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HubSpot Flywheel: engage phase ... is building trust crap? (HubHeroes Podcast, Ep. 7)

HubSpot Flywheel: engage phase ... is building trust crap? (HubHeroes Podcast, Ep. 7)


It's INBOUND week, y'all, and as you may remember from last week's episode, your HubHeroes crew are beyond excited for what's to come over the next few days. But for today's episode, we want to take you on a trip down memory lane to INBOUND 2018, when HubSpot rocked everyone's world with the introduction to the Flywheel:

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For those of you who were in the HubSpot world at the time, you know what a shake up this was, as it was a radical departure from the traditional ATTRACT > CONVERT > CLOSE > DELIGHT FUNNEL model we had clung to as the cornerstone of the inbound marketing methodology for years.

However, to this day, this incredible innovation in the inbound space is still mystifying some. So, we're breaking it all down for you in this episode with a deep-dive into the Flywheel – specifically the engage stage – as well as what it really means to build trust as a business ... or is the idea of that crap?


  • What inbound is today – no longer a marketing strategy, but an overall growth strategy for a business.
  • What the engagement phase really is, and why it's the necessary pivot toward a more human approach in your business strategy.
  • Unpacking the mythologized romanticism that's been built up around the concept of creating and earning trust as a business with prospects and customers.
  • Devyn also lights it up with this gem: "Be prepared to nuke your whole system. That is usually my default (when giving advice) advice." BOOM!

Are you ready to dig in? Let's do this! 


Some of these we talked about, others we're adding because they're only going to make the episode that much sweeter for you ... 


I don't care if you write this down on a post-it note, print it out and make it a poster, or scrawl it across your mirror in lipstick. My man, Devyn, laid down an incredibly powerful truth in this episode, and if you remember nothing else, you can't forget it:

"What you should do is focus on being a good human being and just helping. And if you do that well, and you're good at problem-solving, then you're gonna make money."

Being a helpful human, that's what this is all about.

HubHeroes Community

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A Very Special Thanksgiving Episode (HubHeroes, Ep. 60)

OK, this is kind of funny. Going into this week, George and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that we wanted to do a Thanksgiving episode. We...

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Buying Has Changed, Sales Hasn't; Now What? Feat. Chris Stilwell (HubHeroes, Ep. 59)

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Meet your HubHeroes

Liz Murphy


Agency vet, content therapist, messaging strategist, HubHero wrangler.

Devyn Bellamy


HubSpotter, partner enabler, strategy wizard, BLACK@INBOUND.

Max Cohen


HubSpotter, senior solutions engineer, CRM evangelist, a millennial on TikTok.

George B. Thomas


HubHeroes leader, growth catalyst, guardian of humans, HubSpot expert.


George B Thomas (01:10):

Yep. Yep. Yep. I Love that answer. It doesn't matter how many times I listen to it. I'm like, yeah, I need to dance or fist pump or whatever. But today I'm super excited gentlemen, because we are going to dive back into this thing. That is really the flywheel. That is the inbound methodology. We started a couple weeks ago where we talked about attract what the hell is good content. Anyway, we deviated a little bit of because inbound, which by the way is days away. Not weeks away. Woo. My goodness. I can't wait.

And then we had last week, our special first co-host hosts, whatever you call him, Troy Sandage and man, talk about just a massively valuable gross strategy conversation. Devin was dropping bombs and mics through the episode, Troy was killing it. I was just along for the ride. I was like, buckle up, giddy up. Let's go.

👉 Check out the episode: Growth strategy with Troy Sandidge 

Now today though, we're gonna talk about engage phase is building trust, bull crap. Again, I always love when we start these out, because I don't know where this is gonna go, but I do wanna have a little history lesson because if you're listening to this, which you are, cuz you hear my voice, let's just get that out of the way. You're listening this. If you have joined in inbound and HubSpot in the last four to maybe even five years, there is no history to what it used to be like versus what it's like. Meaning if you came for the ride and it was initially the flywheel and it was a track engaged delight, that's all, you know, you don't have the historical seasoning of what the inbound methodology or the buyer's journey used to be because here's the thing. What I want people to realize.


Moving from the traditional inbound funnel (attract, convert, close, delight) to the flywheel

If you look at the flywheel and I've never heard anybody talk about this, there was a dramatic change because inbound 2012, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, whatever it was this four step thing where it was attracted, it was convert. It was clothes and it was delight. And all of a sudden through the magic of an inbound stage and a big, huge flywheel and Brian Halligan, we went from four things to three things and nobody explained how the four became three and what the freak that meant for marketing sales or other folks. And so today, as we think about and talk about funnel versus flywheel, friction versus fours, historical inbound versus the, you know what we're doing now, we have to have a little bit of a conversation of how a track convert, close and delight morphed into a track, engage delight.


