Page last updated on March 19th, 2018
HubSpot is a cloud-based software platform that helps businesses launch and control their marketing efforts, manage their sales processes, and support the ongoing needs of their customer base. It’s an all-in-one system that provides medium-sized businesses with the data they need to make strategic decisions in their marketing, sales, and customer service processes that are in the best interest of the company's growth goals and objectives.
HubSpot’s History and Growth
HubSpot began back in 2005 as a marketing hub, and even with the many additions since then, its marketing capabilities remain what the tool is best known for. The idea came out of a desire for a new way to go to market online to drive new leads for businesses. Marketing processes in the early 2000’s were still comprised mostly of billboards, print ads, commercial advertising and postal mailing campaigns that had become oversaturated and difficult to track any direct sales ROI from. Sales processes were ridden with
The problem with both of these processes boiled down to one thing: timing. Old school tactics focused on interrupting busy decision-makers, rather than approaching them at a time that made more sense during their buying process. This problem came at the same time that more and more business leaders were moving away from answering their phones and turning their efforts online to get information about the problem they were experiencing.
HubSpot changed the marketing and sales game with a process they call inbound marketing. It took all of a business's digital marketing efforts and put them into one tool where campaigns could be leveraged, monitored, and ultimately, transferred to the sales team quickly and easily. It’s a proven
Additional HubSpot tools like the Projects, Customer and Connect Hubs are now offering more ability to manage the entire customer experience from the first marketing content a prospect sees, through the entire sales cycle, and all the way down to how they interact with a customer service representative after the product or service has been delivered.
According to HubSpot, inbound marketing is defined as:
“The process of attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer's buying journey. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customers attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.”
Photo Courtesy: HubSpot
As you can see in the image above, the HubSpot platform of products supports the buying journey of customers who are researching and buying online.
Here are a few key inbound marketing terms that become important elements of the process of that inbound buying journey supported by HubSpot:
Here’s an example of how inbound with HubSpot works for a growth-driven business owner today:
Let’s say you are the business owner of a commercial carpet cleaning company. You are starting inbound marketing with a clearly defined SMART goal. You want to add 15 more ongoing office carpet cleaning clients over the next 12 months. Here’s how you would go about accomplishing that goal using HubSpot and the inbound marketing process:
Now, as the business owner, you have to simply repeat this process 15 times over the next 12 months to accomplish the SMART goal you defined. But since every activity is defined, automated, and tracked with HubSpot, you now have exactly what you need to accomplish it.
Now that you have a general overview of what HubSpot is, here’s a bit more detail about the core elements of each part of the platform:
Marketing: As we’ve been telling you, the marketing platform pulls all of your marketing efforts together into one easy-to-use platform. You can build and change your website easily (No coding experience necessary for basic tweaks and adjustments.) New marketing campaigns, emails, workflows, social media posts, analytics and reporting, lead management, blogging and content strategy
CRM: The HubSpot CRM provides your sales team with information and tools needed for today's digitally-motivated sales processes. The tool has five primary areas: Contacts, Companies, Deals, Tasks, and Sales Tools. Sales reps stay more organized with areas for task management and easy access to new contact activities. You can also segment contact lists and set up customized filters for certain activities. Create custom deal stages catered to your business needs so you can support the prospect at the right time to move them closer to the purchase.
Sales: HubSpot Sales works with the CRM so that your Sales team can log emails automatically, create new contacts directly from their email client, as well as view opened and clicked activity right on the contact record. The HubSpot Sales tools are available as an optional Office 365 add-on and browser plug-in for Outlook and Chrome on Windows.
Customer: The customer hub is the newest addition
HubSpot Connect is the HubSpot integration program. It features a group of tools you can integrate with HubSpot that make the user experience as valuable and productive as possible.
The purpose of the Connect tool is to enhance performance so you can tie as many activities as possible to your inbound efforts. Think of the Connect feature like a group of external top-tier tech tools that you can pull in to enhance your HubSpot efforts.
Here are the primary integrations offered in connect:
There are some “secondary” integration opportunities available like
The HubSpot Projects area creates a place for all marketing, sales, and customer support tasks, communications, and files. This feature integrates with all of the HubSpot marketing tools so all projects can be monitored and managed within the same software used to execute them. Again, this eliminates the need for a third party tool or login.
With every task, you can assign the owner(s), due dates, asset links, and any other files you might need like blog posts or site pages. Turn projects into templates, and create repeatable processes for all your future marketing, sales, and support work. The pre-made templates for to-do lists streamline your workload
Now that you understand what HubSpot is, here’s why it can be of tremendous value for businesses looking to grow strategically in today’s data-driven and technological environment:
Central Information Hub
As a business owner or marketer, you know that the more tools and processes you try to patch together to create a solution to a business problem, the more complicated it becomes to implement and manage. With HubSpot’s complete customer management system, the software forms a centralized place for businesses to manage their customer process from the very first website visit to the customer support and management process well after they’re a buyer. This single solution eliminates the need to purchase and learn numerous systems. One contact or business record pulls in all necessary information needed to provide assistance for all areas of the buyer’s journey and customer experience process.
