HubSpot Success Story
blog post | marketing | news + business

HubSpot success story: How we saved $103,475 with marketing automation

“We’ve come to [WebMechanix] with challenges, and they’ve consistently found innovative solutions to solve them. They are a great HubSpot partner.”

–Ashwini Sathe, Product Marketing Manager, SmartBear Zephyr

A HubSpot Success Story: Sometimes Challenges are Opportunities in Disguise

SmartBear Zephyr is a leading provider of software testing tools for application developers. It equips developers with solutions designed to assure the quality of new products and features seamlessly within an agile framework. With SmartBear Zephyr’s comprehensive suite covering everything from automation to analytics, programmers can spend less time testing and more time building. Moreover, the company’s products are used in over 100 countries, and its users have executed 40,000,000+ tests with the software.

To complement strong adoption within its sector, the company was looking to gain ground as a recognized thought leader in its space. To that end, they reached out to us for help. As we audited our client’s marketing assets in search of components that could readily support this mission, we found that one resource stood well above the rest: SmartBear Zephyr had a wildly popular annual survey report titled “How the World Tests” (HTWT). While it was still converting pretty well at that point, the asset was long overdue for an update—the original edition was published in 2015. If there’s one constant in the world of software development, it’s change. And if there’s another, it’s testing 🙂

With that in mind, we hypothesized that updating this crucial asset would increase a specific conversion rate we were working to further optimize. But frankly, when we proposed the idea to our client, they were radically opposed to the suggestion.

In the past, developing this invaluable resource was an incredibly tedious task. Getting survey responses at scale was difficult, to say the least, and fulfilling the promised gift that respondents would receive for completing the survey took hundreds of hours of time. These challenges were further complicated by our client’s previously long and arduous process of analyzing data from surveys. Needless to say, the prospect of achieving such a daunting feat is a large pill for any company—let alone a busy startup experiencing explosive growth—to swallow.

Based on our experience, we politely maintained that updating HTWT would be a worthwhile investment. With their approval, we vowed to find a solution that would remove the sting of updating this valued asset and bring a fresh influx of leads and business to our client.

How We Kept Our Promise

Well, we just hung our reputation on solving some very far-reaching logistical problems for our client. We were either headed for major trouble or smashing success, and there was only one way to find out. Onward with our HubSpot case study. 🙂

“[WebMechanix] took what was potentially a manual nightmare and automated everything.”

–Ashwini Sathe, Product Marketing Manager, SmartBear Zephyr

Here at WebMechanix, we have a saying:

with marketing automation you can have your cake and have robots feed it to you

So, naturally, we turned to the uber-powerful automation capabilities of HubSpot. We needed to accomplish all of the following:

  1. Generate enough responses to make the survey statistically significant and relevant to the intended audience.
  2. Empower SmartBear Zephyr with rapid data analysis to reduce the burden of crunching numbers in order to find relevant data points and identify key trends.
  3. Perhaps most importantly, find a way to significantly streamline the process of sending out hundreds of gifts to survey respondents.

We knew this complex set of problems would require a tailored, comprehensive solution to meet all of our client’s needs (and save the day). And we also knew that we’d need to tap into the power of HubSpot’s wide array of Connect partners that provide HubSpot integrations, greatly extending its power.

Utilizing HubSpot’s flywheel methodology, we’d need to find just the right set of solutions for attracting respondents, engaging them to complete the survey, and delighting them immediately with a personal gift.

So we utilized a three-pronged solution, sandwiching HubSpot between SurveyMonkey and gift card provider Rybbon to deliver on our promise. Here’s how it works…

suvrveymonkey logo

The decision to leverage SurveyMonkey for the new version of HTWT was a no-brainer. It’s an excellent product with a long track record of success for the researchers using it. But it’s also rich with additional features that integrate with HubSpot in just a few simple clicks, making it incredibly useful for syncing response data to contacts. Plus, it drastically streamlined the data collection and analysis process for HTWT. With SurveyMonkey’s integration, you can attract and engage respondents using two methods:

  1. Web links, which are great for attracting respondents via ads and other digital properties.
  2. Email links, which are helpful when you already have a large pool of contacts to engage. This was our primary tool.