And so what does that mean for the convert close? That is now the engage for your sales, marketing and service teams. Anyway, that's our history lesson. Gentlemen, when I bring that up, there was nodding of heads. Where does your brain go? What are your thoughts?

Devyn Bellamy (03:57):

The thing with engage. I personally like it a lot more because it's more, I guess you could say it's more holistic as far as your approach. Yeah. It's not like you are thinking, going into it's like, ah, convert I won or yeah. Now I'm gonna sell 'em to close. That's a bit too dialed into drilled in, into task and not about the buyer itself and the buyer's journey. That's that's just where my head's at. I have strong feelings and opinions on engage all positive though. All

Max Cohen (04:29):

Positive. Yeah. I agree with you. I'm much better like the idea of engage, especially when we start to think about the idea of the inbound strategy being like an all encompassing business growth strategy versus just a marketing methodology. I think like when we talk about convert close, it very much kind of sits it very specifically within the realm of sales and marketing and, and service has like almost nothing to do about it until you get to delight at the end.

And it puts like too much of an emphasis. I think the other thing too, like when you really think about it, all parts of a business can attract, engage and delight in their own ways service teams can attract in certain ways, you know, marketing teams can delight, you know, like there's sales teams can delight there's E everyone can kind of do everything. So it's cool because it kind of takes that framework and it, it makes it a little bit more flexible for all areas of the business to kind of have a hand in and think about how they're applying momentum, not just in their specific area, but how they can apply it all around this sort of growth cycle.

Yeah. And I just like how it makes it a little bit more flexible. Cause again, all businesses are very different. Not everyone has the same exact sort of tightly defined definition of converting and closing somebody when you open it up a little bit more and make it kind of like a sturdier framework that can apply to more businesses. I think it makes the utility a little bit better there.


The idea of engage is more human

George B. Thomas (05:45):

I love that we are actually very all aligned on this because I too am not complaining about the change, but I think you have to mentally have history in your brain so that you can, can understand what the future is to bring. When you start to talk about this flywheel, this inbound methodology, and I love engage for two reasons. One, it is very much more a human term that you can wrap your brain around. I'm supposed to engage and to what you said, max, the second thing it becomes now a very holistic business holistic thing where it doesn't matter if you're the janitor. If you're the support rep, if you're the chief marketing officer, if you're the business owner, it all still comes down to in your job in what you're in charge of you are in that kind of engaged phase. Now, so the listeners know if you haven't listened to the attract episode, go back, do that.

That will be in the links in the show notes. Also know that moving forward, cuz I tried to count max, but I lost count the amount of times you said delight in your last segment, we are gonna have an episode that is about delight. That's gonna be coming up next, delight, happy customers, happy life. We all know that's probably true if we can make that happen. But I have found that there is this interesting question that I've started probably 57% of the episodes with that. I felt like, you know what, that's what I'm gonna start with again. And because both of you have been historical trainers, I wanna know when all of a sudden engage showed up on the scene and convert and close were like, poof, you're outta here. Brothers fired when engage came on the scene, how did you start? And even now, how do you teach people or explain, engage across sales marketing, or just general business

Max Cohen (07:38):

When that change happened? You know, a big thing I always try to do as a, as a trainer is try to take something that was like a little more abstract, which let's be honest. The flywheel is sort of an abstract idea, right? Because you can define a lot of those stages very differently, depending on how your business works. I try to take that and make it like very literal. So it's super easy to kind of understand. So when I think of the engaged phase, you can look at this shit a couple different ways. I think, because I think it's kind of good that they got rid of the idea of convert being its own stage because in this new sort of age of inbound where, you know what, maybe we're not gating all of our content. I know we're gonna do a whole episode on that in the future.

Maybe we're not trying to get people's email addresses off of every ebook and thing that we do. Like maybe we're making a lot of that stuff sort of free and open the divide or the gap or the transition between the attract stage and engage stage kind of blend a little bit. If we were looking at more of the traditional sense, however, where you're gaining your content to capture someone's information. For me, that's kind of where the classic way that we look at engage, like starts, you attract folks by putting content out there that people are looking for. They read enough of it to trust you enough to give you their information. So this crucial engaged phase like starts when they literally give you a way to get in touch with them. They give you their email address. Maybe they follow you on social media, whatever, in the classical sense, we're kind of saying you've captured their email and maybe some information about them.


When does the delight phase of the Flywheel actually begin?

So the question now is like, how do you get them to a point where they're ready to talk to a salesperson? We also gotta think about the sales process too, because the stage after engage is delight. So at that point, we're kind of assuming not all the time, cuz again, I think you could translate the flywheel in a lot of different ways, but if we were to give it a little bit of rigidity, we would say, you probably start delighting someone after they've become a customer, which means the sales process also happens in the engaged phase. At least the first one or the first time someone becomes a customer. So if you need a very rigid way of looking at it, the way that it, that I tried to make it make sense to me and anyone that kind of like taught the concept to is a rough way that you can look at it is it starts when you get their email halfway through, you get them to a point where hopefully they wanna raise their hand to talk to a salesperson.

