Moving from Start-Up to Scale-Up
By 2017, Foleon had grown significantly over its first four years as a business. However, Michiel Schouten, Head of Marketing at Foleon, realised that its current CRM and marketing automation setup was not sufficient for its desired trajectory.
Foleon didn't have an adequate CRM and used several disparate tools to drive its growth efforts. Foleon’s tech stack included Mailchimp for email, Podio Project Management as a CRM, G-Suite for reporting, and a custom CMS for its website. Michiel decided that change was needed.
"Like many startups experience, our tech stack had evolved over time. It piled up. Using so many suboptimal platforms made us ineffective, caused inertia, and provided insufficient insights to understand the added value of our sales and marketing efforts. It was time to make a change to bring these three steps forward."
After extensive initial research, Foleon had a preference for HubSpot. "I wasn't acquainted with HubSpot, but the trial experience was good, the customer stories resonated, and my conversations with HubSpot partners made it obvious that HubSpot was the best fit for our needs," explains Michiel. Foleon then made the decision and signed up to HubSpot in 2017, initially with the Professional tiers of Marketing Hub and Sales Hub.
From the outset, Foleon wanted to focus on improving its sales and marketing alignment. "HubSpot became one single source of truth, tying sales and marketing together. We now had one place where we could monitor the complete funnel performance, manage handover from marketing to sales, understand conversion attribution, and improve insights on whatever segment you prefer — geography, industry, use case, and more."
On top of that, Michiel hoped to both streamline Foleon's marketing efforts and improve sales efficiency. "For Marketing, HubSpot made so many other platforms redundant. We finally had proper insight into the impact of all of our efforts, thanks to solid attribution and proper dashboarding.
"We massively improved the output and impact of email marketing and integrated the blog section on our custom website to improve our content marketing efforts. For sales and customer success, it massively streamlined administrative work in lead monitoring and nurturing, deals management, email template control, and provided better insights into performance.”
Leveraging Data and Automation for Growth
Foleon was able to quickly and easily get started with HubSpot and migrate its entire database from its sales CRM over to HubSpot. "While we were onboarded via a HubSpot partner, it wasn't long before we were able to manage the implementation ourselves, since we have quite some technical and online marketing know-how available, and relatively little legacy.”
Michiel was also impressed with how intuitive HubSpot was to use, even for team members who might not have used it before. "I have experience with multiple CRM and marketing automation platforms, but none of them has such a self-explanatory user interface. Leveraging HubSpot Academy is also a great way to get acquainted with the concept of inbound and the different solutions HubSpot has to offer."
In early 2018, Foleon upgraded its account by adding Marketing Hub Enterprise and CMS Hub. Sean Filidis, a Content Strategist at Foleon, was excited to discover how the CMS Hub could help them use data to enhance its growth.
"We already used HubSpot as our CRM and were intrigued by the possibility of pulling information from our contact records for smart content on our website — and vice versa — enriching our CRM with website analytics. Furthermore, the developers who investigated the CMS Hub developer documentation for us reported that the platform was very powerful and had excellent online documentation.
"They promised us that virtually anything we wanted on our website would be possible to do within the CMS Hub and that we would be able to manage nearly everything on our own. This all proved true."
CMS Hub has made managing Foleon's website significantly easier for the marketing team. "Due to the complexity of our old CMS, virtually every minor website update required involvement from our in-house developers. For them, this was an annoyance as it distracted them from their primary work on our SaaS product.
"With HubSpot, we rarely need development resources; our marketing team can fully manage our website. Not only can we manage the web copy ourselves, but we can create and modify pages, add custom scripts, change styling, and more."
Sean also implemented multi-language pages and personalization across the website. "For regular website pages and landing pages, the CMS Hub comes with built-in language groups that make creating multi-language pages very easy.
"In terms of personalization, thanks to HubSpot's smart content and calendar integrations, visitors can immediately book time with the correct business development representative based on their physical location and time zone. They also always see only the most relevant phone numbers on our site."
Foleon's sales team, with over 30 members, is also leveraging the power of Sales Hub Professional to get deeper insights into prospects, automate repetitive tasks, and close more deals faster. Head of Sales Development Carl Miser credits features such as meetings, pipeline management, and tasks as vital to Foleon’s growth strategy.
"Account executives use the pipeline management feature to track their deals. As their deals progress along each stage, they leave updates in the notes for management and set tasks to remind themselves when and what to do to ensure they close. Once the deal finally makes it to "closed won", we celebrate and move on to the next! On top of this, all 30+ sales reps also use the meeting link feature to improve their productivity every day."
The Foleon sales team relies heavily on the dashboards feature in Sales Hub to track sales performance and productivity, ensuring that they focus on the most impactful opportunities.
"We live on dashboards. Part of being a scale-up is learning what works and what doesn't. We are continuously learning and finding out who our ICP is. Dashboards are a key tool in this. Every internal presentation, meeting, or discussion starts with HubSpot Dashboards. They are great for tracking individual and team performance. Our weekly monthly and quarterly team meetings are just screenshots from HubSpot. This helps the team understand where the company is and where they fit within the company. It boosts motivation and productivity just by looking at them!" explains Carl.
Remaining Bullish About Future Growth
Four years into its HubSpot journey, Foleon has seen considerable growth in its business, while also improving sales and marketing alignment, streamlining its sales process, and implementing an effective marketing strategy.
Since signing up in 2017, Foleon has tripled its website traffic, more than doubled its customer base, and seen a massive uptick in a number of leads, which it hopes to turn into customers in 2020.
Michiel attributes the automation he implemented with Marketing Hub as a large part of that success. "Marketing automation has become a breeze. And the recent integration of Foleon and HubSpot adds another layer of intelligence, beneficial for every organization that has both HubSpot and Foleon in its tech stack.
"Integrating Foleon with HubSpot helped us to turn Foleon content offers into lead magnets, with automated data enrichment in HubSpot, triggering autoresponders to be sent to the requester based on engagement in the editor, and triggering sales tasks based on email engagement. And this is just one example."
Michiel also loves how CMS Hub enables the marketing team to move faster. "We are now able to make ongoing improvements on every part of the website, something unimaginable before using HubSpot."
Throughout Foleon’s journey with HubSpot, they have also been fully supported by HubSpot. “Colum, our HubSpot Customer Success Manager, is strategically involved in reaching our business goals. He is making sure that we fully utilize HubSpot and that the engagement with the platform is as efficient as possible. During our latest business review, he reviewed how we currently exploit the platform and outlined where there’s room for improvement.”
Michiel would recommend HubSpot as a platform to help companies who are looking to scale. "We often recommend it to others, including both partners, clients, and peers. Basically anyone who's keen to implement a proper CRM and wants to up their game around inbound marketing, marketing automation, and sales efficiency.
"When setting up for extensive growth, it is also critical to have solid sales and marketing alignment in place. HubSpot is the foundation that drives that relationship within Foleon."
Foleon's mission is to transform business communication by empowering business users to create interactive content experiences that are highly engaging, fully intelligent, and easy to govern — and Michiel has no plans to stop now.
"We expect to continue to use HubSpot as we do now, and always keep an eye out for new improvements that will help us to be even more successful. In the CRM, CMS Hub, and Marketing Hub, we continue to challenge the current capabilities and find new ways to make more of an impact on the business."