Growing your business requires that you find ways to increase your sales revenue. That’s foundational. New sales are the lifeblood of every business. So I want to show you what we did to get a 154% increase in monthly new sales revenue by making one simple change.
And it made my sales process easier than ever.
The best part?
Much of the sales process is now on autopilot. And we’re continuing to experience even greater growth over time (since this study). That’s because the solution has growth and continual improvement built into it. Again, this was all done without adding complex processes and effort.
And in this case study, I’m going to show you exactly what we did and the step-by-step process we implemented to hit this incredible sales growth.
The Day I Realized That Sales Shouldn’t Be Difficult
Since the day I started Fistbump Media, I’ve racked my brain to figure out how to drive more sales. I’ve studied sales processes, funnels, online tactics, and several dozen tools that are supposed to help me grow my business.
I’ve learned over time that one of the most important assets you have is your database of leads and customers. Success in sales growth is a direct result of how you leverage all of that customer (and potential customer) data. So that means you need a good customer relationship management (CRM) tool to manage all of that information.
Over the years, I’ve tried lots of them. I even launched an extensive conversation on LinkedIn to see if I could find some good ones, which lead to one that I tried for a full year before giving up.
The problem was that none of it made my sales process easy to manage. Not did they really help me grow. It just always felt like a herculean effort to get manage the process.
That’s when I decided to switch to the HubSpot CRM.
I’ve always loved their (free) e-courses, and every glimpse I’ve gotten of the tools just made it look super easy to manage. And that’s what I was looking for. A simple tool that could help me grow.
So I made the leap.
And I was surprised at what happened next…
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An Immediate Increase In New Leads (and Sales)
Over the two year period, I used two different CRMs. The first 12 months was with a CRM I found through extensive research. I’ll keep it nameless, because it’s not my goal to diminish it as a tool. It was pretty standard as far as CRM tools are concerned, and it had plenty of nice features. Then I switched to HubSpot and tracked the same progress over the next 12 months.
During this time, my overall marketing approach hadn’t changed significantly. I only used what the tools offered to me.
For the time frame covered, it’s worth noting the change in traffic to our website. The numbers are all monthly averages, with the “before” numbers covering the time using the old CRM and the “after” numbers covering the time using the HubSpot CRM.
New Users (Website): Before
New Users (Website): After
The increase here really had nothing to do with the CRM use itself. I attribute it mostly to ongoing returns from our search engine optimization efforts over time.
It’s worth noting this number so that we can understand the differences in other numbers we monitored over this period.
Another increase we experienced was with the average number of new incoming leads per month.
New Leads: Before
New Leads: After
As you can see, then number of new leads coming in each month increased at a higher rate than that of the website traffic. The web-to-lead conversion rate increased from 3.2% with the old CRM up to 4% with HubSpot.
I attribute that increase to the ways HubSpot integrates into my WordPress website compared to other CRM tools. I’ll cover this in more detail shortly, but HubSpot is certainly better at helping me capture visitor information and bringing them into the CRM as leads.
It’s also important to note that part of the time HubSpot leads we’re being tracked included February and March of 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic was starting to impact everything. With all of the uncertainty individuals and businesses encountered, we went through a 6-week period with only one new incoming lead. So the difference is actually more extreme if we just considered “ordinary” months.
The next change we experienced was with the average number of new orders (sales) closed on average.
New Orders: Before
New Orders: After
The increase with sales closed is nearly identical to the percentage increase in new leads because our close rate stayed pretty consistent. We didn’t really change much with the actual sales process, so the increase in leads basically increased sales at the same rate.
But one thing that was interesting was the increase in the dollar value of the average sale.
Avg Order ($): Before
Avg Order ($): After
Over this period of time, we did not add products or change prices significantly.
The biggest difference was the fluidity of our sales process. With HubSpot’s WordPress integration, we had better insight into what leads were doing on our website. The extra data points helped us to better position products and even offer upgrades that clients might be interested in. In the end, we saw higher-dollar sales orders closing.
Following this through, more sales closing at higher dollar figures meant that we saw a significant increase in total new revenue per month.
