For all you first time readers: Steven Loepfe aka „Swiss Steve“ from Storylead here. We’re a HS-tiered partner based in Switzerland. We help our customers blow their horn and sell like hell. How? By building Inbound Marketing & Sales systems for a more predictable pipeline. In this blog post I’d like to share my 5 kicks I got out of HubSpot's Pipeline Generation Bootcamp lead by the amazing Dan Tyre.
Pipeline: From Flat to Fat
If you’re reading this you’re most likely a HubSpot tiered agency partner who’s sick and tired of flatlining revenues and earnings. And yes, you may want to move from a comfy lifestyle agency business model to a growth model with unleashed potential.
That’s exactly where I stood a few months back before I entered the HubSpot-sponsored Pipeline Generation Bootcamp (PGB) lead by the amazing-inspiring one and only Dan Tyre.
Backstory: I opened my shop in 1996 as a PR agency. For years and years I followed what you call a lifestyle business model: Nice and comfy. No ambitions growth goals. Good customers. Small team. Then three years ago...
(Click on the image below to watch this post as a video)
When we saw the huge potential that lies within helping customers generate leads and sales thanks to Inbound Marketing & Sales we got off our hindy and switched into growth mode. And when we saw that investors like Google Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia and the likes we’re placing their bets on HubSpot and others we got even more rambunctious.
So after sandboxing and piloting a few Inbound Marketing customers whilst still doing lots of legacy PR and content stuff, we went all-in to Inbound Marketing & Sales 18 months ago. We went from zero to being Silver then Gold-tiered in 12 months. Then we plateaued.
The Inbound Marketing Plateau
A few weeks into the year our HubSpot Channel Account Manager Steen Gordon pinged me with an application form for the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp. I thought, the curriculum looks pretty cool. And I loved Dan Tyre’s work. But I didn’t go for it. Why?
Well, you see - we already had a sales system in place then. We’d been using HubSpot Sales and the Growth Stack daily. We were working deals down the funnel. And we were closing at an „ok“ rate. But somehow we were stuck half way between Gold and Platinum.
First Attempt - no can do!
So I thought I’d rather keep on doing what I had been doing. That was to work the odd Inbound Marketing lead, to reach out to prospects from time to time and to let sales and prospecting slip as other flashy objects appeared on my screen, like delivery, billable work, and other stuff you shouldn’t really deal with as an owner.
There's this saying: You can’t work yourself out of a problem you’ve bevaved yourself into. For me that problem was, that I didn’t pick up the phone and make the call. I was comfy working the bottom of the funnel. But identifying and connecting with leads who never had heard from a company named Storylead or a dude called „Swiss Steve“ - no way José. As said, I wasn’t aware of that problem until our CAM Steen called me again a few weeks later.
Second Attempt - MUST DO!
He said that Dan Tyre was doing some scouting for a second EMEA Pipeline Generation Bootcamp cohort. So I said to myself: I’m stuck. I’m coasting. I’m not making any dials. But we still want to be Platinum by Dec 15. So what the heck! I applied together with almost 100 other agency owners for one of the 8 available seats. And I got in. Oh, baby hallelujah - am I glad I did.
The Pipeline Generation Bootcamp consists three things:
- A weekly group coaching session with your mentor Dan Tyre together with the entire cohort (in our case 8 other HubSpot agency owners from around EMEA)
- Weekly assignments and homework, including performance tracking in your HubSpot Sales dashboard, daily dials and much more
- Weekly personal reflection on your learnings (plus a final wrap-up in the form of a blog post like this one)
Are You Ready to Do Whatever it Takes?
- If you want to grow, to bump your tiering, and to do whatever it takes to grow your agency,
- if you are ready to put in at least one hour a day for your dials over the period of 8 weeks (and thereafter) and to attend ALL the sessions,
- if you believe in the power of helping not selling,
- if you believe that it is your ethical obligation to make available the value of Inbound Marketing & Sales to your customer and that
- if you fail at doing so, that you’re doing your customer a huge disservice - well then the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp is definitely for you!
- My 5 Kicks From The Pipeline Generation Bootcamp
As it was/is our goal to get to Platinum level by December 15 this year, let me now share the 5 kicks I got out of the program.
1. It’s Fun to Help
The way we buy has changed: On the way to our purchase we want to have a good time, a nice experience or even be entertained. We read stuff, watch videos and are happy to chat with people who really and truly want to help us and reach out.
So if the way we buy is changing, why not change the way we sell. In the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp that’s exactly the mantra: Always be helping. Never be selling.
From the first contact all the way down the funnel - in the PGB you learn how great it is to help prospects discover the reasons they might be stuck. And then to guide them all the way to a potential solution (hopefully yours). You learn that you’re not cold calling anymore. But doing a warm call that’s friendly and helpful. And it feels great to help someone. It’s fun to help, wouldn’t you agree?
2. Sell Sales? Do Sales!
You’re a HubSpot agency partner. You most likely know the marketing side of the tool. So you’re able to „sell“ it, right? But how about the sales tool?
Are you using HubSpot sales in your agency? Have you got deal stages installed? Sequences? Do you have a sales system in place? A documented sales process?
