Join Mike and Hannah as they discuss the latest updates from the world of marketing automation, including the potential acquisition of HubSpot by Alphabet and what this could mean for the platform and insights from Salesforces’ recent world tour.

They also share some best practices for building email nurturing sequences and explain why simplicity may be better.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

About Napier

Napier is a PR-lead, full service marketing agency that specialises in the B2B technology sector. We work closely with our clients to build campaigns, focusing on achieving results that have a significant positive impact on their businesses and which, above all, ensure maximum return on their investment.

About Mike Maynard

Mike is the Managing Director/CEO of Napier, a PR and marketing agency for B2B technology companies. A self-confessed geek who loves talking about technology, he believes that combining the measurement, accountability and innovation that he learnt as an engineer with a passion for communicating ensures Napier delivers great campaigns and tangible return on investment.

About Hannah Wehrly

Hannah is the Head of Business Development and Marketing at Napier and leads on pitching, proposal writing, lead nurturing, email marketing, social media and content creation. Hannah joined the Napier team back in 2017 as a Marketing Specialist after completing her degree in Marketing and Communications, and her role focuses on developing new relationships with potential clients. 

Time Stamps

[01:08.3] – The potential acquisition of Hubspot by Alphabet.

[03:35.5] – HubSpot’s new pricing format.

[09:47.1] – The latest updates from Salesforce’s World Tour

[14:41.9] – Best practices when setting up email nurturing campaigns.

Follow Mike and Hannah:

Mike Maynard on LinkedIn:

Hannah Wehrly on LinkedIn:

Napier website:

Napier LinkedIn:

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Want more? Check out Napier’s other podcast – Marketing B2B Technology:

Transcript: Marketing Automation Moment Episode 15 – The Latest From the World of Marketing Automation

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Hannah Wherly

Hannah: Welcome to the Marketing Automation Moment Podcast. I’m Hannah Kelly.

Mike: And I’m Mike Maynard. This is Napier’s podcast to tell you about the latest news from the world of marketing automation.

Hannah: Welcome to another episode of malt automation moment. I’m Hannah Wherly.

Mike: And I’m Mike Maynard,

Hannah: and today we discuss how sports pricing changes the Salesforce World Tour. Best practices when Build an Email, nurture and sequences and

Mike: debate whether we think alphabet is likely to buy HubSpot. Hi,

Hannah: Mike, welcome back to another episode of Market automation moment. How are you doing? Because you’ve just spent what nearly three weeks out in India?

Mike: It’s great to be back. And it’s really good to be talking to you on the podcast again, had. Yeah, I had two and a half weeks in India, which was absolutely amazing as a vacation, and then straight back and the best part of a week in Germany for a trade show. So a little bit of travel recently. Definitely.

Hannah: And I mean, it’s got to be the best part of the week because I was also in Germany with you there, Mike.

Mike: Of course, you know, the first thing I had to do was immediately work with you rather than anyone else in the business.

Hannah: So we have some interesting news. Because alphabet, who is the parent company of Google is actually being rumoured to be looking at acquiring HubSpot.

Mike: I think it’s really interesting and potentially really exciting hammer. So I mean, I think obviously, the reason they want to buy it would be the data. Google and alphabet as a whole are fundamentally data companies. And clearly, HubSpot holds an awful lot of b2b data, particularly small, mid sized business areas. So I can definitely see why they want to do it for the data. The interesting thing is, and you and I talk about this a lot when we’re looking at campaigns, sometimes it feels like when you’re advertising on Google, you’re a second class citizen, if you’re looking for, you know, small focus b2b markets, because, you know, what Google is all about is massive high volume consumer markets for its search and display advertising. So it makes sense. But I think if it’s going to be successful, there’s gonna need a bit of a culture change within alphabet to focus much, much more on the b2b side rather than consumer. What do you think? I

Hannah: mean, that’s a fantastic point, Mike, because it will be a different kettle of fish for them, if you like they will have to change how they approach and I think one of my key questions is, do you think HubSpot will go for it? Do you think they’re willing to be sold? Do you think that actually would seriously consider something like this?

Mike: I mean, it’s an interesting question. The rumoured price is around $35 billion as being the market value. figure that’s 35 billion reasons to say yes, isn’t it?

