How to Create an Inbound Marketing Services Proposal


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Creating proposals that win business is a difficult task! As the fields of PR, marketing, advertising, SEO, social media, web design ... all merge, it has gotten even more difficult. So, how do you adapt and grow your agency despite this increasing complexity?

A solid inbound marketing proposal includes a plan for:
- Search engine optimization and pay per click management.
- Branding, messaging and content creation.
- Public relations, blogging and social media marketing.
- Web design and development.
- Online lead generation, lead nurturing and lead qualification.
- Aligning marketing and sales processes, goals and messages.

In this webinar, you'll learn how to diagnose your prospect's needs in all of these areas. Armed with the right questions to help determine your prospect's challenges and goals, you'll master the art and science of pulling together the perfect custom proposal.

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Good presentation,
    But got no right contacts.
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  • New thing. we need to consider..
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  • Are you kidding me?! You guys are giving away a gold mine here. In exchange for my email and a couple things about my business? SOLD! Thanks so much this is the juiciest content on a highly intelligent sales process for inbound marketing I have ever read.
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  • Now I’m a huge fan and customer of Hubspot, but this in no way tells how to create a proposal.

    It should have been called ’How to conduct an assessment’.

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  • Great presentation. Thank You.
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How to Create an Inbound Marketing Services Proposal

  1. 1. Welcome to the Partner Program training webinar series for marketing agencies and independent marketing professionals. My name is Pete Caputa and I am the Value Added Reseller Program Manager at HubSpot. We partner with agencies of all kinds to help them more cost-effectively and more efficiently provide a broader set of inbound marketing and demand generation services to our mutual customers. Types of agenciies we partner with include: PR, Advertising, Marketing, SEO, PPC, Social Media, Design, Web Developement and more. Working with our partners, one of the biggest challenges they have is adapting to a world where clients want for one agency that can do everything. The worlds of PR, advertising, marketing, seo, ppc, social media and web design and development are merging. And the feedback I’m getting from many types of agencies is that it’s really hard to do everything, deliver an ROI to clients and grow their agency at the same time. HubSpot is helping partners with these goals in many ways. However, today we’re going to talk about a framework for diagnosing the complete inbound marketing needs of a prospect or client. We’re going to provide you with a script and a playbook of how we’ve done this for about 10,000 companies. 1
  2. 2. This webinar is really meant for independent marketing professionals and marketing agencies. Anyone is welcome to view it. But, it’s really meant for people who are selling marketing services. Please use the gotomeeting chat for comments or questions. At the end of the webinar you’ll find information about how to reach me to set up one on one conversations. 2
  3. 3. If you haven’t already subscribed to the software for yourself or for one of your clients, you should start a free PARTNER trial (NOTE: this is NOT the standard trial link) at: • For yourself/your website prospective/ • For your clients: trial-for-their-clients/ Much of the sales processes we’re going to discuss today will involve using data that is only available once you start a free trial for your client or prospect. But, before we get into this, I need to apologize a bit in advance. We have limited bandwidth to support new partners. The partners who demonstrate their initiative and their ability to use the software and our self-guided training are the ones we prioritize working with. If you’re really eager to start working with us but need more assistance, I can introduce you to some of our current partners who specialize in working with other agencies. If you have a specific question about the product, please use the forums. Finally, if you’re stuck on somethingand can’t help yourself, please reach out to me directly. Please be patient and persistent. 3
  4. 4. Here’s an overview of what we’re going to talk about today. 4
  5. 5. HubSpot provides software and training to help businesses get found online and then convert site visitors into leads and customers. The software also helps measure and analyze what’s happening, so users can improve their lead generation and customer acquisition results over time. We now have over 1900 customers and sign up about 150 new customers every month. We have over 100 employees, and we are always looking for new inside sales professionals, and software developers. You can apply online at 5
  6. 6. Our customers are doing very well too. The customers who put time into their internet marketing and leverage our software and training fully, see significant growth in their traffic, leads and sales. A recent study done by an MBA candidate at MIT shows that active customers produce 6x the number of leads in < 6 months. 6
  7. 7. As a result of ours and customer’s success, we’ve received a bunch of awards…
  8. 8. … and have been covered by many of the largest blogs and publications covering the marketing, new media and technology spaces.
