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Switching from Salesforce to HubSpot with Katie Bevilacqua at ConexEd

Katie Bevilacqua is the Director of Operations at ConexEd, a higher ed edtech startup that migrated from Salesforce to HubSpot. Her and the team are investing in increasingly sophisticated marketing to take their product to market.

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Show Notes

Katie Bevilacqua is the Director of Operations at ConexEd, a higher ed edtech startup that migrated from Salesforce to HubSpot. Her and the team are investing in increasingly sophisticated marketing to take their product to market.

Laying the right foundation is just the start. Once the finishing migrating from Salesforce to HubSpot, the work began in earnest to see what's working and try new things. 

We talk about topics like customer journey mapping, lead attribution, and how their B2B marketing efforts are really distinct from what you'd see in a more conventional B2C organization.

Find Katie on LinkedIn: 
Find ConexEd online: 


[00:00:00] Intro

[00:00:00] Harris Kenny: Welcome to Pipeline Meeting where marketers come to talk about sales. If you don't have time to listen to this whole episode, you can skip ahead in the show notes in your podcast player, or find the transcript at All the episodes are published there.

[00:00:16] Harris Kenny: One thing I think would be really interesting to talk about, because this is definitely something that I'm seeing on LinkedIn a lot, is the whole, Salesforce versus HubSpot thing and why you wanted to make that switch and what you were looking for in your tech stack.

[00:00:28] Switching from Salesforce to HubSpot

[00:00:28] Katie Bevilacqua: It helps too because in my previous role I worked for a company who, that was an agency that helped nonprofit companies migrate and implement new CRMs and other tools that were used in the nonprofit space. So I have that background and have seen those processes, though I am super respectful and understand the lift, I'm not super scared to do that.

[00:00:53] Katie Bevilacqua: When you're starting the process, the bottom line is you wanna see what's working. You wanna see where your leads are coming from, and you wanna calculate the ROI of those channels because that's how you're gonna end up scaling that business.

[00:01:06] Katie Bevilacqua: So the HubSpot versus Salesforce question is a big one because A, I think it depends on the company and your goals, and. B, I think it depends on who your team is, honestly. I mean, I've talked to my husband in his previous job. They use Salesforce and they swear by it. It's just the type of company. It's who's in the company?

[00:01:31] Katie Bevilacqua: It's the company that you're working for. So it's not such a black and white discussion in my mind, but when you have a CRM that you're using, that your team didn't implement well and doesn't really believe in, and it's not set up to track your success.

[00:01:51] Katie Bevilacqua: Those are like two key indicators to me that we've gotta find something different and we've got to look at the problems that we're having, which for ConexEd those were, we don't have company buy-in, nobody's really understanding how to use, and when they are trying to figure out how to use it, it was complicated and they just didn't have the bandwidth to figure that out.

[00:02:15] Katie Bevilacqua: So my experience then in HubSpot kind of kicked in and I personally find HubSpot really user friendly and I think it has the potential and it's had the potential for me in the past to build that marketing foundation that allows me to start to see all of those things that you wanna see.

[00:02:38] Katie Bevilacqua: Where our leads are coming in, what kind of interactions we're seeing, what messaging is driving conversions. Um, and so we decided as a company that HubSpot was just gonna be the right move for us. I mean, we're still implementing into HubSpot because it's a lift, especially when you're moving an entire sales, an entire service, an entire marketing department onto a new platform. Just organizing contacts and making sure that data is clean is a whole lift in itself, you know?

[00:03:11] Measuring ROI in HubSpot

[00:03:11] Harris Kenny: Yep. Yeah, a hundred percent. And so now that you, I guess, what were the basic building blocks that you wanted to get in place first? And then I'd love to talk about where you're looking now that you've got a lot of it, not everything, but maybe most of it it sounds like in place. What, what were the first few things that you felt like, okay, if we could get this moved over and set up correctly, we'll get a ton of value right away.

[00:03:31] Harris Kenny: Like it'll kind of help start paying back this investment that we're making.

[00:03:36] Katie Bevilacqua: Yeah, great question. For me, I wanna make sure first things first, that the data. Is clean. So when we start looking at these reports, we have confidence that they are in fact, true and real knowledge. The first thing I wanted to do was go through, make sure that the contacts we had were updated and they were labeled correctly in HubSpot, so that when we started gauging different metrics, we could believe that what we were seeing was in fact what was happening.

[00:04:07] Katie Bevilacqua: The second thing was I wanted to have, I wanted to integrate HubSpot with our website, with our tech, and with our other parts of our tech suite, so that way we could start also figuring out where those leads were coming from, because in marketing, the goal is to drive leads.

[00:04:25] Katie Bevilacqua: The goal is to drive conversions and sales and in order to do that, you have to be able to see where they're coming from because as a small business, I mean, we've talked about before, you know, and I'm even gonna backtrack as any business, if you're wasting dollars on channels that aren't converting, it's bad for your business. It makes no sense.

[00:04:45] Harris Kenny: Right.

[00:04:47] Katie Bevilacqua: You could be the most profitable business, but if you're just throwing money into a channel that's not converting and not that has no ROI, what are you doing? You know,

[00:04:55] Harris Kenny: Yeah.