Hannah: That’s a very valid point, a very valid point. And I mean, I think it’s interesting, because when I was actually reading up on this rumour, it’s seems that alphabet is actually looking for ways to boost its revenue. So you know, it’s no surprise, they’ve got the billions in the bank, but they had actually revealed that their last quarter for advertising sales came in below expectations. So this could be a reason why they’re perhaps looking at a different market than they would have before. I

Mike: think we could definitely say that, although the market for b2b tends to be, you know, as we mentioned, much more focused in general, and particularly with the SME business than consumer, so the individual customers they’re attracting might be lower value than a lot of their customers are have already. So it’s a really interesting question. Well,

Hannah: Mike, I actually want to move on because I don’t want to take the mickey but perhaps you know, HubSpot could be considering something like this, because alphabet is going to come in as their saviour because HubSpot have actually introduced a new pricing format. And we would look in obviously, just before this recording, and it is very complicated. They’ve introduced multiple seats for each of their hubs, they are trying to position it as this amazing concept of allowing more people access. It’s lower cost. But I don’t think that’s true. What do you think?

Mike: I think it’s very interesting. I mean, traditionally, most of the marketing automation platforms, they’ve priced based on things like contacts, so contacts is generally the core thing that drives your pricing. And now if you look at HubSpot, they’ll want to charge you extra. If you have more contacts, they want to charge extra if you have more users. And so within HubSpot, you’ve got to look at you know, effectively three things, probably four things actually to calculate your price. So, the first thing I look at is the number of contacts, you’ve got to look at the number of users, you’ve got to look at the tear of subscriptions. So those three things. And then also Fourth thing, you got to decide which elements of HubSpot you want to use because HubSpot now is actually quite complex and has you know, it’s not just a marketing automation platform, as we know, it’s a CRM, which is you know, actually a very well Use sales, CRM, but also they have service. They have content, they have operations, and they have E commerce. So to actually work out your pricing, they have apps on the website. I’m not sure it’s really simplified things. And I kind of feel that what HubSpot is trying to do is gently push up their average revenue per customer by adding additional things that people can pay for, and it kind of feels like it’s not necessarily something that’s simpler, because it’s not purely priced on seats.

Hannah: I think that’s some great points. And something I would add to that, Mike, is that I actually feel it could be quite detrimental to marketers, because one of the things we’ve discussed previously, is, you know, market automation platforms are meant to be used for multiple areas. They’re meant to bring together sales and marketing. But if you’re pricing those units separately, and these marketers are looking at these prices and going well, I can only afford marketing, I can only afford the sales side, it could actually hurt companies who are looking to do something that has that full solution because they can’t afford all of these different units. I

Mike: totally agree. I mean, HubSpot is actually not a cheap product for most people. I mean, I’m also worried about charging per seat. You know, this feels like what HubSpot really should be doing is getting as many people as possible using HubSpot, as familiar with HubSpot as they can be. And then basically having this you know, inherent base in the marketing community of people who want to use HubSpot, I think in the long term that’s going to grow the business. My concern is if you start adding costs per person that uses HubSpot, you’ll see companies reducing the number of people who actively use the platform. And I think that’s a downside for HubSpot, particularly as it’s a platform that is relatively easy to use certainly much easier than most other marketing automation platforms. And so, you know, they’d have more people out there promoting HubSpot, if they had more users. It’s a risk. But equally, you know, I run a business, I totally get it. If you’ve got 20 people using HubSpot, you’re gonna get a lot more questions, a lot more support required than if you’ve just got one. So maybe they’re looking at it from a cost point of view, and trying to balance out the price people pay versus the amount it costs to service those customers. I can see it from both sides. But it certainly seems to be something that potentially could have some unintended negative consequences, don’t you think?

