HubSpot is one of the most well-known marketing and sales automation tools on the market. In fact, HubSpot was one of the first to propagate Inbound Marketing concepts regarding marketing and sales in the four phases: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight.
Many believe that only big B2B businesses can take advantage of HubSpot’s offerings. But there are many different levels of automation that the system provides to help even smaller companies.
Read on to see if HubSpot could be the right choice for your business.
What is HubSpot?
Let’s first look at what HubSpot is and what the engine really consists of.
HubSpot is a technical platform that systematises and aggregates the sales and marketing disciplines under one roof. You can use it to collect leads and process them through the sales funnel – from unknown visits to loyal customers.
According to G2 Crowd, which scores marketing automation systems based on customer reviews, HubSpot is one of the best systems on the market for both small, medium and enterprise businesses. The analysis looks at the available platforms based on satisfaction and market presence.
Among other things, it is based on great satisfaction with user-friendliness, functionality, service level and knowledge resources. The matrix here leaves no doubt that users score HubSpot far above the competition (the logo is the orange icon at the top right).
What can HubSpot do?
HubSpot consists of several components that can be purchased individually to build the best solution to suit each company. Overall, the system focuses on four areas:
Their marketing software is probably the service that appeals to most when considering a new automation system. This is where you can work on attracting and collecting contacts, processing leads and tracking marketing activities.
Specifically, this is done through functions such as email workflows, forms, pop-ups, blogs, landing pages, calls-to-action, social media publishing, lists and reporting.
In HubSpot Sales, you can work to qualify your leads and prioritise the sales effort to where there is the most potential.
The sales module includes tools for pipelines, deals, lead scoring, sales templates, sales flows, notifications and sales reporting.
The Service Hub – Customer Hub – is HubSpot’s latest addition. It connects sales, marketing, and customer services and focuses on customer satisfaction by converting customers into loyal ambassadors.
They do this through functionalities such as live chat and chatbots, case management, knowledge bank, survey, communication overview and reporting.
HubSpot CRM is free to use and helps keep track of contacts and companies that interest you (or that you work on). The CRM is not an independent module, but the functionalities are spread over the solution.
In the CRM you will find contact profiles, contact data (both the collected data from forms as well as the implicit data from the user’s behaviour), companies, the status of the lead, segments etc.
HubSpot itself draws the connection between the four areas as follows:
- Send feedback
HubSpot requires the right match
This may sound very enticing with all the possibilities, but investing in the system doesn’t add benefits if the company doesn’t actually need or can’t exploit the opportunities.
In other words, it requires some investment in resources to really benefit from HubSpot.
Consider your company’s resources and competencies. It’s essential to make clear what resources the system requires. We see many companies investing in HubSpot but they’re unable to utilise the system because they don’t have the right competencies in-house, have not managed to train their employees to work with it, or they don’t invest in external resources that can help.
Or, quite often, they simply underestimate how long it takes to work the Inbound way. Imagine splitting your customers into three segments. Each segment needs to be addressed in different ways and fed different content at different times in different contexts if you hope to create a relationship. Thus, you must build a lot of material to promote across many channels.
But hey, that’s why we bought an automation system, right?
That’s right enough. But automation doesn’t build and maintain itself. So let’s just cancel that myth! Automation is hard work – and it requires 100% focus.
Our experience says that, at the start, it requires you to at least dedicate one employee for 25-30 hours a week (full time) to get to know and understand the system if the company wants to get value for the money spent.
On top of this, you must set time aside for marketing, sales and IT setup and gaining benefits from activities. And don’t forget customer service if you invest in the service module, too.
Scalability and budget
HubSpot consists of several components that can be purchased individually so you can build the solution that suits the company. Some features are free, but where it’s most interesting to work with the tool, it costs money.
- If you need a simple CRM, you get many sales functions for free.
- If you need to use the system to send newsletters, you will need their Starter Package (starting at £270 / month for 1,000 contacts).
- If you want to use the system for marketing automation, you’ll need to enter their Pro solution (from £650 / month).
- If you have a lot of permissions, it would pay to invest in the Enterprise solution (from SEK £1,900 / month).
The prices are very different depending on the needs of the business. But that also means that the system can grow with your business.
Precise scalability is a significant factor when a company has to invest in an automation system. We often see companies investing in costly, complex systems and, before they can fully appreciate its benefits, the world around them has changed so much that it’s no longer the most competitive model. Instead, you should look at what your business needs here and now – and then build on that.
Ship small – ship early.
It may well be that the big solution is the right choice in the long term. But consider a starter package first to get to know the system, gather some experience and results. And then upgrade continuously.
Find the target first and then draw the path to the goal in achievable steps to get you started.
Other benefits of HubSpot
HubSpot is not for everyone. But if it’s the right fit for your company then it’s one of the best systems available to automate your sales and marketing activities.
The system is very suitable for B2B companies, where customer engagement through the sales funnel is often long and complex. But it’s also great for companies with technically-heavy products that require careful consideration before a purchase, companies doing real estate investments (see Lighthouse case), or those with a sales organisation that handle the upgraded leads coming from marketing.
In these situations, you have more opportunities to engage with the customer using the right messages at the right time and place. And that is exactly what the system is optimal for.
For HubSpot to pay itself off, the company must have a recipient database of a particular volume. How many is always a judgment call. A company can have 250 recipients in its database, but if it’s 250 really good leads, and if the conversion value is high, it can easily make sense to invest in a larger automation system. One of the areas HubSpot is strong in is lead generation so your database will grow.
Last but not least, HubSpot will only be a good match if the organisation has the right mindset. Is the organisation ready to make the decisions needed to exploit the many functionalities? Perhaps resources have to be moved around, budgets reallocated or other price models developed.
So the company’s digital maturity plays a crucial role for which system suits you.
Considerations before choosing HubSpot
Are you still in doubt about whether HubSpot would be right for your business? Try asking yourself these questions:
- Are we a B2B company?
- Do we sell complex products and/or services?
- Is the customer’s decision-making process long?
- Do we have a budget that can cover licenses and external resources?
- Do we have the necessary time internally required by the system – or will we devote that time?
- Do we have the necessary content that the system requires – or can we create the content?
- Do we have the right competencies – or can we qualify our competencies?
- Do we have an organisation that is ready to work with sales and marketing based on the inbound method? (Do you, for example, choose other traditional marketing and sales activities from, say, trade shows?)
If you answer yes to most of these questions, there may be great potential in choosing HubSpot.
If you are a B2C company, the answer can still be yes. It always requires an individual assessment of the company’s market, products and target group.
Get an expert opinion
We are happy to help you clarify whether HubSpot is suitable for your company. Together, we can determine if you will get value out of HubSpot or another automation system, and how you can get started. Contact us to hear more about Inbound Marketing with HubSpot or other automation systems – on a large or small scale.