  9. 9. Our founders also recently launched a book called “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs”. The book is off to a really strong start with a sales rank as of this morning of 493rd of all books sold on Amazon. The book is a great manual for how to do inbound marketing effectively. One of our partners, MLT Creative, bought a book for every employee and they’re using it to help shape the vision for their service offerings for 2010. 9
  10. 10. So, what does the software do? The HubSpot methodology, available at, provides a process to follow for inbound marketing success. The software enables the process and makes it easy to implement. Last night I was talking to a really smart and successful owner of a web design and internet marketing firm. He’s built 100s of websites for clients and he had just decided to use HubSpot for his own marketing efforts. After talking with him for a while, I said, “You seem like you really have your act together. I don’t find myself saying that very often. From what you’ve told me, you could probably continue being successful in your own business without HubSpot. What is it that makes you want to use HubSpot’s software?” His response was, “I have a renewed sense of expansion for my firm. We’ve gotten to where we are based on my core team’s capabilities and our level of service to our clients. But the problem with the internet is that there are so many systems that are independent. I love how HS brings together a cms, blogging, social media, analytics, landing pages, seo tools, social media tools, etc. With any software that brings stuff together it's not perfect. It’s probably not as good as spending a lot of time and money pulling together other systems. And I do a lot of research on systems. Based on researching HubSpot, I’m confident it can help us put together consistent processes. When it comes to systems and processes, I want to make sure we're efficient and consistent. That’s what will help us grow”. My response to that was, “I’m sorry if you hear me typing. It’s so nice to hear someone else other than me say that.” This has been our mission and vision all along. 10
  11. 11. Continuing on, we’re now going to talk about the benefits of being a part of the partner program. 11
  12. 12. We believe that “Inbound Marketing” is a movement that is much bigger than just one company. We can’t do it alone. We believe that our software combined with agencies’ inbound marketing services are a killer combination that deliver much more value to companies trying to figure out how to use the web to strategically grow their business. 12
  13. 13. If you are willing to put in the time to learn and use HubSpot on an ongoing basis, there will be benefits. Many of these benefits are intrinsic to our service. Such as leveraging our software to serve your clients better/more efficiently and to generate revenue from services that HubSpot’s software and training can enable you to deliver. We will ALSO reward the partners who achieve the best results for our mutual customers… with exposure to our audience, sales opportunities and direct compensation. That said, it’s important that our priorities are aligned. Our number 1 priority is the success of our customers. Our success, and we believe, your success, is derived from that. If you’re signing up to be a partner because you just want a cut of our revenue or you have your hand out for referrals or leads on day one, you shouldn’t partner with us. The partners who get referrals and other benefits from us have earned these rewards. 13
  14. 14. Paul Roetzer was the first company to partner with us when we were just getting started. He’s an extremely intelligent guy with a dream to make the PR industry a bit more accountable to results. He now works with 20+ HubSpot customers an an ongoing basis, many of which he brought to us, and a bunch that we referred to him. Furthermore, he now calls his firm an inbound marketing agency. When you watch Paul’s case study you’ll see that he thinks there should be more people doing what he’s doing. As evidenced by his growth, there’s certainly room for more. 14
  15. 15. Our plan is to open up our virtual doors and provide partners with the opportunity to learn from us and leverage what we’ve built: our software and our training. • We’ll provide you with the opportunity to start your own extended free trials for yourself and your clients. • We’ll give you access to our customer-only training program. This webinar is part of a curriculum that we’re building to help partners learn about how to price, package and deliver inbound marketing services. We also need to forewarn you. The biggest reason that we haven’t created a partner program until recently is because we do NOT have the resources to support you 1:1. Based on the rate at which we are establishing new partnerships, we’re on target to sign up about 1,000 new partners in 2010. We will support you. But, you first must demonstrate your ability and willingness to leverage our online and group training resources. 15
  16. 16. Here are the links to start a free trial for yourself or a client. You can also go to and complete the form to get access to these links. Please do not advertise the availability of these 30 day trials. Typically, we offer only a 7 day trial. 16
