The most obvious step after starting a business is to streamline all marketing and sales activities to drive its expansion. In this age, beating the competition is a tad difficult, given the number of businesses mushrooming across industries – with the sole aim of offering services cost effectively.
When 30-year-old Michael Horowitz started his own digital agency 3 years ago, little did he realise the importance of a unified system to monitor and control business activities. Although he divided his employees into two major teams – marketing and sales – he was unable to keep track of their activities.
Moreover, the employees themselves had a problem keeping a tab on their activities. Whether it was regarding the creation of the yearly blog calendar or scheduling meetings with prospects – the activities were too extensive and scattered everywhere.
To bring an order and a sense of management within the workflows, Horowitz introduced a software that could take organise everything. Naturally – this resulted in increased productivity levels of all employees. In the larger scheme of things, Horowitz’s agency was able to achieve a higher ROI in a matter of months as everything was well planned, organised and quickly executed.
HubSpot is one tool that takes care of “everything” for a typical business. And you will be surprised to learn about all its features, and solutions.
Let’s face it – every marketer, at some or the other point in life, has either registered for a HubSpot webinar or taken its Inbound certification course or made use of its extensive resource library. In the world of marketing, HubSpot has carved a niche for itself, and how!
From their email newsletters and content resources such as eBooks and guides to their ever-evolving certification courses and training programs – HubSpot provides multiple resources via different media for its growing community of marketing professionals. Every resource that comes from HubSpot is of top quality and that is a fact!
But this is just one reason for why HubSpot is so popular and doing so well. In actuality, it is an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies to attract prospects, generate and nurture leads and achieve conversions. Sure – it is a marketing powerhouse but its success also depends on the sales aspect, and a lot of sales professionals consider HubSpot as the go-to tool!
The main aim of HubSpot is to help businesses secure and convert as many leads as possible. Now – whether they achieve it via pure marketing tactics or apply a mix of marketing and sales strategies, HubSpot helps them to stay on track and achieve their business goals faster and more efficiently.
So yeah – HubSpot offers a stack of independent products for marketing, sales and customer relationship management (CRM) and when these software are used simultaneously to achieve one goal, the end result is even more powerful for the business! Moving on, let us discuss the three software offerings by HubSpot in detail:
Bringing new business on-board is not an easy activity. One needs to search for prospects, keep a track of the deals won and lost, take note of upcoming meetings, etc. etc. A typical sales team, therefore, maintains spreadsheets, acknowledges and responds all emails, and schedules appointments with prospects among other things.
Therefore, there is a need for the sales reps to use a tool that allows them to stay organised and manage each day, each task with ease. Thankfully, HubSpot’s free CRM is the perfect solution to this! The tool gives an up-to-date view of the sales funnel. From the lost deals to the pending contracts – the CRM monitors all activities for the sales reps – that gives them more control and a better sense of organisation.
The HubSpot CRM tracks every interaction with the prospect or customer that the reps have ever had on emails or across social media and presents the information in the form of a tidy timeline. The software brings attention to every detail so that the sales team are always informed of their own activities and there is no mistake at work.
One is free to use the CRM up to 10 lac contacts and with no additional charges, time limit or expiration date. So use as much as you want! Who doesn’t like to use a software for free without any hassle! HubSpot believes in 100% customer satisfaction.
Want to give your website traffic a boost, convert more leads and achieve a higher ROI? Then the HubSpot Marketing tool can make it happen for you! In an age where it is difficult to beat competition, we are not surprised that HubSpot can make things so easy for marketers and small business owners.
The software enables a number of digital activities such as quality content curation and blogging, creation of conversion-optimized landing pages, personalization of email templates that also comes with running A/B tests, automation of all marketing activities, lead management and marketing analytics.
The marketing software also analyses the health of the business websites – which is a crucial aspect of having an online brand – don’t you agree? HubSpot monitors social mentions and conversations across multiple digital platforms, tracks customer engagements and even schedules posts – which is a boon for marketers as they don’t have to hop from one social media tool to another just to schedule posts.
The HubSpot marketing tool helps in finding quality keywords to optimise blog posts and landing pages. And who takes care of measuring the impact of the keywords and telling the marketers what’s exactly working for them? The tool does – of course!
The best thing about HubSpot is that it can integrate with Salesforce. This means that tool can keep a track of every email sent and opened, form submissions ever filled and CTAs ever clicked among many other things.
It is possible to use the marketing tool for free but if one wants to have access to all kinds of features under the sun, then you can buy it for $200 per month. Trust me – it is a great buy!