Well, a few weeks ago I was on stage at the HubSpot Partner Day in Dublin. I asked the audience: „Who wants to grow their agency?“ All hands went up. Then I asked: „Well, then who has a documented sales process in place?“ 6 hands out of 40 went up. Only 6 out of 40 are using the friggin’ amazing HubSpot sales tool. So how could you possibly sell something to your customers if you don’t even use it yourself?
In the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp you HAVE to use the tool. Every week you need to send Dan and your CAM your dashboard and share your progress. HubSpot sales is THE tool for the modern „Growth Stacker“. Using the tool get’s you even more fired up by discovering its benefits and its value. So if you want to „Sell Sales“ to your Inbound Marketing customers, wouldn’t it make sense to „Do Sales“ with the exact same tools?
3. Peers Are Tougher Than Customers
Training is boring. At least for me. My attention span is zero after 5 minutes. If it weren’t for the fidget cube I’d be lost. Unless something sparks my attention. Like ROLE PLAY!
Role play is the key element of Pipeline Generation Bootcamp. It is there where you face the toughest prospects on the planet: Your other agency peers who, by playing the role of a prospect, just love to play „hard to get“.
Here’s some feedback I got: "Shut up!", "Listen!", "You didn’t get to my pain points!", "Pause!", "I didn’t get your point!", "You were too pushy", "...you talk too fast." and on and on and on. You never get that lip from a client do you? So much valuable stuff happening in the breakout session rooms (btw all done via zoom).
Of course there’s also positive feedback. But no need to please the king...
4. Daily Dials Are Accretive
I’d consider myself being physically „in shape“. Thanks to working out regularly, almost daily, since I was a teen. The benefits of a regular workout are clear: You feel good and it shows.
So you go to the gym just like brushing your teeth. No big deal. What once was a struggle (like brushing your teeth as a kid or going to the gym as an adult) over time becomes a nice habit with accretive value.
But what about connecting with new prospects? Putting in those daily dials? Picking up the phone and making the call? Big fail!!!
Part of the PGB consists of picking up the phone and doing the dials - EVERY DAY! Don’t get things mixed up - you’re not cold calling. You’re either reaching out to Inbound Leads who have given you permission to do so. Or your connecting with what I call „Inbound Prospects“.
"Inbound Prospects" are individuals or organizations you have researched and that you believe you could help improve the situation they’re facing (Lead Generation, Customer Acquisition, Client Engagement, Competitive Advantage, Predictable Pipeline…)
If you don’t reach out and offer help, how could you possibly build your pipeline? How could you possibly make the value of Inbound Marketing & Sales available to prospects who may never even have heard of it before? It’s your duty to do so. Why?
Because if we help our customers grow, we all grow. We create jobs, revenue, and value where there was no value before. So pick up the phone and make the call! Bump the economy by working the dialpad!
On some days I’d slip and coast with no calls logged. On others I’d do up to 40 calls - blocking everything else out of my calendar. After a few weeks into the PGB you start to notice, that it’s fun to help on the phone. And you notice that daily dials create accretive value.
5. Stand. Smile. Breathe. Pause.
We’ve learned about PGB so far, is that it’s fun to help, that you need to use the tools at hand, that your peers are your worst enemies, and that daily dials create accretive value.
By now you may be saying to yourself: „but I’m an introvert and I’ll never master all this, I’m just to friggin’ scared to pick up the phone…“
Rest assured - anyone can master the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp. It’s not about selling. It’s all about helping. It’s not the car, it’s the driver. Everyone loves to help: Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, priests, doctors, boy scouts, girl scouts, shrinks, yes and even you, the introverted Inbound Marketer.
The best way to do so, at least what I’ve learned during PGB, was to get into the „zone“ when talking to prospects by doing four things.
Stand. Smile. Breathe. Pause.
Stand: When on the phone stand up. This let’s you energy flow. Use a headset so you can use your whole body to talk, even your hands. You can even give your prospect an imaginary hug ;-)
Smile: We know from research that a smile triggers a smile. Just smile at a baby and watch her face light up. The same goes for calling. Smile on the phone and your voice will shine too.
Breathe: Get yourself energized by taking a few deep breaths before and during the call. This keeps up the flow of oxygen and makes you alert for those little signals you prospect is sharing.
Pause: You’re on the phone to help and to book a meeting. The best way to do so, is by building up a great level of trust in a shortest period of time (10 to 15 minutes). You don’t to that by talking. But by listening. Ask open questions. Then shut up and listen.
Pipeline Generation Bootcamp - Final Thoughts
The fact that you’re still here shows me that you’re really interested in the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp. Once again if you’re a HubSpot agency partner and want to bump your tiers and grow your agency - apply now. Ask your CAM for details. She’ll be happy to help.
I’d like to thank the amazing Dan Tyre, the world’s best CAM Steen Gordon, David Weinhaus, all HubSpotters, the entire PGB cohort 226 (aka the „Lions“) and most of all the dozens of prospects who got a call from me in the past few weeks. Thanks for giving us at Storylead the opportunity to bring value into your organization.
Or for showing us the door.
A door we’ll be knocking on soon ;-)
PS: If you'd like to hear more about the tangible stuff and measurable results based on PGB - like contacts created, prospects contacted, deals created, opportunities worked, or sales closed - pls dm ur # so I can call you back. Love to hear from you!
(Here's our newest Inbound Marketing & Sales Compendium - sorry, Gerrrman only...)