New Revenue ($): Before
New Revenue ($): After
With these figures, I’m not estimating ongoing/recurring revenue. I’m only tracking the initial order.
In the end, we experienced a significant lift in revenue growth by switching from another highly rated CRM to the HubSpot CRM. And we did that without doing more marketing or making changes to our sales process. Ultimately, it’s just a case of how a better tool can make a huge difference.
How exactly did we do that? Keep reading to see how you can increase sales like this too…
The 3-Steps To Increase Sales With the HubSpot CRM
The implementation of HubSpot and accomplishing this kind of growth involved three main phases. Each step required little effort but carried a high impact. This is what we did…
- Step #1: Migrate existing contacts and set up the CRM
- Step #2: Integrate with your existing website and email tools
- Step #3: Optimize and build out lead management processes
Here’s why this was so effective (and easy to implement)…
First, migrating our existing contacts into HubSpot allows you to start right away with improving your marketing and sales processes. No matter where you currently manage your contacts, you should be able to export them in a basic (CSV) spreadsheet, which can be imported directly into HubSpot.
HubSpot makes the process so simple, I believe I had all of my contacts from our previous CRM imported within about 10 minutes.
It’s not a complicated setup, allowing you to start realizing impact almost immediately.
Second, the integration process with our existing website and email tools via a WordPress plugin and Chrome browser extension (for Gmail) allowed us to start tracking contact activity immediately.
The total setup for both of these integrations took just a few minutes. The immediate tracking capabilities it brought instantly improved our insight into what our contacts were doing based on our efforts.
You can start making better decisions and having more meaningful conversations with your contacts right away.
Third, optimizing and building out your lead management efforts flows naturally with insights provided by HubSpot tools and reporting. Plus it offers tips to help you understand how you can improve every communication you have with your contacts.
You don’t have to take complex sales training courses or implement new techniques to improve your sales.
Honestly, you’ll get better at selling just by using the tools built right into HubSpot.
Step #1: Migrate Existing Contacts and Set up The CRM
If you already have any kind of list or database of contacts (customers and/or leads), then that’s the best place to start. With contacts in your database, you can start implementing your lead management strategy right away.
With your existing customers, you’ll be able to build up a better ongoing communication strategy. Just because a contact bought something from you once doesn’t mean they no longer have value. They can be a great source for both future sales and referrals. Keeping in touch with them is a key piece to developing that strategy.
If you have existing leads you’ve gathered, then beginning to manage them in HubSpot will give you some great tools to manage them better. Things like email and website activity tracking will give you much better insight into how you can position your products. And positioning your products well can result in higher close rates and higher revenue per order.
The process is simple…
In a nutshell, get your data into a spreadsheet (existing systems should allow you to export your information into a CSV-format spreadsheet). And then upload that spreadsheet to HubSpot. The process will give you the opportunity to match up fields (so phone number goes to a phone number field, etc), and create custom fields for more specific data that you like to manage with your contacts.
If you need to create your own list from scratch, then HubSpot has a spreadsheet template you can use.
And I mentioned how great HubSpot’s e-courses are… they also have a great (and short) course on how to get your data into the HubSpot CRM, complete with video walk-thru help on everything in the process.
Depending on how you currently manage your data, this process can take as little as a few minutes. Then you can start to increase sales revenue right away. More on exactly how to do that in a moment…
Step #2: Integrate With Existing Website and Email Tools
The next step will almost instantly help you increase the number of leads you’re capturing.
If you’re running a self-hosted WordPress website, then HubSpot’s WordPress plugin is a simple way to integrate the power of HubSpot into your website. Not only will you be able to access your HubSpot CRM dashboard and tools directly in your website’s WordPress Dashboard, but you’ll also be able to:
- Easily add HubSpot forms to your website
- Capture data from non-HubSpot forms as leads in the CRM
- Add website chat tools to your website (which also turns new chat contacts into leads in your CRM)
To add the HubSpot plugin to your WordPress website:
- Download the HubSpot plugin for WordPress
- Upload (and activate) the plugin to your WordPress website
- Log in to your HubSpot account through the plugin settings on your website
That’s it! And while there is a lot you can do to optimize this over time, this will help you start capturing leads right away.
