Skip to content

New episodes sent directly to your inbox. Subscribe now.

Season 2, Episode 2

Building a Brand Your Customers Trust with Rob Giglio, CCO at HubSpot

Rob Giglio, Chief Customer Officer, HubSpot

Jen Spencer, CEO, SmartBug Media®, and Rob Giglio, Chief Customer Officer at HubSpot

On this episode of the Intelligent Inbound Podcast, Jen and Rob Giglio, Chief Customer Officer at HubSpot, sit down to chat all things inbound. 

The secret sauce to any successful marketing strategy is made with equal parts quality content and a commitment to authenticity. In times of economic uncertainty, as Rob explains, customers turn to the brands they know and trust. 

So how can you become your customers’ go-to, even when money is tight? 

Jen and Rob break it down:

  • "The most worthy deed helps someone else succeed." (0:45)
  • Orchestrating an exceptional customer experience (7:05)
  • Navigating uncertain economic conditions (11:14)
  • Building trust through consistent, quality content and authenticity (15:23)
  • Meeting and surpassing user expectations (22:23)
  • Wellness check: Tracking customer engagement and satisfaction (31:38)
  • Final Takeaways: What do marketers need to know? (45:44)



Jen Spencer (00:01):

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Intelligent Inbound Podcast, brought to you by SmartBug Media. I'm your host, Jen Spencer, and today I'm speaking with Rob Giglio, chief customer officer at HubSpot. And if for some reason you haven't heard of HubSpot, HubSpot is a leading CRM platform that provides software and support to help businesses grow better. And as chief customer officer, Rob leads HubSpot's global marketing, sales, customer success, and operations teams. I got to say, I absolutely love Rob's personal motto, "The most worthy deed helps someone else succeed." I grabbed that off your LinkedIn profile, Rob. Bravo and welcome.

Rob Giglio (00:45):

Thank you. Thank you so much. It's only on my LinkedIn profile because that phrase matters a lot to me. If I could have lived my whole younger years with some sort of phrase attached, I would've loved to have had that. It's a phrase that my dad used to say when I was really young, I can remember him saying it a lot. And it wasn't just about business, it was about people. And I try to live up to it. It's hard to do, but I really appreciate it.

Jen Spencer (01:15):

That is wonderful. That is wonderful. I really like it. When I saw it, I thought, I don't really have a motto. I've got a couple of sayings that are important to me. You can see behind me that the eye chart where you might be able to see.

Rob Giglio (01:15): I love that.

Jen Spencer (01:28):

It's a good week to have a good week. Right? And then I've got... Let's see, where is it? So one of my favorite characters from a novel or now a movie is the character of Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada. She's a villain, but I think she's misunderstood and she, "By all means, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me." Which cracks my team up because the speed that I like to-

Rob Giglio (01:57):
Yeah, I love that. I've heard that phrase before. I think it's so awesome.

Jen Spencer (02:01):
So maybe one day I'll get my own motto. I absolutely love it. So thanks so much for taking some time to
chat with us today.

Rob Giglio (02:08):

Thank you. Yeah, I'm happy to be here. I love what you do. Yeah, I'm honored to share thoughts if they're useful to people, then that's the most worthy deed to help someone else succeed. So there we go. We kind of live it.

Jen Spencer (02:22):

Absolutely. Fulfilling your mission. I love it. Well, this is the Intelligent Inbound Podcast. Smartbug is an Intelligent Inbound Marketing Agency and a HubSpot Elite partner. So should share that.

Rob Giglio (02:35): Thank you for that too.

Jen Spencer (02:37):
So when you think about your revenue organization in thinking about your marketing, sales, customer
success teams, what does Inbound mean to you?

Rob Giglio (02:48):

Yeah, there's probably, I mean, I could give you a list really, really long. If I tried to simplify it a little bit what I would say is Inbound sends a signal to our organization that we are delivering relevant information to the market. That we're telling a story that resonates with either prospects or customers. They're interested in what we have to say. So we see it as a signal. Yeah. Granted, it is the source of so much of our demand and it is what we're oriented around.


A lot of our processes are built in that way and so I could have said, "Oh, it's how we go to market." But I think it's if you up-level it a little bit, it's the response to the signals. It tells us when good inbound is happening, you're resonating. You have posted an article that people in general, business people in particular, digital marketers even more specifically say, "Yeah, I'm really interested in that and I would like to figure out how I can do X, Y, Z in my business as well." So yeah, that's maybe a long answer to a short question. That's how we think about it.

Jen Spencer (04:01):
So it's not just marketing, it touches on every point in the customer journey is really what I'm hearing
from you.

