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How did eSales Hub start?


Hear in his own words how Mark Taylor, Founder and CEO of eSales Hub, set the company up:

“I was sitting at home with my eBusiness Manager from Halfords Autocentre creating content for the new website. We’d decided to use my lounge as a base for the day to add some fresh impetus to the process – it was the end of the week and inputting content into a 300-page site had taken its toll.”

“We’d been working pretty hard on driving sales through the website up until now – we’d taken the site from doing £6m in revenue to over £15m in 12 months.”

And then it suddenly hit me; we’d got a pretty good handle on local search and the type of page that could drive conversion, so knew our stuff pretty well, but we thought we were leaking sales that should be attributed to the site as our tracking didn’t take into account any offline sales from phone calls, only online bookings.”

“As we walked across to Budgens to get our lunch, we talked more about the idea, but the one thing that was missing was the ability to track all the sales we were generating from phone calls effortlessly, without it costing the earth. We knew calls through to the garages were being driven from the website, but they weren’t being tracked and we were missing loads of revenue in our figures. The first thoughts of eSales Hub started. “

“I then tested various elements of what was to become eSales Hub through two private equity backed companies. At Esporta we were able to grow online leads from being 2% of sales mix to 29%, just by focusing on local search. We were then able to create a standalone consumer locksmith and glazing business with a run-rate of £1.8m in 12 months, with very little investment. Maybe the concept of driving sales from local search really could work?”

“Then came the game changer – Google launched the Hummingbird update in August 2013. This wasn’t so much as an update but almost a complete over-haul of the search engine algorithm that created a new level of relevant search results based on location and conversational search. “

“After two successful private equity ventures, the time was right and eSales Hub was born on 5th December, 2013.”

“I didn’t just want to generate sales for businesses big and small, I wanted to do it in a very transparent way so that the success, or failure, could be monitored and rewarded. I’d gotten tired of others not giving me the full picture, or promising the world and not delivering, so whatever eSales Hub was going to be, I only wanted us to be rewarded on the results I generated. I also didn’t want to generate a lead and sell the same lead to 5 competitors – where was the loyalty in that? The way I wanted to work was exclusively with a client over a longer period. “

“However, growth isn’t easy – driving sales of new customers for a company is one of the most difficult channels to manage effectively. Which is why we decided early on, that if a company has a genuine desire for growth, they deserve to be successful. Those without a genuine desire to grow aren’t right for us as working with us is a partnership – we can drive the inbound calls or emails, but it takes the client sales team to make the most of each sales opportunity we drive. “

“So we set about creating our minimum viable product, something we could use to illustrate our thoughts about the way local search was developing after the Google Hummingbird update and to show how you could capitalise on local search to drive sales. “

“With the help of Anas from Google (he’d later join me) we set about creating a process to drive sales from inbound calls using others technology. At first, no one wanted to take the risk on an unproven concept, so we created our own sites and sold the sales leads on. “

“Our first attempt was a Locksmith client. We were able to drive 20 leads a day for a national locksmith company, and on a good day, get 50% conversion from lead to sale. But this is when we hit our first snag – with an average invoice value of £120, there simply wasn’t enough revenue to pay for the cost of sale and make a profit. Which is why today one of our parameters for working with a client is that they have to have a minimum order value of £150 or a high repeat ratio for the client to get profit out of our leads. “

“Our client acquisition strategy was working well and we started to work with big companies like Neighbourly (America’s fourth largest franchise company) and Homeserve (FTSE500).”

“But as we rolled out the technology stack, we knew there would be a better way for it to work; we needed our own technology. Our own schema code, our own call–to-click funnel tracking technology and our own sales reporting analytics.”

“Working with Andy our CTO, we set about to create what eSales Hub is today; call analytics powered by artificial intelligence. We didn’t just want to create sales leads, but we wanted to “close-the-loop” of on-call or in-person sales conversions to their respective online click and campaign data; not only did we want track phone calls, we wanted to generate our our conversion data from each call so we’d know which ones were good and which ones were so good without the client telling us, so we could speed up the optimisation of their campaign.”

“We further developed our analytics platform to include the generation of candidates for recruitment. Direct employers and recruitment teams have a similar problem to their marketing counterparts; which online channels drive the best candidates that stay the longest. By utilising our analytics platform, we could track online applications right through to payroll, analysing which online job boards and channels had the greatest hire ratio. It was a game-changer for a number of clients – they knew what to spend and where to get the most recruits by spending the least.”

“Having financed the company myself and with it now making a modest profit, we sought our first round of investment to help grow the business in August 2016. Having had several options, we decided to choose an angel investor rather than a large corporate as we wanted to stay agile whilst rapidly drive sales. We were valued at £2m in August 2016 and landed our first investor. “

“Then in July 2018 when we were recognised by Google as being a fast growing business. With a bit of extra guidance from Google we launched our eSales Hub Analytics tool 2.0 to enable clients to better track their sales whilst inserting this data back into Google Ads for greater optimisation. In June 2019, 12 months ahead of schedule, we were announced as a Premier Google Partner – we were now in the top 3% of all Google Partners worldwide.”

“Today we are trusted by FTSE-500, DAX-500, FTSE MIB-500 companies to drive sales from local search on a pay on results basis, increasing sales volumes by up to 35%, increasing conversion by 65% and driving invoices values by 300%.”