  17. 17. We’re in the process of developing a methodology for marketing agencies to help grow their business by offering inbound marketing services. The curriculum will cover 3 big areas. • How agencies can help their clients do different pieces of inbound marketing. • What inbound marketing services you should offer and how. • How you can sell these services consultatively. Source: imago/2872099576/ 17
  18. 18. 18
  19. 19. We launched a directory of inbound marketing service providers on Anyone can register and create a full profile with links to your site and descriptions of your services. HubSpot certified partners with the most successful customers will receive the most visibility at 19
  20. 20. Partners who are actively managing atleast one URL are invited to take the test for free. In order to pass, partners will need to have knowledge of all HubSpot products, as well as general inbound marketing knowledge. From SEO to lead generation to analytics, it is comprehensive. 20
  21. 21. 25 companies have passed the certification exam. These partners will be eligible to receive referrals from us by participating in the services network where our prospects and customers can find the best service provider for their needs. We’re in the process of identifying the services that our customers want and need. We are also working with our certified partner to determine what services they can, and want to, provide. We’ll ask partners to provide their capabilities and approximate price ranges for their offerings. And we’ll help customers choose the right solution for them via our customer success portal. 21
  22. 22. Here’s an overview of what we’re going to talk about today. 22
  23. 23. Okay. This stuff isn’t obvious for everyone. If you didn’t make the same conclusion as the guy I spoke with last night, you’re like the majority of the people I talk to. In fact, even our successful partners struggle with developing and selling a full set of inbound marketing services. The quote on the slide is from an existing partner and he’s not alone with this struggle. The HubSpot sales team struggles with communicating the value of inbound marketing to uneducated buyers too -- and even some educated ones. While most of the people on this call have seen the light and know that SEO, blogging, social media can generate traffic, leads and sales, many others haven’t. So, it’s up to us to show them the light. Or lead them to it. This isn’t easy though. It requires a sometimes long and painful sales processes. It requires a lot of patience. And as the web designer said so well to me last night, it requires a process. 23
  24. 24. The process that I’m going to share with you will help you take a prospect who comes to you and says, “I need xyz (such as a new website or better rankings) and, by the end of your sales process, get them to say, “Ok. I’m ready to buy your ongoing inbound marketing services package”. Now. I’m not going to promise that this is going to work for everyone. But, with persistence and enough attempts, it has worked for us several thousand times. 24
  25. 25. Before we get into it, I want to make sure you grasp the challenge that you’re facing. You need to inspire and then manage a whole lot of change. You need to tell your prospect that you’re going to rock their world. You’re going to ask them to make an investment in time and money. You’re going to ask them to reallocate funds and stop doing some of the stuff they’ve been doing for decades. You’re going to have to get sales and marketing in a room together and make them set goals that they agree to hold each other accountable to. You’re going to ask them to publish information that they’ve long used as a competitive advantage in 1:1 solution selling situations. You’re going to ask them to let people leave comments on their website and invite their prospects to connect with them on the same site where their college son talks about his fraternity parties. This is a huge change. But, for many companies, it’s an absolute necessity. And it’s our job to identify which companies need to and are willing to change. Then, help them make the change. 25
  26. 26. The first and most critical step of helping a company implement and manage change is to first understand what is important to them. You need to first uncover their goals, their dreams, their constraints and their problems. People don’t change unless they need to. And while it’s very logical to us that they should embrace inbound marketing, they’re not going to do it unless you help them connect how they can overcome their problems and achieve their goals with the inbound marketing solution you’re proposing. The framework we’ve developed at HubSpot for this process is called ‘The Inbound Marketing Assessment”. It is… 26
  27. 27. Here’s an overview of what we’re going to talk about today. 27
  28. 28. This process is helpful for both you and them. In any sales situation, both the buyer and the seller are constantly trying to evaluate whether they should continue talking to each other. After many IMAs, you (or they) may decide that it’s not worth talking anymore. That’s ok. There’s plenty of companies that can use this stuff. There’s certain things that they want to know and that you want to know. Usually, these are pretty well aligned. Buyers and sellers just ask the questions in different ways and often at different times. You’ll be much more effective if you ask the questions early and in your way. That’s what the IMA is. For example…. A prospect might ask you, “How much is this going to cost?” Before they ask that, you should have already asked them, “How much time and money can you invest in your online lead generation efforts?” A prospect might ask, “How long will it take for this stuff to start working?”. You should have already asked, “This process usually requires a long term commitment. Will you be able to commit to this for the long haul? At what point do you need this to start producing leads?” If you ask these questions and have discussions with your prospect, you’ll be helping them understand the process just as much as you’ll be helping yourself figure out whether this is a good opportunity or not. 28