Survey information can then be used to segment contacts into lists and enroll them into workflows, unlocking bountiful potential as you’ll see shortly.

Pro Tip: You can use survey responses from individual contacts to accomplish a limitless list of feats in HubSpot, empowering you to ruthlessly delight respondents with personalized content on-site and via email, among many other things.

hubspot logo

The fulcrum of this end-to-end solution for SmartBear Zephyr rests on HubSpot. We were able to leverage our existing contact database to engage 89.6% of the responses (the other 10.4% came from an onsite popup using weblinks). Plus, we built a small but mighty workflow that enrolls all respondents as soon as they sync from SurveyMonkey. Sprinkling a bit of HubSpot B2B marketing automation fairy dust, we generate a link for a gift card and send it out to each contact’s delight.

The entire process happens within minutes, and HubSpot is the key element that makes it all possible.  Here’s an example of a HubSpot workflow used:

hubspot workflow example
rybbon logo

With thousands of tools at the disposal of marketers, it can be tough to find just the right solution. Luckily, HubSpot’s vast Connect library makes it easy to track down that pesky needle in the haystack. For us, that needle was Rybbon, a tool that allows you to send and track digital gifts via HubSpot. This invaluable solution shaved countless hours off the process of updating the HTWT survey.

We invoked the help of Rybbon using a webhook in our HubSpot workflow shown above. With that, HubSpot and Rybbon work together to generate a personal URL token that gets emailed from within the same HubSpot workflow, delighting our respondents in near real-time!  Here’s the email we sent from HubSpot:

thank you email

Pro tip: The beauty of Rybbon is that you can also use the integration to trigger gift cards straight to contact inboxes based on form submissions and other field changes, making it a worthwhile tool for loyalty programs and other campaigns.

This robust combination creates a powerful end-to-end solution, greatly extending HubSpot’s tools that comprise each component of the inbound methodology. And as we will discuss shortly, SmartBear Zephyr reaped great “rewards,” too!

And The Survey Says…

In terms of content downloads across all of our client’s digital properties (and there a quite a few), HTWT accounts for an unbelievable 24.4% of all content downloads over the last year:

content downloads

It goes without saying that the HTWT asset is phenomenally popular. We committed to helping our client update this golden nugget because we knew we could take it to the next level. And we did.

We took just a few hours to research a comprehensive solution, communicate back to the client, gain their buy-in, and build the infrastructure we needed to honor our proverbial pinky swear. And for that, we got… well, Ashwini says it best:

“HTWT has been used for everything from outside lead generation to generating leads from sponsored newsletters and more.”

–Ashwini Sathe, Product Marketing Manager, SmartBear Zephyr

Time Savings

Ashwini reports that automating the HTWT update saved SmartBear Zephyr hundreds of hours of manual time purchasing and issuing all those gift cards. Calculating the soft value of the time savings to SmartBear Zephyr is quite imperfect, so we won’t put a hard figure behind it. Keep in mind, though, that this process is repeatable annually, so the time savings will compound quite a bit.

Cost Savings

We leveraged HTWT for an email sponsorship in which we generated a total of 502 leads at a cost of just $1.05 per lead. The Integrated Marketing Association cites an average CPL of $208 in the IT, Computer, and Technical Services sectors. So we saved our client $103,475, all beginning with a smart automation coupled with a clever strategy,

502 leads from email
Performance since 11/18

Speaking of email, HubSpot publishes a statistic indicating that the return on investment of this channel is $38 for every $1 marketers spend, making it a highly efficient channel. What’s more, email marketing accounts for 57.8% of new leads created from the revised edition of HTWT, proving the effectiveness of promoting the eBook via email in particular:

new htwt contacts

Conversion Rate

The most recent HubSpot squeeze page hosting this asset converts at over 30%. The previous landing page, hosted by LeadPages but otherwise identical, converted at just 17%, representing a 59% increase in conversion rate.