And then the second half of that engage phase is the sales process. And they leave that engaged phase and move into the delight phase. Once they become a customer, if I had to give it a very rigid prescription, that's what it would be. However, we don't all have to live by those definit. It can kind of blend a little bit more. All parts of the businesses can engage in different ways, but like that's kind of how I made it make sense to myself. And whenever I was explaining the flywheels, like a new concept to someone that's kind of their rigid frame, I sort of gave it so they could kind of understand quite literally what's happening when it starts as you're going through it. And when it ends for

Devyn Bellamy (10:23):

Me with engage, when it came, it really, for me shifted my mindset in operations and allowed me to be more fluid in how I operate. Like when I, when I teach people, I basically teach people how I personally operate and then do my best to make sure that how I operate aligns with basically how academy has taught me. But sure. What I'm thinking of engage. First thing engage does not mean sell, engage. Doesn't even mean talk to them. Let's just get that straight out. The gate engage means what do you do when you have their intention? That can be something as simple as tailoring the messaging that there already receiving. If you have a cookie on their machine, that can be something as simple as using smart content, HubSpot, CMS, to segment how they see things and what they see. And it's basically starting a conversation when it's not even, you know, clear that you have started a one-on-one relationship as far as information's concerned.

And these are all things that can be automated, which is fantastic. The second part is that when you do get involved and start engaging it's that you are being very intentional with meeting them where they're at, not with where you want them to be. One of my favorite things that I love talking to people about is that like when you're engaging them, find out where they are in their own journey, don't even just come out like, Hey, I got a demo. Let me feature drop on you and look it's this thing. No, that's, that's not engaging correctly when someone is, and I always bring this up, cuz it's always going to irk me. If someone is in my LinkedIn and the very first thing they send me is, Hey, look at all the things I do. You should talk. Can I get time on your calendar?

And it's like, I'm gonna block you. That is how you don't engage with someone. Also just as a side note, if anyone has gotten this or if the person who does this is listening, don't try and send me images that you say your five year old made. Cause I know they didn't <laugh> that I'm I'm, I'm not stupid stop insulting my intelligence, your, your child did not do this. It, it looked like an adult who was just really bad at Canva. Finally engage can just be as simple as having a conversation. It's like, just as simple as that, like there's this one person who sent me a LinkedIn message and said, Hey, how are things going in your neck of the woods or your side of the pond or something along those lines. And I almost answered, then I looked at their profile and it's like, oh, you're trying to sell me something.

That was good. I wish there had been like a little bit more authentic in the interaction or at least as a BDR gone through someone else or done something that made me feel like more than just some prospect or a number they're trying to hit taking all the way back to the engaged raise versus a convert and close. I think max put it beautifully. It's a spectrum. They blend together. You can go from attract into what would've been traditionally convert into what would've been traditionally closed. You can do all that step by step as it pertains to your business and culture, using the engaged face.


What does successful customer engagement or successful engagement look like?

George B. Thomas (14:01):

See, I love so much about what you both have been talking about. And, and I wanna spin back around here in a hot second Devon, because even the picture that you're painting, when we think about engage, engaging as a good human or engaging as a, maybe not so good human <laugh>, at least you might be a good human in real life, but your marketing, your sales, your business tactics are allowing you to lean out of what should be happening on that good human portion. And I wanna circle back around here in a minute to the idea of setting goals for what would be successful, successful customer engagement. And I am using the word customer because one of the things I wish more companies would do is just treat their prospects like customers.

There's this mental thing that happens that a customer is of value. And a prospect is just somebody that I'm trying to cram through a historical funnel or throw onto my whirly bur flywheel. And if we would just have this idea of Nope, they're all customers I'm gonna treat. 'em Like they're customer, all humans have value. I do wanna circle back to the setting goals of what does successful customer engagement or successful engagement look like. But the other piece of this is max. And you talked about this. If I had to create a rigid explanation of said engagement phase, this is how I would tell you that the first time when it was inbound and Brian was standing on stage and he spun the flywheel. What

Max Cohen (15:31):

A moment?

George B. Thomas (15:32):

The thing to me that was fascinating that I don't know if everybody paid attention to is if you watched the flywheel, it was blurry. Now I want you to think when you are a kid, you had the pinwheel, the wind would blow. You could hit it, spin red and silver and purple turned into like almost a solid color. And so for us to give a flywheel, a rigid set of rules is kind of weird. Yeah. And I almost wish there was a way, not in a fun way, but a way that we could flatten out the flywheel for a hot minute and realize, gosh, dang it. We're gonna be engaging during awareness. We're gonna be engaging during consideration. We're gonna be like all the historical four steps that we talked about. We're gonna be engaging in delight all of those. And if we even come down to the flywheel, we're gonna be engaging in a attract.