Rob Giglio (04:09):

Sure. Well, and the other thing I think that oftentimes gets overlooked is the difference between, let's just use a lead as an example and we'll think customer journey. The difference between a lead that you gain from inbound versus a lead you generate by doing aggressive outbound, the amount of effort, the amount of work, the amount of cost and time, the amount of friction potentially even in the system that exists on the difference between an inbound and an outbound lead is pretty dramatic.


So for businesses, the most efficient lead to close experience is really from inbound because A, you know what they're interested in. B, coming to you saying, "This is what I want to learn more about," or "These are the products that I need to look for a potential solution for." Now you're in a helping mode as opposed to just a pure selling mode. Now I don't keep in mind, I don't think outbound is a bad thing. I just think when you do it right, it's a good thing. When you do it wrong, it's probably friction-filled and people don't like it. So there's a nuance. There's a nuance to outbound that you don't necessarily have with inbound.

Jen Spencer (05:20):

Yeah. For sure. I was actually literally just speaking to someone a CEO and founder the other day. He said, "Hey, some people tell me I have two options. I can do inbound or I can do demand generation, which do I do?" I wanted to pull my hair out because I'm like, no, this is inbound to me, it's the methodology, it's the way that you function, it's the way that you operate. It's your breath, right? So if you live in this world every day, day after day, you think, oh, everyone understands this. They all know this. But that's not necessarily true, right?

Rob Giglio (06:03):

No, no. And architecturally, I think you could even say that architecturally the highest order activity is creating demand. I mean, you are essentially sparking a catalyst for demand interest. And you're either doing that by inbound, you're doing that by outbound, you're doing that by direct customer connection. You're doing that by classic account-based marketing. Those are all types of demand creation and ultimately then demand capture motions. So I think understanding whatever, and every company uses a slightly different architecture, different vocabulary, I'm just using this one now, is pretty common. It's good for your audience, it's good for your partners, good for my partners to understand all this is in the name of ultimately helping people, but it's helping people find answers to challenges, to business problems they face and offering a solution to those.

Jen Spencer (07:05):

Yeah. Well, let's actually talk a little bit about challenges and problems that people face in your role. I mean, really you're able to pull the levers of everything that touches the customer experience, which is great. How do you help prepare your team, all of these integrated collaborative teams, but that are individual teams? How do you prepare them for things like shifts and just changes that are happening in our industry? Because we joked about my Miranda Priestly quote about moving at a glacial pace, but in our space, things move really fast and something that's working one day might not be working the next. So what do you go about as an executive, as a leader that infuses inbound as a methodology, as a way of life, but along with all of the shifts and changes that are happening in the marketing, sales, and customer success space?

Rob Giglio (08:06):

Yeah. Well, I would tell you, my answer to this is unfair and it's an unfair situation I find myself in. I am incredibly thankful and lucky to be in this situation. I have a team you know because you've worked with HubSpot. I have a team that is world-class to the function, to the person, to the subgroup, incredible, incredible professionals. So at some level, the answer to your question is I try to get out the way as much as possible and let them do what they're already really good at, responsibly to the market. So that's the first and most foundational way I think about it. The second way is I try to make sure we prioritize ourselves and not try to do too much. If we try to do too much, we try to scramble and try to solve every single problem. We have a tendency to miss stuff that's right in front of us on the big things.


So part of that relates to prioritizing what matters most and then maybe the third way is I try to make sure that we're paying very close attention to the signals we're getting from our prospects and from our customers and we're not ignoring them. So what that looks like is a very data instrumented experience where we're reading signals through the entire customer journey. I love that you used that word before, that we're paying really close attention to what are our prospects and customers telling us. So in other words, if our... I'll just use a sort of blunt instrument. If our traffic is going down and we're doing all the same things that we did last month, we have to pause and ask ourselves why. There's a kind of chunky data element. We have to dig into it and understand it. The great thing is that's chunky and sort of generic.


We would not worry about macro traffic. What we're actually looking for is traffic to certain product pages, traffic from certain sources to certain product pages, from certain countries, from certain customer types. And that gives you the kind of detail and granularity that you need to understand where in the customer journey are you succeeding and where are you failing. I think the answer to how do you respond to these kinds of times, if you have the right instrumentation and you're paying close attention to trends, you're going to see shifts. You might not understand them, you might not know as an example, why is my close rate, so I'm looking at inbound, got a lot of good inbound, but my close rate is really off. So then I ask the question, is it about pricing? Oh, still my close rate on lower price deals and I'm making this up.


This is not real. So don't read anything into this. My close rate on low-price deals is just as high as it's always been, but my close rate on high-price deals is slowed down. Okay. Now I can actually think about what that might mean. Are we in some kind of economic time that customers are being more thoughtful about larger purchases and I can decide how to react? When I say I really meet more mean my organization can decide how to react.

Jen Spencer (11:00): Sure. Sure.

