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What Sales VPs Need to Know About HubSpot’s New CRM

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO at Vsnap


Last week, HubSpot Co-founders Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan teamed up to deliver a joint keynote at INBOUND14. Dharmesh introduced important new features for Inbound Marketers, then Brian took the stage and proceeded to connect three dots.

Dot One = the buying process has radically changed.

Dot Two = that has profoundly changed the profile and process for a successful sales rep.

Dot Three = the sales platform has to radically change to reflect all that.

Dot One, we all know. And Dot Two, we all should know.

Dot Three is new — because here’s it’s all about HubSpot’s specific vision for a forward-looking sales platform.

You can watch the entire keynote here, but if you just want to see the Sales piece, Brian takes the stage at about 55 minutes in. At about 1:05, he walks us through Sidekick, which is an update / improvement on the Signals product that HubSpot introduced at INBOUND13. Then he unveils HubSpot’s CRM at about 1:15 on the time counter.

I’m VERY excited about this product and I’m going to bullet a bunch of things that interest me here. If you want more context, jump to the video — it’s worth watching.

Problem Statement

Brian’s argument is this: CRM gives the Sales VP a killer app for tracking sales, but does not give the Sales Rep a killer app for making sales. For reps, CRM usage feels like a tax they have to pay. Often that means inconsistent usage, which undermines the value for the VP.

Solution (High-level)

HubSpot CRM was built to address three specific CRM shortcomings so that it really works for your reps. First, it helps in prospecting. Second, it pushes context to the rep, so she doesn’t need to do lots of research projects to find more information about a given buyer. Third, it does a lot of the time-consuming data entry work.

Pricing / Caveat

HubSpot CRM will be offered as a freemium product, as will Sidekick. In the deep dive after the keynote, I asked about pricing once a user exceeds the number of contacts allowed with the free license, but they didn’t have a real pricing model fully developed yet.

That ought to serve as a reminder that, while HubSpot CRM already is a robust product, it’s also an early product and it still lacks some features that many users will consider critical. Like Outlook integration. But obviously that’ll come.

What about Salesforce.com?

HubSpot’s sales team uses Salesforce.com and, at least for now, they are not switching. This goes with the previous point — HubSpot CRM is still early and there’s more functionality still to be added.

Halligan was careful to position HubSpot CRM as something they’ve built for the big chunk of their user base that are not already SFDC customers. He did not advocate for people who are using SFDC to jump ship and come over to HubSpot.

Obviously it’ll be interesting to see how this position shifts over time — and even just interesting to see what new announcements Marc Benioff makes at Dreamforce in a few weeks. So we’ll leave this point with a dot dot dot for now…

Our View

At Vsnap, we know of too many people who blur the line between Marketing and Sales. This is a problem because successful Marketing operates on loop between data and content, while successful Sales operates on a loop between data and relationship. Thus, when you apply a Marketing playbook in Sales, your close rate drops because you’re not putting enough resources around relationship building. Our view is that Halligan — one of the most important Marketing executives in America — has now said exactly what we believe: that the two domains are different, and that they run on different belief systems and require different tools.


Personal Sales

I’ve been teasing out a framework I call Personal Sales. It’s very simple really. My view is that you need both information and emotion to be successful in sales, and you need to fuse the two not only in your efforts to move buyers, but also in how you prepare, train and motivate your team to be successful.

Here’s a slide from my talk at HubSpot which illustrates this new framework.


With its focus on pushing data to the seller to provide context so she can better present her proposition in relation to the buyer’s needs, HubSpot CRM really looks like a perfect platform for Personal Sales. For us, that’s very exciting — and we are eager to build a Vsnap app to sit on top of it. This will let users combine the benefit of highly contextualized understanding with a message format that actually conveys tone and trust — all within a structured framework for workflows and record keeping!

In terms of timing on that, we have a brand new product coming out in October, and our CRM integrations will follow that release.

More Resources

For more on what we see as the critical distinction between Marketing and Sales, check out our free eBook Tools and Tactics to Close More SQLs.

For more on HubSpot CRM, check out the Sales Lion’s Massive Review — it has a deeper dive than I’ve done here, and it even includes tutorials.

Or you can go directly to the source, and visit Hubspot.com/sales.

Dave McLaughlin is CEO & Co-Founder of Vsnap. Sales reps who have no facetime with their buyers use Vsnap to send short, individual video messages. It’s the most efficient way to bring the human layer into buyer interactions, and it increases your close rate by as much as 34%.

Filed under vsnap HubSpot sidekick sales enablement sales

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How iOS8 Can Help Small Businesses Grow Revenues

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO at Vsnap


Today Apple is releasing its iOS8 software – and it includes a feature that is proven to grow revenues. This is a great opportunity for small businesses.

What’s that feature? Video messaging. It’s now baked right into iMessage for Apple’s new operating system.

We recently published powerful client data on the impact that video messaging has in sales.

