The number of companies implementing Salesforce Pardot marketing automation appears to be continuously increasing. Although the speed of growth is slower than before, the number of companies that have adopted the system is increasing continuously. On the other hand, the number of companies adopting Hubspot, a well-known marketing automation system, also seems to be increasing on an ongoing basis. However, to be honest, compared to the speed of adoption of Salesforce Pardot, the speed of adoption of Hubspot is not overwhelming, but there seems to be a big difference.
Why has there been such a difference? I would like to speculate on the causes in this article. Please note that my guesses include a great deal of my own imagination. I have no data to back this up. What is this speculation? It is that the difference between Salesforce Pardot and Hubspot’s target customers and sales methods is the cause.
First, let me describe the target customers of the two companies: Both companies target small and medium-sized businesses rather than large corporations. Both companies are targeting small and medium-sized enterprises rather than large enterprises. The same is true for the BtoB companies in particular.
Next, let us consider the characteristics of the information gathering process of these target companies. My sense is that the majority of BtoB SMEs are not interested in marketing. Rather than being uninterested, they are not doing such things in the first place, and they are proud that they have been able to continue their business without any problems. There are a very small percentage of companies that are focusing on BtoB marketing (mainly IT-related), but overall, I would say that it is a small percentage.
In other words, most of the small and medium-sized companies are not taking actions to gather information on their own. Of course, the number of people who look up BtoB marketing tools on websites is probably a small fraction of the total. They do not even know the word “marketing” and should be assumed to be completely ignorant of how they should consider it.
The two companies are competing against such a company, and I would like to write about their sales approach from here on. Salceforce is dealing with this type of customer with a basically steady strategy. They thoroughly implement a strategy in which inside sales staff call around and pass on prospective customers to sales staff. Their strength is, after all, their sales force. They try to arouse interest by calling even uninterested customers. (Whether they can or not), they have a dedicated team making large numbers of calls, and your company may have received one or two calls from them. That’s how much phone sales they are doing. So it can be assumed that there are a certain number of people who are not familiar with the company, but know its name or even somehow know what it can do. As a result, there are many potential customers.
Next, what about Hubspot? Unlike Salesforce, they don’t do phone sales. This is because they have their own way of thinking. They believe that if you provide the information that is needed to the people who need it, the customers will follow. So basically, what they do is write blogs and contribute to the media. They do some advertising, but they are different in that they are directing people to their content. Therefore, many of the companies that use Hubspot do so for the purpose of solving their own marketing problems. Many companies think that their marketing issues should be solved by Hubspot. In other words, it is safe to say that those who do not consider it are not in the target audience.
It is the blog post and not the phone call that arouses interest. It is difficult to reach potential customers because it is only targeting those who have a sense of the issue. Salesforce is different in this respect. Salesforce is different in this respect, using advertising and inside sales. Of course, Salesforce is also doing inbound marketing things such as blog posts, but by all accounts they are not putting much effort into it.
As a result of these differences in characteristics, can you somehow see why Salesforce Pardot is selling better? One major difference is that Salesforce Pardot uses inside sales to approach potential customers as well, while Hubspot focuses on prospective customers who are already aware of the issues. Another difference is that while Salesforce Pardot uses phone calls and salespeople to explain the advantages of its products through people, Hubspot basically provides the necessary information to the necessary people not through people, but through articles such as blogs, in order to get them to consider it. In other words, they are not approaching people who are not even considering the product, which makes up the majority of BtoB companies in Japan.
First, the biggest reason for the difference is that Salesforce Pardot is approaching a larger volume segment. As mentioned above, most BtoB SMEs are potential customers, people who have no interest in or concern about marketing tools. Hubspot, as mentioned above, does not reach the majority of BtoB companies in Japan. They probably don’t even know Hubspot as a company or product.
As a result, Salesforce pardot is the first choice of companies that have started to consider implementing a marketing tool after hearing about it. Perhaps they would have learned about Hubspot as a result of competitive research, but it would be reasonable to assume that Salesforce Pardot would have taken the lion’s share of their business. What also made this strategy possible was Salesforce’s overwhelming sales force. Their skill at generating interest over the phone and then getting the sales person to close the deal is amazing. It could be said that this method could only be realized with Salesforce. On the other hand, Hubspot’s strategy is to reach out to customers who are already in the market. It is by far the lowest volume in terms of targeting only a small percentage of actual customers. The company is also exposed to comparisons with other marketing automation tools and is caught in a competition between products that do not differ greatly from each other, so it is not expected to perform as well as it would like.
One reason for the difference between Hubspot and Salesforce may be their sales force. As mentioned above, Japanese companies do not even consider marketing tools. They also do not have criteria for how they should choose a marketing tool. They do not have criteria for how to choose the right marketing tool for them. No matter how many blog posts you write and how many keywords you rank high for, you will not reach most of them. In Japan, most people do not do research in the first place. We often see figures that show that companies under consideration browse websites before inquiring, and that more than 60% of people have decided which tool to use when inquiring. However, even though everyone knows that this figure is data from the U.S., they assume that it can be directly adapted to Japan. In fact, Salesforce should realize this when they focus less on content and more on inside sales and sales. In Japan, the correct answer is that they are not even searching in the first place.
In addition, due to the business practices of Japanese BtoB companies, they tend to look at the personality of the salesperson as much as the product. The personality of the salesperson himself/herself has a large impact on purchasing. Even if the specifications of the product itself are somewhat inferior, if the customer likes the salesperson, the product will be purchased, which is a strong tendency in Japan. Of course, this is true in other countries as well, but not to the same extent as in Japan. Salesforce’s approach fits in with such practices. However, with Hubspot, you are basically asked to read a blog post and then meet the person for the first time. This means that they are not completely rational in their decisions just because they are a BtoB company.
What do you think? I am assuming that these assumptions are correct and that this is the reason why Salesforce Pardot is selling well and Hubspot is not selling well. This is why Salesforce Pardot is selling well and Hubspot is selling relatively poorly. I would like to add a few words to this article to avoid giving the impression that Hubspot is not a good product. First of all, speaking personally, the product itself is not so different between Salesforce pardot and Hubspot. To be honest, I don’t care which one you use. Furthermore, when it comes to ease of use, Hubspot is much easier to use. I think most people would agree with me on that. There is a difference at the level of “yes, it is easier to use. Furthermore, Hubspot is based on the idea of providing what is needed to those who need it. It is Hubspot that says emphatically that putting marketing automation in the hands of those who don’t need it makes no sense at all. I am in agreement with this assertion. On the other hand, Salesforce Pardot tends to make people adopt it even though they clearly know they will not be able to use it. Although it is just a rumor, it is said that a certain number of customers of companies that have implemented Salesforce Pardot are customers who hardly utilize it. I am not saying that Salesforce is bad, but it is a difference in sales methods.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do things, but it is important to keep in mind whether or not it fits the reality. In most cases, if you do the right thing in the right place, it will work. In that sense, Salesforce’s approach may be the right approach for Japan.