#UNPACKED EP 26: Activity Feed Unpacked

George Thomas:
(singing)

George Thomas:
There's no music, but we're going live. We are here. Remington Begg, how are you doing this morning, mister fine sir?

Remington Begg:
I'm going good. We just got out of two meetings back to back, so I'm so glad that we're only three minutes late. Apologies to everyone who was waiting on us.

George Thomas:
Yeah, yeah, definitely. So, today I'm super excited. I am trying to get the comments section up here so I can see if we get some thumbs up, some questions and whatnot on what we're talking about, but I'm super excited today, Remington. First of all, because this episode is brought to you by sprockettalk.com, if you're watching this and you don't have your free account, go get your free VIP account where you can watch tons of updates, tutorials, all that good stuff. I'm super excited today because we've also launched our 15-minute strategy podcast, which is out in the world. So, if you're trying to do business and you're having a difficult time with strategy, hey, we have a podcast for you with micro content on the thing that everybody says is difficult.

George Thomas:
Enough of the sales things around sprockettalk.com, if you will. The real reason that I'm excited is because we're going to talk about something that I don't know if a lot of people pay attention to. My guess is that they don't, but this thing actually helps us save a crap-ton of time if we leverage it in the way that we can leverage it. So, we're going to talk about all the things around it. We're going to talk about mentalities, strategies, tips, tricks, hacks, all that good stuff, the reason people love the Unpacked episode, and that is the powerful tool, again, that probably nobody is using, or using very little, and that is the activity feed. So, Remington, here's the funny thing, because I want and need you to be transparent and vulnerable for a hot second. When two weeks ago I set this up as the topic and said, "Hey, we're going to do a 30-minute Unpacked episode on activity feed," what were your thoughts?

Remington Begg:
Great.

George Thomas:
So, why is that? Why is that great?

Remington Begg:
No, no.

George Thomas:
Talk me through that.

Remington Begg:
So, activity feed, well, my activity feed that I'm thinking about and your activity feed are probably different because there is a lot of feeds. So, there's that. But I was just having a conversation with Dan and Jackie on our team, and the conversation was around tracking where people came from. Right? Forget the numbers, and forget revenue attribution. Forget all of that. Just knowing your customer, and that kind of thing.

George Thomas:
Yes.

Remington Begg:
So, that's a big thing. So, that's the first thing that comes to mind. But when you said great, it was... Initially, you said vulnerable. It was, how am I going to talk about this for 30 minutes, which it won't be a problem, I assure everyone. You will be okay. But at the same time, it got me thinking about how people tend to use the feeds, and how sometimes people look at it as just a noise-maker, and there's a lot of really, really juicy goodness in there.

George Thomas:
Yeah, yeah. That's why I want to dive into this, and by the way, if you're watching this live, you can hit us up on the YouTube comments. If you're watching the recording of this, because you are watching it in the Unpacked area, make sure you head over to the Slack channel, because we do have a designated Slack channel for the Unpacked show. If you have questions or if we ask for you to give a thumbs up or something around what we're talking about today, make sure you're engaging with the rest of the Sprocketeer HubSpot Sprocket Talk community in that Slack area. Here's the thing. Remington, I want everybody to know, with the picture you just painted, exactly what we're talking about, because what we're not talking about is HubSpot contacts, Intuit contact in that lead intelligence timeline that we have that, God, I hope everybody is using.

George Thomas:
We're not talking about any other feed, any other area than if you go contacts, and under contacts, at the very bottom area, there's this thing called activity feed. Many times, I think it's maybe because it's the bottom menu item, maybe because people don't inherently know exactly what's in there, or the power, or that it's even been built out over time with additional things that weren't there originally, I think sometimes it gets forgotten. So, contacts, and then go to activity feeds. We're going to talk about the things that we love about activity feeds. So, I'm going to go ahead, and I'm going to pick the first one. It's super simple, and I'm going to talk about that.

