Introducing Inbound to an Old-School Market
Founded in 2012, Exodata provides its customers with a complete IT management solution that covers everything from infrastructure to 24/7 support. However, its marketing strategy wasn’t quite as comprehensive. It was still using old-school methods, such as newspaper ads, to attract leads and clients.
When Laurent Fontaine joined as the company’s marketing and communications director, he knew that something had to change. He wanted Exodata, which is an overseas department of France to be one of the first companies in the region to implement an inbound marketing strategy.
“I wanted Exodata to embrace the inbound methodology because I knew just how powerful it could be for us. I started out trying to do inbound manually, with tools like MailChimp, Hootsuite and Buffer, but they didn’t work well together. The data wasn’t centralised, and we weren’t getting the leads or the insights we needed. We needed to find a better way.
Laurent had been introduced to the inbound methodology through the HubSpot blog, and he had been impressed by the breadth and depth of the information that is provided. He began investigating the HubSpot Marketing Platform as a possible solution for Exodata.
“The software itself had everything we needed under the one roof, and I knew that it would allow us to implement the disruptive strategy that I had in mind. The free HubSpot CRM was a big plus for us, as the CRM that we were using at the time wasn’t effective; we couldn’t track the sales funnel and pipeline.”
However, Laurent says that HubSpot’s commitment to its customers was what sealed the deal. “We loved the way that HubSpot looks after its customers, helps them to develop their strategy and gives them everything they need to succeed. We were convinced that together we could be effective, and we signed on the dotted line in February 2016.”
Creating Content That Convinces and Converts
Laurent got started by creating personas for Exodata’s different types of clients and then began targeting them with content that they would be interested in reading. He set up ebooks and whitepapers on Landing Pages, adding Calls-to-Action and Forms to drive user engagement. He used the Social Inbox to increase Exodata’s profile across the social networks and to encourage followers to visit the company’s Blog.
“Our HubSpot customer success manager was so helpful as we took the next steps – setting up Workflows and building Campaigns. She made sure that we were doing the right things at the right times, and that helped us get up and running quickly. We also use the Marketing Analytics Dashboard a lot, because it allows us to see which of our actions are the most effective and then adjust our strategy accordingly.”
Within weeks, Laurent noticed an increase in both the quantity and quality of the leads that Exodata was getting.
“We have quite a long sales process, so we want our leads to look upon us as thought leaders in the field. Before, we were cold calling and trying to explain what we do and then get them into a meeting. It wasn’t efficient. Now, the leads have already been nurtured with relevant, useful content – they know what we can do and how we can help them.”
The migration to the HubSpot CRM has also been revelatory, says Laurent.
“Our salespeople now have a view of the entire customer journey – they can see what kind of topics they were interested in and what their pain points are. When they call them up, they know what they want to talk about.”
A Direct Line to More Leads and Customers
Since partnering with HubSpot five months ago, Exodata has already achieved some remarkable results, including a 4X increase in website visitors and a 6X increase in leads. It has already closed more than 10 customers through inbound – not bad for a company whose sales cycle usually takes six months or more.
“All of our sales and marketing goes through the HubSpot software, but we’ve also involved the rest of the team. For example, we get our engineers to produce whitepapers – we have the expert knowledge in-house, so why not use it? Everyone is involved in our content production strategy; we build our team spirit around the content.”
According to Laurent, HubSpot has initiated a 360-degree change in the company’s marketing strategy.
“HubSpot helped us think about how we were selling our services to our customers. It helped us get in our customers’ shoes, and we weren’t doing that at all before signing up with HubSpot. Now, when we reach out to them, they are already aware that we have solutions to their issues.”
Looking to the future, Exodata is going to delve even deeper into the advanced features of the HubSpot Marketing Platform. Laurent is currently studying to become HubSpot certified and he plans to launch a series of webinars in September.
“We haven’t felt all the benefits yet, but we are 100% satisfied we made the right choice. We know there is way more that we can do by optimising how we use it.”
Within the next three years, he would like Exodata to be leading the field for managed IT services, not only in his region but in Europe and beyond.
“The potential is huge – we are not at the end of the journey yet. We are definitely going to be with HubSpot in the long term. We are confident that you want us to succeed and that gives us confidence.”