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An Inside Look Into Google and HubSpot's GTM Strategy for Their Ads Integration

Behind every great integration is a successful go-to-market (GTM) story — but it’s hard to know what kind of GTM strategy delivers real results, especially when there are so many moving parts.

So, we compiled all the pieces for you. What better way to learn how it’s done than from strategic partners Google and HubSpot — two supernodes (with 2,000+ partners) who teamed up to develop and launch a high-value integration for their mutual customers.

In this post, you’ll learn how Google and HubSpot executed a comprehensive GTM strategy for their Ads Optimization Events tool, which resulted in a 232% increase in feature adoption just five months post launch. 

We chatted with HubSpot’s Christen Luciano, Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships, and Kelsey Peterson, Manager of Strategic Partner Enablement and Operations, to learn exactly how this success story unfolded.

Jump Around

Setting the Stage: Understanding the Ads Optimization Events Tool

The Ads Optimization Events tool allows HubSpot Professional and Enterprise customers to send online and offline conversion event data to Google Ads to help marketers optimize ad performance. 

For example, when a lead clicks a Google Ad and then makes a purchase either online or offline (think: over the phone or in the store), their lifecycle stage changes from a “lead” to a “customer”. HubSpot’s Ads Optimization Events tool syncs that conversion or “event” data with Google so it knows which ads resulted in an offline conversion, not just a click. As a result, Google has more data to improve ad targeting and optimize ad campaigns for conversions — thus, more qualified leads.

Without the integration, the only way for advertisers to know if someone made an offline purchase after clicking a Google Ad is to use Google’s offline conversion tracking, which requires deep technical expertise and development support to implement.

HubSpot and Google’s product teams launched the beta version of the Ads Optimization Events tool in the summer of 2020, and then fully released it to HubSpot Professional and Enterprise customers in September 2020.

A Timeline of HubSpot and Google’s Go-To-Market Strategy

Almost One Year Before Launch

Google’s channel partnerships team and HubSpot’s strategic partnerships team first discussed the idea for the integration in Q4 of 2019. In early 2020, HubSpot began its discovery phase to vet the integration opportunity with Google.

HubSpot’s strategic partnerships team worked with Katie Koenig, its Ads Product Lead, and customer success teams to: 

  • Compile ads-related integration requests from HubSpot’s Community forum
  • Analyze trends related to offline conversion tracking in customer support tickets
  • Review product feedback and requests based on the customer success team’s conversations with customers
  • Gather customer feedback from customer experience surveys

Through this process, HubSpot’s team quickly learned that an offline conversion tracking integration with Google Ads was in high demand.

hubspot-google-ad-optimization-events-tool-GTM-strategy-crossbeam-christen-luciano
“It’s up to us to select what makes sense to build on behalf of our customers, and we found that the Ads Optimization Events tool was the most valuable thing that we could do for our customers,” says Christen Luciano, Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships at HubSpot.

At this time, the HubSpot and Google teams established a regular meeting cadence and set expectations for how both companies would stay aligned throughout the entire GTM process (Skip ahead to see how they did it).


July 2020 (Two Months Before Launch)

Integration Video for HubSpot’s Customer Success and Sales Teams

HubSpot’s strategic partnerships team created an internal video to help its customer success and sales teams learn how the Ads Optimization Events tool works and how it benefits HubSpot and Google’s mutual customers. 

Integration Guide

HubSpot’s strategic partnerships team created a detailed integration guide to educate its internal customer success, marketing, and sales teams on product messaging and how to help customers set up the integration.

First-page-offline-conversion-tracking-hubspot-integration-guideFirst page of the integration guide. Image courtesy of HubSpot (Click image to see the full guide).

second-page-offline-conversion-tracking-hubspot-integration-guideSecond page of the integration guide. Image courtesy of HubSpot (Click image to see full guide).



September 2020 (The Official Launch)

Integration Deck for Google and HubSpot’s Teams

HubSpot created an integration overview deck to enable Google’s sales team (referred to as “sellers”). HubSpot also shared the deck with its customer success and partner marketing teams to help them drive integration adoption through customer conversations and co-marketing initiatives.

title-slide-hubspot-oct-ads-tool-trainingThe title slide in the HubSpot OCT Ads Tool deck for Google’s Sellers. Image courtesy of HubSpot.

HubSpot-OCT-Ads-Tool-Google-Seller-Training-Agenda-Slide

The agenda slide in HubSpot OCT Ads Tool deck for Google’s sellers. Image courtesy of HubSpot.


The deck included:

  • The integration demo video
  • The benefits of HubSpot Ads (HubSpot’s ads software)
  • The benefits of the Ads Optimization Events tool
  • What the integration means for customers’ ad campaigns
  • How to identify customers who are likely to adopt the integration
  • A process for HubSpot and Google’s teams to nominate customers for a free 60-day trial of HubSpot’s Professional subscription
  • Typical integration use cases

HubSpot’s Enablement Video for Google's Sellers

Katriona Heaslip, HubSpot’s Product Marketing Manager on the ads team, created an enablement video for Google’s sellers that explains what the Ads Optimization Events tool is and how it will help mutual customers improve ad targeting and optimize ad performance.