Our client Penn Foster, an online education company, achieved a 34% increase in their close rate, by sending short, individual video messages to students who were engaged but were unsure whether or not they wanted to enroll. This was on a data set of nearly two thousand prospective customers. You can download the full report here for free.

Now, Apple is giving this same core ability to all iPhone users – for free. You can read about it here.

iPhone and iPad users can send a video message almost the same way as they would send a text or a photo. In iMessage, you touch an on-screen button to engage the front-facing camera, then record a quick message that gets delivered right to the recipient’s device.

When would you do this?

Look at how people buy in today’s world. There’s a period of time when the buyer is doing her own research on your product. She hasn’t yet given you permission to get on her calendar for a live call. She isn’t ready for that yet. But she will watch a short, personal video message because, for her, it’s much more convenient than a live interaction. (On Vsnap, average view rates are about 50%, and many people have view rates in the 70% range).

Everybody who’s selling something needs efficient ways to create that human connection with buyers as a context for doing business together, and that’s exactly what a quick, personal video message does. (If you want to read more about how powerful non-verbal communication is, have a look at Honest Signals by MIT Professor Sandy Pentland). 

At Vsnap, we see Apple’s video messaging feature as awesome for some business users such as sole proprietors and small businesses, and we know that more structured sales organizations will want features like branding customization, tracking and analytics, flexibility around how the video message gets delivered, and integration options, where they can pair video messaging with their own specific calls to action. For those companies, Vsnap will be a more suitable tool. 

Whichever group you’re in, the most important thing is that you understand when to use a video message, rather than a call or an email.

After working with clients who’ve sent thousands of these messages, we have found that this kind of one-to-one video messaging is not for prospecting. Instead, think of it as an engagement accelerator. When a buyer engages with you – someone named Fred Smith downloads a white paper on your site, for example – immediately send Fred a video message.

“Hi Fred, I’m Nancy Jones at Company XYZ. I just want to say hello and say thanks for downloading our white paper. And I want to make sure you know I’m here to help if you have any questions or feedback for me. I’d love to learn more about your business, so let’s schedule a call when you’re ready for that. I have time open tomorrow and Thursday, or if you want to just try me, my direct line is 555-555-5555. I look forward to talking with you, Fred. Hope you have a great day.”

That simple statement puts a human context around the interaction. It makes Fred feel that you value his business, and that you’re oriented around him and his needs, and not around yourself and your needs. This is proven stuff. It accelerates the conversation and increases your close rate – and you can measure that.

For more details on how to do this, have a look at our report Revolutionizing Sales for Online Businesses. And let us know any questions you have. I’m easy to reach via email at dave@vsnap.com or on Twitter @davemacboston. We have a ton of learning on this subject. We know exactly what works and what doesn’t – and we love to share it to help people grow their businesses! (We have six simple values at Vsnap, and one of them is “Only Help!”)

Filed under vsnap ios8 ios iOS App apple Video Messaging video app sales enablement sales

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[INBOUND 2014 Talk] Why Inbound Marketing Doesn’t Work For Sales

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO at Vsnap
This week I will be speaking at INBOUND, delivering a presentation titled “Inbound Marketing Does Not Close Deals”. My session is on Thursday at 1:30PM in Ballroom East. 
My premise is that Marketing and Sales are different. Not just different in degree, like the difference between dark red and maroon, but actually different in substance, like the difference between a caterpillar and a butterfly. And for that reason,  the principles and tactics of Inbound Marketing are not the right playbook for executing Sales. 
In any contest anywhere in life, when you implement the wrong playbook, your outcomes suffer. 
I started to explore these ideas in a blog post called Sales Needs Its Own HubSpot (And It’s Not HubSpot), and in a free eBook called Tools & Tactics to Close More SQLs
My opinion is that if you distill Inbound Marketing down to its essence, it’s defined by a recurring loop of data-derived insights and high-quality content that creates value for buyers that reflect with certain personas. 
But if you distill Sales to its essence, that core loop is defined by data-derived insights paired with relationship building tactics, which allow the rep to navigate the non-verbal stuff of human interaction and decision-making. 
Sales is fundamentally driven by understanding the buyer and meeting a whole range of his or her needs that may have more to do with the buyer’s emotions than with the product’s features and benefits. 
In my INBOUND talk, I’m going to introduce a framework I call Personal Sales. Personal in terms of how Big Data can make a seller’s proposition highly specific and relevant to an individual buyer. And also personal in its understanding that the human layer of business cannot be overlooked, and needs to be developed further in order to really increase sales velocity and drive up close rates. 
I look forward to the conversation around these ideas. I have enormous respect for how profound Inbound Marketing is. But it’s not a full framework for Sales. I know my position is contrarian for this crowd, but I look forward to sharing these ideas and debating them with folks at Inbound. And I want to thank Brian Halligan for inviting me to speak. I’ll see you on Thursday at 1:30PM! 

