By 2014, Articulate Marketing was looking for a solution that would help it grow its own leads and sales. However, after a demonstration of the HubSpot software, it realised that it could do more – it could offer its clients the whole range of inbound marketing services. It joined the HubSpot Partner Program and has since achieved tremendous success, including a 50X increase in leads and a 2X increase in revenue.
Increase in leads
Increase in revenue
Of clients on retainer contracts
Matthew Stibbe founded Articulate Marketing, a specialist marketing and copywriting agency, in 2003 in London. It became a HubSpot partner in 2014 and since then has grown to be a full service inbound consultancy. Articulate specialises in building inbound campaigns and creating exceptional content for high-tech B2B companies. Its clients include Microsoft, Symantec, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Founded in 2003, Articulate Marketing was considered an expert in the field of content marketing, and it had the high-tech clients, including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Symantec, to prove it. By 2014, founder Matthew Stibbe was looking to expand the business and was considering using a marketing automation platform to help grow its leads and sales.
“At that time, most of our leads came from referrals, and that’s hard to scale and hard to predict. I came to HubSpot looking for a marketing automation platform for our own agency; it was more about solving my own challenge rather than looking for something to help our clients,” he explains.
After further talks with a HubSpot representative and a demonstration and trial of the HubSpot software, he realised that this could be something that could also transform the way Articulate did its own clients’ marketing.
“We had a conversation about the Partner Program and that was a light bulb moment. One day we were a content marketing agency and the next we became an inbound marketing agency. It was that big of a transition. I had a strong conviction that this was the way forward for the agency, this was something that would help our clients succeed.”
He also investigated Marketo’s program but found that HubSpot’s customer service was far superior. “HubSpot actively reached out and engaged with us, provided useful content, inspiration and thought leadership. They really embrace their SME partners and help them grow.”
Articulate became a HubSpot Partner in 2014. For the first six months, Matthew admits that his HubSpot account manager had to use some gentle persuasion to get the company to use the platform to its full capacity. “I was too busy working in the business to work on the business," says Matthew.
But when Articulate got its first customer through inbound, the balance of effort in the agency shifted, says Matthew. Inbound marketing had proved itself as a marketing strategy for the agency and as a service it could sell. That’s when things started to change.
“The HubSpot Marketing Platform allowed us to broaden the range of services we offer customers. It has also allowed us to integrate these services and put them into a flow that generates deals.”
Persuading Articulate’s own leads to convert to the inbound methodology was made easier by the fact that the HubSpot software could demonstrate return on investment. Through the Marketing Analytics Dashboard, Matthew can show them exactly how Articulate can make an impact on their bottom line.
“Before clients come to us, they often can’t see the connection between the marketing they do and the leads they get. With HubSpot we can tell them where their visitors are coming from, what’s driving that traffic, what their leads are doing on the site and what works and what doesn’t. It’s an epiphany-inducing moment; their eyes widen, they hadn’t realised that it was possible to get this kind of end-to-end insight.”
The HubSpot team also helped Articulate to hone the way it captured its own customers. “Now we have a sales funnel, a full-time business development representative and a set sales process. We’ve created a scalable, predictable sales engine. It’s like I’ve found the accelerator that makes the agency grow faster,” says Matthew.
- Matthew Stibbe
Since it became a HubSpot Partner, Articulate has moved the vast majority of its customers to retainer contracts – previously, the agency was mainly engaged in project work. According to Matthew, this has been an important change for the company, as it can now plan further ahead.
“By the end of the last financial year, we got 80% of our revenue from retainers. This year, we will hit 90%, and that’s a wonderful thing. We can invest in building relationships, and we can invest in training our staff to really understand what works for each client.”
Articulate has seen its website traffic double from 20,000 visitors a month to 40,000 a month. It has also seen a huge growth in leads, from 10 per month to over 500 – a whopping 50X increase. The company already has six customers on the HubSpot platform, and it has doubled its revenue in the last financial year.
Matthew has big plans to boost these numbers by the end of the year and increase his revenue again in 2016. He is also confident that all his existing clients will renew their contracts, as Articulate’s implementation of inbound is paying dividends for them.
“At this stage, we know inbound inside and out, and our customers can see that. Their traffic is up – it usually doubles within two or three months – their leads are up, and then there’s that great moment when they ring you up and tell you that they’ve closed their first client.”
The Articulate founder would recommend that any other marketing agency considering moving to the inbound method sign up to the HubSpot Partner Program. “It really is a mutually-beneficial partnership. HubSpot is not just a piece of software, it’s a method for agency change and growth. Once you put in the work, you will see consistent growth month on month.”
- Matthew Stibbe
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