We're gonna engage and engage and we're gonna engage in delight. So it becomes this like blurry map, which by the way, I can delight people. The first time I meet them, it is a possibility I don't have to have 37 actions to delight you. You could watch one video and be like that dude is dope. You're delighted. Yeah. And so I want people to think about this flywheel, as it does get blurry, it does overlap. It probably shouldn't be rigid. And again, we go back to that blurry, but in a beautiful way, holistic all teams and focused on it's where like Devon said, where are they at? Let me do what they need there. And


Delight folks by guaranteeing they're buying for the right reasons

Max Cohen (17:01):

I think what you're talking about is a really good example of it's not marketing's job to attract. It's not sales jobs to engage. It's not service's job to delight. Everyone can do it. I'll use me as an example. I work in sales yet. I do a lot of attracting by creating a lot of content as a salesperson. I engage people by having conversations on LinkedIn, working with customers throughout the sales process, supporting my sales reps so they can have meaningful conversations with people.

And I delight folks by ensuring they're buying for the right reasons. They understand the different avenues for support and help. They can get in the future, checking in with folks and even talking and engaging with customers already out there in the community and making this a good place. Everyone can touch every single piece of it. If you're a marketer, it's not like you, you stop sending educational content to folks.

Once they become a customer, you're doing all this stuff or creating video and blog content and doing all your search engine optimization stuff to attract people. So you can talk to 'em in the first place, but then as you're nurturing them with continuous educational content, that's relevant to them, you're doing a great job at engaging with them. You're giving them avenues to raise their hand at the right time to talk to sales when they need to continuing that engaged motion. And then after they become customers, look at HubSpot academy, that is part of the marketing team. We are helping people get more out of it and be delighted. And we don't work in support. If we're in marketing, everyone can touch every single piece of it. So flattening it out, I think is a, is a huge piece. There. There's one thing I wanted to circle on.
And what Devin was saying about like where engage kind of started. And it's not necessarily just like when you capture their information, I think is folks continue to have the conversation around demand gen versus lead gen? It's not so much. I think it can. It sure it can start when you capture their information in that more traditional sense of, of inbound marketing, whether you're a ungate everything Hardell, or maybe you're a gate, everything, and really do the, the super traditional way we understand it.

Or you're something in the middle really doesn't matter. It could be that it starts when you capture their information or when you capture their attention and you haven't really captured their attention. If you haven't really put the work in and the attract phase. Anyway, the methods I think in which you go about engaging, and if we capture their email, great, we'll use email as a tool. We'll do it the right way. We'll use their information, not abuse it, but engaging when we're not capturing emails at the top of the funnel. And we're more so working on capturing attention that has everything to do with community building and engaging you through, through social and the dark social stuff that a lot of people are talking about and video content and, and you know, more experimental stuff too, as well today, you don't have to capture the email to engage. You can, you don't have to capture their attention.

George B. Thomas (19:47):

Now, max, you get a ding, ding, ding. On this episode, I literally went to our note section and I added demand gen versus lead gen, because that has to be a conversation that we have on a future episode and Devin, before I kick us off into a new direction where we start to talk about successful engagement goals, that type of thing. Is there anything that you wanna unpack outta your brain on, on what we've said in the last couple sections as

Devyn Bellamy (20:15):

Usually on point and aligned, we definitely need to find something that we disagree on at some point, but right now, no, we're, we're all basically saying the same thing, engagement. Isn't just about trying to sell. And it's like the job isn't done once you capture the email address and the job, doesn't just start when you capture the email, address it as with almost every part like max said, you can attract no matter where you are in the organization, you can engage no matter where you are in the organization. And you can not only delight no matter where you are in the organization, but you can delight at any point during the buyer's journey, your goal should be to delight at any point in the buyer's journey. Yeah. The engage phase is important because at the end of the day, every goal in your interaction should be solving for the customer. And even if you don't close them, ideally you want them to pay you to solve their pain point. If the information that you're giving them or the conversation that you're having, isn't getting them closer to the goal that they need to accomplish. You're doing it wrong. That's the mindset you should have and engage, which I guess leads us into our successful goals.