Filed under inbound 2014 inbound marketing sales Sales Philosophy INBOUND14

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5 Companies Disrupting Online Education In 2014

By Guillaume Delloue, Director of Marketing at Vsnap


The field of online education is rapidly changing. Next year, the industry is expected to reach $107 billion dollars. Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike are rethinking everything — from the latest teaching strategies to the best ways to learn a new skill while working a full-time job. Here are 5 companies that are revolutionizing online education.

Penn Foster

In our recent case study, we profiled how Penn Foster used individual video messaging to establish trust with prospective students and increase admission rates by 34% in the pilot cohort. That’s only a taste of how innovative this online education company truly is. Founded in 1890 as a way for coal miners to further their careers, Penn Foster is now the world’s largest distance education institution. In 2010, the school launched a virtual community to reduce the costly email and phone back-and-forths between students and the staff. Three years later the experiment is a huge success, with an ever-growing user base and reduced cost-per-interaction.


Coursera lets you take a variety of courses from the world’s most prestigious universities for free, and on your own time. It’s ideal for busy professionals who want to broaden their skills without the costly investment of a full-time graduate program. And for those looking to dive deeper, Coursera offers Specialization Certificates — a series of interrelated courses around a single area of expertise (e.g. Data Science, Mobile Cloud Computing with Android).

Khan Academy

In a traditional learning environment, students are tested periodically to gauge their understanding on the subject. Some students pass, others fail, and the class moves on. Khan Academy takes a different approach. The forever free, web-based company focuses on individual competency around mathematics, the humanities and more. When enrolled in a class, the student cannot progress to the next rung unless he first demonstrates mastery of the current subject. That way the student’s growth is necessary, not incidental, to the learning process.

Southern New Hampshire University

With an online cohort almost 10 times the size of its brick and mortar location, SNHU is proof you can’t judge a university by the size of its campus. As a pioneer in online education, the school is tackling one of the biggest challenges in the field today: student retention. To solve that problem the university turned to data, which it scrupulously analyses to understand student behavior and increase the odds that everyone who studies there does in fact graduate.


There’s never been a more valuable time to become a developer, and websites like Codecademy and Code School have built great learning platforms for beginners and amateurs alike. Treehouse goes one step further. Their Code-to-Work initiative helps students not only learn the skills but actually land a job in the technology sector by offering career services, mentoring and job placement assistance.

Obviously, this is only a partial list. There are dozens of other companies pushing the boundaries of education. Which ones are your favorites? Share them with us on Twitter @Vsnap or drop us a comment below!


Filed under online education e-learning penn foster coursera treehouse snhu khan academy

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[Guest post] How Video Helps Sales & Marketing Teams Attract, Engage & Convert

By Bonnie Gibson, Content Creator at RAMP


Today’s sales and marketing tactics are full of noise and clutter. As a sales or marketing professional, you might be wondering, “What does a lead need to be a customer?” or “What does the customer need to stay a customer?” or even both. The answer lies within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, the need for love and belonging. Successful businesses such as JetBlue and HubSpot know that creating a more human experience will allow their business to grow. Producing videos is a way to reach your audience and show the human side of your business. Let’s take a quick look at how video can help attract, engage, and convert your prospects and delight your current customers.

Attract – Your step to gaining trust

Think of this as a “getting to know you” stage. Sometimes that getting to know you phase can be overlooked and misunderstood. Even with the best of intentions, nothing drives me crazier than the use of caps and exclamation points. It reminds me of watching the monster truck commercials I’d see as a kid where the announcer is yelling, “SUNDAY!! SUNDAY!! SUNDAY!!” Video clarifies your messaging the way bold, italics, caps, and five exclamation marks simply can’t.

Examples of videos that attract:

·       Tips and tricks

·       Demos

·       Introductions

Engage – Being as human as possible

Purchases are based on need and emotion. The bigger the purchase, the higher the emotion. So it would make sense in any sales or marketing strategy to cater on the side of emotion to further build a relationship with your prospects. With a video, you can put a face behind the pitch and build trust and  relationship with your potential customer. This is what Vsnap is all about, sending short, personal messages showing a prospect or customer how much you appreciate their business.

Examples of videos that can engage:

·       Follow up’s

·       Thank you’s

Convert – Keep the cycle going

In marketing, we strive for conversions, and we do this by creating a call-to-action. If you’ve ever seen a “register here” or “download now” button, then you’ve seen a call to action. The call to action is the next step you want the customer to take. For a disengaged customer, you might want to send a quick video letting them know you care and what steps to take to keep them involved in a relationship with your customer. You might have a big renewal coming up for a current customer, using video to convey why you are excited about your company can help in getting the customer ready for that new contract.

Remember, it’s not about how big you or your business is, it’s about how your customer feels. When your customer feels the love, so does your business. In the “Age of the Human Era”, isn’t it time you sent them a video to show your appreciation? 

Filed under guest blogs ramp bonnie gibson Video Messaging sales marketing vsnap