Using people instead of bots

We all love it when you can replace a job that was previously handled by a person with a bot, new piece of software, or simplified process. But there are times when a person can handle a situation far better than a bot or automated tool ever could. 

Here are the top scenarios you should avoid using a chatbot and instead have a person handle the conversation on your website. 

  1. A highly qualified company is visiting the website - with the use of a tool like Clearbit Reveal you can very easily understand the companies visiting your website then route those visitors directly to the appropriate sales rep. Just like you how you put your top reps on the largest potential deals, make sure you doing that from the moment they land on the website.

  2. Bot engages a top lead, immediately hand off - the largest benefit of a bot is that it can engage with a ton of visitors without wasting anyone’s time. But when you get someone engaged don’t just send them through to book a meeting or say a rep will follow-up - they are already engaged right now! Get them on the phone immediately or start the sales process via chat. You will cut out all of those people that book a meeting then don’t show up.

  3. Known leads already in the sales process - your sales team is spending a lot of time to get people to buy, then a bot engages with one of them and there is a weird experience or they get targeted with a top of the funnel offer - this slows down the sale. Any lead that is currently an opportunity should have prompts that immediately bring them to the rep they are working with to keep the line of communication clean.

There are certainly other times when a person will improve the experience compared to a chatbot, but this is a great place to start. 

We work with companies everyday to build out these types of setups across chatbot tools like Drift and Hubspot. Contact us to learn more about how we can help or chat with our bot ;-)

Block Free Email Addresses in HubSpot

HubSpot provides an awesome list of more than 4700 free email domains. Within the product it is available from within the forms tool to automatically prevent people from submitting from any of these domains, which can be rather convenient.

But a lot of times you might want to allow these submissions to come through and then handle filtering them from within your marketing in other ways.

It’s never a great idea to entirely block people from submitting a form, who knows they could end up engaging with your content and ultimately update their email address.

What we’ve found successful is to take these free email domains and use them as a list criteria in HubSpot to them maybe stop nurturing, remove from certain types of emails, not sync to a CRM, etc.

Only thing you need to do is semicolon delimit all of the domains then add into list tool in HubSpot. If you want to save the time from properly formatting the data yourself, just copy the first column from this Google Sheet then paste into the contains filter on the email in HubSpot.

(When you paste it will take ~5 seconds or so to show up - it’s a bunch of data to process.)

Or what this quick video walkthrough of the entire process

Hope this is helpful! Share how you’ve used this or a similar strategy to improve your marketing in the comments below.

Easily Track HubSpot 404 Errors in Slack

We are constantly moving companies over to HubSpot and one of the big transitions is getting all of the landing pages migrated. Part of this step also includes a whole bunch of 301 redirects to be sure that old links don’t break. But even with the most organized marketing setup, you never get all of those 301s setup before you make the switch.

So what should you do?

We were trying to find a cleaner solution last week and came up with a quick and easy way to log when there is an error, so you can immediately fix it while staying in Slack.

No more logging into Google Analytics to find your 404s a day later, get a real time feed in Slack as they happen.

Image 2019-08-13 at 8.35.24 AM.png

Here’s the quick setup process. Requirements are Slack, Zapier, and a website (we will walk through as if you were to do this in HubSpot, but it can be used anywhere with some simple modifications).

This is the code you need to modify then include within your 404 page.

$(document).ready(function() {
	var url404 = "ZAPIER_URL_GOES_HERE?badURL=" + document.location.href
	$.ajax({ url: url404 })

Any questions? Drop them in the comments below or contact us - we will be happy to help!

How to Determine Product Market Fit

I love browsing Quora to see the most recent questions and what is popular. Stumbled upon a question on what is the best way for first-time entrepreneurs to find product market fit. Felt like I had some insight to add - so wrote a response and wanted to share it here as well.


I’ve been part of bringing both Performable (acquired by HubSpot) and Drift from an idea, to product market fit, and then to the growth stage.

With these experiences and also watch other companies grow - I think most people spend far too long researching customers, building models, scoping out an MVP, building said MVP, building sales/marketing collateral, etc - all before any potential customers ever see the product or even the idea.

Here is a super simple approach that we used and it worked:

  1. Come up with an idea of what you’re going to build and who it’s for.

  2. Make a super simple sales deck that outlines the problem and how your solution solves it.

  3. Pitch it to at least 10 companies that fit your target. (Be sure to be straightforward that the product is coming soon.)

  4. You’ll quickly realize what is bad about the pitch, the idea, the target, pricing ideas, etc.

  5. Iterate until you find what works. (It will be obvious!)

  6. Start selling those early adopters - give them an awesome incentive to get onboard literally before anything is built. (Yes - you will leave some future revenue on the table by doing this, but have super happy customers and people that will push you to be better.)

  7. Build the product focusing on the highest impact features first. You can add all of the bells and whistles later.

  8. Get after it with selling new customers! Far too often companies get stuck in a rut with 5–10 customers that steer them in a different direction. Get to 100 as fast as possible, then if they are all showing there is a better area to focus be sure to consider it.