Everybody talks about how trust is so important, but let's unpack that

George B. Thomas (21:28):

And we'll get to the successful goals here in one second, cuz I do wanna take a little bit of break again because the title of this episode was engage. Phase is building trust, bull crap. You can't listen to a sales or marketing podcast. You can't read a sales or marketing blog article. You can't really turn around left or right without being. And the key word is trust well, okay. Is it like, we'll talk about goals and trust and if that's crap, but I'll tell you there's a couple people that I wanna mention because obviously they're starting to trust us. See what I did there. Ladies and gentlemen, one is Jr title. And what I'm talking about is there are people who are starting out of the hub heroes community to let us know what they think of the podcast. They're leaving raving, just amazing reviews on their favorite podcast app.

So Jr title. Thank you very much, sir. He says these three are bringing some really high level insights with each episode. They're all veteran HubSpot pros that know their stuff. Oh man, we could stop right there, but it goes on. You can read it. If you go over to the app also Mike Alton, I want to thank you brother, for your kind words. This is terrific by the way. There's an exclamation mark after that. So it was grammar. This is terrific. I'm so excited for this show. George is a tremendous host and is clear the entire crew.

Yes, that's right. Max and Devi are amazing too amazing wealth of house spot knowledge that I can't wait to learn from. And so ladies and gentlemen, if you are enjoying the show that we are putting the hub heroes podcast, please let us know on your favorite podcast app. And of course, we'll give you a shout out on the show like we did Jr. And Mike, now let's get back to the conversation of setting or goals or just this idea of successful engagement. When you think of digital marketing, inbound marketing, content, marketing, inbound sales, ABM, all the words that we could throw at it, what does successful engagement look like? And why? My God? Why is it so important?

Max Cohen (23:22):

Oh, I feel like we're, I feel like we're about to get into the, the very controversial MQL discussion. <Laugh> <laugh> I, I mean like, I, I feel like this is, especially since I've been getting into like the, the B2B content creation space where kind of a lot of the B2B marketers and the B2B sales people are kind of clashing together is this whole, whole controversy and conversation around marketing is just making MQL. And that's like the thing they're hanging their hat on. And the problem is, is everyone's defining MQL differently. But also you kind of have to cuz everyone's process is different.

What an MQL is for one business is gonna be totally different for another. But I, I do think you're probably seeing a lot of folks saying if I'm a marketer and I capture the information and I send it over to the sales team, my job is done and it's like, no, it's not. And I think that's where you're seeing a lot of friction and controversy around that acronym, marketing qualified lead. And you know, that's probably gonna happen cuz again, it it's just, it's defined so differently, but we should maybe try to broach that subject, I guess of, or, or I'm wondering if it's even like fruitful, cuz again, everyone's gonna have a different definition, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna show for a

George B. Thomas (24:35):

Second. I'm gonna no, no, no talk it. Trust me. Yeah. Trust Mell be it's the

Max Cohen (24:39):

Direction you wanted to go. But I know we have like we were gonna land there eventually. Right? So, well

George B. Thomas (24:45):

Here, here, here's the thing in my life. I never really planned to arrive anywhere. It just ends up taking us there. This is the life that I live. So Devin max brought up MQL. I really am curious as the historical sales dude on the show, you know your, your brain power and thought cuz trust me, trust me, ladies and gentlemen. Oh my God. Do I have thoughts on this? But Devin as the sales guy, what are your thoughts when it comes to this life cycle stage MQL S SQL L bull crap battle that we typically end up in.

Devyn Bellamy (25:17):

I think that they're highly necessary for scalability. For one, for two, it becomes a moot point. If you have a in place, if you have an SLA, then you have clearly defined marketing, qualified leads and what they attributes they need to possess in order to become a sales qualified lead. The other reason why they're important to me is because the life cycle stage is not a one way street. The thing is, is that people are going to be Byre and then no longer be Byre due to circumstances beyond their control. And you need to have some way of segmenting them that lets marketing, know that they need to be put basically back in the machine and work with some more they're they're not ready to come out. The oven. The thing is is that if your organization is set up correctly where there's sales and marketing alignment, then yes, it needs to happen.

If you're in a small organization where you're not getting very many leads. And so basically you're gonna try and squeeze the water out of whatever rock rolls into your yard. Then Hey, go for it. Feel free to funnel the form right to the sales team. Good on you. I personally would recommend investing a little bit more in your conversion path development process, but that's just me. The thing is is that if you are putting your value in your specific phase of the pipeline my job is to generate MQL. All I can say is I hope to God, that you have a manager who sees the bigger picture. I really hope that you have somebody who is looking over the entire pipeline and is saying, okay, this conversion path is set up, but this conversion point is struggling and it's anemic. And so then we need to change the definition of what is a MQL versus an SQL versus just a lead that has no business wasting people hours on. That's just my take on it. It's not for everyone because they don't have the foundation and the fundamentals in place to do it correctly.