George Thomas:
I love that when you get into that page, which by the way, if you're listening to this, watching this, you can totally open up a new tab, I won't be upset, or especially if you're doing the recording, and go look at this as Remington and I talk about it. But I love the fact that it has a search functionality right built into the activity feed. So, let me paint the picture of this. It's all about, like Remington started saying, knowing where your journey is for your buyer or your lead, or even your customer. So, let's say, for instance, I happen to be in the middle of a conversation with a gentleman called Remington Begg about becoming a Sprocket Talk member, and I want to know what's going on.

George Thomas:
I can literally go to activity feed, and I can search Remington Begg, and boom, I can see all of the interactions in that activity feed around Remington Begg, or not. I'm just going to leave it at that, because that's my thing. It's the search functionality around a person, and then being able to go from there. So, when I say that this tool is powerful, what I'm talking about is understanding in a moment's notice that contact, that journey, that engagement with a whole bunch of things. Remington, when you think of this activity feed, when you dive into this page, where does your mind go from... Understanding that you really pay attention to sales and marketing at the same time, where does your brain go?

Remington Begg:
So, I learned something today. I didn't realize that the activity feed was under the contacts dropdown.

George Thomas:
Oh, okay. Okay. Well, there we go.

Remington Begg:
But no, but-

George Thomas:
Adding value to the world with Sprocket Talk Unpacked. Well, I'm just going to throw that out there.

Remington Begg:
But what I did know was that the activity feed was part of the Chrome plugin, which I use all the time for the activity feed, and it is actually the exact same data. It's filtered by the exact same stuff. So, you can do all of that the same. So, when you said that, in context I'm like, wait, what? So, what I really love... So, I'm going to put my sales hat on for a sec. I really love that when I have my sales hat on, I can look at prospects, and only have prospect activity, because for me, what kind of people are coming to the website? Do I understand? We have Fashion Institute of Technology coming to our website right now, the University of New Orleans, state of Washington. We got a lot of prospects coming in, and what's cool is you can view the inline activities, and the reason I like that is because we only really think about contacts as humans once we have their name and information, but it can be a really compelling thing to know what people are engaging on.

Remington Begg:
Now, take off my sales hat, I put on my marketing hat, and I want to know what's engaging with people. You essentially get this timeline feed, almost like Facebook, where you can go, oh, the Fashion Institute of Technology, that's my ideal client profile. It isn't in this case, but I'm just putting out an example. But they visited our page, the six graphics to show the difference between a logo and a brand. So, they're consuming that info. So, if that person or that prospect is whom we are trying to target, and they're consuming content that we like, maybe that could be a really good dopamine hit for us to create some more content around that.

George Thomas:
And we all love our dopamine hits. Here's the thing. Here's what I also love too, and I didn't want to dive too far into this when I mentioned the search thing, because as we talk you're going to see, Remington, I probably go more micro on the things that we talk about. One of the questions I always get asked is, "Well, how do we easily find out if we have people in a sequence or not a sequence?" By the way, if you're watching this and you don't know what a sequence is, it literally is a set of templates and snippets put together with some actions or tasks, and you can... It's the sales automation process, if you will, versus marketing workflows. So, I often get asked, "Well, how can I quickly tell if somebody is in my sequence or not in a sequence?"

George Thomas:
Again, if you go contacts, activity feed, and you look at the filters that are available, one says all contacts, and in the dropdown under all contacts, you literally see in sequence, not in sequence. Why is this important? For you as a sales rep, you can be like, "Okay, who's in a sequence?" You can see that, and you can quickly see where they're at in the sequence. But better than that, you can go, "Who do I have that I actually have activity with that is not in a sequence?" You can then look at those people and diagnose, "Well, oh, my goodness. I should put Jimmy Bob Joe Susie into this sequence. This makes sense," because you're going to also see the other activity or be able to see the other lead intelligence around that context. So, if you quickly want to see people who are in a sequence or not in a sequence to make smart sales decisions and actions, boom, activity feed is your friend. Remington, what is the next thing that you think about when we start to talk about the HubSpot activity feed?

Remington Begg:
Meetings.

George Thomas:
Talk me through that. What do you mean?

