This episode features guest Lauren Kennedy. Lauren is the Founder and CEO of Coastal Consulting Marketing. Her agency is a strategic partner for HubSpot and Sales Force as well as a 5-Star Certified HubSpot Platinum Partner Agency.
Discover what Hubspot is capable of doing and why Hubspot is the leader in marketing automation. In addition, Lauren talks about SalesForce (the #1 CRM) and how SalesForce integrates with HubSpot.
Find out the benefits of working with an agency to manage HubSpot/SalesForce vs doing it in-house. Avoid the mistakes that you wouldn't know that you don't know!
Finally, learn about how specializing has allowed Coastal Consulting to grow to before a HubSpot platinum partner agency in less than a year.
Episode Action Items:
You can find more information regarding Lauren Kennedy at Coastal Consulting at https://www.coastalconsulting.co. Visit to request a free HubSpot audit and learn more about a HubSpot SalesForce integration.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:02
Welcome to Make Each Click Count podcast, this is your host Andy Splichal. We are happy to welcome this week's guest to discuss today's topic which is Getting to Know HubSpot with Lauren Kennedy of coastal consulting marketing her agency as a strategic partner for HubSpot and Salesforce, as well as a Five-star Certified HubSpot Platinum Partner agency. A big hello to Lauren Kennedy. Hi, Lauren.
Lauren Kennedy 1:11
Hey, Andy, how are you? Thanks for having me.
Andy Splichal 1:14
We're glad that, we're glad to have you today. Now to get started. For those that don't know what HubSpot is, including me, I've heard of it, but I've never used it. What is HubSpot? And why should a company use it?
Lauren Kennedy 1:27
So HubSpot is the leading marketing automation platform in the industry right now specifically for scaling organizations. So what that means is HubSpot is your number one tool to go and automate more customer experience. Meaning putting it in I guess simpler terms. Whenever you go to a website and you submit a form and then you get an email response, platforms like HubSpot make that possible. So HubSpot is a CRM that manages all of your customer data, but it's also a customer experience platform that helps you automate your full customer lifecycle from the first time somebody engages with your company to when they become a customer and beyond.
Andy Splichal 2:05
And there's a lot of services that do similar stuff that. Why, why should you use HubSpot?
Lauren Kennedy 2:13
You're correct. There are a lot of HubSpot competitors on the market and HubSpot really is a leader in the space because of their robust CRM capabilities. So a lot of marketing automation platforms work in tandem with other CRMs like Salesforce or other top names out in the CRM space. HubSpot also partners well with other CRM platforms like Salesforce specifically, which is what we specialize in. But HubSpot has the ability to stand alone as a CRM as well. The benefits of that is that you can have all of your company data in one spot. So you can have your sales, account management, customer service, and marketing teams all working on one platform that has really strong strengths in each area, whereas other platforms kind of lend itself to integrating to make something work together. And HubSpot is very much built in one platform rather than cobbled together.
Andy Splichal 3:03
And same question in regards to Salesforce, Salesforce, what does Salesforce do and why should it company use it?
Lauren Kennedy 3:10
First, so Salesforce is the leading CRM on the market today. Salesforce is a tool providing limitless customization to its customers, meaning Salesforce has kind of a box and you can create whatever you can imagine inside of it. And it's an incredibly secure platform to store customer data. It is preferred by large, regulated institutions like healthcare, financial services, or really large enterprise organizations to store your customer data and work out of day to day as a sales operator in your organization.
Andy Splichal 3:42
Now, how did you get involved in working specifically with these two platforms?
Lauren Kennedy 3:50
So when I started interning in the marketing space, take it back to college, I have actually worked with Salesforce and HubSpot, and almost every job I have had throughout my career, and I've either bounced back before it's between the two of them, or I've worked at organizations that are using both. And I have personally experienced the strengths and qualities that both of these have and have started my career learning them. And I've really just niched into the both of them. So working with the number one CRM and integrating it with the number one marketing automation platform, it's just been really fun for me. I love solving complex problems and digging people out of data messes. And so working with these two is just kind of been a natural progression as I've experienced them and work with them in so many different industries throughout my career.
Andy Splichal 4:33
Now, I think I read in your bio that you're pretty young, I believe you're in your 20s. And here you are, you've launched this agency that's a certified platinum partner agency for HubSpot. And I constantly hear the point that millennials don't really like to work hard. What would you say to those people?