Automate the right communication at the right time to the right people 

George B. Thomas (27:32):

I fully understand the next words out of my mouth are either going to open up a hornet's nest of hate mail, or I'm gonna have a thousand tulips or rose petals at my feet. I'm not sure which one, but ladies and gentlemen, George, George bead, thomas.com feel free. <Laugh> here's the thing for all of you marketers out there that thought when max and Devin were talking about this of like, yeah, yeah, my job is done. I made M QLS. My gosh, I don't know who put it in the world that your job was based on an individual property inside of a SAS software because that's what lifecycle stages is. Lifecycle stages is a property inside of a SAS software. That is, oh, here we go. Hang on, hang on. This is what people do. Oh, well the life cycle stages, the vertebrae of my marketing process yet on the other side of the room, you've got a sales team, oh, life cycle stages.

The vertebrae of my sales process. <Laugh> no, no, no. It's the vertebrae of your business process. The vertebrae of your business process is what I'm gonna tell you. And here's the thing. It's a property with options you can pick, which means you should do list segmentation. And based on that, what it is all about ladies and gentlemen is understanding where they are. So you can automate the right communication at the right time to the right people based on the vertebrae of your business. Not that you did a good job because as a human, you should be engaging. As we said, in awareness, in engagement, in delay. In other words, we should always be talking and creating relationship with humans so that we can sell them or help them with the products and services that we provide. Let the hate mail or love mail begin. <Laugh> I'll step off my podium

Max Cohen (29:17):

Being a implementation specialist and training people. This was always the funnest part because as soon as we got the idea of the flywheel down or the inbound methodology down, then we got the idea of the buyer's journey down and then came along this fun little thing called life cycle stages, inside a HubSpot. And then it was just like, oh, we gotta do have this conversation now. And it's a tough one because for the longest time up until very recently inside of the HubSpot tool, you have eight life cycle stages, subscriber, lead marketing, qualified, lead sales, qualified, lead opportunity, customer and evangelist and other can't believe a rememberable. But I've had to explain 'em that many times and you could not change them. You can now, which is a little known phone fact. You can actually customize those, which is super cool. But since they had such sort of reg rigidity, if you will, in the way that they were set up, I feel like I had to do not a lot of mental gymnastics, but I had to come up with a way that I thought it made sense.

You know, whereas like pretty easy, right? Subscriber someone subscribed to your blog. That's it awesome. A lead, someone filled out any form, great MQL SQL. There's nothing automatically that moves them cuz everyone defines 'em differently. So a lot of the times I had to like tell people, Hey, you can kind of define marketing, qualified, lead and sales qualified lead kind of however you want. You just gotta think about how you're using them. There's the conversation of, Hey, maybe if you're marketing sales team gets together, you take a look at how many MQs either turned into SQLs cause they were further qualified or maybe you're using SQL for something completely different.

Whenever I thought about the marketing qualified lead and what that means, I feel like there has to at least be like a minimum. When I think marketing qualified lead, a lot of people will define these as oh, they filled out a, a landing page to get an ebook, send 'em to sales, marketing, qualified lead, no stop.

Don't do that at a minimum, you can define marketing qualified lead. I kind of think within your own parameters, but I think at a minimum it means someone would've had to have taken an action where they implicitly know they're about to talk to someone kind of in a sales role. If they said request a quote or talk to sales, like they know what they're getting into. When they fill out a form that says that when they say request a consultation or you know, get a demo, they kind of know that they're starting off the sales process. The reason that's important is because as a marketer to get someone to that point, you've done enough either directly or indirectly to get that person, not to trust you with their children, but to trust you enough to take that step, you've done the work, whether it's the content you've created, the brand you've built, the delight that's happened and people have spread your name through word of mouth.


"I know I at least trust you enough to talk to a salesperson"

You've done something to get that person to be like, yeah, oh, maybe I'll take this a little bit more of a serious step that's way different than downloading an ebook. So for me, when you think, how am I defining a marketing qualified lean when there is a hand raise, that's very much high intent. I know I am maybe not high intent as some people would describe it, but they know at least I trust you enough to talk to a salesperson. I think that should be the floor of what defines a marketing qualified lead. If you're using it as one of your life cycle stages, because who, who knows now you can call it whatever you want. You can call it a banana. It really doesn't matter. Come up with metrics. That kind of make sense, but just make sure those stages have utility, whether it's from a reporting standpoint or just someone looks at that stage and they understand what's going on of that, you know, in that particular life cycle of that customer or potential customer, just make sure it has utility. And to me, that's what very much separates a lead in the classical sense that we understand life cycle stages from a marketing qualified lead. So you got them to take that important step and they wouldn't have done that. If you hadn't done somewhat of a job as a marketer in some way,

George B. Thomas (33:13):

<Laugh> dang it. Max. Now I'm hungry for a banana. Why did you have to call it a banana? I,

Max Cohen (33:19):

I use that example for everything. I don't know why it's my go-to fruit. So

George B. Thomas (33:23):

