As part of our HubSpot Power User series, we sat down with Sonya Krakoff, Marketing Coordinator at AllEarth Renewables, for her story on how she uses HubSpot and perspective on best practices.
Zak: Can you start by telling us about AllEarth Renewables and what your company does?
Sonya: AllEarth Renewables is a manufacturer of dual-axis solar trackers, which are solar systems that move with the sun to produce up to 40% more energy than fixed systems. We mostly sell through dealer installer partners across the country, and those dealer installers are who we are targeting with our marketing.
Zak: What is the goal of your marketing efforts?
The goal of our marketing and our use of HubSpot is to educate them about why a dual-axis solar tracker would be a great addition to their product offering. For the dealers who sell our product, we offer a system that’s durable, easy to install, and high-production, and as a company we are committed to being a partner to our dealers.
Zak: As marketing coordinator, what are your main responsibilities?
Sonya: I am responsible for all of our day-to-day marketing execution. That consists of managing our website, creating and editing all content, some graphics work, sales support, and creation of collateral – pretty much everything under the marketing umbrella.
Zak: How did you get into marketing technology and inbound marketing?
Sonya: I was an English major in college with a focus on creative writing. I was looking for ways to best apply my skills and interests to the business world.
Zak: And how did you get started with HubSpot?
Sonya: I started using HubSpot here at AllEarth about a year and a half ago. When I was interviewing, the company was in the process of bringing on HubSpot. They wanted to move from more traditional marketing programs to inbound programs, and they hired me to have a content focus based on my writing background.
Zak: Can you walk us through how you are using HubSpot?
Sonya: HubSpot is our all-in-one marketing tool. We primarily focus on content creation – mostly blog posts and downloadable content offers that are gated by lead generation formsWe’re leveraging lead scoring and workflows to nurture and deliver qualified leads to sales. Our website is built on the HubSpot COS.We are also using the reporting add-on tools to analyze our campaigns and our marketing/sales funnel, and our sales team has begun using the HubSpot Sales tools in conjunction with NetSuite, which is our primary CRM.
Zak: What are the key metrics you are focused on right now?
Sonya: We are looking at our whole funnel, but we are focused on growing our top of funnel, MQLs, web traffic, and our addressable audience as subscribers. When we launched in May 2015, we had zero subscribers, and today we have around 900.
Zak: How are you approaching your lead definitions?
Sonya: Close to a year ago, we sat down and mapped what we consider a strong lead that sales would be interested in talking to – including criteria such as persona and the type of information we could learn on forms, such as # of installations a dealer does per year or KW per year installed. This sets up the qualification thresholds for MQL, which we are always reviewing and tweaking.
Our sales team has appreciated they are getting leads that are self-educated and they can pick it up from there.
The tighter MQL definition has given sales more confidence in the metrics. We are working well together as a unified sales and marketing team. I am fortunate that our teams work well together and are well integrated.
Zak: How are you guys driving that alignment?
Sonya: First off we are all under a single Director as our Director of Sales & Marketing, so we have one person responsible for both functions. She’s very open to giving both sales and marketing access to one another.
We have a lot of back and forth. We sit at the same pod at the office. That sounds like a small thing but it makes a big difference. I’m not isolated from the discussion throughout the day. I’m there and I’m listening. I can hear them when they are on their calls, what questions come up that they need help getting answers to from marketing. And they can see what I’m working on to help them. There’s a lot of interaction that helps build that team feeling.
I’ve read a million marketing blogs talking about the challenges of marketing and sales alignment, so I feel lucky to not face those problems.
Zak: I agree you’re in a real good spot to have that alignment, it should lead to continued success. To wrap up here, what are some tips you’d like to share with other HubSpot users?
Sonya: We are experimenting with Smart CTAs and seeing some good initial results. One of the challenges we have found is that we spend a lot of time creating downloadable content offers, and then it’s all buried in a resource library. So you’ve invested all this time in this content, how do you get more eyes on it? We are using smart CTAs to get relevant content offers onto our highly trafficked web pages, which is helping us convert more leads.
Another area we are focused on is measuring our blog performance. We are looking closely at what types of topics are driving key metrics such as traffic, shares and leads.
Right now we’re in the process of going back and looking at older posts that generate a lot of traffic and making sure they are optimized for conversion, with updated links to new content and relevant calls to action, which has helped us see an uptick in new leads
We use insights from our blog analytics to inform our future content strategy: when we see a topic performing well, we take that topic and break it down into sub-topics, then build out new content around it. We try to balance our content between big picture, mission-focused topics on the renewables industry and climate change, and other more SEO-friendly topics specific to our space in the industry.
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