Lauren Kennedy 4:52
I think millennials work smarter, not harder. So we're not into looking at the amount of hours that we clocked At week or working to never take our time off or like make our jobs our number one priority. But I would say that millennials have a much smarter work ethic than previous generations potentially, because of the introduction of technology. So since we're able to automate and streamline and optimize our work in different ways, we work smarter, not harder. And Millennials want to have a life that has a strong experience, and that they have a lot of stories and experiences to share with others and future generations. And that plays through into making sure that our work doesn't become the biggest experience that we have.
Andy Splichal 5:37
Now, what are some struggles that you initially had when you launched your agency with delivering results for your clients?
Lauren Kennedy 5:46
My biggest struggle as an agency owner has been scaling faster than I expected. So when I saw, that's a good problem to have, yeah, such hard problems. But before this position, I've never managed people, I've never been in charge of hiring. I've never been on the other side of the recruiting process. And so whenever I started this company, I really just wanted to create a space where I could do work I wanted to do, and I didn't expect to have an agency or a team, I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. And so when I discovered that what I'm really strong at with Salesforce, and HubSpot is such a market need, my company kind of grew for me. And through that, I've had to figure out hiring and team culture and building organization and a benefits, benefits package and all of that. And so that's definitely been the biggest struggle is just figuring out the HR piece of running an organization. And so far, I feel like I've been doing that fairly well. You can ask my team. But uh, I, uh, yeah, the finding clients to work with securing contracts and being able to deliver on the services and the promises that we make to them has not been a challenge. The challenge has definitely been like, figuring out how to hire great people, and then retain them in the way that I would like to once they're here. And then resource planning for Okay, as we look to grow like this is how our growth trajectory has been, we recently achieved platinum status. We're the fastest agency in the US to ever achieve that from the date we were founded to the date, we became platinum. So our growth has been pretty exponential. So now I'm looking at okay, what is the next phase of our team look like? And how does that go? So that's just been a new skill set for me to build of not only managing, but also hiring and retaining.
Andy Splichal 7:29
How old is your agency? We used to talked about the fastest go from inception to platinum. What was the time on that?
Lauren Kennedy 7:37
We were founded in March 2, on March 2 this year.
Andy Splichal 7:40
This year? Wow.
Lauren Kennedy 7:40
This year. Yes. So we're in month eight. And we are now platinum HubSpot partner as of two weeks ago. Thank you. That title is officially granted to us in the 15th because they update titles on the 15th of every month, but we earned it two weeks ago. So
Andy Splichal 7:58
Now you must be doing something right? Do you have a favorite success story or to have one of your clients or to your clients that you can share?
Lauren Kennedy 8:06
So I have two different success stories, we'll go with one that was more of like a personal success as far as being an agency owner. Whenever you start a new job or a new venture, or really anything new in life, there's always that impostor syndrome that creeps in. And so the moment that stands out the most for me with a client this year is sales is not my strong suit, I've never done sales, so I don't really attempt to sell which seems to be working well for me as a salesperson. Um, but uh, I had a client this summer that I spoke with for about 15 minutes about what I thought they should do as far as next steps. And their current vision didn't really align with what I thought they should be doing. So we just parted ways and they went on their own. They did like our plan, but they didn't have the decision making authority. Anyway, she went on to be promoted at our organization and came back to me and said, we'd like to do what you said, we'd like to go with HubSpot. But we're not going to do it unless you work with us. So it was such a validation point of we know this is the right direction. But we also know that you're the right person. So we're not going to be signing the contract until you agree to work with us. So that was just such a great success story for me and my agency of being able to land one, it was our biggest contract to date at that time. And also just to see that we know what we're talking about. And we're able to build that trust that's so important to us so quickly. So that was a big one for me, personally. As far as company's success story. We started working with an organization, or I started working with them as a freelancer. About a year before I started coastal consulting, and continued to work with them, and the beginning of coastal consulting, and they were actually acquired about four months into us being an agency. And a big reason for that acquisition was the customer growth that we were able to help them get and the data that we were able to help surface for them. And they were actually acquired by a larger organization and have, we're helping them through the acquisition process right now. So being able to partner with a company implement HubSpot, and help supercharge their growth to the point of being ready for acquisition was really great.
Andy Splichal 10:01
So when most of your clients come to you, are they already using HubSpot? Or are they using a different CRM? What? How does that look like?
Lauren Kennedy 10:13
So we have two different use cases, usually. And I would say 95% of our clients fall into one bucket. They're either using HubSpot and Salesforce together already. And it's not going well. They, they implemented it, and it's a mess, or they didn't have the right team in place to do so. Or they've just made a few mistakes. And it's kind of multiplied because with data integrations, anyone who does that knows that one mistake can quickly become 100. So we go in, and we fix that for them. Or they're using something like Marketo, or Salesforce marketing cloud or Pardot. And they're looking to use HubSpot with Salesforce. So we help them implement HubSpot from day one and integrate it with Salesforce in a way where it won't break. And they won't get to that mess that we're usually cleaning up for other clients.