The other big integration you should set up right away is the email integration. We use Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) for our email (and other functions). And HubSpot has a free app to connect your Gmail to your HubSpot account. There are also apps available for Outlook (and other email tools), if you don’t use Google Workspace.
The email integration is going to do two main things for you:
- It brings your contact information from HubSpot into your email inbox
- It adds some great tools to your email to help with managing and tracking contact activities
The email tools will not only increase the impact of your email communications, but it also decreases your effort by automatically connecting and logging the email conversations on your contact records in the CRM.
To add this, simply grab the extension from the HubSpot App Marketplace, or get the extension from the Chrome Web Store.
Both of these integrations will immediately supercharge your lead capture and management efforts. The next step is to start optimizing to help you get the most out of the HubSpot CRM…
Step #3: Optimize and Build Out Lead Management Process
This next step is more of an ongoing process, as opposed to a one-time setup step. Ultimately, it’s great to have fully-developed automated email sequences. But if you don’t have that now, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with trying to create them from scratch.
The way we’ve approached it is to just build in a process of continual improvement. In fact, even where we’ve built those sequences, we’re continually working to improve them.
This approach allows you to start reaping rewards and increase sales revenue right away, with little effort. And improving it over time means that you’ll always be growing.
Here are some of the core guidelines we followed to realize our growth (and continue to see even more as we continue to evaluate and implement improvements)…
1. Start communicating with existing customers regularly
One of the sources of sales is customers who have already said “yes” to you previously. So an important part of your strategy should include keeping yourself visible with those existing customers.
Don’t just assume that they are always thinking about you. You need to keep yourself top of mind with them. And it’s not about “selling” to them constantly. All you need to do is just share what’s going on with them.
In HubSpot, we’ve started sending a once-per-month client newsletter. In it, we share things like:
- Company updates relevant and of interest to customers (i.e. system enhancements designed to make their interaction with us easier, etc.)
- New product and service launches
- Tips and tricks to manage their services better
- Customer service related resources
- New and trending blog and webinar content
Sharing these updates regularly has resulted in higher engagement with our content, more appointments booked, and better (and more) reviews from our customers.
And with HubSpot, it’s simple to create your newsletter using built-in and customizable templates. Then just clone your previous email each month and make a few updates to the content. Putting together the newsletter each month takes about 15 minutes, and returns some great results!
2. Develop email flows with new leads
Eventually, having well-formed automated email sequences is the way to go. It’s going to be a far more efficient way of managing communications with incoming leads. However, when we made the switch to HubSpot, we simply didn’t have them. We tried developing them in previous CRMs. We just never for the traction to see them return good results.
That’s why it’s best to take a growth-driven approach.
As new leads come in, I would respond to each one individually by email. Then, with each email I sent, I would create a follow-up task in HubSpot to trigger me to send my next email.
Then I would monitor my task list for follow-ups that needed to happen each day. And as I worked on the tasks, I would review the contact’s activity to help me refine how I would focus my next email. Did they open the previous email? Did they click on any links? What pages did they visit on the website as a result?
After working the leads this way over a period of time, I started to get a good feel for what I got a pretty good feel for what was working well(and what wasn’t). Then I basically copied my best efforts into an email sequence that I could start using for future leads.
Using this approach, not only did I simplify my email automation development, but I also realized some great results…
- The email open rate on our sequences is steadily over 60% (industry standard is 15-25%)
- The click-thru rate runs over 7% on average (industry standard is 2.5%)
Even with strong rates like that, we monitor ways to continue to improve on that too!
3. Follow the data
This is where some of the greatest power comes in. The information available to help you see how your efforts are trending, and help you make better decisions, is at your fingertips.
The best part is that it’s not presented in a confusing or overwhelming way. So you don’t need to be a data scientist to figure out what you’re looking at. Here are a few ways you can use the data and reporting to improve your efforts over time…
- Which emails are working best? You’ll see open rates for your emails, which tells you how effective your email subject lines are. And you’ll see click activity in your emails so you know what’s driving people to action. I’ve looked at emails with high click-thru rates and applied those practices to emails with low click-thru rates. In the end, it’s raising the impact of all of my emails.