Keep the process simple and talk to as many potential customers as possible. You’ll get there before you know it!

Feel free to toss an upvote my way on Quora! ;-)

Migrating Old Conversations

We work with companies every day that are moving to a new chat tool, helpdesk, or other system that manages the conversations with their customers. Today more than ever it is important to ensure that you can quickly and easily talk to your customers. Business happens through conversations - let’s make it easy!

(Skip to the bottom if you prefer to watch a video.)

So one of the things that immediately comes up when we start to talk about this migration is, “How are we going to migrate our old chats/tickets/etc?”

Many systems have a way to export the past conversations, but then it comes down to finding a way to import into the new system… and those options typically don’t exist.

Let’s think about these old conversations for a minute and ask ourselves a couple questions:

  1. What am I going to do with them once I migrate them over?

  2. How often will I look at them?

  3. When will these conversations not be needed anymore?

  4. Is there going to be an overlap in time to access both systems during the switch?

  5. If we lost all of these conversations today - what would happen?

These are a lot of questions that ultimately boil down to -> Do I actually need them?

After working through this with a bunch of companies, we typically end up going one of two ways - neither of which is to migrate the old conversations.

  1. Keep the old system active for a month or two, so if there is a need to look back it’s there.

  2. Export the conversations and store them in a Google Sheet. Then if there is a need to access, a quick search will pull up the past request.

Here’s a quick video that walks through the process above - if you prefer video over reading. 😉

Lead Scoring vs Lead Grading - You need both!

If you’re in marketing you have without a doubt heard about lead scoring. It’s one of those buzzwords that been around for a while and typically drives people to spending months mapping out their leads to develop a score. This process involves taking everything you possibly know about a lead - website activity, demographic data, form submissions, sales activity, etc - then rolling it all into one number.

Then there is the expectation that this score will now indicate how engagement should take place with this lead going forward.

Two examples:

  1. Lead is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and has registered for one webinar - Score = 100

  2. Lead is an individual contributor at a 10 person company that has engaged with every piece of content on the website - Score = 100

How would we use this score then? Two very different leads look the same.

Obviously this is just an example, but something that happens everyday for marketers. When there is an attempt to roll so much information into a single number, you quickly run into an issue where the score doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

So - the solution? Start grading your leads.

Take the qualifications of the Person and use this to determine a grade, while the activity/engagement data is used only within the score.

The Lead Grade can be A/B/C/D or 1/2/3/4 or Good/Okay/Bad - but ultimately is an indication of “How qualified is this person to buy what we are selling?”

Here is a quick list of some things to include within the Lead Grade:

  • Job Title

  • Company Size

  • Location (City/State/Country)

  • Form Data - Current pain/solution needed.

  • Check with the sales team - they probably have some attributes they look at to quickly determine if someone is a good fit.

Once you’ve built out your Lead Grade - now it’s time to take all of these factors out to the Lead Score, so that it is entirely activity based.

Now let’s look at our examples again, but this time with a Lead Grade and Score applied:

  1. Lead is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and has registered for one webinar - Grade = A & Score = 10

  2. Lead is an individual contributor at a 10 person company that has engaged with every piece of content on the website - Grade = C & Score = 100

See the difference? This will have a big impact on how you market to these leads going forward.

For #1 - we need to focus on driving engagement with additional content to warm them up and increase the score.

For #2 - we can tell they are super engaged but not a great fit, so would probably want to filter them out from any marketing focused on driving them to sales.


One last thing! Don’t try to get your Lead Grade or Score perfect the first time around - because you won’t. Take a best guess and get it live. Then look through some recent customers - how does the score/grade look there? Check with sales and have them review their leads - does the grade line up with their quick gut check on lead quality?

You can continuously iterate on both the lead grade and score to ultimately have powerful indicators on the quality and engagement of the leads you’re marketing to.

Let me know your thoughts or pointers in the comments! If you need help with lead grading/scoring - don’t hesitate to reach out and we will be happy to help!

Growth gets better with age

You hear startup stories everyday about how someone went from nothing, to being huge in no time at all. These are always great to hear, but if you pull back the curtain there is a lot more to it than just that quick win.

Even the stories that everyone talks about like Slack - they started in 2013, didn’t actually launch any product for 2 years, then quickly started gaining free users, but took quite a bit longer before the sales started rolling in. That certainly wasn’t an overnight success, but they do indeed set the bar on growth.

The mindset companies have on growth typically fall into two rather distinct buckets:

The Visionaries - that are full of grand ideas and are the go big or go home type. There are usually a lot of moving pieces in their growth plan, that if they all don’t fall in at the perfect time, in the perfect order, in the perfect place -> there will be no success.

The Realists - that have big ideas, but realize that in order to get there it takes time and each step builds on top of the other to drive the growth that is needed.

When it comes to driving growth in your business the point is to not try and skip all of the steps to get to the “end” all at once. Yes - we can all agree it would be amazing to go from $0->$1B in 6 months, but that realistically is not going to happen.