Rob Giglio (11:02):
That's how we think about it. That's granularity, a lot of data, a lot of autonomy in the organization to
understand what they're gathering from the signals.

Jen Spencer (11:14):

So looking you're really doing a lot of internal analysis and that's helping provide you with some insights into what might be happening outside of the organization. What about external factors? And maybe we can actually just talk about what's going on right now this summer even with our current state of our economy. Every day I'm logging into LinkedIn or logging onto Twitter, seeing economic concerns, fears, worries, rising costs especially here in the US market, inflation. I guess, what are some of the major threats or even maybe you see them as opportunities that you foresee for your business with this current state?

Rob Giglio (12:09):

Yeah. I'm not an economist, so keep in mind, I'm sharing with you my opinion based on working with my team at HubSpot, based on working in a bunch of different economic climates over the course of my career. So I'm just like anybody else trying to read the tea leaves. So granted you strip away any expertise that I have and just take maybe my opinion. My opinion is that what we suffer now is a trust thing. I'm not articulating this awesome like a good economist would or a good social scientist would. But from what I'm seeing and feeling and interpreting, we have a trust dynamic. And it plays in two ways. One of them is, I think there's a lack of trust on the part of consumers and businesses about what the future holds. They can't trust what's going to happen. They can't trust that tomorrow will be like yesterday.


And because of that lack of trust, it's causing a sort of tightening of activity. A pause, a concern, a way to let me look twice, let me second guess. And that lack of trust is only going to be worked through with time. It's going to take time for people to start to trust that the world hasn't changed too terribly, dramatically. And that some kind of core people, buyer, business, political methodologies, will just continue. That basic behaviors are somewhat sustainable, not entirely, but somewhat sustainable. And that's just going to take a little bit of... That's going to take time to earn back the trust. So that's part one. The other side of that trust dynamic, which I think gets to the question really kind of the heart of the question, which is what do you do in a time like this? It gets back to the need for people in general, buyers in particular, marketers specifically, salespeople specifically to do things to earn trust.


What it says is that trust is way more important than it's ever been. If there's already a lack of trust you know you have a higher hurdle to get over. So customers aren't going to trust when you say, "Here's how our product works." They're going to want to see a demo, they want to know that it actually works. They want to talk to other customers to prove that what you're saying is true. I think it also means that at some level, known brands, brands with reputation maybe have an advantage over brands that have a low reputation. So what does that mean if you're a new brand?


It means you're going to need to get out and back to this inbound notion. You're going to need to start creating content that validates what is your point of view. How does your product work? Show me a demo, make the case that your product is better than other products. For big brands, maybe you get a little bit of a tailwind. For small brands, you can earn it, but it's going to take a little more work and then I think just ultimately it's incumbent on the part of the company who is doing business with other companies that you have to just continue to earn trust consistently.

Jen Spencer (15:16): Yeah.

Rob Giglio (15:18): No way around it.

Jen Spencer (15:20): Yeah. So-

Rob Giglio (15:21):
Long answer short question.

Jen Spencer (15:23):

No, I really like your perspective and I think for me, I was having this conversation on a regular basis and meeting with my team. And the way I described, the way I felt, again, not an economist, just a marketer turned marketing agency CEO, is that there's a collective holding of breath. And yet at the same time, I also recognize I'm as a consumer, I'm putting so much more value in authenticity. We've been talking about authenticity in marketing and sales for many years now. And it's where it's times like this, these shifts in the market where it all kind of comes to a head. If you've been practicing that authenticity, if you've been practicing delivering value, practicing keeping your customer as your North Star, then I think you fare easier when things become a little bit more challenging. So I think you mentioned very well-known brands and yes, but not everyone has those Coca-Cola dollars or the HubSpot dollars or what have you, to build that reputation.

Rob Giglio (16:38):
By the way, HubSpot dollars compared to Coca-Cola discuss you're not on the same spectrum. Thank
you for saying that.

Jen Spencer (16:47):

Yes, yes. Thank you for correcting me. For a smaller business, they might see you the same way, but that's also because HubSpot invested so heavily in building a community, right? And building evangelism. So you're able to offset it, add spend, but you have actually just this force of nature of people who have grown up using your product.

Rob Giglio (17:07):

You're right. Yeah, you're right. I mean, that's just a natural advantage that you get. I guess if anything, maybe it speaks to, hopefully, there are some smaller company CEOs, founders, marketers who are listening. It can be done. I mean, HubSpot was a small company at one time and they've built this trust relationship through content, consistency, delivering what... Being trustworthy in the ways that you described and being authentic.

Jen Spencer (17:35): Absolutely and yeah, we see it-

Rob Giglio (17:37):

There's something, I read this years ago, so again, you have to... Somebody will have to look it up to kind of validate it. But the thing that I remember reading is that during tough economic times when really a recession time period, consumers tend to gravitate to brand names. Oftentimes brand names are more expensive than private label or regional brands opposed to national brands and it's so counterintuitive. You say, "Well why money is tight, why would people do that?"