Hannah: Definitely, definitely. And I think it’s one we need to keep a watch on. It’s something that I’d love to come back to maybe in a couple of months, and just actually get marketers real views on it. This has been something that’s been announced quite recently. So it’d be interesting to see what marketers actually think about the change in pricing, and whether hub spots advantages of go in this way has outweighed the negatives. Yeah,

Mike: definitely. I mean, it would be interesting to see how people feel about about the changes, and whether actually it makes HubSpot feel more accessible to people, or whether it just feels, you know, more expensive and more complicated. And I think the risks you always have, I mean, even in b2b where we’re supposedly all very logical, we, you know, we look at things we calculate stuff. But when you keep seeing lots of different things, adding to the price just makes that product feel a little bit more expensive. And sometimes a simpler one off price actually feels a bit more easy to deal with. So it’s an interesting move from HubSpot. I mean, of course, what might happen and when we think about this, is you may see a lot of other marketing automation platforms start copying the approach and adding cost per users. And if they do that, you know, we can actually all see our cost of marketing automation go up. Or

Hannah: that’s a really interesting thought, Mike, because you know, HubSpot is viewed as one of the best, it’s a leading platform. And if others do follow suit, then this could be the new pricing model for the next few years. Yeah,

Mike: I mean, it could certainly be the case. You know, we have been lucky that typically, you know, users have been fundamentally free or you’ve got sets of users. So you’ve had up to a certain number of users. That’s obviously very different. If you look at CRM, where quite often the cost of CRM is price per user. I mean, the other thing to say is that if you look at HubSpot, and obviously for those who are not financial geeks, you have two different ways of costing out whether company makes money or doesn’t make money. One is the standard accounting HubSpot actually lost money using that and they people have this, you know, their own way of calculating profit and HubSpot claims they’re profitable there. But clearly HubSpot, you know, even with its prospect of getting bought by alphabet for a large amount of money is actually from an accounting point of view not making money. So, again, perhaps are looking to push that price up to make them more profitable.

Hannah: Absolutely. Now, I want to move on from HubSpot for a minute Mike and I just want to move on to Salesforce. So Salesforce have actually just finished up their world tour which obviously makes him sound very awesome. then. But if we drill down into what they were actually speaking about throughout kind of these conferences, it’s really interesting. I mean, it’s no surprise, they were pushing Einstein AI. But it’s interesting because they really are starting to push themselves as more of a data platform. So they have come from being a CRM. But instead they’re starting to position this you have come to us, we can provide this data, we use AI to tell you how to improve your campaigns, how to improve your performance. And I think it’s an interesting tactic, because it seems that users are flocking to Salesforce to be able to use this functionality. What do you think?

Mike: I totally agree. I mean, I recently wrote a piece for, talking about the issue with sharing data between different marketing technology tools, one of the ways people do in fact, probably the most common way is to use Salesforce as a hub, because a lot of tools have an interface into Salesforce. And this gives Salesforce a very significant advantage. But of course, you know, there, you do have an issue that you’re then trying to sync data into a CRM platform, fundamentally a bottom of the funnel tool. And a lot of what US marketers do is top of the funnel, so it’s not ideal, but it’s certainly something that Salesforce I think, has a real advantage with at the moment. And if they can get Einstein and their AI technology to interpret marketing data better, it could actually be one of the key strengths of Salesforce is, you know, actually being able to pull data together and get insights across a range of marketing technology tools. At the moment, we’re all stuck working with little silos of different tools that typically don’t interface well together.

Hannah: Absolutely, the one thing I would add is, I do think it runs the risk. And I was reading a piece on b2b marketing, actually, the other day that are we all becoming too obsessed with data. So the one thing I would say is that it’s great that Salesforce is doing this, but marketers need to be careful, they’re not being swallowed by the quantity of data. And it’s the quality. And they’re actually looking at the specific KPIs and their specific objectives, to make sure they’re using the data to their advantage. They’re not just being completely overflowed with data, and not quite knowing how to improve their campaigns. And you know, I haven’t used Salesforce Personally, myself. So if you’re a listener, please reach out to us tell us how you found the data. But how is Salesforce making sure that quality of data is there. And that is something that I’d be interested to see to unfold.

