A Company Hooked on Inbound From Day One
Finnish entrepreneurs Mikko Seppä and Paavo Laaksonen founded Advance B2B as an agency that would harness the power of inbound marketing. They both had considerable sales experience at software as a service (SaaS) companies, and they had witnessed how much the buying process had changed during the 2010s.
“We transformed Snoobi, the company we used to work for, from a business that was using more traditional marketing to one that had a steady, predictable inbound lead flow,” explains Mikko Seppä, now VP of international operations at Advance B2B. “We created a wide range of content: webinars, ebooks, blogs – we even had our comic series. By the time we left, 70% of Snoobi’s total new sales was coming from inbound marketing leads.”
That success didn’t go unnoticed. The pair were inundated with questions from interested parties, asking how they had successfully ditched cold calling and increased their web traffic.
“We had a feeling that this model would be something we could scale for other companies, and that’s how Advance B2B was born.”
The founders had previously used individual tools for different marketing functions, including Hootsuite, Qualaroo, Unbounce, and Visual Website Optimizer, but they had been frustrated by their lack of integration.
“We ended up spending far too much time gathering even basic intelligence on how our marketing campaigns were performing. When we had a chance to start from zero, we decided to go with an all-in-one solution that would save us time and give us better insights about our buyers,” says Mikko.
The next step was to find the right platform. Mikko had previously used Marketo but had seen its time-to-value ratio lacking. They also evaluated Eloqua, but in the end, it was the HubSpot software that emerged as the best fit.
“I started a HubSpot trial to see how easy it would be to create a complete buyer’s journey within the software. In just two hours, I had the whole conversion process in place; a few blog posts with CTAs, Forms, and Landing Pages, as well as personalised website pages based on the visitor’s context. If I could achieve that in a couple of hours, I knew that it would be a game-changer to us.”
The two founders decided that the HubSpot software had the most exciting product roadmap; they also realised that they could use it to help their clients achieve success. The logical next step was the HubSpot Partner Program, and Advance B2B signed on the dotted line in January 2015.
Saving Time and Increasing Leads
Mikko got started by using the HubSpot software to optimise Advance B2B’s website. He developed customer personas – an essential first step for a company seeking high-end clients who would agree to retainer contracts. Next, he optimised Advance B2B’s impressive content library of ebooks, guides and presentations, setting up each piece up on a Landing Page accompanied by a CTA and a Form.
“We do quite a lot of selling to CEOs, and they haven’t necessarily heard about inbound marketing. We created a great deal of educational content about inbound and HubSpot – that attracts qualified prospects through the marketing funnel and ensures that they are primed for contact.”
Advance B2B also began to invest in its Blog and gained traction for each new post with the HubSpot Marketing Platform’s SEO features and the Social Inbox. It put Campaigns and Workflows in place and began to add Smart Content to personalise the visitor experience judiciously.
“The HubSpot software saves us valuable time. We can focus on analysing and improving our marketing using the Marketing Analytics Dashboard, rather than wasting hours trying to squeeze information out of a bunch of different systems. I get a complete understanding of the customer journey. All the touch points are covered, and I can easily track ROI.”
With its website optimised for inbound, Advance B2B quickly began to see the fruits of its labours. Leads were coming in thick and fast, and many of them converted into customers.
“We’ve used the HubSpot CRM since day one, and it makes it easier to have more intelligent conversations with prospective clients. We’ve closed deals because of all of the wonderful features that the platform has – we are continually evangelising about them,” reveals Mikko.
Driving Revenue and Retaining Clients
Since becoming a HubSpot Partner, Advance B2B has achieved some impressive results. 90% of them are on retainer contracts.
“We’ve grown our web traffic by 226%, and we’ve boosted leads by 267%. Today, practically all of our leads come through inbound, and their quality has improved as well,” says Mikko.
Advance B2B has achieved a positive return on investment since the first month that it joined the Partner Program, and it doubled its revenue from 2015 to 2016. This high level of success is something that it has been able to replicate for its clients, says Mikko.
“Our clients want us to improve a few main metrics – web traffic leads and of course their revenue levels. One customer was getting 90% of its leads through traditional outbound methods, but after a few months with us, 74% of its leads were coming through inbound. Another client has achieved a 240% rise in its MQLs. Once they see their customer acquisition cost coming down and their profits going up, they are keen to renew their contracts.”
Looking ahead to next year, Mikko hopes to continue to grow the business and expand Advance B2B’s international footprint.
“I’d like to increase client numbers to 25 and once again double our revenue. Since partnering with HubSpot, we’ve increased our team from two to 13 – I’d like to bring that up to 26 by the end of 2017.”
He believes that the HubSpot software will fuel this growth, and would recommend the Partner Program to any other agency that wants to achieve great things with inbound.
“The Hubspot Marketing Platform is easy to learn, but it has enterprise-level power and scalability. It makes you more confident about your marketing from the very beginning.”