Dated marketing methods like cold mailers and billboard advertising pose significant challenges for those looking for a way to track their effectiveness. With HubSpot, the reporting capabilities are extensive, providing you with significant insight into which of your online marketing efforts are working, and in turn, which are not. Because of this insight into metrics, you can quickly take action and make adjustments to your initiatives based on what’s performing. Some of the reporting features include:
This report allows you to see exactly how much of your marketing efforts are turning into revenue for your business. Create these reports for individual contacts or business names with any of the properties you choose. Select the dates you want to review, source types, and your CRM revenue fields and you get instant access to revenue totals for those efforts.
A big part of your inbound effectiveness will be based on the amount of traffic coming to your landing pages and website. In HubSpot, you can track all elements of your traffic types like organic, direct, social media, and email marketing.
New Contacts by Persona
After you have a clear understanding of who your buyer persona is, now you need to start tracking how many new leads you’re getting based on the persona you’ve identified. You can do this by plotting the contacts by their created date, then breaking down the report by the persona type. Doing so will help to give insight into your campaigns and who they are actually attracting. This report may also help to identify some imbalance in what resources you are dedicating to each of your personas so you can make adjustments. (Tip: Before you can pull this report, you do need to put your personas into HubSpot
The campaign tool in HubSpot ties all of your marketing efforts into one convenient place so you can see how the efforts for that marketing initiative are working. All you have to do to get one started is create a campaign in the “Productivity” area of the Marketing tool, and link that campaign to every element you create going forward. That includes things like content resources, CTA’s, blog posts, landing pages, email marketing and more.
Here’s a snapshot of the campaign tool:
Current Contacts by Lifecycle
Segmenting your database by lifecycle stage allows you to see how many leads, opportunities, customers, subscribers, etc. you have in your database. This view showcases whether you should be focused on generating new leads or closing current leads. It also gives you an idea of the quality of the contacts. It showcases the health of your sales funnel.
Sales HUB Tools
The sales tools are designed with timing combined with data at the forefront, so sales representatives can be ready to seize opportunities when the timing is right. Some of the most popular tools include:
Contact record example
The good news is, you can use a lot of HubSpot’s tools for free to get started and to see if they work well for you. The bad news is, they give it to you because they know it works to get you interested in purchasing more tools with a paid version of the tool. Many of their free tools are limited and give you just a small taste of all the potential data and analytics you’ll receive once you upgrade your account to a paid version.
Here are the tiers of HubSpot pricing on a monthly basis:
If you buy HubSpot directly, they will also charge you a $3,000 onboarding fee. This fee can be avoided if you make your purchase of the tool through a certified HubSpot inbound marketing agency like ours, as we take care of the onboarding process for you, free of charge. More information on this is available here.
Keep in mind, if you’ve stumbled on this information and you are in discussions about HubSpot with an inbound marketing agency, the HubSpot pricing is separate from what the agency will charge you on a monthly basis. Inbound marketing agencies like ours work with you to implement strategies with our team working on your behalf. It’s an outsourced marketing team of sorts because you get content creators, designers, developers, and HubSpot-certified experts working on your behalf but without them adding to the payroll. For many organizations, they find that working with an agency costs less than hiring a full-time employee because most marketing professionals aren’t able to do writing, design/development work in addition to the other pieces required for HubSpot marketing management. If you are purchasing the professional version of HubSpot or higher, you will need at least one (highly skilled) full-time employee or an agency to leverage it to its full potential.
To see how we leverage inbound and HubSpot, watch below:
So, now that you’ve seen the pricing, you might be wondering if there’s a less expensive option available. Well, HubSpot does have competition, here are the 2 other big players:
Pardot by SalesForce: $1-3k/Month
What makes it great:
Where HubSpot Shines Over Pardot:
What makes it great:
Where HubSpot Wins Over Marketo
And to see a more in-depth look at HubSpot vs. Marketo, check out this chart:
Now that you are aware of what HubSpot is, how it works and what it costs, you probably want to know how you can learn how to use it. Well, there’s a ton of resources available out there for you to learn everything there is to know about HubSpot. For starters, watch this video:
The HubSpot Academy is a group of courses with certifications you can earn as you learn each aspect of the HubSpot platform of products. There’s a certification course for nearly every feature, allowing you to not only learn as you implement the tool
Here’s a snapshot of all the certifications available currently:
Get a HubSpot Demo
HubSpot is a big purchase, so you should take some time to get a demo of how it all works first. HubSpot can get you started by providing these demos, or an inbound marketing agency like ours would also be happy to help.
HubSpot User Groups (HUG Groups)
There are also great opportunities to learn more about HubSpot through local communities in your region. These are events hosted in your area that teach more about leveraging HubSpot and inbound marketing for growth. Usually, these groups host events at least once each quarter. They are free to attend, and you don't even need to be a HubSpot user. Often times, they are run by inbound marketing agencies in your area. If you want to find out more about your local HUG group, click here.
Lastly, we believe the very best advice and guidance you will receive about using HubSpot is going to come from a HubSpot inbound marketing agency. You can find a list of all HubSpot-certified partners in the HubSpot Partner Directory located here. Agencies like ours are certified in all elements of HubSpot and can provide the most comprehensive inbound marketing analysis for your business to determine how to leverage it most successfully for your unique business. We do offer a free inbound marketing assessment to determine what growth strategies might work well for you. If you’d like to take advantage of this, click here.