And typically the answer is because of a trust that they... It's a stretch in terms of spend, but they gravitate to the national brand because they trust that, well, I know at least that brand is thought of as being consistent with whatever they say. So it might be more expensive, I might buy less of it, but I'm going to feel like I made a good purchase when I did it. So in the grocery stores, brand names really do well in those more challenging economic times and I think if you took that and passed it as a lesson to us as marketers right now, we can't all be national names. We can't all be big brand names, but we can try to do some of the same things that they do.

Jen Spencer (18:47):

We certainly can. I don't want to lead you with this question, but I'm wondering if there's... What you feel has happened in the market, and let's just say we can say all of the last 10 years even, right? Go back even further, but that you think has been something, a shift not related to marketing and sales, which is a shift in our business that's been most influential. Maybe something positive or something negative. A big change that you think has recently shifted the trajectory of our business.

Rob Giglio (19:21):

Well, I mean as a digital person, digital marketer, in particular, I would be crazy if I skipped digital transformation as a headline. When you think about the range of things that and it's like I have a hard time even putting it in a very small box. But digital experiences, I mean there're just it's a dramatic shift. I think of the company that I used to work out at DocuSign, we think about e-signatures. That changed dramatically how people sign things on the go or sign things in a remote way. When I think of HubSpot and managing customer information, it's all in one place. It can be moved around, you can use it to create experiences, you can create webpages that are specific to users. You're going on a flight and you don't have to have that paper ticket that you had to go to a travel agent to get to print out in their office.


The number of things are just so vast. I couldn't possibly name them all, but I would say in the 10-year period, digital transformation has to be, for me, a major league inflection change point. It created tons of opportunity, it created a lot of jobs, it created a lot of really great experiences. I actually I like air travel because of that digital connection. I can watch movies from one plane ride to the next off my phone. I mean, it's like, wow. Yeah, I think though a logical question is, well, what are some of the things that came along with that? And we have recently done some research and it's interesting because so many companies were trying to digitally transform themselves. They just started throwing technology at these opportunities without a lot of consideration architecturally or experientially how it was going to work. So a lot of companies, a lot of small companies, a lot of large companies just bought a bunch of different tools. In our business, we call them point products, they bought a lot of point products.


Now what we see in our research is they're now frustrated. They're incredibly frustrated. They bought all these things. They don't talk to each other, they can't create seamless experiences. Their data lives in lots of different places. We're trying to get our heads around where this is going, but it's this notion of being disconnected when you have all these tools that should be connecting. You should be more connected to your customers than you are. You should be more connected to your employees than you are. You should be more connected from an experiential standpoint than you are and that's a big challenge. I think maybe this is the perfect time to solve that. Maybe now, because we're all being more thoughtful about where we spend our money. Now is a good time to say, "Hold up. Let's think about what technologies we bought and do we need eight tools to do what one could do?" That's an interesting question.

Jen Spencer (22:23):

Right, right. No, I can echo that. That's what we are definitely seeing as well, and I think it's a lot of it is individual's consumer experiences all kind of shifting. And this has been happening for quite some time now but shifting our expectations for the way we want to work. The way we want to collaborate, the tools we want to use in our business and that customer expect, and even our end user's kind of customer expectation. And it's actually this digital transformation, it's been so ingrained it's changed how we operate. You're talking about getting on a plane, watching movies, everything.


People have those expectations for technology and the way that technology is going to help support them in their day-to-day life and that includes business. Yet we still see there are still businesses out there that have been holding back. Although I will say that the pandemic COVID-19 did shift things for a lot of people where they realized, shoot, I really better get on board with this. But we know there are different industries that are more laggard than others and some that are always going to be chomping at the bit to do what's the most innovative next step.

Rob Giglio (23:42):
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I just two thoughts on that real quick. One of them sounds like a plug and maybe it
is. I'm taking the opportunity to-

Jen Spencer (23:42): Go for it.

Rob Giglio (23:55):

I know you're going to be there. So it's really a plug for you too. HubSpot's INBOUND that we're hosting in September, much of our focus is going to be on this topic. So I'm not going to go super deep into the topic. I would invite people to tune in online or to actually come to INBOUND and hear our point of view on this connection point. We'll share some of our findings and what we think is important for a next step. But I use, if somebody's listening and they're like, "I don't know, Rob, what could be so bad about lots of different systems?"