- Which marketing channels are working for you? Determine the effectiveness of your efforts on social media compared to visitors coming from search engines (or whatever source). When you can see how effective various channels are, then you’ll know where to invest your efforts to drive even better growth.
- What is your return on investment in online ads? HubSpot connects with various online ad platforms (Facebook and LinkedIn) and can help you determine the exact ROI on your ad campaigns. How many clicks on ads are turning into leads, and how many of those are turning into customers? You’ll drive better impact when you can see what’s really working and what’s not.
If you send just a little time regularly looking over the data and performance reports, you’ll quickly identify some ways to improve what you’re doing. This continual improvement will be a major driver of increased sales growth over time.
4. Leverage lists to target communications and offers
Another way to increase sales is to manage contacts using targeted lists. Once you have contacts on various kinds of lists, then you can target specific types of communications towards them. Personally, I think there is nothing worse than scatter-spray marketing. That’s throwing everything out to everyone, and hoping that someone gets it.
With us, our clients come primarily in two groups, writers/bloggers and small businesses. It’s not a stretch to see how interests for one group may be different than the other.
With lists targeted at each of these customers (and leads), then releasing something like a new e-course on self-publishing only needs to go to the writer/blogger contacts. Likewise, promoting our local business directory link-building services can be promoted just to the small businesses. Promoting either of these things to everyone is going to make it fall flat and likely just end up annoying some contacts due to too many irrelevant emails.
Lists can also be used to filter out people based on their activity (or inactivity). And that can not only help you keep your database clean, but it can also help you even further target the types of communications that might re-engage them. That leads me to my last point…
5. Never give up on a lead
One of the big things HubSpot has helped me do is to not give up on any of my leads. And it’s paid off with increased sales!
I’ve seen at times when I might send someone 2-3 emails and not get a reply. But in HubSpot, when I look at the contact details, I might see lots of opens on the emails and lots of clicks to the website. So even though I don’t see a reply, I might still see them being very engaged. That’s a signal to me to not stop! But if all I knew was that they weren’t responding to my emails, then I might be inclined to give up.
I also have a list that I move people to after they’ve finished automated sequences without any further engagement. These people go onto a list that gets a monthly featured “best offer” email to attempt to re-engage them. These emails regularly get these otherwise “cold” leads to pop up and end up becoming customers.
Persistence is the key. So having a strategy for how you will continue to engage (yes, even cold leads) over the long-term is incredibly important. And don’t take silence as a “no” because often it just means they’ve been a little too busy to respond at the moment.
If you’re trying to increase sales revenue, then you’ll want to get every bit of opportunity you can find out of your leads. So… NEVER give up on a lead (unless they specifically unsubscribe).
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How You Can Increase Sales Revenue For Your Business
I don’t know about you, but as a small business, we like to increase sales revenue! And doing so cannot be something that adds expense (that doesn’t get a return) or complicate processes. That’s really been the best thing about switching to the right CRM.
While the CRM itself is free, we do pay a little bit for the Marketing Starter and Sales Starter plans. But the increase we’ve seen in sales more than pays for that cost. And we’re continuing to grow and increase sales even more! Here’s what this switch has meant to us:
- Simplified our sales process
- Improved our marketing effectiveness
- Given us the information to have more meaningful conversations with contacts
- Provides the data to help us commit to continual improvement
- Saves us immeasurable time
I’ve honestly always dreaded trying to figure out how we’re going to drive sales growth. Always sorting through sales strategies (and gimmicks) and trying tools that over-promise and under-deliver. I’ve earned more grey hair from trying to find the right formula than from any other aspect of running the business. But now it just feels right. I’m having fun trying things and watching the impact of our efforts.
And we’re seeing the results.
So if you want to try the HubSpot CRM, and have questions. Then grab 15 minutes on my calendar to talk through it. Just use the scheduler below to get some time. (And FYI… that’s from HubSpot too!) There’s no obligation to talk, and I’m happy to just answer any questions you might have and see if I can steer you in the right direction with this.
FTC Disclosure: We are a HubSpot affiliate and receive a commission when you purchase. The results we share are our own and from our own data tracking efforts. We promote these tools and services based on our actual experience and confidence in the results they provide.