Andy Splichal 10:54
So you're not really selling HubSpo? And they already your clients already want to use it, they're just looking at, I guess use it properly.
Lauren Kennedy 11:02
Yes, our clients usually know what they want, we definitely can go in and talk to you. And you're just saying I need a marketing automation tool. But nine times out of 10, our recommendation is going to be HubSpot. The only time it wouldn't be would be like financial services or something that has a really complex data set. But again, nine out of 10 times it's HubSpot. So we're not really selling, we're just validating that they're going in the right direction, and then helping them get where they want to go.
Andy Splichal 11:29
Now, what is the benefit for a comany to hiring an agency like yours, opposed to trying to manage HubSpot and Salesforce in-house?
Lauren Kennedy 11:38
So that depends on the size of the company, if you're a really small new organization, you don't necessarily need an agency, the benefit to having an agency is when you need to get things done fast. So there's that triangle of you can have it fast, cheaper, done well. And so if you're looking to have it done fast and done, well, it's a good idea to have an agency, if you have more time to play, poke around, figure it out, because you don't have those aggressive growth timelines or company deliverables. And you can do it on your own. But the organizations that we work with are usually pretty large. And when you're moving something as big as your marketing technology stack from one system to another, it's really important that there's not a lot of downtime. So like, let's say you have an email that goes out to your clients every week, you don't want to delay that for three months to get a new system set up, you know, so that it's important to use a firm that knows what they're doing when you're moving to a system that no one on your team has used before. Or when you're trying to get things done fast, because the partner knows what goes into this lift and can provide a project plan and like walk you through it. So you're avoiding those mistakes that you wouldn't know that you didn't know.
Andy Splichal 12:47
So are your clients, are they on an ongoing basis where they pay you like a monthly retainer, or is it one time projects two time projects? What does that look like?
Lauren Kennedy 12:59
So usually our partnerships are about six months, we do have a few edge cases like the company that's going through an acquisition, we've worked with them. And now we're partnering to move their systems, so the acquiring company systems, but our typical partnership is six months. So that's a two to three month implementation. Implementation meaning getting HubSpot off the ground and integrated with Salesforce to start or implementation would be re implementing the Salesforce HubSpot, integration and cleaning up. So whatever that initial commitment is, it's two to three months. And then after that, it's three to four months of managed services to optimize. So the first little bit is getting you to base level getting you where you need to be. If you have a team of experts at that point to take over. That's great, we step out after that first commitment. But usually we're there for three to four more months to build any additional automations you'd like to build, look at what we've built to start and see where we can improve and optimize and test to better perform. And then usually after six months, we step out unless it's a really large organization and they need additional help for their Salesforce or HubSpot administrator to do ongoing automation or administration.
Andy Splichal 14:05
Now you had mentioned earlier that some of the challenges that you have gone through yourself included building the agency and hiring and all that.
Are there any business books out there that you can attribute is helping you on your journey as an entrepreneur?
Lauren Kennedy 14:22
I wouldn't necessarily say business books, I would say Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown and Untamed by Glennon Doyle have been really helpful to me. They're not necessarily business books per se. They're more like self empowerment books, or books into being vulnerable and being your true self. And those really helped me see what I should be doing and what I was doing and how those misaligned and helped give me the confidence and belief in myself to do what I'm doing now.
Andy Splichal 14:55
Now I don't even know is this a crowded space? Are there a lot of competitors doing what you guys are doing as far as helping manage these services HubSpot and Salesforce?
Lauren Kennedy 15:05
Marketing Agency space is highly competitive. And full service marketing agencies probably the most competitive because we are niche and specialized in integrating HubSpot and Salesforce specifically, most of our competitors offer that as one of their 50 products. That's what we do. So we specialize in it, we do it really well. And we focus our resources on that. As far as the HubSpot partner directory, there's a few 1000 partners. If you filter down to partners that are in the US that do HubSpot, and Salesforce, there's about 14 of us. So our niche space is not as competitive.
Andy Splichal 15:41
So let's talk about your services. What what specifically what services do you guys offer? Is there anything is additional to that, or is it purely HubSpot and Salesforce?