Remington Begg:
Yeah. So, I pull this up probably once or twice a week, and if you're in sales and you're using the meetings book tool, super, super valuable, not just because of what it shows you when you choose to filter meetings, but when you choose to filter meetings, it's going to pull up all the contacts that booked a meeting with you over... It says right for me, this month. Right? I can scroll through. If there is contact information for those people, you can do a one-click call right from the popup in the... Again, I'm not even looking at the feed on the page. I'm just looking at the Chrome plugin, which is really valuable.

Remington Begg:
But one of my favorite things is you can click show all activities, and it'll legit show you every single page that they viewed after that meeting link. So, via that meeting link, and then it goes through, like this one, this person went to my profile page and then looked at... I see what emails that led up to it. So, if you're about to jump on a call with Victoria, you can jump on the call with Victoria, and without jumping into their contact record and filtering through all the views, you could literally just see what activities happened prior to that meeting when it's booked. It's super valuable for you to have context.

George Thomas:
Yes, yes. It is about context, and here's the thing. I'm going to go in a little micro place, and then I want to do some education as well. Again, we talked about how it's about the journey and knowing where they're at, literally in the activity feed, contacts and activity feed, and by the way, yes, get the Chrome extension, the plugin. Have it there as well. Use it wherever you're more comfortable. I'm always in HubSpot, so I love just diving over there, because again, it's one click away from the actual lead intelligence area or company intelligence area or creating a deal or whatever. But contacts, activity feed, I love on the right-hand side, it gives you two pieces of very valuable information. It gives you the time in which the action took place, and what they are.

George Thomas:
So, for instance, if I scroll down through this speed, I see prospect, prospect, prospect, prospect. Right? Then I also see things that are open, which allows me to hover over this. I'm not going to go too deep in that because that's a whole 'nother thing that we're going to talk about during this episode, but I can see, okay, a prospect did this at this time. Why is that important? Again, because what we're trying to say is there's strategy around all these things that we can do inside of HubSpot. It's important because of recency. Right? So, there's this little thing that everybody wants to talk about, that if you reach out and connect with people within the first five minutes of them doing an action, it increases this mass percentage amount of actually making an impact into the thing that you're going to do with them.

George Thomas:
So, now you can literally go over here, see what they are, see when they've done it, and have actions into how you can interact with them. But here's the educational part. The things that you can look at when it comes to if they're a prospect, or if you're going to open it, or if you're going to engage with it, you can see if they opened an email, which every sales rep wants to know if their email has been opened. You want to know if they've clicked in an email, so email clicks. You want to be able to see sent emails. Right? So, easily filtering down through these. You want to see if the lead actually did a visit or what visits they have, prospect visits. Right? So, there's a big difference. This is the lukewarm people on company ABM accounts before you actually convert them into your leads and go more micro.

George Thomas:
So, it's that whole span of being able to go in there. You're going to see document views, which by all that is holy, I hope you're using the HubSpot documents tool to share those PDFs, those PowerPoints, if they're already in your database so that you can literally see and not make them jump through the form hoop, if you will. Meetings Remington just talked about, and forms. So, that's a plethora of items that you can go and filter down and look at what's happening. So, now I want you to think about what we've talked about. Right? We've talked about searching for that person, then the filtering per these different things, and see a time and where they're at, and then being able to take action. Activity feed equals you being able to take a quick action on quick education to the prospects, the leads, and even customers that are in your database. Remington, what is the next thing that you want to talk about or think about when we go into HubSpot activity feeds?

Remington Begg:
So, some clients, we get a conversation that'll come across, like, "Why am I getting all these senseless notifications?" which can be senseless, but if you're in management, you don't really care about all those steps. That's fine. I get it. So, there's a gear. You can turn off Chrome alerts, but still get email alerts. That's something to know if you've got their Chrome plugin, the real one. But then you also have customer activity, which is something that I didn't realize was necessarily there. So, if you're a salesperson and you don't care about customer activity, you could turn off customer activity, and overall, really kind of line up a good flow. But if you're in service, or you care about your customers, everyone should care about their customers, then you've got the toggle to make that happen.

Remington Begg:
The other thing that's really important is, especially if you're an agency like us where you manage others, I have 55 accounts I'm hooked up to on HubSpot, and so you can make sure that you are hooking up the right account to use for your activity feed, for any of your notifications, because that could get a little crazy as well, and then finally, if you just want to shut it all off, you could shut it off. You don't have to get those notifications, but they can be, again, really good indicators of potential success that you can run with. Notifications, own it.

