Adapting a CRM to a Complex Business Model
The Linux Foundation has a unique business model, which made it necessary to adapt CRM platforms to their specific needs.
Charles Stuart, Director of Digital Demand Generation at The Linux Foundation, explains:
“There’s not a company like us in the world. We’re stewards of 700-plus open-source projects, each of which is its own micro company. It’s an unusual and complicated business structure, with varied and unique revenue drivers.”
The Linux Foundation implemented a number of platforms to get the customized solution they needed.
Unfortunately, those customizations came with limitations.
“There was a lot of custom work built on top of these platforms. A lot of it worked when it was created, but it limited our ability to scale,” says Charles.
Lack of email segmentation and cross-team visibility
At the same time, The Linux Foundation struggled to implement email segmentation. They sent their newsletters to all 2 million-plus contacts, which impacted email health scores.
“It resulted in negative metrics, such as low overall open rates, high spam reports, and high unsubscribe rates,” says Charles.
The Linux Foundation was also eager to improve visibility and collaboration between their sales and marketing teams.
As it stood, sales didn’t know which leads marketing had touched, and marketing didn’t know which leads sales was working. This lack of cross-team visibility undermined the efforts of both teams.
Implementing the HubSpot CRM Platform
Given these challenges, The Linux Foundation decided to decouple their reliance on their old platforms, onboard HubSpot, and lean into a digital transformation.
With HubSpot in place, The Linux Foundation immediately prioritized list segmentation of their email marketing, using workflow automation to make the task easier.
“The ability to create and automate criteria that recognizes attribute patterns and applies those to large data sets is extremely useful,” says Charles.
Now, rather than emailing the entire contact list, the marketing team is more strategic.
“The ability to reach the right person with the right message so that they’ll engage with your brand is key,” says Charles.
At first, some team members were skeptical about only emailing a fraction of their list. Wouldn’t that negatively impact their results? But in fact, the opposite occurred.
“By excluding people who aren’t opening emails—and who are probably never going to open emails—we have better deliverability against the 500,000 people who are interested,” says Charles.
Sales and marketing alignment
Having sales and marketing on the same CRM platform has also helped align the two teams and coordinate their efforts.
“It’s extremely helpful to have a place where sales has full insight into the different marketing touches that happen to leads before they become an opportunity—and vice versa,” says Charles.
Both sales and marketing teams are also using new data insights to get more strategic in their efforts.
The sales team, for example, has narrowed their focus to those accounts most likely to generate revenue—revenue that The Linux Foundation can reinvest into open-source projects and communities.
“In the last year, we’ve gone from sales reps chasing any account under the sun to focusing on accounts that contribute to revenue we can put back into projects,” says Charles. “And HubSpot has certainly been an asset in making some of those revelations.”
Marketing has made similar strides forward with implementing data-backed strategies.
“We can measure results so we can tell what’s working and what’s not—and see if we’re spending too much time on endeavors that aren’t reaching our extended community or generating revenue,” says Charles.
The marketing team also has valuable insights into ROI they didn’t have before.
“Marketing has a clear view into how their efforts are transforming into actual pipeline dollars at the end of the day,” says Charles.
Efficiencies with templates and snippets
“My team can very quickly spin up a template and then the sales team and project leaders are good to go,” says Charles.
Meanwhile, the sales team uses automation to schedule email sequences for lead nurturing, which is another big time saver.
Charles predicts that the content team will use templates to help create websites for new communities without having to start from scratch.
“The ability in HubSpot to create templates that you can use across different websites—and build faster than you would in WordPress—while applying new branding to each project is something we’re looking forward to,” says Charles.
Throughout the implementation of the HubSpot CRM platform, Charles has been very impressed with the support The Linux Foundation has received from HubSpot.
“From our account management team to technical support to our customer service manager, they’ve all been absolutely world-class,” says Charles. “No other tool I use has better support.”
To Charles, HubSpot is much more than a vendor—they’re a true partner.
“HubSpot is as invested in our business as we are,” says Charles. “They want to make sure we’re making the right decisions so that we’re successful in the long term.”
Best Email Marketing Results—Ever
With HubSpot, The Linux Foundation is on track to have their best year ever with their email marketing.
“Three months after getting more targeted with our email marketing, we’re well ahead of our 2022 targets and trending to having our best year ever by a long shot,” says Charles.
The sales team has been so successful, The Linux Foundation has grown their subscription to over 500 Sales Hub seats.
All of these advances are helping The Linux Foundation have a strong year.
“We’re hitting a lot of revenue goals, and membership is growing at an accelerator rate,” says Charles. “And a lot of that was just doing very basic things in HubSpot that you might take for granted—until you don’t have them.”
Today, The Linux Foundation has 850-plus projects and has trained over 2 million developers.
“Having a finger on the pulse of our community—and using HubSpot to measure our reach and grow that community—is super powerful,” says Charles.