Lauren Kennedy 15:53
So we do have HubSpot and Salesforce and then we can build out from there. Like once you're in Salesforce, we can help with your inbound strategy, we usually do something called a customer journey map for our clients where we map out where your customers first meet you all the way through conversion and how you get referrals and upsells over time. And the reason we do that is to make sure that we're building your systems in a way that match your business. And we're the easiest for your people to use. Because we're very much a people first agency. So we do that as far as we treat people, but also how we build solutions. So we're trying to build things that your team can actually use. And that will fit their day to day use cases. So yes, we do things that are more than that. However, they are focused around inbound marketing, and leveraging HubSpot, and Salesforce to accomplish those goals.
Andy Splichal 16:38
So who is the who makes the perfect client for your agency? If they're listening, right now, they should figure out how to contact you.
Lauren Kennedy 16:49
So we usually work with marketing sales, revenue operations, for sales or marketing operations leaders. CRM excellence is also a new field that we've been working with, we usually go into teams that are looking at their tech stack and can't figure out what to do or where to go. But these systems, but that are looking to learn. So there are different types of agencies in different specialties. We're very much a strategic growth partner, and an education partner. So we not only come in and help you untangle the mess, and actually do the work for you. But we also work to teach you and educate you. Because we're not looking to be a long term partner, we're not looking for a three, three year engagement. We're looking for those shorter life cycles to get you where you need to be and train you how to keep yourself there and grow and improve upon that. So rather than like the traditional agency, where we're doing it for you, and kind of keeping the documentation and in the How to to ourselves. We're very transparent. We're a teaching organization. So if you're looking to actually learn to understand the systems you're using and understand how to manage them long term, and you have some growth goals and HubSpot and Salesforce, that's usually our best fit.
Andy Splichal 17:56
Is there any particular vertical than you guys specialize in? Are you dealing with Ecommerce? Are you dealing with professional services? Who are your clients?
Lauren Kennedy 18:10
We've worked mostly in SAS, nonprofit, and government, but we are industry agnostic. We have experience in Ecom and financial services and we do a lot of healthcare adjacent. So not a hospital system. So you'd like medical products, medical services, insurance. So I would say healthcare, nonprofit and SAS are our three primary supported verticals, but we're pretty industry agnostic.
Andy Splichal 18:33
And how much is this? It's a subscription base to HubSpot,right? In Salesforce, how much are there some I mean, I guess what I'm trying to figure out is, how large of an organization do do you have to be before you start using like HubSpot and, and be able to even work with an agency like yours?
Lauren Kennedy 18:58
So HubSpot has a very transparent pricing model, you can go on their website and put in your contact volume and the features that you need and get an instant quote, Salesforce has a very guarded pricing model. So there isn't really a standard cost. It's very much if you talk to sales and get an individual quote. But I would say between the two systems together, you'd have to be willing to invest at least $100,000 a year in your sales CRM and marketing tech stack.
Andy Splichal 19:24
Okay. So there are large organizations are using these?
Lauren Kennedy 19:27
Yes. In partnership Yes, but HubSpot specifically can scale down to startups like my agency that started in March we're on HubSpot. agency partners don't get it for free. We pay for HubSpot. We use it for our sales and marketing. And that's why it's really great for scaling companies because I can come in as a five person agency and use it and afford it. But if I grow to a point where we're at 10s of millions and MRR, then I can still use HubSpot, because it'll grow with me. And they'll forces a higher barrier to entry.
Andy Splichal 19:59
And they don't give that free for their platinum partners?
Lauren Kennedy 20:03
No, they don't. But since I've reached platinum, we can afford it. So it's okay.
Andy Splichal 20:09
Hey, so how can an interested listener perfect or not learn more about working with you and your agency?
Lauren Kennedy 20:14
You can visit us online at coastalconsulting.co. I will say even if you're not interested in getting started right now, and you're just looking to learn, we have a really robust blog. That's not just surface level content. It's really in depth how tos. Click this button do this to achieve this goal for all things HubSpot and Salesforce, and we put new stuff out there every week. So even if you just want to learn income, find us at coastalconsulting.co.
Andy Splichal 20:38
Great. Anything else you'd like to add before we wrap it up today?
Lauren Kennedy 20:42
No, I think this was great. And I would encourage anyone who's looking to get a better look at their customers in a better hold in their customer experience to check out HubSpot. It's a really great tool to achieve that.
Andy Splichal 20:52
Perfect. Alright for listeners, remember if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave an honest review and if you're looking for more information regarding coastal consulting or connecting with Lauren you will find the links in the show notes below. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business check out there all our all new podcasts Resource Center available at www.makeeachclickcount.com. We've compiled all the different paths by paths yes by show topics have included each of their contact information in case you would like more information on any services on any of my previous episodes. That's it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.