Mike: I think you’re so right there. And I love that point. There’s a real danger. And I think this is not just in marketing, but across a whole range of different things. Different disciplines in business, people are taking all the data they have and trying to dump it and people talk about data lakes, and then just throwing AI at it and waiting for insights. And you might get an insight that tells you, you know, for example, how to increase your click through rates for particular types of ads, or what creative tends to generate the most clicks, it doesn’t necessarily help you achieve the goals for marketing. Because I think a lot of the issue around AI is its pattern matching around certain things. And it doesn’t necessarily, today, understand your marketing plan. Of course, what would be lovely to think is in a year or twos time, maybe we’ll be able to give a marketing plan to an AI, and then get it to look at the data and tell you how to get closer to your goals. But you’re right today, just throwing data together and going tell me something about it. It might give you something important, but equally, it could give you something that you know really isn’t going to move you forward to what you’re trying to achieve. Absolutely.

Hannah: And I tell you if in a couple of years time they managed to advance AI that they can recognise the marketing plan. I’ll be first in line to use that I’ll be first in line. But I think at the moment myself, I’m wary of trust in AI to find the insights for data. And I think definitely so needs that marketer to be heavily involved.

Mike: Yeah, and when we’ve used AI to analyse data at Napier, it’s always been very interactive, hasn’t it? Where we’ve basically use the AI to answer questions about data. And that is incredibly powerful, but it’s still, you know, rather than actually running the campaigns and telling you what to do. It’s really acting as an assistant almost like your data scientist, rather than necessarily interpreting that marketing plan and then telling you what to do and and fully automating that process. And who knows, I mean, maybe we’ll never get there. Exactly,

Hannah: Mike, that we can only wait and see. Now I want to move on to our insightful Tip of the Week. Now one thing I want to speak about is best practices when building email nurturing sequences. So when I’m talking about email nurturing sequences, I’m talking about that automation that workflow side or the Moto automation platform. This is something that I use personally a lot at NAPEO. So we have workflow set up for personas, we have them set up for follow up based on content downloads. We have segmented lists based on where people are based. I think it’s such a useful tool. But I think some people can go in and really overcomplicate these things. And I think with these workflows and the sequences, simple is better. Do you have anything to add? Do you have any best practices that you think of when setting up these email nurturing sequences? You’re

Mike: so right. I mean, we’ve seen really effective sequences that are very, very simple. And we’ve seen incredibly complex sequences that really don’t work. And I think, you know, the reality is with almost anything to do with marketing, but particularly around human nurturing, you’re thinking about moving people along a segment of their customer journey. And so building a micro journey, just a small part of it, and trying to move from one stage to another just a little step ahead. That’s really the way to build email nurturing sequences, trying to build a sequence that takes someone from never having heard of your brand to being your most loyal and committed customer. And it feels like some people try and build a single sequence to do all that. It’s just not realistic. And you know, when you say about overcomplicating things, I mean, I’ve absolutely seen people build overly complex, nurturing flows, were actually down some of the branches of the flows, you get zero contacts. So you’ve invested a lot of your marketing time and effort to create a branch of that flow, and you get zero benefit. And the implication of that is that you’re wasting time. So there’s other things you could do with that time, there is a cost in overcomplicating, and people need to be realistic and think about how can we make nurturing flows simpler? And quite often, the secret to that is to break down into smaller steps and build multiple nurturing flows. And I’m sure you’ve seen that and use that as well, for Napier. Oh,

Hannah: absolutely. I think one key way that we do it and that has been really successful is via personas. And it’s not just one email nurturing flow it we use that nurturing sequence. So we have a nurturing flow of specific emails, we then put them in a list, maybe they sit in the list for maybe one to two weeks and then end into another lead nurturing flow. But these are really simple. These has not taken a lot of time to set up, you know, we have the content available. And I think just having that process of how you said of how we’re moving them from perhaps an opportunity to conversion is really important to have in mind.

Mike: Totally green, and the email flows you run are super effective. So I know that you’ve got it optimised. I know that you’ve got it working. And again, I think, you know, I mentioned optimization, again, optimising three simple flows is actually way easier than trying to optimise one incredibly complex flow. And so, you know, I think the way you do it is absolutely a brilliant approach.

Hannah: Well, thank you, Mike. I think I will just end with one thing is, just remember that these flows are meant to make your life easier. So if they’re making your life harder, you were doing it wrong.

Mike: That’s perfect advice to end all I love that. Thanks so much.

Hannah: Thanks for listening to the Marketing Automation Moment podcast.

Mike: Don’t forget to subscribe in your favourite podcast application, and we’ll see you next time.