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Video: Why are inbound leads important? (1:24)

Your reps are helping people through a three-part journey, but they can only do that if they have people to help.

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy. Let’s talk about leads. Leads are the people you have reason to believe would make good customers for your company but who aren’t actively progressing toward buying from you. Once there’s a measurable chance that they will buy from you, they become an opportunity, and when they finally buy, they become customers. This three-part journey — from lead to opportunity to customer — makes up the bulk of the work your sales team does. Your reps work tirelessly to help leads become opportunities and to close those opportunities into customers. So you should be constantly helping your reps find ways to improve their lead-to-opportunity rate and their opportunity-to-close rate.

The HubSpot Growth Stack has many tools to help you do just that, but there’s one fact that’s inescapable: Your conversion rates don’t matter if you don’t have enough leads. If there aren’t enough leads to work with or if they aren’t qualified, no amount of work later in the sales process is going to make up the difference. Your reps need a steady stream of high-quality leads coming into their pipeline if they’re ever going to have any hope of hitting their number. Luckily, the Growth Stack has tools that can help here, too.
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Video: How can you provide leads to your team? (8:41)

HubSpot has four main tools that will help your team capture inbound leads: forms, lead flows, messages, and prospects.

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy, and this video is all about getting leads into your CRM. But first, a question: Where does your team get leads from? Are you getting inbound leads from people visiting your website? Do you sell based off of existing relationships? Are your reps sourcing leads manually? Do you use some combination of these three? HubSpot offers tools that can help with all of these things, but it’s helpful if you have a process in place first and then use the tools to expedite that process. So let’s take each of the three techniques I just mentioned and talk about which HubSpot tools can help you with them.

First, inbound leads from your website. There are three main HubSpot tools that will help you here: forms, lead flows, and messages. Let’s start with forms.

Chances are, you already have some kind of form on your website. It’s important to make sure the forms on your website are collecting information that will help you and your team identify qualified leads. If you have a marketing team that creates these forms, you should be meeting with them regularly to have an ongoing discussion about what a qualified lead looks like and what form fields can help you judge whether someone is qualified. Because all of those form submissions are going to end up as contacts in your CRM, and you want your team to be able to easily prioritize the most qualified leads.

If you’re using a HubSpot website, those form submissions are already being captured as leads in your CRM, but if not, you can easily pipe those form submissions into your CRM by turning on the collected forms tool. Once you flip that switch, HubSpot will take the information submitted through the forms on your website and turn it into contact records.

Regardless of which method you’re using to capture form submissions, you want to be sure to do two things to get the most out of your forms: enable email notifications, and include form submissions in your custom views.

First, enable email notifications. Check out these charts. These come from a study that was done on how response time affects sales success. In this case, they were looking at form submissions. If someone submits a form on your website, you’ll be 10 times more likely to get them on the phone if you call within five minutes than if you call an hour later. Even more importantly, if you call within the first five minutes, you’ll be 21 times more likely to qualify that contact as a lead than if you wait even just 30 minutes to call. But there’s no way your reps will get anywhere close to that five-minute window unless they’re notified when form submissions come in, and that’s why email notifications are so helpful. Email notifications are sent to a set list of people every time a form is submitted. You can notify different people for different forms or have all of your submissions go to everybody, but whatever you do, make sure you have a plan in place so that the leads who are requesting information get contacted sooner rather than later.

The second tip that can help you get the most out of your forms is including form submissions in your custom views. Inside HubSpot CRM, you can filter contacts based on the forms they’ve submitted. As you create custom views for your team, be sure to include this information where relevant. Doing this can help you narrow down a long list of leads to only the ones who are most engaged, and it also lets you organize leads based on the information they’ve been requesting. We have an entire class on creating custom views, but adding form submissions into the mix is an extra tip that will give you even better results.

So that’s forms. Another way to capture inbound leads is to set up lead flows. A lead flow is similar to a form, except it’s shorter — usually only two or three fields — and it appears on top of the page, instead of being part of it. Lead flows are great for getting visitors to do low-pressure things like subscribing to your blog or downloading some digital content. But lead flows can be hugely valuable to your sales team, too. For one thing, as soon as a person fills out a lead flow, HubSpot CRM creates a contact record for them, and their timeline will show all of the pages of your website that they’ve viewed. These page views can give your team important clues about what the person is looking for. Another great thing about lead flows is, if a prospect enters their professional email address, HubSpot CRM will use the email domain to look up information about the person’s company and create a company record. Depending on how much information is publicly available, this might include information like location, industry, and even phone number. In most cases, the leads that come in through lead flows won’t be sales-ready right away, but having someone from your company call them within five minutes to make sure they got the information they were looking for and to answer any questions they might have is a great way to make an excellent first impression.

One last tool that will help you capture inbound leads is messages. Messages is a live chat tool that's built specifically for sales teams. It lets website visitors ask their questions directly to a sales rep, and it lets your team engage with those visitors and start building a relationship, even if they’ve never submitted a form. Similar to lead flows, you can control which pages of your website messages will appear on. So you might have the messages chat pane on your pricing and product pages and have lead flows on your blog and homepage. This way, you’re able to present your visitors with options that are most relevant to them and where they are in their buyer’s journey.