George Thomas:
Yep, yep. So, a couple things I want to unpack there. When Remington talks about notifications, and it's the Chrome extension, literally what we're talking about is there can be a fly-out that will let you know when these things will happen on your desktop. You'll just see it, like Jimmy Smith visited this page. Jimmy Smith clicked in this email. So, that's when you have that Chrome extension plugged in. I also want to unpack... Remington said you can turn off customer activity. If you're inside of HubSpot, contacts, activity feed, there's literally a thing on the right-hand side that says manage activity feed. If you click on that, that's going to get you to where you can turn off that customer activity as well inside of your HubSpot portal. So, now you know how to do it in Chrome. Now you know how to do it in the portal.

George Thomas:
The notifications are also under that place that says activity feed, settings have moved. It gives you a link, which takes you to what is, of course, the profile and preferences and then notifications where you can adjust the notifications that you do want to get from this tool. So, there's a couple things that you can pay attention to in a very micro way there. Now, here's the thing that I love, and again, it comes down to speed. It comes down to being able to take action. If you're scrolling through your feed, and you see somebody, let's just say Richard, I have a person who I've been interacting with, his name is Richard, and I want to do something with this person. First of all, I can open up that show activity, show nine activities, and I can see those activities, but when I hover over this, the fact that... It's sort of scary how easy stuff becomes when you start to leverage this in your daily, because by the way, I would say this is something that you would go to daily, maybe even every couple hours.

George Thomas:
What are the hottest things happening right now inside of my database, recency that I should be engaging with? Anyway, back to what I love, Richard, it's so easy for me to hover over in this activity feed. I can call him, button away. I can email him, button away. Here's the magic. Here's the magic. I can create a task. So, if there's something that I see that excites me, and I don't want to be creepy, and let me explain. I come in here, I see Richard opens an email, and I don't want to email back and be like, "Richard, I see that you opened my email. That's awesome." He's like, whoa. Now they know they're being tracked. But I want to create a task to remind myself later that day or tomorrow to send a template that talks about something that they were engaged with, or maybe even just send an email with something they are engaged with.

George Thomas:
So, now I'm helping myself time out what makes sense to have a human conversation around the activity that I'm seeing in the moment, because what I hope people realize is this literally can get you to in-the-moment marketing, in-the-moment sales, by paying attention to this activity feed, and that doesn't mean that you need to make in-the-moment actions, but you want to remind yourself to make actions so that they don't fall through the cracks. Right? So, then you can create a task, and there's literally a more where you can create a note, you can log activity, you can schedule, all in this one little nice little bar. You see who they are, when the action was taken place, their title, their name, their logo, and boom, any way that you want to interact with them.

George Thomas:
Now here's the cool thing. Before, you would say, "Yeah, all of that's there, George, in the contact record." But I can literally do this and move down to the next contact, do this and move down to the next contact. It's almost, if you filter it the right way, an activity feed queue. If you use a queue in your sales process where you can rapidly do things, this becomes a queue for you. All right. Remington, enough of me. What else do you think about when you think of the activity feed or the HubSpot activity feed?

Remington Begg:
So, I'm going to take this completely sideways, and I'm going to talk about the contact record-

George Thomas:
Cool.

Remington Begg:
... because I think it's also underappreciated. So, you know that thing that George wasn't talking about when he thought about putting together this topic? Yep, I'm talking about that. But no. So, the contact record is one of those things that's almost like drinking from a fire hose, and if you know what you can filter out, and then, of course, you remember what you filtered out, it can be really useful. So, we do that a lot with customer support inquiries. We do that a lot with conversions, with list memberships, especially when we're troubleshooting workflows. Right? Because it gives you the timeline of when things happen, which is really useful. So, I don't think I have to tease a why it's valuable for sales, but I'm going to tease why I think it's valuable for customers. So, we have a workflow that we just implemented internally, which is going to make it so that when someone becomes a customer, it adds them to a report that shows, based on priority of revenue, "Hey, check out these people from a source."