I mean, a great example is if you have your data in a CRM and it's not connected to the marketing tools you use, it's not sharing common data. Your sales team is sending an email to a prospect that says, "A, B, C." Your marketing team is sending an email to the same prospect that says "X, Y, Z." Now that customer's super confused, you want to talk about breaking down trust, that's how to do it. So anyway, I would just say those are some small examples. You probably, Jen, I bet you could come up with 50 different examples where these different technologies not put together properly create real problems.

Jen Spencer (25:07):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, I want to ask you a totally, totally separate question. So kind of going to tap into a little bit of your entrepreneurial spirit and let's say you are starting a new company. You've got an idea, and you go to form that, you go to your product service, whatever it is. What's your first sales motion? We've talked about inbound, you mentioned outbound. You're like, I'm not against outbound if it's done well, but what's that first sales motion? Is it inbound? Is it outbound? And why-

Rob Giglio (25:40):
Well, I'll tell you, it would be so predicated on what product I'm selling.

Jen Spencer (25:48): Fair. Yeah-

Rob Giglio (25:48):

It'd be really predicated on what product I'm selling but let's just for the sake of if I could sell anything I invented anything, I would love for it to be a digital product. So let's just pretend it's a digital product, a digital service, something you can use online. My first sales motion would be inbound. That's the marketing to sales and I would be using in today's terms, we always like to call it PLG, product-led growth. In the old days, it was try and buy. We don't care what you call it. It's basically come in and experience this product that I've told you about that I think is going to help you. I want to make you wildly successful. It puts responsibility on my shoulders as the entrepreneur to make an amazing product experience, to make it so easy to use the first time you engage with it, that you as a prospect say, "This could really help me. It meets this need and now I'm willing to pay you for it."


That would be my very first motion. It would be oriented around inbound, it would be oriented around a try then buy motion. Sometimes even non-digital products can be good try buy. You can incentivize someone to engage with you to hear, let's say you're selling a consulting service. Well, let's get on the phone, and let me tell you how I approach these things. That's a free trial at some level because I'm going to talk to you about your business opportunity and then I'm going to convert it on the back end. I'm not looking for you to give me your money up front, especially right now because trust and authenticity is so important. What better way than to give people access to your product? There was an ad I used to love this ad, Saab. Saab did this ad, and I don't remember the exact statistics so I'll probably mess it up, but they basically said more Saab buyer... Wait, now how did it go?


More people that buy Saab test drove a Saab first. And I'm messing this up, but the point was, Saab was the kind of car that if you tried it, you were going to buy it. And that was their implication and it was awesome because what they were saying is, "We stand behind our car so thoroughly that if you drive it in a test drive mode, you're going to want to buy it." That's amazing. In consumer package goods, we used to always say, when I worked at Proctor and Gamble, we used to always say, "If you have a winning product, the best thing you can do is let a consumer try it first for free. So that's why you do samples and tastings and things like that. If you have a product that's marginal or average, well then you better discount it. So that's a long answer to your question. I would love to have a great digital product that I could move through a try then buy motion.

Jen Spencer (28:33):
Do you think you need a lot of patience for that? Do you think you need to take some time?

Rob Giglio (28:41):

I don't know. I think you need a winning product and you need to accelerate your funnel. You need a way to accelerate your funnel to the right audience. Because that's the thing is in that kind of motion, you can't just wait for the whole world to try to figure you out. You have to actually become very specific about your target audience and you go to go directly to them. The nice thing is you can do that digitally easier than you can do it offline. I would be willing to bet that... I mean, let's look at some of the streaming services that have started more recently. Up-and-comers, you'd say Disney Plus their ramp time compared to what it took Netflix, their ramp time was rapid and that's because they had a digital experience. Netflix had a mailed experience, they were mailing the DVDs. Yeah. I think you can get to people, you can have an offer that lands with them, they have a great product proposition. It's easy to get in and try. I like that one.

Jen Spencer (29:40):

Yeah, it is a shift though for a lot of software companies, a lot of SaaS companies because I grew up in the SaaS sales and marketing world of selling a product before the product exists, right? So I know I'm not the only one, someone else out there listening out there. How many demos-

Rob Giglio (30:03):
Well, there's a reason that we all would say, fake it till you make it. Those phrases come out of

Jen Spencer (30:09):

Right? I demoed software that was really just Envision app, clickable screens. And when you do that, you can maybe drive some demand through inbound, but it's definitely not the same. So there are a lot of companies that did get started that way and grew that way and a lot of people made a lot of money. But that playbook, given our conversations about trust and authenticity, that playbook is broken for all of those businesses.

Rob Giglio (30:44):

I agree. I think sometimes you see products in beta and what they'll do is provide a snippet of code that does a certain experience or they'll do dynamic demo kind of thing and they'll build interest and then they'll pay off that interest when they actually launch. That requires some trust on the part of the customer and you have to trust as a business team like, okay, this product's going to actually pay off. Yeah, I mean it's far better if you have a working version.