The banana banana, Devin, what are your thoughts on this? And again, we can either continue to hammer out about MQs, which by the way, don't even get me started on the conversation of MQL to SQL L is like a blip on the radar screen, fractional seconds that could be actually happening. Don't get me started on lead status and how that works with life cycle stage. Anyway, those are probably whole other conversations. But if we circle back around to what does successful customer engagement or what does successful engagement look like? Do we wanna keep heroin MQL or is there something else that comes to your brain? My

Devyn Bellamy (33:58):

First thought is as far as what successful engagement looks like the simplest term is to drive them towards their goal. Not what you want them, their goal to be. You want their goal to be, to give you money. That's not their goal. You don't go out every day thinking who can I give money to? Who can I hand my hard earned dollar to, to do a thing that I may or may not need? That's not the way it's gonna work. Sorry. If you're good at what you do, your company's good at what it does. And you are well versed enough in what the company does to understand the problems that the company is solving.

Then good engagement is helping people understand problems that they may or may not be aware of and helping them get to the goal of solving them, which is a whole reason why they were attracted to you in the first place. Good engagement is offering value and not doing the call to action to close. The idea is to good little, give a lot. That is good engagement. Being a good human being in general means giving more than you get mm-hmm <affirmative> and, or, or, or more importantly giving more than you take.

And yeah, what you should do is focus on being a good human being and just helping. And if you do that well, and you're good at problem solving, then you're gonna make money.

George B. Thomas (35:39):

Oh God, I love that so much. I mean, anybody who has listened to me over the last nine years has heard me say be a happy, helpful, humble human. I mean, come on, be a happy, helpful, humble human ya REPA. Yaso you put good into the world. Good's gonna come back to you, max. Yeah. What are your thoughts on success here? Yeah.


The tools and levers to pull on during the engaged phase of your strategy

Max Cohen (35:58):

Okay. So I think we gotta separate there's the tools and the levers you can pull. And then there's like the overall strategy of like, what are you trying to do? Like, what are you, what are you doing in the engaged phase? Try to like make it as general as possible. So you can then take your business and, and get more specific with it. I'm a firm believer that this framework can apply to almost any business. You just kind of take it and make it more specific to like what you're doing. When we, when we think about the tools, think about what you got at your just, you know, at your disposal content again is always gonna be the most important piece because you can't really engage anyone. If you don't have original, helpful educational, valuable content that people actually care about. Okay, bar none. You're still focusing on your content here.

Your delivery methods that you have email, social media, some sort of community engagement, video, all the same stuff that you have available to you in the attract phase, you've got all these tools. You can figure out how to use them. A lot of that's gonna be experimentation, but in terms of like overall, what are you trying to do in the engagement? Well, one use their information. Don't abuse it. So a lot of, a lot of what you do in engage is like, what are you not do? You don't immediately send 'em to salespeople when they're not ready to talk to salespeople. Okay? You don't spam them and bombard them with every piece of content you have thinking that's gonna magically get them to wanna buy something from you, right. Just gonna annoy the shit on them.

So don't spam people send them con if you are gonna send content to someone, make sure it's actually going to be relevant to them.
And it makes sense about, you know, it makes sense to send it to and based on what you know about them. So like ask good questions on if you are using forms, if you are gaining content, if you are doing anything where you're capturing information, make sure every question you ask is going to provide value to you. As a marketer, you get value as a marketer. When it's something that you can use to hone that experience, that's gonna happen after make you market to them better, not just a phone number and an address and the social security of their first child. So you can give it to the salesperson. No, you wanna make sure you can continue crafting a much better experience for them. So you continue to engage them well and you give them a good experience. Why is it important to provide a good experience at the end of the day, this is what's gonna happen.

People that are engaging with you are either gonna eventually buy from you or they're not. There's gonna be way more people that don't buy from you. Again, marketing is still a numbers game. So what do you wanna make sure you're doing with those people that aren't buying from you? Well, you still wanna make sure they have a good experience because maybe they just engaged with your content after you capture their attention or captured their information. Like whatever. Maybe they just engaged with your content. Maybe they started to engage with your sales process. For some reason, they didn't get all the way to the end. You still wanna make sure those people either feel like they can come back later, cuz maybe they didn't get to the end cuz it, it wasn't the right time. Or maybe you want them to go like recommend your content, your services, your product to someone else because maybe they know someone else that would be a good fit even though they're not.
So you wanna make sure whether they buy from you or not.

They go through that experience of learning and getting more educated on their topic, going through a delightful sales process or even just engaging with more of the content that you're nurturing 'em with. However you do it, social email video, or whatever you wanna make sure, even if they're not buying that they're having a good experience and they're telling other people about it or they're either seeing you favorably. So if someone else comes across 'em and they ask you about 'em or they find themselves in a conversation, you can still create promoters of your content. And that's great. Even if they're not paying you money, those are free marketers. Honestly, it's gonna take a lot of experimentation to figure out how your audience likes to be communicated with. Some are gonna love email. Some are gonna hate email.

