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Inbound Marketing and Sales alignment at Vincent Sheppard

Vincent Sheppard is a Belgian furniture company. Since 1992, they have been designing and manufacturing indoor and outdoor pieces of furniture. Selling in more than 40 countries, they work with external sales agents. They wanted to  boost their customer experience and digitalize their processes and to improve the alignment between the commercial departments: Marketing, Sales and back office. 

They were facing multiple challenges:

  • Marketing practices were complex, took a lot of time and weren't personalized;
  • Marketing and Sales were little aligned;
  • The quality of the data was not good enough to run their operations efficiently.

Therefore Vincent Sheppard contacted Elixir to help them set up the methodologies and tools that would solve these challenges.

In this blog post, you will read how we guided Vincent Sheppard in the implementation of the inbound methodology.You will also learn how we implemented HubSpot in their marketing department and how we aligned their commercial departments.

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Understanding their needs

The first step for every project that we do consists in a deep understanding of the goals, processes and needs of the customer. This is a requirement in order to create a project that brings value to the customer.

This is why we begin our projects by interviewing the main stakeholders. On the basis of this assessment, we define the main goals and project approach. 

Following this assessment, we believed that Vincent Sheppard would benefit from a digitized commercial approach, using HubSpot for Sales and Marketing. Here are the main benefits that they would get from it:

  • having a common Customer and Contact database;
  • Sales and Marketing working on the same, user-friendly, platform;
  • Improved lead generation and qualification;
  • Improved online presence.

1. Implementing the inbound methodology and HubSpot Marketing

1.1 Setting up HubSpot

HubSpot has been chosen as the platform that will support the marketing team to do inbound campaigns. When introducing a new marketing automation tool and CRM like this one, it is important to make it fit to the needs of the marketing team. That's why we always start the projects by setting up the HubSpot portal with the different basic elements like:

  • branding: putting the logos and colors to make them easier to pick in the different tools;
  • connecting the domains: choosing and connecting the subdomains to host the blog and the landing pages;
  • tracking the website: to be able to know how the contacts interacted with the website, we have put the HubSpot tracking code on their website;
  • connecting the social media and ads tools: Connecting Facebook, instagram, Linkedin was essential to be able to post  and monitor those accounts. 
  • ...

1.2 Inbound methodology

After that, we focused on coaching the team towards the inbound marketing methodology. As a requirement, we ask our customers to take the "Inbound Marketing" and "Marketing Software HubSpot" certification on HubSpot Academy. This gives them already a basic knowledge about HubSpot's inbound methodology.

The next step is to do a first inbound marketing campaign together.

 Why do we start with a first campaign?

  • The first reason is that we have the opportunity to define the scope of the campaign following the best practices of inbound.
  • Secondly, we guide the customer in the creation of the assets. This way, we can advise them on the best way to do it.
  • Thirdly, together with the customer, we create the assets in HubSpot. This is a good way to start using the tool and we have the opportunity to show the customer how they should use it in the best way.
  • Fourth, this gives us the opportunity to talk about every aspect of the buyer's journey, which helps us set up the tool to support the customer in a more personalized way.

1.3 Running a first campaign

1.3.1 Defining the scope of the campaign

To create an inbound marketing campaign, we started from one buyer persona of Vincent Sheppard. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional person that groups the characteristics of a segment of the audience of a company. Using buyer persona(s) is important, because it helps creating empathy towards the audience. Plus, it helps defining a campaign that will be effective and will bring value to the audience.

What we always do is that we help our customers leveraging these personas in the campaign. For that, we do buyer's journey workshops.

In the case of Vincent Sheppard, we took their Architects persona, and did the exercise of understanding how they behave, think and feel at every step of their journey with Vincent Sheppard.

If you want to do the same exercise, you can download the templates here : 

Download our template

Thanks to this exercise, we understood better the questions that the persona is facing, their needs, and how to answer those to attract them in this first inbound marketing campaign. 

This enabled us to define a conversion path to set up during this campaign:

  • We started by posting a message on social media, promoting a blog post.
  • On this blog post, we would talk about some pieces of furniture, linking to a landing page.
  • On this landing page, the person could download a free offer.
  • After receiving it, they would receive an email to provide them with more information. 

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1.3.2 Creating the assets 

The next step was to set up the elements of this conversion path in HubSpot. For that, we organized a few sessions to show to the marketing team how they could use HubSpot to create the campaign. We covered the different marketing and automation tools. 

After those sessions, the marketing team could create all of the necessary assets on their own and we supported them on an ad hoc basis.

Together, we've seen how to create a blog, a landing page, a topic cluster, emails, workflows, social media posts in HubSpot.


1.3.3 GeneratiNG NEW LEADS

We guided Vincent Sheppard in their use of HubSpot in terms of lead generation. Vincent Sheppard had already a website that displays all of their products. In order to help the architects to determine if the furniture would look good in the space, they would provide 3D imagery that they can use to sell new projects.

Those offers were very popular, however Vincent Sheppard did not have a way to know who downloaded them. So the goal, as part of this first campaign, was to gate the access to this content.

Vincent Sheppard wasn't using a common CMS. Their CMS was managed by another agency. Thus, we suggested a way that would enable Vincent Sheppard to put forms before each of the 800 products, without requiring too much work.

We solved this by advising to create a landing page that would gate the access to the content.


2. Marketing and Sales alignment

The alignment between Marketing and Sales was little to non existing before. The use of a same platform that would be easy to use for both teams was one of the points that would solve this. It would help simplify the organization and treatment of leads. For that, we proposed the introduction of a new role in the organization.

The challenges that it would solve are the following: 

  • Leads handled by different persons with no alignment;
  • No lead assignment process;
  • No view on the buyer's journey;


Alighing Marketing, Sales and Sales support to create amazing customer experiences


How those challenges were solved

  • This would also put a central point to receive the leads and requests from the multiple sources where a contact would come from. Because Vincent Sheppard is receiving requests
    1. from the contact form on the website
    2. but also from other platforms where they sell furniture
    3. from multiple team email addresses
To centralize those demands, we set up a conversations inbox that is managed by the lead qualification responsible.
  • This person first checks all of the leads and determines if they are relevant or if they need more nurturing. If they do need more nurturing, they go back to the marketing part. If they are sales ready, they are assigned to sales agents based on their region. This adds a human check on the leads before sending them to the sales team. 
  • Thanks to HubSpot, the entire buyer's journey of a contact can be followed. This helps in the interactions with the leads. It also helped with the reporting both on the marketing and sales activities. 


Conclusion : Creating a seamless experience

Thanks to the improvements made together, Vincent Sheppard has now the means to generate more leads, making sure that the right leads are sent to the sales team and that Marketing and Sales are all aligned together. We solved the challenges that they were facing by 

  • implementing a user-friendly marketing and sales platform, where the marketing team could manage most of their marketing activities.
  • introducing a new function that would act as a way to centralize the incoming of leads and decide when the leads are hot enough to be sent to sales. This helped align the marketing and sales teams.
  • centralizing the leads and checking if they are qualified enough enables also to have data of better quality. What helps as well is to have a view on the entire buyer's journey. That's what using HubSpot enabled for Vincent Sheppard.



Good support with integration and sales and marketing onboarding

Elixir smoothly integrated HubSpot with our ERP system and guided us through all the different steps to launch the CRM. They also advised us on how to start with inbound marketing and set-up a good data management.

Julie Collett, Vincent Sheppard



Are you interested in aligning your Marketing, Sales and Service teams? Check out this e-book and discover why and how you can do it.

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