Selling a product or service is a daunting task! It is an entire process which, if not done right, won’t see the light of day. With HubSpot’s sales tool, one can be assured that every prospect does complete the sales funnel, or at least every sales rep follows a proper process that ensures a higher conversion rate.
HubSpot offers a set of email templates for the sales reps to use. From introductory emails to the follow-up ones, this tool has got every aspect of sales covered. Moreover, it also tracks the emails sent, open click rates, attachment downloads, etc.
The sales reps can learn about companies visiting the business websites and the pages they seem to spend most of their time on. Scheduling meetings has never been easier with the software as it can be integrated with Google Calendar, HubSpot CRM and Office 365. You can now always make it to appointments on time – thanks to HubSpot!
As calling prospects is such a big part in sales (for obvious reasons!), this software allows the reps to queue up calls, log calls to the CRM directly and even record the calls – all with just a single click.
The sales tool is a lot cheaper than the marketing tool. One can use it for just $50 a month, as compared to its marketing counterpart which is 4 times costlier!
The biggest drawback of HubSpot
HubSpot caters to over 21,000 customers – who are spread across the entire world – 90 countries to be exact. Shopify, Tufts University and Care.com are some of the companies associated with HubSpot, and using it and reaping benefits from it. The inbound platform has almost 3500 agency partners.
Everything is great about HubSpot. It covers all marketing and sales aspects and even has the tools to back whatever they sell or put up on offer. However, the thing is most small businesses can’t afford HubSpot.
It is a tad on the higher side – something which is pretty visible; and even though the services are too extensive and do yield results in the long-run, most business won’t always go for it, and instead look for options that are cheaper.
As most of the time, small businesses don’t need to execute their marketing and sales activities on such a large scale, they opt for software which takes care of their requirements and provides all the services at a much cheaper rate.
Alternatives of HubSpot available in the market
Thankfully, we live in a digital time and age where everything has an alternative. Yup – everything! Since HubSpot may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that is OK, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other fish in the sea to hunt for. Here are five handy alternatives of HubSpot you can switch to:
1. Aritic PinPoint
This is an all-in-one marketing automation tool for businesses that are scaling at a rapid pace. Aritic PinPoint lets you automate emails, SMS’, push notifications and social media posts to engage and convert prospects.
The list of features that Aritic Pinpoint offers is exhaustive and includes:
1. Marketing automation
Every marketer has a lot of tasks that are repetitive and are time-consuming if they sit to finish them all. Automation is the answer to such tasks. Aritic marketing automation is like your personal assistant and helps you prepare the perfect workflow for you to promote your brand in the market.
2. Account-based marketing
Today, digging deep into your customer base has become more important than ever. With Account-Based Marketing (ABM), it has become possible to identify the target market and understand their painpoints to be able to prepare a strategy that helps you promote your brand effectively. You can nurture prospects and create active conversation with them. Aritic also enables you to keep the sales teams informed so that they can approach the leads accordingly.
3. HTML content
Aritic allows you to use HTML content on your website, landing pages and contact forms for that extra personal touch to attract and convert your website visitors.
4. Gated video
This is an exclusive feature on Aritic Pinpoint. You can enhance your video content to get more views and subscribes. Everyone loves to watch a video rather than read a long of features. You just make it easier for them to be sold by your brand.
5. Mobile marketing
More than 50% of internet time is spent on mobile. People search on their mobile phones before reaching out to their desktops or tablets. Marketing on mobile has become more important than ever. Thankfully, Aritic provides you with all the support you need to launch a mobile-based marketing strategy.
6. Marketing analytics
If you can analyze your performance, your efforts seem to go waste. In an age and time where analytics are paramount, Aritic ensures you are able to stay at the top of your game with real-time analytics. After all – how else would you know how well you are doing.
WordPress, Zapier, Zoho CRM, Salesforce, Amazon Web Services, Go To Training, Go To Webinar, MailChimp, SendGrid, MailChimp, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Mandrill, Sparkpost, Outlook and Google Plus are just some of the tool and platforms that can integrate with Aritic Pinpoint.
Scaling a business is easy provided you know the secret of attracting the right consumers, showing them how you can add value to them and converting them into loyal customers. As the owner of a new business, what do you think comprise the ingredients of a stellar growth strategy?
Emails, blogs, social media, a CRM database, a landing page builder, etc? Yes – that is right! Basically – a tool that allows you to not only build and maintain an effective digital image but also helps you to target the right people using the right collaterals. After all – maintaining a healthy relationship with the consumers is everything! And the sooner you start work on this, the better it is.