Some are gonna be super active on social. Some are not gonna be super active on social. Some are going to be in very specific communities online and you have to go to them. For example, like when I did my new hire presentation at HubSpot, I got all my traffic from posting in very specific places on Reddit. That's where I got a lot of my blog traffic. You gotta go meet people where they're at. It's a combination of a lot of those things, but tactically, at the end of the day, you're trying to, once you have their attention or you have their information, the next place you have to get them to is you want to get them into the sales process and make sure that sales process is a delightful experience.

George B. Thomas (40:05):

Oh my God, it's probably another episode. But what's funny, max is when I listened to you talk, then that last section my brain went to and I wonder, I wonder how many people out there are asking the humans that they're helping. How do you best like to communicate email phone? I wonder how many people out there asking how do you best like to learn text, audio, video? How many people are paying attention to who the human is and how they like to go about their day? And then again, as we said earlier, meeting them there. So we're gonna close it up. We're gonna give them some action oriented tips or tricks or hacks.

They've listened to this whole episode on engagement and trust, which by the way, ladies and gentlemen, I know we're gonna probably circle back around and have a complete episode just on the word trust pertaining to your business and things that you can should could whatever do. But what are some actionable takeaways we can do one or two each whichever, probably one each but actionable takeaways that the hub heroes listeners can take with them and move forward next week.

Devyn Bellamy (41:11):

Be prepared to nuke your whole system. That is usually my default with whatever advice, be ready to look at your entire process. See that it is broken. See that it is toxic. See that it is doing more harm than good and get ready to scrap it and start over. You can iterate your way out of crisis, but sometimes it is just, all you're doing is polishing a turd. Sometimes you've gotta flush that bad boy, be ready to your system of engagement and restart from scratch. If you evaluate what you got going on and see based on the conversations that you've heard today, that it ain't it. Then it's time. Then it is time that you just need to get rid of your stuff and start over.


Let's get real about trust means in the business context

Max Cohen (42:00):

My actual takeaway is gonna, is gonna just hit on a trust thing for a second. There's this concept that I'm seeing people talk about now called marketing romanticism people kind of get caught up in the idea of, oh, we're just like building trust with people and we want people to, to trust us. And it's this very like altruistic just idea that marketers are here to make the world a better place. I think making the world a better place and all that kind of stuff can be a byproduct of doing a lot of this stuff. Right. And I think that's okay. When we think of this idea of trust though, I kind of said it earlier. When we talk about building trust with your customers, we're not saying they trust you with the life of their child or they trust you with, you know, something huge.

What we're talking about is they trust you enough to do something specific. So like when we say build trust throughout a lot of this stuff, it's more that I trust that you know what you're talking about, cuz you've proven it through your content and expertise. I trust that you won't abuse my information cuz you're not selling it to people. I trust that you won't try to hard sell me and send an army as sales reps down my throat and burn my phone with all the cold calls I trust you enough to give you money. I trust you enough that you're not gonna screw me and that you're gonna deliver on your end of the bargain. I trust that you can support me and help me reach my goals as a business. Again, we're talking about building enough trust to get to the next step of the relationship. We're not talking about trust in this very bruh haha, very, you know, fluffy kumbaya sense. So just don't overthink the trust thing. Little bits of trust you earn along the way. If you're doing this the right way.

George B. Thomas (43:38):

I mean I might have just teared up a little bit. I'm gonna throw that out there. That that was like max was preaching and I may preach a little bit here towards the end too, because my action item, my tip is that I really need everybody to break this idea, this methodology of singularity. And what I mean by this is when we get a conversion typically as a sales rep or a marketer, we think of the conversion as max Cohen or Devin Bellamy or George B. Thomas or John Hancock or Betty White or whoever that single human being is. But we all know that there's this six degrees of separation. We have to understand that Max's cousin, sisters, brothers ex fiance actually owns an automotive shop, which by the way, is who you actually help with your products and services automotive shop.

So while somebody converted and we have this singularity mindset instead of this audience mindset as a professional speaker, I know when I communicate, I'm communicating to many, not communicating to one.

And if we could start with our sales and marketing to realize all these years, we felt like we're talking to one individual, but we're talking to an ecosystem of families and friends. That would be what I would want people to do. Change this mindset of singularity conversions and singularity conversations. Okay. Hub heroes we've reached the end of another episode, will Lord lack continue to loom over the community or will we be able to defeat him in the next episode of the hub heroes podcast? Make sure you tune in and find out in the next episode, make sure you head over to the hub heroes.com to get