  29. 29. In a typical sales process, there are lots of steps. Where you start in this process, depends whether you’re cold calling, networking or doing online lead generation. But, you’re always going to need to first connect with a prospect, then qualify the opportunity. This process is the qualification process. There’s a bunch of things you’re going to want to accomplish during this process. • You’re going to establish credibility by providing the prospect with insight into the effectiveness of their website and online marketing, as well as the effectiveness of their competitors. • You’re going to use a HubSpot free trial to help them understand the concepts behind the inbound marketing methodology. By sharing these insights, you’ll earn the right to ask them questions about their business goals and challenges, as well as their strategic and technical plans, or lack thereof. • You’re going to earn the right to ask questions about their budget, how they make decisions, and how urgent their needs are. At the conclusion of an IMA, based on what you uncover about their goals and resources, you’re THEN going to be able to design an appropriate trial experiment for later calls and meetings. These experiments will help you demonstrate how the software and your services can help overcome their challenges and achieve their objectives. 29
  30. 30. The typical flow for an IMA is the following. We suggest setting an agenda for the call which we’ll cover in a later slide. You’re should ask them for their competitors and plug that information into the competitor grader in their free HubSpot trial. You’ll also want to have another tab open with where you will explain how inbound marketing helps them get found, convert more visitors into leads and customers, then analyze and improve. Once you’ve asked them a series of questions to thoroughly understand their current systems and goals, you’ll design a trial experiment. You should suggest the experiment at the end of the call and then get commitment from the prospect that they would like to continue talking. -------------------- What most agencies do is have a quick call and then start talking about how their agency is better and different. This is the incorrect approach! Most prospects do NOT care about you. They care much more about themselves and their goals. This framework gives you an opportunity to listen to them. There’s a funny thing that happens when salespeople stop talking, ask questions, listen and then have natural conversations. Sales professionals that can do this are perceived as the most credible, trustworthy and knowledgeable people. 30
  31. 31. Okay. The first step is to introduce the call. You should review your agenda and discuss how the goal of the assessment/this call is to help us figure out how to help you, Mr. Prospect, the best. I like to start these assessments by asking very open ended questions about the prospect’s business. We also want to establish that this sales process is going to be educational and consultative. You can do this by demonstrating an interest in their business. It often takes 30 minutes to do this really well. First, I like to drill down into their lead generation and customer acquisition goals and then identify why they want to achieve those goals. Later in my sales process, once the trial is fully setup, I often help them determine how much time and money they’d need to invest in order to achieve their goals. We also want to ask them what they know about inbound marketing. This is your opportunity to quickly introduce what inbound marketing is. In particular, it can be beneficial to discuss: how it helps small and mid sized business attract more traffic to their sites, convert more of that traffic into leads and sales, and then analyze/improve results over time. After you say that, you should ask them, “Would like to talk about how inbound marketing could be used to achieve the goals you just shared with me?” 31
  32. 32. If you haven’t already started a trial for your prospect now is the time to do that. Trial portals collect info over time. So, the earlier you create it, the better. You should enter their competitors in as well. There are 3 columns that are most critical to identifying how they’re competitors are doing what they’re doing. They are: google indexed pages, inbound links and the overall website grade. Indexed pages tells your prospect how many keywords they can ultimately optimize their site around. If their competitor has 1,000 pages and they have 100, their competitor can target 1,000 keyword phrases and they can only target 100 or so. That’s potentially 10x more search traffic they can get compared to your prospect. Inbound links, as I’m sure you know, are the really critical part of SEO. Inbound links helps google determine which site should get ranked higher. A competitor with 10x more links is going to be much more likely to get more search traffic too. 32
  33. 33. If this stuff is newer to you, here’s a quick explanation of what lessons to teach your prospect from the data in the competitors report. 33