We think 17% is a pretty decent conversion rate (although we’re never really satisfied). Wordstream says anything over 11.5% for B2B places your performance in the top 10%. Here at WebMechanix, we believe the 59% increase is actually a clear nod to quicker load times on the HubSpot platform. Why? Because Google has studied this pretty extensively and cites that every one second lag in mobile page load times can impact conversion by up to 20%. So +1 for HubSpot 🙂

For some historical reference, HTWT converted at a much lower rate in the two years prior to updating the asset in February of 2018. With the chart below, you can see that the conversion rate was generally higher when SmartBear Zephyr was sending lower volumes to the asset. To balance those contrasting highs and lows in the data, we calculated a weighted average conversion rate of 7.10%. Additionally, you can see that we began optimizing this number around September of 2017, where the pageviews and conversion rate begin an overall uptick. So we certainly proved our hypothesis that updating HTWT would be a valuable investment toward bringing in a higher volume of new leads.

historical cvr vs pageviews

Magnetic Force

Our client consistently generates over 300 new contacts per month via gated downloads of the report after the re-launch. And remember: HTWT accounts for a whopping 24.4% of all content downloads for SmartBear Zephyr.

Sure, Leads Are Great—But What About Sales?

HTWT earned first-touch attribution in 97 new deals since its relaunch. While we won’t detail what that translates to in revenue, SmartBear Zephyr operates on a subscription-based model, and that figure is likely to grow well into the seven-figures over time.

Achieving Automated Nirvana

There’s more to this HubSpot success story. Is now a good time to mention that our client, formerly known as “Zephyr,” was acquired by SmartBear in the time since we updated HTWT and helped land a bunch more business? It may or may not be coincidental, but it does happen to be true! Either way, our work together has proven fruitful 🙂

For SmartBear Zephyr, we assumed responsibility for a daunting task that no one there wanted to undertake—and rightly so. The first edition of HTWT was a crushingly heavy lift. In taking on that weight for our client, we made the entire process painless and easily repeatable year after year. In fact, we’re just about to do this again to update HTWT for 2019. That alone is an enormous win. So there were both tangible gains in the hard facts and figures, like heaping a healthy helping of revenue onto our client’s plate. And there were intangible gains, too, like relieving the major headache of undertaking just one update of HTWT—let alone one each year.

“[WebMechanix] took what was potentially a manual nightmare and created an engine that automated everything. So this made less room for error and saved a countless number of hours for work and support.”

–Ashwini Sathe, Product Marketing Manager, SmartBear Zephyr

Scratch beneath the surface, and there’s so much more to the story. Did we make our client really happy? That’s a resounding yes. Revisiting this “really cool little project” meant taking a much deeper look at just over a day’s worth of actual work that saved our client hundreds of grueling hours. We also made a truckload of money for SmartBear Zephyr.

But above all, we really care about making WebMechanix the agency of choice for B2B SaaS companies—not only because we can get them lots of leads, but because we also win them a lot of business, as we proved with HTWT. That’s where the real value is for us here at WebMechanix.

About the writer
Clare French
Clare French
Clare is Director of Marketing and has been a SaaS marketer for over a decade at a diverse array of software companies. She [finally] joined WebMechanix as a transplant from the client side, having hired the agency time and again. In her spare time, she goes to lots of concerts, seeks to make the world a better place and adores her darling dog, Sunshine.

Most newsletters suck...

So while we technically have to call this a daily newsletter so people know what it is, it's anything but.

You won't find any 'industry standards' or 'guru best practices' here - only the real stuff that actually moves the needle.