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How Zapier's RevOps team automates lead management

Automate strategically to support business goals.

By Krystina Martinez · April 25, 2023

When it comes to setting growth goals, companies tend to focus on how to get to the destination—and removing any roadblocks on the journey. But who makes sure the end destination is sustainable? That's where Revenue Operations (RevOps) teams come in. 

Zapier's RevOps team sets up operations and tools to support teams that drive revenue throughout the customer lifecycle—think sales, customer success, and marketing.  

Just two years ago, Zapier only had two sales reps—and few processes for lead management. That might sound surprising with our automation expertise, but frankly, we weren't using it strategically to help grow revenue. Automation alone won't solve everything—you need a plan in place, too.

Once we assembled the RevOps team, they overhauled how we used our existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool and paired it with Zapier to streamline lead management processes—and support customers at every stage of their journey. 

Zapier is the leader in workflow automation—integrating with 6,000+ apps from partners like Google, Salesforce, and Microsoft. Use interfaces, data tables, and logic to build secure, automated systems for your business-critical workflows across your organization's technology stack. Learn more.

Scaling lead management from scratch

Zapier already used HubSpot when the RevOps team formed, but they quickly realized the CRM wasn't set up to support Zapier's business strategy. 

"That wasn't intentional," said Lena Yue, Zapier's Marketing Operations Manager. "Back then, the company had a very different need. There weren't a lot of best practices in place because we didn't need them then." 

The problem: Lack of processes for qualifying and routing leads

The team soon discovered there weren't any processes in place to qualify leads, which was crucial if Zapier wanted to hire more sales reps and scale the business. 

"[The setup] was simple to meet the needs of a small, self-serve sales team," said Beth Rea, a Senior Marketing Operations Analyst. "It was difficult to truly know what our leads looked like, what criteria we used to qualify them, or what a typical sales conversation might be like." 

This made it difficult to track leads through the customer journey, caused confusion for sales and marketing, and made it difficult for those teams to evaluate whether their efforts were working.

"If we invest time and resources to a specific marketing campaign, but marketing and sales don't agree on who we should target, sales doesn't know how to work those leads or why they're receiving them—that's a huge opportunity cost," Lena explained. 

And without a formal lead qualification process in place, that also meant leads were routed to sales on an ad-hoc basis. 

"It was really noisy for reps to receive leads in a haphazard manner," said Beth. "They didn't have a way of seeing which leads were high priority, so, oftentimes, they were working leads that weren't a good fit." 

The solution: Build workflows to qualify and route leads

The RevOps team built all-new lead management systems with Workflows, HubSpot's built-in automation tool. Workflows also provided enough flexibility to use Zapier's automated workflows (we call them Zaps) within a HubSpot workflow. 

For example, Beth set up a HubSpot workflow that uses a Zap to route customers to the Support team in Zendesk when they accidentally end up in the qualified lead queue.

Zapier teams prefer to use the best tools for the job and connect them with automation, rather than using all-in-one solutions. This allows for greater flexibility and customization when business needs shift.

Quick tip: If your CRM's workflow tool lets you use webhooks, you can trigger a Zap from your existing workflows. Learn how to connect your CRM automations to Zapier with our built-in Webhooks tool.

Turn webhooks into Zendesk tickets

Turn webhooks into Zendesk tickets
  • Webhooks by Zapier logo
  • Zendesk logo
Webhooks by Zapier + Zendesk

RevOps also uses other HubSpot tools within workflows, such as Sequences, Chatflows, Reports, and Behavioral Events. 

"[Behavioral Events] fire when certain criteria are met and give us a snapshot of a specific moment in time," Beth explained. "It's incredibly helpful for identifying when a user has upgraded their Zapier account or started a trial." 

The team also streamlined lead notifications and routing through HubSpot for fairer lead assignments across the sales team. 

The results:

  • 3,659% increase in qualified leads.

  • Sales can give more feedback on which leads are a better fit, which helps marketing tweak awareness campaigns.

  • Leads can book a meeting with our sales team right after they fill out the sales form, which encourages them to take action immediately.

[HubSpot] workflows are the biggest piece to our lead management processes. We can accurately identify the leads, qualify them, and send them outreach at the right time.

Beth Rea, Senior Marketing Operations Analyst at Zapier

Building a better customer experience 

A strong lead management process is the anchor for the rest of the customer lifecycle. Customer success and account management teams can use sales conversations to provide a better experience for new customers. 