  34. 34. Sometimes reviewing competitive reports is pretty basic for a advanced user. They’ll already understand the importance of targeting long tail keywords, having lots of content on their site and attracting and building lots of links. In that case, we skip the next slide and move on to more advanced questions. In the thousands of prospects I’ve talked to at HubSpot, I’ve run into many people that thought they didn’t need our help. But, in all of my assessments, I’ve also only ever spoken with 4 prospects that we’re already doing what our software helps. These tended to be very big companies with large IT and internal internet marketing teams or companies that spend 10s of thousands of dollars per month paying very expensive consultants. The next slide is about how to continue the call with less savy buyers, which will be the majority of your prospects, I believe. 34
  35. 35. This is a critical slide. Some people resist asking all of these questions. But, it’s important to have a dialog about each of these areas as each of these are critical pieces of inbound marketing. Your clients aren’t going to want you to deliver an incomplete inbound marketing solution. They’re going to want the best solution possible. You can’t do that unless you know where they stand on each of these topics. For your needs, the questions on the left will help you determine which parts of the software you should recommend that they use and which services they should hire you to provide. The parts of the software and services you should provide are in the corresponding column on the right. For example, when you ask “How do you measure how many new customers you get through the web?” you’re qualifying to see whether the HubSpot analytics can help them. 35
  36. 36. For more advanced users who already have the basics figured out, they rarely have turned their website into a predictable lead generation machines. So, there’s still a lot of business value you can provide. They know a lot of the terms, but very few companies know how to apply all of these techniques to achieve their business goals. That’s where HubSpot’s software and methodology + our partners consulting and marketing services can help. So, with a more advanced marketer, your questions should be a bit deeper. For example, instead of asking, “Have you ever looked at your inbound links?”, you should ask, “Have you ever looked at which of your competitor’s inbound links are helping them the most with their rankings?” 36
  37. 37. Now that you understand what they are and aren’t doing to help their website get found by more visitors, now it’s time to talk about how they can start turning those visitors into leads and customers. Here’s some questions you should ask to make the transition? One that I love to ask is, “At this point, usually people are overwhelmed by the amount of effort required to leverage SEO, blogging and social media to attract more traffic to their site. Since you’ll need to invest time and money in this, what goal would you want to achieve in order to justify that investment?” 37
  38. 38. Usually, they’ll start talking about leads and sales automatically, but if they don’t here’s a list of questions to identify whether they understand the important parts of lead generation. Just like the previous slides, you’ll be asking questions to help you determine which parts of the HubSpot software and which of your services you should propose to them. When I talk to companies, 95+% of them have very little understanding of how to increase lead generation volume month over month. I usually share a story about HubSpot forms. Our “Demo request form” converst about 6% of the visitors to the page into a lead. Our landing page for the pre-recorded “How to do a website redesign webinar” converts vistors into leads at 30%. The reason it converts so highly is because it addresses a problem that people have. The project that’s on their plate. Companies are constantly redesigning their websites, sometimes for good reasons. Sometimes for stupid reasons. But, very few people know that they need “inbound marketing software”. Atleast not yet. 38
  39. 39. Once you’ve had deep discussions about traffic acquisition and lead generation, it’s time to talk to them about whether they’d like to move to the next step. We recommend that you check in with your prospect at this time and ask them what they think so far. This is a series of 3 questions that are an adaption of the “Inoffensive Close” technique. You’re, of course, not closing the deal, but you’re asking for their commitment to invest more time with you. Many prospects will say they are ready to get started. I highly recommend you do some goal setting with them first. You’re going to ideally work with this company for years to come providing them services. No company pays for services for years unless the services are helping them achieve their business goals. So, take your time and figure that out. 39
  40. 40. I like to help companies set their goals, as they usually don’t have numeric or financial goals set. In this model, explained more thoroughly on our blog at this link, you start by asking them about their revenue goals. You then use their lead to customer close rate to determine lead generation goals. You then use their visitor to lead converson rate to determine traffic acquisition goals. If they don’t know what their visitor to lead conversion rate is, it’s probably 1-3%. If they are diligent about following your lead on setting up the lead generation processes you just discussed, they can probably achieve 5-10%. Once you’ve determined traffic acquisition goals, use keyword grader to determine how much content production is required to generate traffic goals. 40
