When the small but mighty marketing team at Peak Well Systems realized they needed to streamline their marketing and sales systems, they turned to Formstack Sync to set up a SugarCRM and HubSpot bi-directional data sync. Sarah Starick shares more on how they integrated these systems and how it improved sales and marketing alignment. This is an abridged transcript of her chat with Formstack’s VP of Partnerships, Zak Pines.
Background on Peak Well Systems
Zak: Can you start out by telling us about Peak Well Systems.
Sarah: We design and manufacture advanced downhole tools for well intervention. Our customers are service providers and operators in the oil and gas industry.
Zak: What is your role at Peak?
Sarah: I’m the marketing and communications manager at Peak. I manage all aspects of our marketing and communications and work closely with a fantastic creative agency that helps bring our campaigns to life.
Zak: What has been your approach to lead generation?
Sarah: Inbound marketing is a large component of our marketing strategy. We capture leads from the website, and we have different lead nurturing tracks based on the products and services in which those leads have expressed interest through their interactions with our website and content. Relevancy of our follow-up is very important.
In addition, the sales team generates leads via offline sources such as tradeshows and meetings; some of which become opportunities immediately and some of which require further nurturing by marketing.
Zak: Can you walk us through your key sales and marketing systems?
Sarah: SugarCRM is our current CRM system. It’s been highly customized to integrate with our back-office and manufacturing processes within the business.
When I joined the company in 2015, there were various marketing tools being used, and although they worked well in isolation, they were not well integrated and so provided little transparency to our marketing or sales teams. This disconnect between systems meant that we were having to do many tasks manually and repeatedly which was not the most efficient use of resources for a small marketing team. The production of reports to measure the ROI of our marketing efforts was not only time consuming but could not provide actionable insights on all the components of any given campaign.
Zak: Gotcha, that definitely sounds painful.
Sarah: So, I knew we needed to streamline our marketing systems and ensure they were integrated in order to provide the right reporting to better inform our marketing efforts and improve sales and marketing alignment. After researching various systems, we felt the combination of HubSpot and Formstack Sync was the perfect complement to our existing SugarCRM.
HubSpot gave us one platform to manage our marketing, from email nurturing and social media marketing to SEO and reporting. And Formstack Sync ensures we have a unified database between HubSpot and SugarCRM, which automatically populates the right data in real time.
The Impact of Connecting HubSpot and SugarCRM
Zak: How has the integration of HubSpot and SugarCRM worked for you?
Sarah: It’s been fantastic. As I mentioned, our global sales team regularly generate their own leads, so it’s key that leads flow in both directions. That’s why a bi-directional data sync was a requirement for us. We can see leads sourced from both marketing and sales, which essentially boils down to online and offline generated leads. This gives us a holistic view of where leads are coming from and allows us to track conversion rates.
Zak: What else are you doing with the integration?
Sarah: Once the leads pass over to sales, we have a continuous feed back to HubSpot so we know what’s happened to the lead. We can answer questions like: Has sales advanced it to opportunity? Is it part of the sales pipeline?
This means that through HubSpot we can see which of our lead sources are driving real business results. It gives our management team a clear snapshot, in real-time, of where leads are coming from, and what’s happening with them.
Zak: How does this help the sales team?
Sarah: Our sales people gain visibility in SugarCRM to the context for why they are receiving leads. The source of the lead, the leads level of engagement, and so on. We’ve mapped specific fields from HubSpot to custom fields in Sugar, to give that context. It also has the added benefit of reducing the amount of manual data entry that the sales team need to make into the CRM.
Sales managers also receive enquiries directly that are relevant to the geo-market they cover which enables them to respond quickly and not be impeded by time zones.
Zak: How does the sync between HubSpot and SugarCRM help the marketing team?
Sarah: There’s so many things it does for us; but what I find the most beneficial is the level of transparency you get – seeing from end-to-end the path of conversion and being able to identify where in the funnel improvements can be made. It lets us have our finger on the pulse of what’s going on.
The transparency we now have through the ability to integrate systems is fantastic and it frees us from a lot of manual work – there’s no more upload of data between systems; and no more manual reports!
Before and After the Integration
Zak: How would you describe the before and after of your marketing automation and CRM integration?
Sarah: It’s a world of difference. Now data is connecting between our systems when we are sleeping. And it all runs very smoothly.
One of the benefits is that this integration helps us to communicate more appropriately with people. Knowing where a contact sits in the funnel, and how they are engaging with our content, helps us identify what sort of information or product solutions might be of more value to them.
The integration has vastly improved our ability to send the right content to the right people at the right time. Equally, our contacts are in full control of the types of information they receive from us by exercising their right to opt-in or out of certain (or all) communications.
Empowering a Marketer to Manage the Integration
Zak: One of the things I’m curious about is since you went live with the integration in 2015, what kind of things have you done with it since then?
Sarah: What I didn’t realize at the time was how much we’d want to make changes to the integration on an ongoing basis. For example, we’ve had new fields and additional types of data that we’ve wanted to track for reporting purposes so we have better insight into what initiatives are generating the greatest ROI.
What’s been key to me as a marketer is being able to make those changes ourselves, and not being beholden to an IT team or a systems integration. It’s empowering, and it’s also important so we can stay agile with our sales team as our company grows and our needs evolve.
As a small team, we have just scratched the surface and there is a lot more we can do to optimize our use of the systems as we grow and gain more resources going forward, so I’m excited to see where we can take it.