Here are a few strategies that we’ve seen work well to help businesses continually drive substantial growth over time:

  1. Anything is better than nothing - the website doesn’t need to be perfect, the logo can suck, the email can confuse people - but you need to do something. Get to 80% done and go for it, the worst that happens if someone points out a flaw and you fix it, not a big deal.

  2. Ask for and listen to feedback - when you’re moving quickly there are things you’ll do wrong (see #1) and also things you’ll miss. Continually ask for and be open to feedback to make the process better for the next person. But be sure not to just disregard feedback, that doesn’t help anyone.

  3. You’re never done - great the conversion rate improved 25% or sales are up 50%. Okay good job… now go do that again to get another 30% improvement.

Focus on continually pushing forward and you will get where you want to go. Don’t give up!

“It’s easy to dream about it… Much harder to execute it… Work!”

~Gary Vaynerchuk

How to have an Immediate Impact in Marketing

Whether you’re a new hire internally or an agency/contractor externally - most people want to have an immediate impact to the business. Naturally this leads folks to look into what projects are currently in the works or need to be completed, and try to find something they want to do. 

But there is a much better way to get started...

Find the Lowest Hanging Fruit

What is a small change that can have a huge impact on an important metric (usually leads generated) that will be noticeable almost immediately. 

Here are some ideas on how to find that low hanging fruit you can grab. 

  1. Look at the top 10 pages based on traffic - regardless of what type of page they are. Then ask yourself, “How can we can get more people to convert?” A lot of times it will be something as simple as adding a CTA, form, or maybe a bot. Think like your buyer and go with your gut. 
  2. Look at your blog - is there always a CTA in view regardless of where on the page someone is? Simple change and get a few more CTAs driving conversions. 
  3. Are any bots being used for lead generation? Use an existing tool or try out bots from Drift or HubSpot. Put them on your landing pages with a 15 second delay for people not already converting. 

These are just a few simple things you can try to help point you in the direction of finding some quick wins that you can implement. 

Be sure to make sure you’re tracking the performance of whatever changes you make to show that it worked. 

Share what you’ve tried in the comments below to help others hit the ground running when kicking off their time with a new marketing team. 

Need more help with finding the low hanging fruit? Connect with us and we will be happy to help!

Custom cookie prompts for GDPR when using HubSpot, Marketo, Drift, etc.

Most of the marketing platforms have their own options when it comes to asking for consent to drop cookies, but there are two big problems:

  1. Most are very generic and just an on/off - no option to target differently based on GEO, etc. 
  2. They often don't play nicely with other tools, so someone may have opted-out of tracking but other tools are still tracking them since you don't want 15 separate prompts for every visitor. 

In the past few weeks we've worked with a number of customers that were interested in having one prompt for only folks in the EU and to control a number of different systems based on that response. 

Everyone is talking about GDPR this week as the deadline fast approaches, so wanted to share the tools that we used. 

CookieConsent Pop-Up - We had originally planned to build this custom, but after seeing the level of customization that was allowed this was the smartest route to go to handle a variety of different requirements.

Ipdata Geolocation - Generous free plan to get started, along with one tag via the API "is_eu" to know if you need to show the pop-up. 

With these two tools, we quickly wired up some custom code that would check if someone is in the EU and display the option to opt-in for cookies. Once someone has opted-in then the tracking codes for whatever tools you need can be loaded easily. 

If you're working on getting GDPR compliant and need some help with this piece, don't hesitate to reach out and we will be happy to help!

How to login to multiple accounts of the same software

We work with a lot of companies that use the same software platforms for their sales and marketing. Some of these tools like HubSpot have great options when it comes to managing multiple accounts, enabling agencies/contractors/etc to login once - then switch between accounts. 

But other tools like Drift, Marketo, Intercom, etc require you to have a unique login to each and don't allow you to be logged-in to more than one from the same browser. 

Here are two quick tricks to make it much easier for managing these:

#1 - Use Google Apps or Gmail for all of your logins.

Google makes it ultra easy to have more than one email address. It's as simple as adding a + then whatever you need for each customer. 

So something like and everything continues to go to your same email account. (You can change customer123 to literally anything you want.)

Additional tip -> get smart at your naming convention to keep track of each login. We try to keep them ultra short, so they are much easier to remember.

#2 - Use different Profiles within Google Chrome to stay logged-in.

So now you have different logins, but it's a hassle to have to log out and back in whenever you need to look in a different account. With Chrome Profiles you can stay logged-in to all of them at once and just have different Chrome windows. (Each profile maintains it's own cookies, so you won't run in to login issues.)

In Chrome click on your name in the top right corner of the window and go to Manage People. From there you can Add a Person and customize the name for each account you need. 

Setup Chrome Profile

Now login to whatever account it is that you need and you'll be separate from everything else that you're doing in Chrome. 

I personally have 12 different Chrome profiles that I use to switch between different customers and ensure that I'm staying organized.

Hopefully this helps you save some time logging in and out of all your tools and focusing on the real work that needs to be done. 

What other pointers do you have for managing logins across many different tools?