  41. 41. Here’s a full explanation of that in words. 41
  42. 42. Once you’ve established their goals, now it’s time to uncover their budget. Every company wants to generate more and better leads starting yesterday. But, not every company will be able to invest the resources needed to achieve it. Most companies will need to steal dollars from another budget in order to achieve these goals. So, start by asking them who will do the work and what internal resources they can bring to the table. Very few companies will have all of the right resources internally. That’s where you come in. You will need a certain amount of time involvement from them or their team to successfully build compelling offers for lead generation, create blog content and interact via social media sites. They should understand that the more hours they commit, the more success they will achieve. From your analysis before, you should be able to guesstimate how much time needs to be invested in order to achieve their goals. Then, you should ask them what they can afford to invest (time and money) to hit their goals. After you get a feel for that, now would be the time to talk to them about the question that they want answered, “How much is this going to cost me?” 42
  43. 43. Often times, you will not be dealing with the person that writes the checks. The marketing manager might need budget approval from the CEO. Or a business owner might need to talk to their partner. That might be a financial backer or it could be their life partner. As I’m sure many of you know, personal relationships make money discussions with buyers all the more interesting. But, it’s important to discuss how this impacts their buying decisions. There is no sense in either one of you investing 1-4 more hours figuring out how you can best help them if there are other people who might say “no” because they want to invest the money in a family vacation or a trade show instead. 43
  44. 44. It’s really important to identify who is going to do the work required to be successful with inbound marketing. This is probably the most important conversation for our partners to have as it determines how many hours you need to charge for per month in order to help your client be successful. Do this thoroughly. You should also talk about the time between getting started and seeing results. A good sales person can sit down and make progress with cold calling in week one (maybe). But, inbound marketing usually takes an investment of a few months before the fruit gets ripe. 44
  45. 45. Too many times, agencies are too afraid to ask about competition . By following the process we talked about today, you’ll be separating yourself from the pack by leaps and bounds. Very few agencies follow a process that is so well defined to help the prospect figure out their goals and set a solid plan to achieve them. Most agencies are looking to impress them with a portfolio and “convince” people to work with them. Like interruption marketing, prospective buyers are sick and tired of this process. Also, you should remember that they’re probably talking to a PR firm over here, and an SEO consultant over there, and a web developer over here. By covering all of these areas, you are creating a simpler, more effective solution for them. By asking these questions, you’ll figure out why they should buy from you, instead of other companies. 45
  46. 46. Lastly, I think it’s important that you’re not afraid to tell people you can’t help them. You are asking all of these questions to see whether you can help them or not. If they aren’t willing to share openly, or invest the right amount of resources, they won’t be successful. They won’t re-hire you if they aren’t successful. You should spend your time serving companies that you can help that will renew with you every year. This is how you will be successful. The more successful your business is, the more people you will be able to help. 46
  47. 47. Here’s an overview of what we’re going to talk about today. 47
  48. 48. We’re actively looking for more partners. Our reach and customer base has continued to expand. We’re still building a lot of processes and the program itself. Partners that got involved with us early have benefitted significantly. It’s still early in our program. Partners that get involved now will have an advantage. 48
  49. 49. If you want to partner with us, you first need to get really good at using the software. So, if you haven’t already, you should dive in and learn how HubSpot can help you develop a solid set of inbound marketing services. You should then deliver them to your clients and get a few victories in your portfolio. To get started, here are your steps. Start a free trial. Or a few free trials if you think you’re ready. Take advantage of the self guided training on success. Develop some offerings, sell them and do a really good job. 49
  50. 50. Once you have a few wins under your belt, it’s time to launch some landing pages for your services offering. In the coming months, we plan to get very organized around promoting YOUR HubSpot Services offerings through our “Services Network”. We’ll be in touch with certified partners very shortly. 50
  51. 51. 51