The video teaches Google’s sellers:

  • How the integration works
  • How it benefits customers
  • How to identify customers who would be a good fit for the integration
  • Typical integration use cases

ads-optimization-events-enablement-video-google-sellersTitle slide of HubSpot’s enablement video for Google’s sellers. Image courtesy of HubSpot.


HubSpot’s Technical Training Video for Google’s Sellers

HubSpot’s Senior Product Manager for the Ads Tool recorded a demo video to teach Google’s sellers how to help customers set up the integration.

technical-demo-hubspot-offline-conversions-integration-with-google-ads

Title slide of HubSpot’s demo video. Image courtesy of HubSpot.


FAQ Page for Ads Optimization Events Tool

The HubSpot partnerships team created an FAQ sheet in a shared Google Drive accessible to both companies. Google’s sellers add their questions to the doc on an ongoing basis, and the HubSpot team answers them.

Announcing the Ads Optimization Events Tool in HubSpot’s Community Forum
HubSpot’s product team announced the integration to customers in their community forum — the same forum they turned to a year prior to initially vet the integration opportunity.

hubspot-knowledge-base-article

HubSpot's Announcement in its community forum. Image courtesy of HubSpot.

HubSpot’s Knowledge Base Article
HubSpot’s team wrote a Knowledge Base Article to help its customers sync ad conversion data with their Google Ads accounts. 

Screen Shot 2021-02-17 at 4.43.31 PM-1

HubSpot's Knowledge Base Article for the Ads Optimization Events tool. Image courtesy of HubSpot.

Publishing a Joint Case Study

HubSpot’s customer success team and Google’s sellers worked together to identify which customers had seen early success using the integration and which of those customers may be interested in participating in a case study. HubSpot’s marketing team worked with its customer CallTrackingMetrics to develop the case study. Once Google’s marketing team approved the draft, HubSpot published and promoted the case study on its website.

calltrackingmetrics-case-study-hubspot-google

Case Study - CallTrackingMetrics Improves Lead Volume And Quality With HubSpot Ads Optimization Events. Image courtesy of HubSpot and Google.

(Looking for some joint case study inspiration? Here are some standout traits for a great partner case study.)


October 2020 (One Month After Launch)

To continue the launch momentum, HubSpot and Google announced the integration in October 2020 with a blog post and promoted the integration landing page to mutual customers. 

HubSpot’s Ads Optimization Events Announcement Blog Post

HubSpot’s marketing team published a blog post titled, “Why You Should Be Leveraging HubSpot Ads Optimization Events” to educate HubSpot Professional and Enterprise customers on how to advance their advertising capabilities and how HubSpot’s integration can help.

hubspot-blog-post-why-you-should-leveraging-hubspot-ads-optimization-events

HubSpot’s blog post, “Why You Should Be Leveraging HubSpot Ads Optimization Events”. Image courtesy of HubSpot.

 

The Ads Optimization Events Landing Page

HubSpot and Google launched and promoted an integration landing page. HubSpot owned the landing page creation, and Google’s marketing team offered input as well as created a video for the landing page. Google and HubSpot’s marketing teams collaborated on writing the script, and Google’s team produced the final video.

ads-optimization-events-landing-pageThe Ads Optimization Events landing page. Image courtesy of HubSpot.

ads-optimization-events-landing-page-videoThe Ads Optimization Events video that is featured on the integration landing page. Image courtesy of HubSpot.


Additionally, Google ran a special promotion, offering $150 in ad credits to new Google customers integrating with HubSpot. HubSpot also gave its customers the opportunity to access the Ads Optimization Events tool through an extended 60-day free trial of its Professional subscription.

ads-optimization-events-landing-page-google-offer-150Google included its Ads incentive offer at the bottom of the integration landing page. Image courtesy of HubSpot.


HubSpot Virtually Trains 100 Google Sellers

One of HubSpot’s inbound consultants hosted a live virtual training for 100 Google sellers, teaching them how to:

  • Set up the integration for customers
  • Consult with customers and answer specific use case questions
  • Help customers adopt the Ad Optimization Events tool’s features


November 2020 (Two Months After Launch) 

Google’s Agency Webinar

Google hosted an invite-only webinar for their agency customers to learn how the Ads Optimization Events tool can help their clients optimize ad campaigns and generate high-quality leads. While Google’s team created and presented most of the webinar content, they also had a HubSpot team member demo the integration.

google-agency-webinar-ads-optimization-eventsGoogle’s Agency Webinar. Image courtesy of Google. 


Here’s the blurb used to promote the webinar:

How to Generate Leads Via HubSpot’s Offline Conversion Tracking (OCT)
On Tuesday, November 10, we’re hosting a "Generate Leads "webinar on how to implement offline conversion tracking via HubSpot to generate high-quality leads and improve your Ads performance. Optimizing your Google ad campaigns for high-quality leads drives business results, but with your conversion information often remaining in the HubSpot CRM, it can be difficult to know which leads from Google Ads become customers. 

