2X increase in leads
25% increase in organic traffic
2X increase in newsletter subscribers
Virtual Forge provides security, compliance and quality solutions for SAP customers, and by 2015, it was preparing to expand its operations into new territories. It already had offices in Germany and the US – the next step was to move into Spain, Portugal and the Benelux region. However, its marketing team had been reduced in size; it needed a change of direction if it was going to be able to scale successfully.
According to Jannis Blume, Content Marketing Manager with Virtual Forge:
“We wanted to cut back on our traditional outbound campaigns, which were costly and not producing the results they used to. We were using some inbound tools – we had Evalanche for email marketing, but it didn’t support smart list segmentation, and there was no functionality for lead nurturing. We were using an antiquated CRM solution, but we couldn’t sync its data with other tools, while our CMS and website had been developed by an external agency, so we couldn’t change things easily ourselves.”
It was clear that an integrated solution was required. When a business colleague recommended the HubSpot Marketing Platform to Virtual Forge CEO Dr Markus Schumacher, the dye was cast. He returned to the office and asked the marketing team to investigate it further. He didn’t want a shortlist of other options, “that’s how impressed he was,” explains Jannis.
“I was already aware of HubSpot and I knew that it could help us to achieve our goals. We wanted to attract and nurture leads so they’re sales ready, and we also needed to give our new regions the support they needed to drive our campaigns. After evaluating the HubSpot software, we realised that it would help us do it all.”
As a company that deals with data privacy and security, Virtual Forge also needed to be sure that the HubSpot software conformed to local regulations.
“We have a very high bar for data privacy as the laws are particularly strict in Germany and in the European Union. Our lawyer checked HubSpot against the regulatory requirements including those demanded by Standard Contractual Clauses and he told us that the software meets all the requirements. After that, we made a ROI analysis and found that after the first four months, HubSpot would pay for itself. We were more than convinced, and we signed up in September 2015.”
Jannis says that he got started with the Email App, as one of Virtual Forge’s biggest pain points before signing with HubSpot was harmonising and segmenting its contacts list.
“Within the first week, we were sending our newsletter out to contacts on our Smart Lists. Then we migrated our blog – both the English and the German version – to the Blog App. We have since added a Spanish one, and that was built up entirely on the HubSpot software. We also used the Social Inbox to promote our posts on social media and set up Landing Pages for our ebooks, whitepapers and webinars.”
Virtual Forge added Forms and Smart CTAs to these Landing Pages and soon began to see an uptick in both the quantity and quality of its leads, which its nurtures to sales readiness with Campaigns and automated Workflows. The company then started using some of the HubSpot Marketing Platform’s advanced features, says Jannis.
“We got started with Lead Scoring this spring, and it is already generating qualified leads and we plan to sharpen our criteria even further. We also introduced the HubSpot CRM for the sales team and they were immediately convinced. Now they have access to the most accurate information on their leads, all the information that the marketing team has generated, which wasn’t possible before. Marketing and sales are now much more aligned.”
Another key advantage for Virtual Forge is the ability to see the effect of its activities with the Reporting Add-On and then adjust its strategy accordingly.
“In the past, it wasn’t easy for us to find out if a marketing campaign had worked or not; we weren’t able to measure our ROI. Now, from within the HubSpot software, we can measure the success of our campaigns and base our decisions around that.”
Virtual Forge has gone all-in with the HubSpot software and the inbound methodology, and the new approach is paying dividends. It increased its leads and email subscribers by 2X within six months, while it has reduced its marketing spend for Landing Page creation and management significantly – most of its leads are now generated by organic traffic. Attendance at its offline events is also up, says Jannis.
“We were holding a big event in Germany in June called C-FORGE, so we set up a microsite for it through the HubSpot software and promoted it with Email and other campaigns. Normally, around 90 people would attend – this time, we had 200. We received a lot of praise from the participants for the good preparation and supply of valuable information around the event.”
Virtual Forge aims to become the premier independent adviser to SAP users, and it plans to use the HubSpot Marketing Platform to help it achieve this goal.
“That requires that we build up trust, by teaching potential customers how to make their systems more secure. So we need to work even more on the content side and show them we have the case studies, ebooks and webinars they need to deepen their security understanding.”
The HubSpot software, says Jannis, has been such a game-changer for the business that he would give it 11 marks out of 10!
“HubSpot Is the only truly integrated marketing and CRM platform, I don’t know of anything else that comes close.”
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