[00:04:56] Katie Bevilacqua: so those were the, probably the two things that we were, I was like, okay, this is our focus. Uh, once we get these accomplished, we can move forward.

[00:05:04] Being strategic as a marketer

[00:05:04] Harris Kenny: And now that you've got those and you are moving forward, what are some things that you're getting excited about as a marketer where you feel like, okay, you're starting to really be more strategic? Cuz you alluded to a few of these things in our conversation before around customer journey mapping, especially I, I would love to know kind of, now that you've done this, you're on the other side of it and now you can start being more strategic, what does that look like? What does customer journey mapping, what does that mean to you and, and like, how do you anticipate implementing that? And what are you excited about being able to do now?

[00:05:33] Katie Bevilacqua: We've started to highlight those channels that are bringing in those conversions and having that ROI for us. Now what I'm excited about is as we are tagging where these leads come from, What we've started to unpack and what I think every company eventually unpacks is, okay, here was their conversion point, but how many other times and how many other ways did they see ConexEd before that?

[00:06:02] Katie Bevilacqua: Because especially in our demographic in higher ed, ed tech. We are much different than B2C, right? We have a niche, we have a set group of people that we partner with. We see these same people everywhere, conferences, LinkedIn, email marketing, we go and do partner visits, we visit campuses.

[00:06:28] Katie Bevilacqua: For me to answer your question, customer journey mapping is really taking, working backwards from, okay, this is where they converted, but let's take it even further. What conferences did we see them at? How many touchpoints did we actually have with them throughout their journey into converting? And what were those touchpoints?

[00:06:50] Katie Bevilacqua: And let's talk about what really impacted them. What. What conversations did we have specifically that got them excited and interested about what we were doing?

[00:07:02] Managing longer sales cycles

[00:07:02] Harris Kenny: I feel like these longer sales cycle products where you're interacting multiple times, it's not really a funnel, right? It's not so straightforward of like a lead comes in, they sign up, they talk to sales, they get a demo, they pay for the product.

[00:07:15] Harris Kenny: It sounds like people are kind of dabbling, like they'll read maybe something or they'll see you at an event and then all of a sudden they change jobs and then all of a sudden they're a, uh, prospect. Whereas before they were just sort of a, a fan, I guess, or, or, or sort of an observer of what you were doing, you know?

[00:07:31] Harris Kenny: How do you think about that? Are you creating content to engage people at these different stages? Because it sounds like sort of the conventional funnel thing just doesn't apply here, is that.

[00:07:39] Katie Bevilacqua: Yeah. I think part of what excites me about marketing is because we now are getting all of these tools in our tool belt that help us talk through these complex customer journeys like we just kind of discussed. Our eyes are being opened to exactly what you're saying. It's not this traditional funnel that I think traditional marketing efforts in the past have just gone through.

[00:08:06] Katie Bevilacqua: It can be so much more complex. It's just where you get these terms like demand gen and what's the intent of the people watching you. Not everybody is converting, and quite honestly, as we were testing some of these different channel s this last six months, we figured out that, and I think more so we have data to prove what our theory was, which was not everybody that fills out a demo form has the intent or has the need to buy you right now, but they wanna know what you're doing and they wanna know what's coming down the pipe for their industry.

[00:08:46] Katie Bevilacqua: We are this next year really starting to build out our demand generation funnel where we can still engage cuz they're still our target demographic. And eventually, just cuz they're not ready to sign on the dotted line today, we, they might be down the road. Um, we wanna engage with them. So when the whole idea is when they are ready to sign on that dotted line, we're the first person they think.

[00:09:12] Harris Kenny: Yep.

[00:09:13] Katie Bevilacqua: absolutely. To answer your question, this next year is all about building out that funnel and how we can engage and build relationships with our demographic at different stages of their buying experience.

[00:09:28] Harris Kenny: Is there anything that we didn't touch on that you're thinking about? Any opportunities or projects that you're excited about?

[00:09:32] Katie Bevilacqua: I'm just really excited about the space in general. I think that higher ed is, Really starting to take a shift in how it looks at and deals with those modern day issues that our students are now facing. And I'm excited as a marketer to be in the space with such tools to gauge how effective things are working.

[00:09:59] Katie Bevilacqua: I'm just excited this year. I'm really excited to start seeing where our customer journeys are taking us, where these areas of impact are that we're having and continue to start breaking down some of these barriers in higher ed and really be able to help some more students. So it's gonna be a good year.

[00:10:18] Harris Kenny: That's awesome. Where can people follow Katie? If they wanna get more updates about what you're working on? Where can they follow ConexEd?

[00:10:25] Follow Katie Bevilacqua

[00:10:25] Katie Bevilacqua: We definitely have ConexEd on LinkedIn. They can also find us on our website And then absolutely find me online, on LinkedIn as well. You can find me under Katie Bevilacqua. Yeah, so please follow along.

[00:10:38] Outro

[00:10:38] Harris Kenny: That's all for now. You can find show notes at intro The theme music for Pipeline Meeting is by Neighbourhood Vandal. If you learned something, consider sharing this show with a friend. Thanks for listening.