Jen Spencer (31:18):

Yeah, for sure. So let's go back to your actual role. We were in our dreamland of you're going to create some magical new product, but in your role today, again reminding everyone, you're leading marketing, sales, customer success, and operations.

Rob Giglio (31:37): Revenue operations.

Jen Spencer (31:38):

Revenue ops. Yep. So you can only view one dashboard every morning. You got one. One thing that you're looking at while you're drinking your coffee in the morning making an assumption, maybe it's something else. But what's on that dashboard? What do you need to see every day that tells you, okay, things are healthy, things are on track?

Rob Giglio (31:57):

So our team is working on such a dashboard, we're not done. So to be, again, back to being fully transparent, we're working on it. So it's not something that I get to look at today. It's something that our team is excited about having. What it will have is a view of what we're calling CCOM, customer-centric operating model. And it will be a visual representation of our customer journey from you always think about HubSpot, talking about engaging, delighting, That's our flywheel methodology. Imagine taking our flywheel and just detailing it with customer journey steps. So the flywheel doesn't go away, it's still the flywheel. We're still attracting, we're still engaging and we're still delighting, but we're putting a little granularity between what does it mean to engage? Well, we've got to create awareness. Engagement is we've got to create some sort of behavior, a traffic, a trial, a sign-up, a starter version.


We're then going to engage these customers after we've attracted them. And this engagement might look like a sales presentation, might be a demo. Then they're going to get the product and they're going to begin using it and this is the delight phase. I want to know how the product usage is going, what's the activation rate, what's the seek count, what's the depth of feature use, what's the success? Does our customer feel great about using our product? Then what's the likelihood of renewal and opportunity related to that? So the ultimate dashboard for me allows me to see in macro how customers are moving through our customer journey. Just to make it real for people as they're listening to this and they're thinking, what is this guy talking about? Oftentimes in marketing, we talk about a funnel, we'd say there's the top-of-funnel activity, there's the middle-of-funnel activity and then the bottom-of-the- funnel activity, just put the funnel horizontal.


It doesn't go top to bottom. It goes left to right and think about the same set of steps and ask yourself as a business owner, what could I measure today? What could I actually get a handle on so I could see these customers moving through my journey? So for me every morning, that's what I'd love to be able to use as a dashboard. I'd love to be able to click in. In an ideal world, I get all the way down to an individual customer in an individual country who just bought yesterday and I'm curious now on day two, how many people are using the product that we just sold them and if possible how happy are they? Can I get some kind of NPS view on their satisfaction? That'd be amazing, right?

Jen Spencer (34:33):

Yeah, absolutely. I love it. Well, we'll have to stay in touch to learn more about this dashboard. We are doing a full Flywheel audit of our own business right now and looking at every interaction, every point of friction or force that we have in our organization, both internal and external, and thinking about the customer journey that way. Haven't got quite yet to dashboarding that, but these things have been living in silos or maybe peripherally. We have one between marketing, sales, customer success, sales, customer success, finance, but not full organization, internal, external. And I think it's important and it's something that is not just a one-time thing, it's something as your business grows and changes and it evolves, you have to revisit it.

Rob Giglio (35:29):

For sure, and you may find as a business, you are attracting different customers. So what was working when you had a certain customer profile may not work five years later when you have a different customer profile. And if you're not staying fresh with that, your connection between your functions looks great, but your connection with the customer is disconnected and that's ultimately just as bad.

Jen Spencer (35:50):

Well, I can appreciate just how data-driven you are and what tools, I know you've got at your disposal using HubSpot as the heartbeat of your organization. But when you're communicating externally with external stakeholders, I think about my board and I'm communicating with my board. There are the business metrics and the KPIs that I'm looking at and that my team is reporting on up to me in our organization. But that's a lot of information and if you only could share three key business metrics with a board, right? People, who are external to the organization to let them know how things are going, what would you say those three metrics would be?

Rob Giglio (36:37):

Yeah, so just to clarify, we're going to remove the financial metrics. So sales is off the list and cost of sales is off the list. Okay. So we're just looking at diagnostics. So that's kind of the way we talk about it. We've got financial metrics and then diagnostics and our diagnostics for us and it's actually nice that you said three because the fact you said three, it anchors me down into this flywheel notion where it's attract, engage, and delight. And what I would look for is what's the number one proxy metric for, I'm doing a great job of attracting, what's the, I'm doing a great job of engaging and I'm doing an amazing job of delighting. By the way, in our business, the one that I care about most is the delighting one and the reason is because in a business like ours, we actually have more customers in our base than we will acquire new in a year.


I think for most businesses that's kind of the case. What you care most about are the people you currently have. You have to go get new ones. But really the ones you cannot lose sight of are the ones you already have. So for me, delight would be the North Star metric. For me, the delight metric would be something, and I'm just proxying this. Something related to product usage, the intensity and success of product usage.