This data problem is addressed with HubSpot’s integration to Google’s offline conversion tracking solution. Our Google product expert will walk you through best practices to refine for lead quality using your company’s own signals. 

We’ll be joined by the HubSpot team who will demo how to connect your events to Google’s offline conversion tracking solution in three easy steps. There will be designated time for Q&A.

The webinar was such a hit that both speakers and attendees were buzzing about it online. Sam Hirbod, one of the presenters, recapped the webinar on LinkedIn

sam-hirbod-linked-in-postLinkedIn post from one of the webinar speakers. Image courtesy of HubSpot and Google.


And, the founding partner of the agency, Major Tom, wrote a blog post about it!

agency-major-tom-blog-offline-conversion-trackingAgency Major Tom’s blog post about the integration. Image courtesy of HubSpot.

HubSpot’s Webinar Featuring Google

HubSpot and Google hosted another joint webinar, “Break Through the Noise with CRM-Powered Advertising,” covering best practices for using CRM data to optimize advertising campaigns.

The HubSpot team planned and managed the webinar logistics, and they collaborated with Google’s team on the content and format. HubSpot promoted the webinar to its Starter, Professional, and Enterprise customers.

break-through-the-noise-CRM-webinar-hubspot
HubSpot’s User Webinar. Image courtesy of HubSpot.

Here’s the blurb HubSpot and Google used to promote the webinar:

Break Through the Noise with CRM-Powered Advertising

Online search volume has risen rapidly throughout 2020 as businesses shifted their strategies and consumers turned to search and online content to make buying decisions. As a result, there’s more choice for customers online than ever before. As Marketers, this means breaking through is even more difficult. How can your digital advertising efforts reach the right audience and provide return on spend? In our hour-long webinar, experts from HubSpot and Google will share:

  • The benefits of CRM powered advertising
  • How to use offline event syncing to run effective campaigns
  • Optimization best practices to reach your desired audiences

HubSpot’s Ads Roundup Blog Post

The HubSpot marketing team also featured the Ads Optimization Events tool in its 2020 roundup of product updates for its ad tool. The blog post highlighted the integration’s benefits and pointed readers towards relevant training and education resources.

hubspot-ads-roundup-blog-postHubSpot's 2020 Ads Roundup blog post. Image courtesy of HubSpot.


January 2021 (Four Months After Launch)

The HubSpot marketing team refreshed more than a dozen pieces of high-performing content, like The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads [Examples], to include the new Ads Optimization Events tool. 

ultimate-guide-google-ads-hubspot

HubSpot refreshed this blog post to include the Ads Optimization Events tool. Image courtesy of HubSpot.

How HubSpot and Google Stayed in Sync Throughout the GTM Journey

hubspot-google-ad-optimization-events-tool-GTM-strategy-crossbeam-kelsey-peterson


Kelsey Peterson, Manager of Strategic Partner Enablement and Operations at HubSpot says the success of the Ads Optimization Events integration and its GTM strategy relied heavily on the long-term, strategic alignment between HubSpot and Google’s teams.

“HubSpot has worked with Google for quite some time now, there is so much trust among our teams,” says Peterson. “The collaboration between HubSpot and Google is straightforward because we have clear communication and trust with each other,” she says.

Google and HubSpot’s product, marketing, and sales teams participated in weekly check-ins to set mutual expectations, collaborate with each other on each GTM initiative, and review each project’s progress. 

Here are four ways HubSpot and Google’s teams aligned:

1) Their Partnership Teams Defined Goals for the Integration 

Including:

  • Increasing integration adoption and usage 
  • Increasing usage for both companies’ ads tools (HubSpot’s Ads Software and Google Ads)
  • Driving revenue from upsells: HubSpot offered customers in its Starter pricing tier with an extended trial so they could use the Ads Optimization Events tool and then upgrade their HubSpot account to either a Professional or Enterprise subscription (since the integration is only available to Professional and Enterprise customers).

2) Their Product Teams Collaborated on the Integration Roadmap

HubSpot’s product team worked with Google’s product team to define development requirements and discuss how each team should approach testing. They also discussed release plans, including a beta release in the summer of 2020 and a full release for HubSpot’s Professional and Enterprise customers in September 2020.

3) Their Marketing Teams Aligned on Messaging and Positioning

The Ads Optimization Events tool is meant for marketers with advanced advertising knowledge. But because a large portion of HubSpot’s customers are small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with varying levels of advertising expertise, education was a key marketing focus.

Christen Luciano says both companies’ partner marketing teams discussed the following:

  • How will we roll this out? 
  • What special offers or incentives can we create?
  • Will it be part of a bigger campaign or is it going to be a small one-off? 
  • How should we educate our customers on this?
  • How can we work together on building those educational materials? Who owns which materials and responsibilities?
  • What are the key value propositions for us to hone in on?
  • What’s our overall messaging strategy?

4) Their Partnership Teams Collaborated on Enablement Efforts 

Both teams devised a plan to empower HubSpot’s customer success teams and Google’s sellers to drive integration adoption. This included videos, hands-on training sessions, and enablement collateral to help both teams pitch the Ads Optimization Events integration, convey its key value propositions, and understand how it works.

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