Marketo or Pardot would benefit from adding that functionality to their repertoire as it sits at the intersection of content marketing and sales enablement which is where the marketing automation vendors should be headed next.

For more resources on how to create a winning teleprospecting program: