Mark Tanner explains why modern sales documents must now be mobile-friendly and share real stories of how customers create efficient and effective documents on Qwilr + HubSpot.
Mark is the co-founder and COO of Qwilr - the best way for Sales & Marketing Teams to create amazing and unique Sales Experiences for their buyers via beautiful, interactive web pages - that can be automatically generated from HubSpot.
At Qwilr - Mark leads the Go-To-Market and Operations teams.
Before Qwilr - Mark worked at Google in Sydney and New York (mostly working on product partnership deals for the Android and Search teams), before that he lead GTM in Australia for an eBook startup.
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Direct Transcription of Podcast
Greetings everyone, a very warm welcome to another edition of the HubDo Podcast, where we talk with software vendors, subject matter specialists, and end users who share real stories of how to do more on HubSpot. I'm your host, Pete Nicholls. I'm in Copenhagen in Denmark. And I'm joined today by Mark Tanner, Mark "good'ay mate", where are you?
Hello everybody. Hello, Pete. Thank you so much for having me. Um, I am here in a very gray and rainy and a bit, bit cold and miserable Sydney. This is not the brand that Sydney likes to, uh, portray to the world. But, um, today it's, it's a bit bleak. But, um, no, I'm down here, uh, in cold cold Sydney, but getting, getting excited about Inbound mate and, and seeing you in sunny Boston in a week or two,
Looking forward to that, we'll turn the sunshine on. And don't let anybody know that it rains in Sydney cuz it's always perfect, just stick with the brochure and with the demo. For our listeners, Mark Tanner is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Qwilr. He leads the go-to and operations teams. And you've been there for about eight years, Mark? Uh, before that, you were at Google in Sydney, uh, and in New York and mostly working on the product partnerships and on Android and search teams. And before that, if I recall you were the leading go-to-market in Australia for an ebook startup, so tons of experience. And, um, I'll also say that we are delighted to include Qwilr on the HubDo marketplace so that people can do more on HubSpot.
And our topic for today is "Creating a modern sales experience with Qwilr and HubSpot". Now, if I read the blurb, what Qwilr is, for folks who don't know, Qwilr is described as the best way for sales and marketing teams to create an amazing and unique sales experience for their experiences for their buyers via beautiful interactive web pages that can be automatically generated from HubSpot. Now, if proposal software companies were members of Gilligans Island, I think, uh, Ginger would have to go to Qwilr because Qwilr's just beautiful. Um, let's, let's jump in. Um, help us out here first, we'll look at Qwilr before we get too much into HubSpot's side. Mark, what type of customers are an ideal fit for Qwilr, and then maybe who isn't a fit?
Yeah, so, so typically for us, we work with, um, to be honest, a pretty broad range. I, I think as you know, like when we started out at Qwilr, we really started out in the sort of the S of the SMB and it been sort of moving upmarket towards handling bigger and bigger deals. So, uh, you know, you know, very early on, we were doing sort of freelance slash prosumer people. And we still have a bunch of people who use that. Like the entry price point for Qwilr is, you know, 39 bucks a month per seat type thing. So it's, it's pretty affordable, but I'd say more and more of a time, we started to find this. We found a really great niche in frankly in marketing agency lands, which sort of, you know, frankly was part of the path that led us toward HubSpot.The core thesis behind Qwilr to some degree is like, we think files suck in the age of the web, like word PowerPoint PDF for these sort of this sort of bygone relics and that you can't do a whole bunch of interesting web first things. And our thesis here, which is a bit different to others is like, Qwilr just actually allows you to build a beautiful functional webpage that can operate a bit like a web app and sort of being very interesting on that sort of side.
And so that really spoke to marketing agencies, right? Like they love to have things that are sort of back in the day before we had built a much more functionality and we were more about like, sort of being able to quickly and easily query these sort of, you know, beautiful web pages, few documents back in 2016, 2017, 2018 when I first got to know you. That alone was kind of like if I can send out my proposal as like a beautiful webpage with like video and like the quote block is like interactive and like, I can do accept and e-sign all on one page. And, you know, if you're a marketing agency and part of what you sell is like the web and being futuristic and thinking about like the future of, of sales and proposals and, and marketing and how you're sort communicating. I think like there was something compelling there for a lot of people, especially as like they'd been in that HubSpot ecosystem the revolution around the digital marketing side had kind of happened. There'd been a lot of like good stuff that had happened there. And I think there was a move towards, well, what do sales look like next?
And the fact that we were able to sort of produce beautiful web content for your sales collateral and make your sales collateral look as impressive as your website. I think spoke quite nicely to a bunch of people in that sort of space. And then to be honest, like we sort of had this sort of steady march up from there and really like our sweet spot these days is sales teams of about, you know, I'd say five to 50 is like, is our sort of is our real sort of, you know, sweet spot. We've got teams, you know, seats in well into the hundreds. And we've got lots of people who still have one seat as well, but predominantly, you know, sales teams of, of, you know, 5, 10, 20, 40 people. And they, you know, not only do they get the benefits of having this, like, you know, beautiful, interactive, you know, webpages, but you then start moving into a realm as we sort of lean more towards the HubSpot side of content automation. Like how do you, you know, I want to have, you know, templated sales process. I wanna make sure everything is being sent out is looking great. And having the right sales enablement tools, Qwilr has a little bit of digital asset management sort of features built into it. But then also like, as you do that, how can I then like pull all that into HubSpot, so my reps can quickly create this thing? It pulls in all the right, you know, the products, you know, pricing information from HubSpot, all the tokens in creates a unique URL. I send that out and then we can do a whole bunch. I'll stop there, but like, we can do a whole bunch of cool stuff inside HubSpot itself and, and whatever else. And I think that that sort of space of how you help sales teams across like this, like the twin pillars, we think about all the time in terms of like what modern sales teams care about is like efficiency and efficacy and so efficiency, you know, there's a whole bunch of different things in there, but can you make your team more efficient, faster, you know, more through port, you know, be able to handle more deals at the same time, cetera, cetera, cetera, and like efficacy has lots of things, parts of it too, but really kind of comes down to like, can you meaningfully measure and improve the win rate over time?
And there's just so much stuff that Qwilr can do on both of those areas. And we just sort of try to help sales teams, you know, get better at both those areas and sort of get a real insight into that sort of, that sort of middle part of the funnel.
Moving from that document, uh, environment to really embracing digital. And yeah, I've seen how the companies that produce websites or anything, that's a visual of nature seem to be the earliest, uh, first adopters who see, here's a way to make our proposals as beautiful as the products that we make. And it kind of goes from there, but, uh, it also brings in that efficacy and the efficiencies, as you've said, the size of the company doesn't matter so much. There is a typical size of, of as low as one, but up to say, 50 people in a sales team, what are the common mistakes? When you see, uh, folks adopting Qwilr or when they start throwing questions in, can it do this? Can it do that? Or we can't make it do this? Where do people generally get it wrong or, or misunderstand things?
That's a really great question is a bit of a mind shift when you come and, and work in Qwilr is like you are creating web pages. So like, you know, if you've come from an org, that's been like all of your documents are in Microsoft word or in, or in PowerPoint or in PDF or whatever else. And that's the environment, you know, there's a whole bunch of reasons why those file formats suck in the web. Right? And so part of it is that they're not mobile responsive, they're not mobile friendly. And like, you know, we know from inside Qwilr's data, like of first views of Qwilr pages, 52% of all first views, and this is hundreds of thousands to millions of documents created per month, like millions or tens of millions of views per month. More than half of the first views of a document are on mobile. And we include like tablets in that, but like, you know, but like are on that sort of file format so that sort of format and like PDF and PowerPoint and like, frankly, a bunch of other, like our competitors in their space who are sort of PDF in the cloud.
It's just a rubbish experience. Now, like if you look at total views, rather than the first view, it does decrease a bit, but it's still like around 40% of all views are on mobile. And if you are designing for mobile, like if you try to perfectly replicate what your PowerPoint deck looks like, you won't necessarily, you kind of need to recognize that it is slightly a slightly different format.
And so I would say that sometimes when we get into an org, you'll find people who work in sales enablement, or in marketing, et cetera, who've gotten used to doing this sales collateral as like PowerPoint decks, like pitch decks and things like that. And they come into Qwilr and they're like, but it's not PowerPoint. It doesn't sort of work exactly this. Like, no, because it's mobile responsive and all that sort of stuff. And as people get into, and what we tend to find is in every modern marketing org these days, there's always people who, you know, who like, own the marketing site. And if you can get any of them involved in the process, They start to be like, oh, whoa. So like, we can actually, we can do this and we can actually reuse these assets from our website, or we can put in video or actually couldn't we have like a lead form embedded here? And like, yes you can. Or couldn't you embed like a Calendly here? A big thing for like reps at the moment is if you've got a proposal out or some other document that you want someone to accept an e-sign and pay for or whatever, the best thing they can do is accept it. The second best thing they can do is go to your Calendly and book time for another call. And again, like little embedded, widgets and functional things like that. And once you get those people who are a little more Webby into the conversation and look, some, some people just kind of get it and it's natural and less easy.
But I would say that is like one of the things that sometimes people come through because again, like our whole thesis and our whole bet here, like the thing we bet the entire company on back in the day was like over time files are actually gonna go away and we will be effectively sending things that are just, you know, not just like, you know, half webpages, half file, it'll be like, no, no, it's just like, it's just the web. And you know, all the functionality and cool stuff you can do on the web will just be available for anyone regardless of technical ability. And designability as well.
That's a really good cool takeaway I think there, Mark, and I hadn't really thought of it this way before, is that when you think of how the web used to be, you pretty much had to be on a desktop because a mobile experience was just terrible, you're shrinking and zooming trying to see the page. And, today, if you're sending out PDF files or using Microsoft word and so forth, you're essentially forcing a user to have that old PC-only experience, whereas they're probably looking at their document. Yeah. That's, that's a great takeaway. I think of why, um, mobile responsive document, which is Qwilr as a webpage, um, makes a lot of sense. Uh, what I wanna get into next then is we are talking about combining it with HubSpot. Now, HubSpot keeps packing more and more features including custom quoting capabilities. So you can produce quotes and so forth and, uh, um, HubSpot, we call it proposals, uh, of a sort straight outta the tool. So let's clarify for people. How, how far can HubSpot go? How Qwilr is like is it, if people wanna get the benefits as you've described, we're really adding Qwilr to HubSpot is one plus one equals three.
Yeah. So I think that I think, like, I think HubSpot's doing the right strategy here, which is they're taking the kind of the bottom-most basic version of this and making it sort of relatively simply available for, for, or for, for free, he says in air quotes, cuz it's, you know, obviously paid like part of a package sort of effective sort of bundling that in. And you know, we see lots of people who start there, who start with that, that HubSpot quotes feature that is kind of like the outputs, like really ugly, which it is, or like it's not, we don't get any analytics coming back. We're not sort of able to sort of track and measure and, and optimize and sort of AB test it against this templated approach versus this one, it works wonderfully well inside the HubSpot ecosystem. But if you wanna do integrations to like push doing workflows that go outside that so like for us on our team, you know, our customer success team, like Trello or Asana, or you might be doing stuff with like more complex stuff like Gainsight or ChurnZero or whatever else. But it's like once the deal's accepted, not only do you wanna push data back to HubSpot, but you might also wanna push it to like QuickBooks and Xero and also push data out to like Gainsight and then also create a card for someone on Trello to be like, you know, go and do something like that. And like, there's this ecosystem of cloud-based tools, that we all operate in today. And one of the wonderful things about having web pages is you can push and pull data between multiple sources, whereas files are inherently kind of like dead ends for data. Like what HubSpot's doing, you can create a page, you can send out a URL for it. Like, you know, it's, it's an okay first step and you can sort of, you can now like, you know, do basic e-sign for it as well. Like I'm pretty sure. Or you can have some sort of thing on that side they're taking what is basically a pretty basic quotes product and like making it like materially better. And I think they're sort of rising tide lifts all boats.. I think they're sort of introducing more people to like this idea of like, Hey, you don't have to send proposals as a PDF attachment you can send it as a URL. Everyone is very comfortable with that these days. And I think as they sort of do more and more of that, some companies like in commodities spaces, like we had someone recently come in who was like that, they do like, they sell like sand and concrete and bricks and stuff. Like, guess what you don't need to have the most unbelievable, beautiful, interesting proposal on that side. What are you gonna have? Like a video of like, I don't know, bricks, like, you know, so it's sort of like, you know, for that stuff, you kind of don't and look, there was wonderfully a marketing manager who was very enthusiastic about Qwilr, you know, would you believe it didn't close, but, um, but you know, I think, I think that if you are an industry that is has a templated sales process that you care about how you look to your clients, you want to build. Like, what we, we keep thinking about is like this a really genuinely excellent sales experience for your buyer, where they can, you know, like again with, with HubSpot's quoting thing, it's, it's very much about like a basic, you know, whatever one paragraph of like summary, here's the price, here's an accept functionality.
Whereas with Qwilr you can build out these webpages that are like, you know, really as, as big and as deep and as, as variable as you would like. And so, you know, we have things like interactive, like ROI calculators, where they can like play around with numbers and figure things out and sort of say, Hey, what's my return on investment gonna be, you can have like interactive, like pricing plans, say, Hey, I, you know, I want the bronze, silver, gold. I want the silver plan. You quote me for 40 seats, fashion needs 44 and change that. And, you know, update all those sorts of things on that sort of side. And then you, but you also do stuff where it's just like, this is really simple but you know like if you go, and if you've done a demo earlier with, with someone and you recorded the zoom call, or it was recorded on Gong or any other sort of modern tool like that, you can just grab the link to that video and embed it in the Qwilr page and fold it away neatly so it doesn't dominate the page, but you can just sort of having this little button that says, you know, our demo, our demo recording from this. If someone new comes into the deal, like would say if the CFO or, or like some other person, who's like a stakeholder, but didn't join the demo but also kind of wants to know what the hell is going on. Then let's click on that, see that video, oh, watch that video. And similarly, you can do other, you know, other, you can link off to other Qwilr pages, other parts of your website, but you can kind of have this experience. It is a much more sophisticated, modern sales experience. We really do think about it as like how you know, the, from the demo, like from this like call that you're on through to close there's, it's having this sort of hub for all the asynchronous bits of like content and collateral. And one of the other things you want, that's that sort of customer to learn about. And like, there are some industries where that, that whole idea just doesn't matter.
I'm picturing selling sand, you know, the fans blowing and the fans going and, uh, yeah, it's,
And they're getting sanded in their eyes and yeah.
yeah. And then that marketing guy is like, uh, out out, but, uh, I think you've, you've, uh, you've described really well that you have a fundamental functionality in the HubSpot product, which you'd expect, but, uh, let me pick out a few of the things that you've said there, which I think I've seen this in actual opportunities where the customer really wants to see the analytics of, uh, who's looking at this thing, are they opening my proposal? Mm-hmm and, uh, and also to then improve some of those stats of, of whether those proposals are closing, let's add an ROI calculator or let's put in the pricing table, the ability for the customer to choose the gold, silver, or brand options and give them that choice before they sign some of those things that, uh, Are they, the add-ons that, uh, HubSpot ecosystem really is, is there for bring in Qwilr. Uh, and then, of course, that third piece of, uh, HubSpot's not the only game in town in terms of the technology. The customer probably has a Xero and a bunch of other things in their tech stack. Uh, so all of that leads to add-ons. I'm gonna put you on the spot now Mark, let's find some more real examples cuz we had the sand and the concrete one. So, uh, can you think of where, uh, and ideally it would be Qwilr and HubSpot together, but some real examples of where customers had a, a great result in terms of value by, uh, putting Qwilr in?
Yeah, for sure. And so, so we, we've got a few, a few different ones here that I sort of, I, I, I've been thinking about over the last few days and, and I, Pete was very kind and prepped me for this question early.
I did warn you that I was gonna put you on the spot. Give us some real stories, Mark.
I think for us, there's, there's a few different ones, so I've got one large one and one small one. So, this very large multinational events company. And so they run their UK base, but they've got events that they've run across Europe and across the US. And I think actually they've also maybe got some of their sort of a small office in Singapore, but, um, but they have about six different brands, uh, that run these events and, and for these events, they have a whole host of different things that they sort of use Qwilr for. So you can imagine. There's a zone where they are using Qwilr for in a sort of relatively normal proposal sort of space in terms of like sponsorships in terms of like, Hey, we're trying to get some sponsors for this. And you have this sort of, you know, relatively normal sales process where you're pitching people and you're sort of showing these videos of here's what the conference was last year. And here's how we do this. And you can spot, you can be a platinum sponsor or a diamond or this, you know, all this and having all this sort of interesting tiered pricing information there and being able to sort of have, even for, they also have this, they can, they can embed a, um, they have like a 3d visualization tool that sort of shows like what your booth will look like and for different sort of tiers. And they can embed that inside the Qwilr page because it's just a hosted, you know, I-frame in bed type sort of situation.
And so they can sort of doing a whole bunch of interesting things like that on the proposal side, they also then use Qwilr for conference attendees. And so you can say, Hey, you know, once you bought your ticket, Hey, let's send out it's basically like a personalized webpage now, because you can create, once you have a Qwilr account and you can create as many Qwilr pages as you want.
So each conference attendee gets their own, you know, personalized Pete at HubDo gets his own personalized pace saying, Hey, Pete, we're really excited to have, you know, you and the chief of HubDo come to conference X, Y, Z. And then it sort of has sort of, you know, some sort of info on there and because all those pages are live, they can update that as the, as the, it gets closer to the conference. So it can say, Hey, you know, add in sponsor logos, add in this, that, and the other. And then after the event, the same link they can drop in videos to be like, Hey, here are the recordings from the main keynote session, or here's the recording from this or that, or the other, a bunch of like really interesting stuff. And again, they can track the analytics. Who's opening it? Who's watching it? Who's sort of doing this and that, you know, being active so they kind of know who is, you know, a great person to reach back out to next year and so on and so forth.
That's very clever on that signup side that they're giving a very rich experience visually and, uh, and all of their options there for sponsors to choose the type of package that they're most interested in and they can see right there, the booth that comes from that choice. Uh, and then what sounds like a customer hub where yeah, you've got pre-event at event and post. Information for that customer experience. And we know what customer experience is a biggie. And again, I hadn't really thought of Qwilr so much in that role either, frankly. That's a really innovative use of Qwilr beyond the initial sale of signing up the sponsor out to the individual person as well.
To go to a smaller example of another sort of power user, again, we land very much with, with the founder of this marketing agency, he'd been sent Qwilr page by someone else and was like, oh, how did you do this? And came to our site and, you know, data booked a demo, et cetera, et cetera. Like they wanted to have, basically, they were, they were a digital, like marketing agency that was moving towards doing more and more sales consulting and, you know, very much in the sort of HubSpot ecosystem, not exclusively, but of that sort of space. And so they started doing, they sort of were like, well, we want we're digital, right? Like we, that is our whole thing we, we don't wanna be sending out PDFs anymore. We don't wanna be using InDesign or blah, blah. And so they thought Qwilr could best represent their brand. And I think they very much used us initially for like, just because we were webpages and we looked nice.
Um, we were the Ginger Rogers of the, of the, of the story. And, um, I don't wanna be the Gilligan, I'll tell you that much, but anyway, so, um, so we were, we were going along and I think, but I think they then sort of realized, oh actually we can actually do some interesting automation here. And because we work with HubSpot's like, you know, native automation thing again, once a proposal gets accepted, they then have these account managers who are gonna manage various things they also use Slack heavily. So it's like, okay, well then if this happens there, then ping this on Slack immediately that, Hey, this deal's been accepted. You know, first of all, Woohoo, the deal's been accepted, but then it gets triggered also with, I think sort like, Hey, here are the tasks, you know, created in HubSpot for so, and so are the account management team to go and take this and, and do these sort of next steps.
They can go and look at the proposal exactly and be like, oh, okay they've been offered this, oh, and they also selected the advanced onboarding package or, sorry, that's not what it's called, but like, you know, they selected this other thing as well. And so they can start to sort of immediately have full context in that piece. They then also did the same thing with their finance team to sort of making sure that they got a push across there and they used Xero so that sort of automated that flow. But then like they started doing it so that they were like, okay, so we, we use it for the sales part initially, and then we're using it for like this account management part. And then the account managers. They just use Qwilr for their like ongoing updates. And again, it's just a webpage builder you can drop in whatever content or, you know, stuff you want. And then they started using it for recruiting as well. So they had one HR person on the team who was like, well, why can't I use this to like, create my job ads? And then also when I'm sending information out to candidates that sort of info about us, if I just, I would rather do a simple webpage than some sort you know, the complicated thing on this sort of side and just this sort of interesting thing of everywhere, where they communicate externally, they have all of their assets and all their design and all the default things inside Qwilr to, to, you know, that like Qwilr these rules around what is our brand fonts, what are our brand colors? What's our logo? You know, blah, blah, blah. And so everyone can sort of start from scratch and build up quite quickly. That looks very on brand.
I think that's a really good example of being a marketing agency, they started with visually wanting to just look the part. And, I guess you've gotta go with the problem that people know they have. And then once they see a tool that approaches things in a different way then the thinking opens up into, you know, what we could use it for this thing and that thing, and, and get so much more value out of it. So I think both of those are really good examples of what you would really struggle to do with HubSpot on its own.
And here's a great instance of the larger events company and the smaller agency. Let's wrap it up with those two. Uh, I know we're gonna chat over beers when we get to Inbound on all things Qwilr and otherwise, so let me just mention for listeners some tips that could help I've got links to a SAS buyer experience report of how the buying process is changing and SAS companies are having success there with Qwilr and also the proposal look-book because I do quite often have folks say, well, um, I really wanna see examples of other proposals. It's always like you show me yours, I'll show your mine kind of thing. Nobody wants to show you five proposals. they just wanna see the other proposals. Uh, so the lookbook, you got some great examples in there. I'll put the links in the show notes as well as the link to your blog and your Twitter feed and your LinkedIn connection. So folk can reach out to you. So, Mark, I'll just wrap it up here and say, thanks very much for your time.
My pleasure, Pete. Thank you for having me on and uh, and folks, if you're at Inbound, come and come and say hi to Pete. Come say hi to me. We're gonna be around it. It would be lovely to see, see some folks, and have some chats, and Pete, hopefully, go for some beers as well.
Absolutely, be sure to do it. All right. I'll see you there in a couple of weeks. Um, thanks, Mark. And, uh, thanks everyone for tuning in.
You can see more and purchase Qwilr on the HubDo Marketplace