Stepping back into the engaged step that's a sales kind of metric. For me I'd probably use close rate, I'd probably use something related to the success of getting a customer interested and then actually creating a relationship with them where they want to buy the product for money. So it was probably related to close rate and then I'm going to go back to the attract phase, which is the how are we bringing people in. That one's a tricky one because there's so many really good indicators that tell us whether we're doing a good job or not. I think I would go with some traffic metric and that one's a little less granular than I would like to have, but you told me I could only have three.

Jen Spencer (38:43):
You can only have three. Yeah.

Rob Giglio (38:45):

Related to traffic because traffic is telling me whether I'm effective at both bringing people in proactively as well as bringing people in passively in a more content-driven inbound motion. So traffic for the attract, close rate for the engage, product usage related to satisfaction in the delight. I would want way more than that by the way but those are my three.

Jen Spencer (39:12):
Yes. Well, I love it. Well I know let's say after you give three, they zoned out, they moved on to the next

Rob Giglio (39:17):
Totally. We have an awesome board though. They'd probably ask me for 50.

Jen Spencer (39:25):

Probably. Probably. Well, HubSpot's such a data-driven organization I'm sure there are accustomed to it too, right?

Rob Giglio (39:31): That's true. That's true.

Jen Spencer (39:33):

Well let's dream a little bit, and I want you to think about your marketing team in particular because so many of our audience, they're focused predominantly on marketing, although everything else we've talked about is very, very relevant. So if you pretend for a second, this is hard for me to do, pretend that time and money are not an issue at all. Where would you ask your marketing team to invest their next group of dollars in?

Rob Giglio (40:07):
Wow. Well, the second you say that that money is just not even a thing.

Jen Spencer (40:14): Yeah.

Rob Giglio (40:16):

I think I'm going to big advertising. I'm going back to what you might consider old-school methodologies and I know that sounds crazy, but let me tell you why I picked that. I picked that because I'm assuming I've got a good product. So back to this point about you have to have a good product or you don't want to get a trial. I'm assuming I have a good product and I'm assuming there's a basic way, it might not be perfect, but there's a way for people to experience it. Those are in my assumption set and the reason I jumped all the way to advertising is that's about expanding the funnel and telling the story and creating awareness at levels that I couldn't do any other possible way.


The reason that we have to caveat it by saying money is no object is that's not what I would do if you said, "I'm looking for really high ROI." That's not what I would do if you said "You only have a certain amount of money." It's a sort of frivolous kind of choice. But I think it's an interesting because you test the boundaries when you say something's frivolous and the boundaries that I'm testing are, can I create amazing awareness, interest, and engagement by spending all that money on advertising? And I don't just mean linear TV, I would do linear TV, I would do outdoor, I would do billboards, I would do T-shirts, I would blanket the world with awareness for whatever my thing is. Granted money is an object, timing is an issue. So that's why we don't do that.

Jen Spencer (41:56):

Of course. Well, and to kind of circle back on what the things we've talked about today, you also have a product that people can try. You have a free product that people can get in and they can start to experience. So you have that benefit because you're not advertising something that then costs somebody millions of dollars right out of the gate before they get any value from it.

Rob Giglio (42:24):

Imagine money was no object, and I could actually tell that story that would be amazing. Tell it from the rooftops.

Jen Spencer (42:32):
Yeah. All right. Well, maybe one day.

Rob Giglio (42:35):

One day. One day when money is no object, we will. For now, we focus on high ROI, great return activity. You've probably seen it. We have begun doing some more traditional television advertising and we're really pleased with that so far. So you may see more of that from us in the future, but we have to do it carefully, thoughtfully. The thing I don't love about up funnel advertising in general is it's super hard to be targeted and ultimately that's our challenge is being targeted enough with the right message is really hard in those forms.

Jen Spencer (43:12):
Well, I am personally waiting for, and I keep thinking, is it happening yet for targeting through streaming
services so that they know sometimes I'm watching a show, they know it's me, just like-

Rob Giglio (43:25):
They actually do wait no longer-

Jen Spencer (43:27): They know.

Rob Giglio (43:28):

Well, think about it this way, most of those streaming services have a sign-up and if they have a sign up there assigned to a person, and that person often links back to some other data source. So if you're known, you're targetable. So there are services that can target on streaming. There are services that can target on your television. I mean, you could go pretty granular down to the person if you really were willing to spend the money. But again, that's where the trade-offs happen is it worth it to spend the money to do it?

Jen Spencer (44:03):
Right. Well, I know that we can target by certain audience demographics. I was wondering about if I'm
watching a TV show and my husband's streaming the same show upstairs, do we see different ads?

Rob Giglio (44:18):
It depends on who's account ID you're on.