Now that they put a strong lead management process in place, the RevOps team could focus on improving the next stage of the customer journey. 

The problem: A shaky customer handoff from Sales to Success teams

A smooth handoff means the Customer Success team can pick up the conversation from where Sales left off—so, new customers don't have to repeat themselves all over again. Before that first onboarding call, Zapier's Customer Success team would scramble to figure out what a new customer was sold.

"Without a clear process on what Sales communicated with customers, it required a lot of research from our Customer Success teams and resulted in huge knowledge gaps," said Sara Bonanno, Zapier's Senior Customer Success Operations Specialist. 

The solution: Build on the lead management process

Once the RevOps team established a lead qualification process, they tackled the handoff issue with a HubSpot workflow. 

"Once a deal is closed, we use a HubSpot workflow to send onboarding notes to the Customer Success team," Sara said. 

Once the customer books a call, a Zap creates an account and onboarding project in the customer success tool Vitally. This provides the Customer Success team with everything they need to onboard a new customer. 

The problem: Targeting customers using multiple products

Zapier offers multiple plans, so it's possible for a customer to have more than one account. This made it tricky to deliver the right message at the right time without sending customers duplicate emails or emails that didn't make sense. 

"We needed to make sure we could identify in HubSpot what product the customer is using and how they're using it," Lena said.  

The solution: Focus on data cleanliness

The RevOps team turned to HubSpot's custom objects, which allow users to create custom fields beyond what HubSpot already provides. This allows users to customize their CRM for their unique business needs, create relationships between certain datasets, and track what matters most. 

"I like to think of [HubSpot] custom objects like filing cabinets," Lena explained. "For example, all of our product data lives on one custom object, and account data has its own filing cabinet."

Once RevOps implemented custom objects, it was easier for teams to find, interpret, and report data.  

This is how we Zap: Check out our lead management automation canvas for a full overview on how Zapier's RevOps team balances data integrity and automation for lead management.

The results:

  • Annual recurring revenue increased over 2,000% within a two-month period. 

  • The Sales and Success teams are more familiar with each other's work. 

  • Clearer connections between products and contacts in HubSpot.

HubSpot's custom objects make [our data management] and reporting a lot cleaner. We can accurately identify the products our customers are using so we're sending emails to the right people.

Lena Yue, Marketing Operations Manager at Zapier

Finding expansion opportunities 

Every business defines expansion a little differently. Zapier's mission is to make automation work for everyone, so the Customer Success team keeps an eye on opportunities for existing customers to grow the use of automation throughout their business. 

The problem: Proactively helping customer expand their account

The Customer Success team watches for certain expansion indicators—such as using new features or an increase in account activity—using a tool called Vitally. The team needed a process to act on expansion opportunities quickly. 

"If we didn't have all this data and weren't careful about data management, it wouldn't be possible to figure out who is ready for expansion," Lena said. 

The solution: Connect the tech stack to HubSpot

Since the RevOps team implemented HubSpot custom objects, the connection between Zapier accounts and HubSpot contacts already existed. The next step was to put that connection to good use. 

The team created a process called customer success qualified lead, which allows customer success managers to identify and facilitate an account upgrade. Once a customer success manager fills out a form, the RevOps team uses Zapier to automatically create a deal in HubSpot and assign an account manager. Then, customer success managers can introduce the customer to the account manager to continue the conversation while keeping tabs on their progress in Vitally. 

"A customer success manager identified a consolidation opportunity for [a customer with] multiple Zapier accounts," Sara explained. "[Through our] customer success qualified lead process, the account consolidated and the customer has better visibility into [automation across the company]."

The team also uses Zapier with HubSpot to support new users added to an existing account. When Vitally identifies a new user, a Zap enrolls the customer in a HubSpot email that sends them learning resources and an option to book a call with their account's customer success manager. 

The results:

  • Customer success managers can identify and act on expansion opportunities.

  • New users are looped into product training early on.

If we didn't have all this data, it wouldn't be possible to figure out who is ready for expansion.

Lena Yue, Marketing Operations Manager at Zapier

Transforming messy lead management with automation

By focusing on best practices, data cleanliness, and flexibility, Zapier's RevOps team overhauled the company's lead management processes to support customers at scale. The result? Sales, marketing, and customer success teams are more efficient than before, with accurate data they can use to provide a better customer experience. 

Our stories explore how people at businesses of all sizes use Zapier to solve common problems, get more done, and move forward faster. If you haven't yet, try Zapier for free to see what we're all about.

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'