Remington Begg:
So, George, if you want to go in and look at all the people that came from organic search, you could do that, and what we're trying to do is formalize the steps you should take to make sure that the assumptions that you had about that prospect or that lead coming through, and the path that you defined for that path or for that lead to go through was actually done, because I think a lot of times marketers can get stuck in, we'll call it chance. Right? There's an opportunity, that this lead came in, and they originally converted on organic search, and then they viewed our page for a landing page, and then they became a customer six months later, and we're like, "Whoa, awesome. That landing page worked," when you don't realize that the path that they took had nothing to do with that. You know what I mean? They actually came through and met with someone at a trade show.

Remington Begg:
So, while original source does work really well, the path in a lot of cases is super, super important too. So, if we focus really heavy on that destination, but then we do pay attention to the path, it could change how you do a lot of marketing because you might realize that the... It's Pareto's principle. Josh that's new on our team talks about this all the time. It's the 20% of the work that's doing the 80% of the results, and that's something that isn't very easy to see when you're not paying attention to the contact record. So, we're trying to make it normal practice. You have a celebration bell that goes off in Slack because someone became a customer that the marketers jump on and go, "How did we get them?" and really ask that question, and that's an area that it's activity, so it kind of counts-

George Thomas:
Kind of.

Remington Begg:
... but it's one of those things that I don't think marketers spend enough time doing on a one-on-one. They just look at a report instead.

George Thomas:
For sure. For sure. I do want to say this, and I'm going to probably hack this up, so I apologize in advance, but [Gantuco Ambietti 00:22:39], I hope I said that right. Man, if I ever meet you, you can just slap me across the back of the neck if I totally jacked that up, but I agree. There's great value there. I appreciate you being on the live episode of Unpacked. If you have questions, make sure you put it in the chat pane or head over to sprockettalk.com, get your free account, hop in the Slack channels, and we can have conversations all day long about this and more. Remington, I'm going to rein it back in, because today is about the activity feed. I really do appreciate what you shared, and it's super important, but I want everybody to know, you've talked about the Chrome extension. I've talked about inside of HubSpot. It's literally contacts and activity feed.

George Thomas:
But people, what? What? We're on the move. Everybody's on the move. Everything that we've talked about for the last, oh, I don't know, 26 minutes is right here in your pocket. That's right. This is the activity feed that you can hit, and you can do that filtering. You probably can't see this because of the exposure, but you can do that filtering. You can engage with them, all the things that we talked about. It's literally in Chrome. It's in HubSpot, the hub, and it's in your mobile HubSpot app. If you don't have the HubSpot mobile app, and you're not paying attention to activity feed in there, what the heck? What's wrong with you? Nothing's wrong with you. Now you know about it. Now you can do it. Remington, people should definitely tell people about the Unpacked show. People should definitely tell people about sprockettalk.com and the VIP, but is there one last thing that you, fine sir, should be telling people about activity feed, about Sprocket Talk, or just life in general?

Remington Begg:
Show up in our activity feed, yo. Sign up for Sprocket Talk. [crosstalk 00:24:30]

George Thomas:
There we go. Yeah, that's good. That's good. I love that. I love that. Man.

Remington Begg:
Thanks, everybody.

George Thomas:
There's so much. There's so much value. I just want to let everybody know, there's so much value. If you're not using the activity feed, please, I don't care where it is, in the app, this is real talk here. In the app, in the Chrome extension, in your hub, save yourself time. Truly start to understand the journey of where your prospects leads, and if it makes sense for you, customers, or not customers, you can turn it off, where they're at, and these interactions that have to take place, because it's these interactions, the calls, the emails, the if they're in sequences or not that build the relationship, and once you build the relationship, the revenue comes. HubSpot literally is helping you be a more human sales or marketing professional. Activity feed is your superhero tool belt to help you do that. Folks, as always, I'm @GeorgeBThomas on the Twitters and Instagram. He's @RemingtonBegg, and I'm going to say goodbye here in a minute. I'm going to try to shut it off before he says toodles, but he always beats me.

Remington Begg:
Toodles.

George Thomas:
Have a good day.