Jen Spencer (44:21):
Oh my gosh. Okay. All right. Well, I'm going to pull myself back from this rabbit hole.

Rob Giglio (44:30):

Yeah. I know it's actually creepy if you go down that rabbit hole, how targetable you kind of are actually. It's pretty crazy. It's pretty crazy.

Jen Spencer (44:36):
But we see it everywhere else on every other platform

Rob Giglio (44:38):

You do. I mean, think about I always when I talk to friends about this in the industry, I always remind them, I go, "Hey, well before you totally freak out, just remember the last time you checked out at a grocery store and they spit out a long receipt with all these things that you're probably going to buy the next time you come back to the store." It's like, they're keeping track of what you're buying at the grocery store in a database so the next time you shop, they're give you a coupon for buying it again and it might not have been what you bought on this particular shopping visit.

Jen Spencer (45:09): Right. Very true.

Rob Giglio (45:10):

Yeah. I personally like that kind of customization. I know I mean this is a whole topic for another podcast, but I know it's fraught with a lot of privacy dynamics and I think it's very personal. People have different personal choices and I think ultimately you have to be able to exercise your personal choice and your personal as opposed to just do anything. But for me personally, I like it. I don't mind getting coupons for, I don't know, some kind of string cheese or something.

Jen Spencer (45:39):
Whatever's relevant as long as it's relevant. Right?

Rob Giglio (45:42): Yep, totally.

Jen Spencer (45:44):

So I have one more question for you, and maybe we'll have a little bit of a call back to other conversations we had, but kind of a final takeaway for our audience. What do you think is the most important thing for marketers to do right now?

Rob Giglio (46:02):

Simplify your message, strip out all the noise, strip out all the jargon, remove buzz words, take away clutter. As I mentioned before, I think there's two things that are really playing big time with consumers and with businesses as they think about buying. One of them is people are overwhelmed by the amount of stimuli. We're just like, there's so much stimuli. As much as I love digital transformation, it creates the opportunity to ingest a lot of information in the form of content and other things. That makes it hard for people. Their brains are tapped. So we as marketers have to simplify the message, make it more clear. Think about the last homepage you were on for a tech company. It sounds like blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We all have to simplify our message in all of our customer touchpoints. That's one.


Two, because it relates to the second point. It's a way to build trust. We have to right now focus on building trust. So it's simplify the message, emphasize trust. I think if we do those things effectively in the next 18 months, those that do that well are going to weather the storm quite well. Those that don't, it's going to be tough. It's going to be tough sledding because you're telling a confusing message in a cautious market and you're not emphasizing the reason why somebody should actually part with money at a time when that's the last thing they want to do.

Jen Spencer (47:33):

Yeah, very, very wise words. Rob, thank you so much for joining me today. It was definitely a pleasure and I know I'm sure you'll be very busy, but I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting you in person at INBOUND in September.

Rob Giglio (47:47):
Let's do it. For sure. For sure. I appreciate the time. I love your podcast. I hope your listeners and maybe
your YouTube viewers find it super helpful.

Jen Spencer (47:58):

Wonderful. Well, thank you all for listening and watching. Please join us next week for another episode of the Intelligent Inbound Podcast. You'll meet another industry expert who like Rob leads an organization deeply rooted in Intelligent Inbound Marketing. And if you learn something today, please pay it forward by rating and reviewing us on your podcast listening platform of choice. Make it a great day, everyone.

Keep Listening

Creating a Seamless Digital Path for Customer Engagement

With Graeme Watkins, CEO of Valutrades

On this episode of the Intelligent Inbound Podcast, Jen and Valutrades’ CEO, Graeme Watkins, discuss the power of inbound in the FinTech space.

Read More & Listen

Asking the Right Questions as Your Industry Evolves

With Daniel Graff-Radford, CEO of Allbound

On this episode of the Intelligent Inbound Podcast, Jen and Daniel talk about how businesses can build better customer relationships by asking the right questions up front.

Read More & Listen

Negotiating Business Strategy Like Your Life Depends on It

Brandon Voss, President of The Black Swan Group

Jen sits down with Brandon Voss, President of The Black Swan Group, as they discuss the art of skillful negotiation and the power of inbound methodology to reach new audiences.

Read More & Listen
Back to All Episodes

About the Intelligent Inbound Podcast

Join your host, Jen Spencer, CEO of SmartBug Media®, HubSpot’s most-decorated global partner, as she and her guests explore the breakthrough ideas, innovations, and strategies that drive big results in marketing, sales, and revenue operations.

This is not a same-old, same-old leadership podcast. If you are an executive looking to break out from the pack, the Intelligent Inbound Podcast is one you will want on your shortlist.

Learn more about SmartBug Media®
Jen in front of a microphone