It’s worth noting that, in order for messages, lead flows, or forms to work, HubSpot needs to be connected to your website. If you’re using HubSpot to run your website, then you’re all set and no further action is required. But if your website is running on any other platform, you’ll need to install a little piece of code on it before you can use these tools. The way to do this varies, depending on what platform your website runs on, but detailed instructions for the most common platforms are available.

Now let’s talk about referrals and existing relationships, the second method for getting leads into your CRM. Chances are, even if you don’t rely heavily on referrals, your team probably sends and receives a lot of emails. Your CRM has a BCC address that your reps can use to make sure these conversations get recorded. And, if your email is provided by Google or Office 365, your reps can use the HubSpot Sales email extension to automatically capture their email communications. In addition to that, the email extension puts information from your CRM right inside your reps’ inboxes so they can reference and update it as they send and receive emails.

If your team uses an email provider other than Google or Office 365, you team will still be able to log their emails by using your CRM’s BCC address. The Capturing Inbound Leads class in the HubSpot Sales Software Certification will teach your reps how to do this.

And finally, the third method for getting leads into your CRM, manual sourcing. If your inbound leads and existing relationships aren’t enough to keep your pipeline full, your reps will need to do some manual lead sourcing. That’s where the prospects tool comes in. Prospects shows a list of companies that have visited your website. Your reps can use this information to target the companies that are already engaging with your content. And if your reps reach out with a helpful attitude, as opposed to just trying to rattle off the benefits of using your offering, most people will be grateful and receptive to that kind of call.

Prospects is another tool that requires your website to be connected to HubSpot, but it uses the same connection as forms, lead flows, and messages, so if you have that set up, prospects will work, too.

So to recap: For inbound leads, you’re going to want to use some combination of forms, lead flows, and messages. If you do a lot of work from referrals and existing relationships, you’ll want to be sure your emails are getting logged in the CRM using either the email extension or the BCC address. And if you do any manual lead sourcing, make sure you’re leaning on the information in the prospects tool to help you prioritize companies that are already aware of you. One of the most important things you as a sales leader can do for your team is to make sure your website is connected to HubSpot so all of these tools work. Once you’ve done that, your reps will be able to use the Growth Stack to its greatest effect.

User Guide

How do I install the HubSpot tracking code on my website?

Instructions for installing all all-important tracking code on your website

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Video: Using messages (2:20)

A walk-through of the messages tool

This is the Messages screen inside HubSpot CRM. To create a new message, click the “Create message” button and give the message a name. Next, you’ll need to think about your target audience. Use the “Display to” dropdown to decide who the message should be displayed to. You can display the messages pane to everyone who visits your website or just to known contacts, or you can display it to people who meet certain criteria, as defined by a list or view. If you aren’t sure what to do, start by showing the message to everyone. You can always change this later. You also need to decide what pages your message will be on. Enter the URLs of the web pages where you want it to appear. If you want all of the sub-pages of a certain page to have your message on them, add an asterisk to the end of the URL. Next you can customize your welcome message. Be sure to make it relevant to the pages this message will be displayed on. The last step of creating a message is to preview it and make sure it looks the way you want it to.

After you’ve created a message, click the Settings button. Here, you can adjust things that will affect all of your messages. In the My Profile section, you can change your photo, enter your job title and introduction, and control whether you want your meetings link displayed in the chat pane. In the Notifications section, you can control how you’ll be notified when a website visitor sends you a message. In the Availability section, you can set the times of day when the messages pane will allow people to chat with you.

Now that you have everything set up the way you want it, you can launch the chat screen at any time by clicking Launch Chat. Here, you can chat with visitors in real time. As you do, you can save them as contacts in HubSpot CRM or update their information if they’re already a contact. And that will give you a new source of warm leads to work with in the future.

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Video: Using lead flows (6:18)

A walk-through of lead flows.

User Guide

How do I use the Collected Forms tool?

Everything you need to know about using collected forms.

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Video: Using prospects (1:56)

A walk-through of the prospects tool.

This is the Prospects screen. Here you can see a list of companies that have visited your website. Click on a company to see more information about it. Click the star next to a company’s name to add it to your favorites. To access your list of favorites, go to the views dropdown and select Favorites.

Similar to the Companies page inside HubSpot CRM, you can filter this list by various properties so you only see the companies that meet certain criteria. And you can change the columns that are shown. You can also sort the list by each column, so you can see things like which companies have viewed the most pages or sent the most visitors to your website.

When you have the information laid out the way you want it, you can save it as a custom view for easy access in the future. You can take this efficiency to the next level by subscribing to any view within the prospects tool to receive email notifications about the companies in that view. To do this, go to the view you’re interested in and click the Manage Notifications button.

There are two different types of notifications you can receive: a daily email that summarizes the companies in this view that visited your site, and a revisit notification that will be sent to you as soon as one of these companies comes back to your site.

Subscribing to notifications is a good way to keep track of how engaged these companies are with your website. Notifications can help you reach out to them at an opportune time to move the sales conversation forward.