Thankfully – ONTRAPORT offers a unified system that allows you to personalise the prospect’s journey and get fabulous results in the end. Oh, and it is the perfect catch for eCommerce stores. Here are its 4 solid features:
Content rules the roost wherever you go and whichever industry you work in. From drafting blogs and emails to building high-converting landing pages – ONTRAPORT assists you in every content-related activity.
2. Marketing automation and email marketing
ONTRAPORT helps you to create your own marketing funnel based on the rules specified by you. Since automation is the future and personalization is “big” in selling, automating your marketing efforts as per consumer segments will fetch excellent results in the long run.
Moreover, as far as emails are concerned, ONTRAPORT assists you in creating groups based on the lead source, demographics, the engagement level, etc. to reach ONLY those who are REALLY interested in your product.
3. eCommerce and sales automation
Since ONTRAPORT tracks most qualified leads, it becomes easier to focus on just them and subsequently accelerate the sales process. Similarly, referral programs form an integral part of the sales strategy. This means that the sales reps can easily focus on contacting those customers who are happy with the product and services and are happy to provide you with a list of referrals.
A CRM is a tool that helps the users to manage better and execute daily tasks more smoothly. After all – both marketing and sales activities involve maintaining super long and messy spreadsheets, scheduling meetings with prospects and vendors and blasting bulk emails, etc. etc.
With the use of ONTRAPORT’s CRM, you can get a 360-degree view of all your marketing and sales activities, set your own business metrics and analyse them to create better plans in the future. Without a CRM, it becomes difficult to maintain a team and keep a track of all the activities scheduled or completed in the past.
I personally think ONTRAPORT is a fantastic tool for small size businesses. It covers all features that any other solid software would provide. No wonder, it integrates with a variety of brands such as PayPal, WooCommerce, WordPress, Shopify, Facebook, PicReel, NMI, XERO, FreshDesk and WorldPay among others. Yes – the list is too long and complete with brand names any novice would also know!
Unlike HubSpot, even its basic version is not free. There are three packages – Basic, Pro and Team. Of course, you may not be able to access all features if you opt for the Basic package but that’s okay as long as it helps you get work done!
However, the best deal here is the PRO package which allows up to 2 users to use the software, to send 1 lac emails a month and interact with up to 25k contacts in the account. You don’t have to go crazy while picking the right package. Just go with a package deal that is cost-effective and comprehensive.
So you have started a business and you are doing pretty well for yourself. But the thing is you want to drive growth at a faster pace. Who wouldn’t want that? And what do you do to ensure that? You use a software that brings all your activities on one platform and lets you take charge of your actions. This is what Infusionsoft will help you do.
The following are the seven things that this software is most capable of:
1. Tag and segment your leads
Apart from the basic functionalities of a CRM, Infusionsoft allows you to collect data about contact’s behaviours, prioritise them as per their marketing interactions and streamline all future activities against those who pose as the hottest leads.
2. Automate lead capture
Because you should work smarter, not harder! Infusionsoft makes you create personalised communications that trigger on the basis of the contact’s behaviour. From form submissions to email open click rates – each activity can be backed by a real-time communication to always stay in the purview of the customers.
3. Create a sales workflow
Wouldn’t it be great to have all sales activities, meetings and tasks in one place? Of course, it will be! Thankfully, Infusionsoft not only ensures that all sales activities remain under one umbrella but also triggers an automated response as soon as someone completes a purchase!
4. eCommerce selling made easier
As more and more businesses are going online, there is an increasing need of software in the market that can support the digital storefronts. Infusionsoft, for instance, not only sets up and manages online shopping carts, inventory and billing from a single system but also keeps track of customer interactions and helps you create discounts, subscriptions plans and promo offers among other things.
5. Provides insightful analytics
In this time and age, analytics are everything as they are the single point of source of how successful your marketing and sales efforts were or are. Continuous evaluation of your performance can help you review call logs, calculate current and estimated revenues and pinpoint which leads will convert the faster.
6. Use the software on mobile
Everyone and every thing’s going mobile. One of the biggest limitations of such inbound software is that they are unavailable on mobile. But such is not the case with Infusionsoft. You can access your account from anywhere if you are using the Infusionsoft mobile app. You can even create emails, landing pages and submission forms optimised for the mobile platform!
7. Receive payments seamlessly
Infusionsoft’s work doesn’t stop with helping you convert a lead. Who is going to collect the money that you have so earned? This amazing software will! As it is integrated with the invoicing and billing collection, you and your newly converted customers can be assured of a secure payment platform.
