Background on InvitedHome
Gabi: Can you start out by giving us background on InvitedHome - who you are and who you are marketing and selling to.
John M: Sure, I’ll start. We want to be the undisputed leader in luxury vacation rentals. We're trying to attract potential vacation homeowners interested in having us manage their vacation rental property. We target second home owners in our resort destinations. The properties tend to be high end luxury homes, and therefore we’re targeting high net worth individuals.
Gabi: And what are your roles specifically on the team?
John M: I work directly between sales and marketing to try to pull in prospects for the sales team to reach. I'm heavily invested in the integration between our CRM and marketing automation system, making sure they're aligned and all the information is correct and consistent between both systems. That’s important for both teams, especially for the sales reps to be working with the right information.
John H: And my role is Business Intelligence Analyst, which sounds fancy but it’s really a jack-of-all-trades type position. I’m working to ensure we have a smooth integration process between HubSpot and Insightly, and once it’s up and running it will be up to John Maguire to manage the process on an ongoing basis.
How InvitedHome Gets New Customers
Gabi: What is your approach for generating demand?
John M: We focus on paid digital media, direct mail and inbound leads. We also partner heavily with realtors in our destinations, because they are out in the field, networking with homeowners, potential homeowners and sellers. And then another referral source is the InvitedHome employees in the local market, they are also networking for us.
Gabi: What happens once you bring in a lead?
John M: We follow up with every lead. We are also researching every lead, using public records to get additional information on the home itself.
Our sales team can then take the home, and use our HomeCraft™ tool to project how much revenue that home can potentially make in that market by renting it with InvitedHome. The sales team will then work with that prospect and see if InvitedHome fits their needs.
Gabi: Sounds like technology is part of your special sauce?
John M: Yes it is, our founders are graduates of Techstars in Boulder. That technology is what they developed during that phase.
That becomes part of the experience of working with InvitedHome. The people that are renting through InvitedHome, they can log into the website and they have an owner dashboard - they can see how much money they've made, who's in the house, what's coming up, what needs to be fixed. During tax season, you can easily download all those numbers and give it to your accountant. It makes business a lot easier.
Integrated Sales & Marketing Systems
Gabi: Can you walk us through what led you to make investments in your sales & marketing systems earlier this year?
John H: This is part of a part of a bigger initiative for us to integrate our marketing and our sales strategy together. Our former VP of Sales had used Bedrock Data in a prior position. It was a known quantity that we knew would fill our needs without the typical development cycle needed for a systems integration project.
We made the decision at the same time to go with Insightly and Bedrock Data, knowing that we would be able to have both our CRM and marketing automation system working in an integrated manner. Insightly was key for us primarily because it was a good “out-of-the-box” solution that didn’t require a specific, already-developed marketing and sales process flow. As a smaller, rapidly growing organization, we’re still learning and fine tuning our marketing and sales processes. Insightly didn’t require as much process definition and development on day one as something like Salesforce, so we were able to get up and running faster.
Gabi: OK, so the trio of Insightly, HubSpot and Bedrock Data made sense for you as a way to get both sales and marketing the functionality they needed, and keep everything integrated. How much convincing did you have to do around the idea that your CRM and marketing automation needed to be integrated?
John H: That was definitely one of our pre-requisites heading into the decision. Running marketing automation and CRM systems without an integration would be not only painful, but very inefficient.
You could imagine taking a massive download in the form of a CSV or Excel file, formatting it, and getting data uploaded. Of course that kind of manual process runs a lot of risk for error, as well as not getting information to the sales team in the timely manner that they need it. And there are rules being applied to the data that would be very time consuming to replicate manually.
We started with well over 100,000 contacts in HubSpot, so you are talking about a lot of data.
Gabi: Did you consider any other approaches for an integration?
John H: We have a development team here that runs our website, but they are plenty busy with other things, so it didn’t make sense for them to take this on as a project. They aren’t experts in sales and marketing integrations, and it would have distracted them from other important work. Not to mention, who knows if they would be able to sign up to support this on an ongoing basis? That could have been a recipe for some real issues between sales, marketing and development down the road.
Integrating HubSpot and Insightly
Gabi: What has stood out to you so far around your HubSpot and Insightly integration?
John M: We’ve seen one of the great benefits around data syncing back and forth between HubSpot and Insightly. It’s one thing for a lead to pass from HubSpot to Insightly, which the integration does.
And then there’s tremendous value in getting data back from Insightly to HubSpot, because that sales data is constantly changing. Let’s say there’s an address change to one of the contacts, it’s crucial to marketing that, the update comes back to HubSpot, which Bedrock Data handles for us.
The marketing team spends 90% of its time in HubSpot, and the sales team spends 90% of its time in Insightly. Bedrock Data ensures the data is correct in both systems.