Concentric was using various marketing tools to manage their clients' online marketing strategies. Not only was this inefficient, it made it difficult to prove the ROI of their efforts to their clients. Without this ability, it was impossible to sign clients on for retainer-based contracts versus contracts on a project-by-project basis.
increase in retainer-based income
Concentric Marketing is an inbound marketing agency in the UK offering a completely integrated solution for businesses to get found, generate leads, and convert customers.
Steve Oakman, owner of Concentric Marketing, says the biggest challenge at his former agency was balancing the amount of project versus retainer-based revenue coming in. Their business ran on about 80% project-based income, and 20% retainer. Steve’s biggest goal when he founded Concentric was to establish a retainer-based model as the agency standard in order to better predict his income and achieve his growth goals. Projects end, which makes it difficult to predict growth and represents an end-point for the relationship with a customer. This model doesn’t lend itself to developing a long-term and in-depth relationship, where the agency has a vested interest in every stage of the business’s marketing and sales process. Before using HubSpot, Steve offered lots of marketing solutions to his clients. These included website management, email marketing, content creation, etc. The problem was, these were all point solutions that didn’t necessarily play nicely with each other. Not to mention the fact that it took a lot of time to log in to four different platforms to manage just one client’s account.
Before offering the all-in-one HubSpot software to their clients, Steve and his colleagues went through HubSpot training classes and weekly Agency Sales Methodology webinars. Through these resources, Concentric learned how to qualify and develop leads, using the same sales and marketing processes as HubSpot, including running inbound marketing assessments and offering free trials. Concentric’s marketers consumed a ton of information during the certification process, but what’s made this partner so successful is that they didn’t stop there. “We’ve since continued to use new HubSpot Partner Resources as they come online.”
"We get a lot of inbound leads, people who come to us because of the HubSpot connection."
Steve admits that becoming a HubSpot Certified Partner involves work, but says “It can be done. All the support and help you could ever want is there to do that.” Today, Concentric is a HubSpot Gold partner, and Steve notes that especially in the last six months, that standing has paid off. “We get a lot of inbound leads, people who come to us because of the HubSpot connection. That’s how they find our site and get in touch with us.”
Concentric moved its entire site over from Wordpress, and is now hosted on the HubSpot Content Management System. Steve says, “It’s very easy to use, very intuitive, especially compared to other CMSes that we’ve used.” Since Concentric’s own site is hosted on HubSpot, their employees are using the software every day to write their own blog, build landing pages, and create new calls-to-action -- easily.
Concentric has been able to pass on this ease-of-use to their clients by setting them up on the HubSpot CMS. Before, some clients were working with an inflexible CMS that required outside help to make edits. Now, their clients’ in-house marketers have autonomy, and can make edits to their website at their own convenience. Some of Concentric's clients are even discontinuing their email service providers and moving their contacts over to HubSpot to take advantage of its email marketing tool and integrated contacts database. HubSpot’s fully integrated system makes it possible for these marketers to use one login to manage their entire website, social media presence, customer communications, and lead management, and to view the reporting and analytics that weaves them all together. Not only does that save time and increase convenience, it closes the marketing loop, making it clear which marketing efforts work, and which fall short.
When managing multiple clients’ sites, Concentric saves time by using HubSpot's blogging and social media publishing tools. From day one of a client's trial, they have them using the Prospects, Social Media, and Competitors tools. Within 24 hours they are already seeing benefits. They set up landing pages within a few days and the lead flow takes off. With this kind of immersion into the software off the bat, clients understand immediately how much work goes into using HubSpot, but more importantly how much reward comes out. This type of trial offering has benefited Concentric with any retainer-model business’s favorite result: “We have a very low churn rate.”
Adopting HubSpot transitioned Concentric from a company that offers point marketing solutions to a company that offers integrated marketing solutions and manages them efficiently. Those point solutions and multiple logins they were managing before? Gone. HubSpot is now the one-stop shop for managing everything from a client’s SEO and web presence to their email marketing, landing page creation, and dynamic call-to-action optimization.
"Our customer retention has gone up significantly, a lot of that is because of HubSpot."
Concentric’s main goal of transitioning their business from a project-based model to a retainer-driven one naturally lends itself to inbound marketing and the integrated nature of HubSpot. Inbound marketing is not about grabbing your audience’s attention with a catchy headline and coercing them into becoming a one-time customer. It’s about educating your prospective customers to turn them into long-term customers. Those long-term efforts require a partnership between an agency and its clients, which is exactly what Concentric offers with HubSpot. By using HubSpot’s integrated tools to manage a company’s brand, web presence, and customer communications, and nail every part of the sales funnel, Steve says "we’ve been able to give a consistent effort to our clients, and it’s worked out extremely well.” So well, in fact that Concentric’s retainer-based income has quadrupled to 80% of its total revenue. “Our customer retention has gone up significantly, and a lot of that is because of HubSpot.”
When asked why an agency should consider offering HubSpot, Steve points to three things: 1) the retainer model, 2) the results it helps them achieve for clients, and 3) the support HubSpot provides. The inbound marketing retainer isn’t just about keeping clients on long-term contracts. This model serves as the backbone to a growing repository of content assets such as blog posts, offers, and landing pages, which produce increasing results as the library of content continues to grow. Steve works with his clients to keep the content machine rolling. By educating them on inbound marketing and contributing to their blog, one of Steve’s Concentric client's “number of indexed pages has gone up massively. In fact, they’ve quadrupled their traffic and doubled their leads. They’re a story of how inbound marketing actually works. The client needs to work collaboratively with the HubSpot partner to make that happen.”
"The product itself is constantly evolving, which is fantastic news with any agency when they're trying to attract new clients."
One of Steve’s favorite HubSpot features is the rapid pace of development of the platform. “The product itself is constantly evolving, which is fantastic news with any agency when they’re trying to attract new clients.” When new features come out, Steve learns both how to use them and how best to sell them through HubSpot Partner Resources like newsletters and training webinars through HubSpot Academy. None of Steve’s HubSpot questions ever go unanswered. “The support is brilliant, in terms of training but also day-to-day support. We can call from the UK on a direct number.” This type of support helps Concentric maintain client relationships. When Steve runs in to a particular issue with a client, he can call his Account Manager for help right away, “The responsiveness and level of help is outstanding.”
“I HubSpot because of the difference it makes to our clients. The clear, measurable difference it makes. It’s very easy to justify the ongoing relationship, and show the impact it has on our clients. We haven’t lost a retainer client since starting to use HubSpot.”
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