Although not much is explicitly mentioned about the integrations on the website, Infusionsoft can integrate smoothly with Intuit, QuickBooks, XERO.
OK – so there are five types of annual plans that the Infusionsoft platform offers. The “Essentials” plan costs just $199 per month, while the most expensive one – the “Team” package lets you benefit from all features (that we discussed earlier) at just $500 per month. Which annual plan would your business go for?
This is a marketing automation tool – that puts more emphasis on the email marketing side of things and allows you to draft every single interaction with leads in a personalised fashion. How does it ensure this? By doing the following:
1. Tags users on the basis of action
By “action” I mean any and every activity of the lead. From clicking open an email and visiting any page of the website and making a purchase, Drip automatically generates a lead score that helps you to figure out the leads which are in for the long haul.
2. Relies on heavy automation
Did you know that Drip has 11 triggers and 14 actions in the automation rule builder? Yeah – and this can be used to tag and score leads, record conversions and send these conversions to another application like the CRM among other things.
3. Superb API integration
4. Visual workflow
This feature is available on every account of Drip. This basically means you can chart down your interaction with the prospects or customers on the basis of their behaviours and subsequent actions.
There are basically three paid plans and one free version. In the free one, you can handle up to 100 contacts. The Basic package allows you to handle 2,500 contacts at $49 per month. The Pro package can be bought at $99 per month and allows you to manage up to 5,000 subscribers. Please note that neither of the two plans includes Remove Drip Branding and Salesforce integration.
Then there is the Business plan which comes at $149 per month and has the ability to manage 12.5k subscribers. You can also opt for a free trial for a period 3 weeks before starting to make payments each month.
You can read complete Drip Review.
It is the aim of every marketer and sales professional to be able to provide the target consumers quality services but with the right kind of messaging. With ActiveCampaign, it is possible to deliver that messaging rather effectively to be able to convert them into leads and then to customers.
The point is that customer data should be organised and actionable, and to ensure this – you should use a comprehensive tool such as ActiveCampaign to consolidate your communication and use sales automation to drive business growth and innovation.
1. Emails are not going anywhere
Email marketing is still huge, despite the digital noise that social media has managed to create in the last several years. Since studying the target consumers is the first step, it is possible to send personalised messages that not only interests them but also are able to sell what we want to sell.
ActiveCampaign has a drag-and-drop feature that allows the marketers to design attractive email campaigns for their audience.
2. Customer data sorted out
You will agree that there is no dearth of consumer data for you. Of course, you interact with your audience on a daily basis through a number of channels such as social media, emails and phones among other mediums. So it is no news that you would have plenty of data to use.
Active Campaign collates and organised complete data so that the users can get a clear picture of their consumers and business. If you need to add value to your business, you must go back and study the primary data collected by you and your team via various mediums.
3. Chrome extension
The Sales CRM of ActiveCampaign has a Chrome extension which is extremely useful in viewing detailed contact information, accessing contacts from anywhere and adding contacts. It also has an email tracker – which means the sender can come to know when the emails are opened and read.
It is also possible to fit the contacts in automated workflows created by you. Basically – sales reps should install this extension as it lets them do these chores quickly.
There are four pricing packages offered by ActiveCampaign. Depending on the size of your business, basic requirements and budget – you can make an informed decision and purchase any of the following packages:
If run an online business and are in desperate need of a simple system that lets you sell online courses and digital products seamlessly, then Kajabi is the perfect choice for you. The businesses that use this software have peculiar sets of services.
It mostly works with businesses that sell content-based resources such as courses and training programs. One can upload videos, run training portals, membership sites and what not using Kajabi. You can create simple landing pages by choosing a theme and a template – it has a photo bank to die for!
It may seem like a simple tool but it does make sure that you are able to create drip email campaigns and analyse the performance of your emails. There is also a built-in blog feature in Kajabi. So if you have a small website, you can even start your own blog with just one click.
There are three kinds of pricing models on Kajabi – of course, you can also use it for free but you won’t have access to all of its features. So what is the perfect model for you?, and does Kajabi fulfil all your marketing and sales needs?
Over to you
OK – I will be honest. All the tools we discussed, just a couple of minutes ago, are awesome – all of them! Depending on the size, industry and requirements, a business can choose either of the software and reap great benefits. However, ONTRAPORT is a great alternative, followed by Drip – which is an excellent learning ground for beginners or really young businesses.
Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, are the best choice for full-fledged digital marketers and sales professionals. So if you are looking to indulge in serious and heavy activities, then these two tools are perfect for you.
Which one is apt for your business? Do let me know your thoughts! Please comment in the box given below.