It is broadly accepted that CRM (Client/Customer Relationship Management) tools are a key necessity for most growing or established businesses these days. From the beginning, their functionality has fulfilled crucial contact and communication management needs for companies—and as the digital world has evolved, so have these tools.
Today, a CRM is seldom just a CRM. The key players in the space have gone from CRMs to business operations management tools. Before, you’d go to your CRM for a contact’s phone number or the details of your last conversation. Now you can use them to launch and manage omnichannel campaigns, as a source of truth for all your systems, for blogging, to build dynamic reports and dashboards, to get insights about a contact’s general interests or even whether they intend to buy your product—you can even build websites right from these tools.
In a world where we are all oversaturated by information, service offerings, and technology, these kinds of all-in-one solutions are crucial to winning in the digital age. Not only do they expand your capabilities to acquire and service clients at scale, but they increase the odds of success of your sales and marketing initiatives by helping you cut through the noise and focus your efforts where it counts.
Our team has had the opportunity to work with—and implement—a few CRM solutions. We’ve used Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Zoho, Monday.com (which is actually a project management tool), and HubSpot.
In this article, we’ll tell you why we are such big fans of HubSpot—so much so that we decided to become an implementation partner.
Let us start by talking about Inbound Marketing, the core client acquisition and retention methodology behind HubSpot’s impressive rise to the top.
HubSpot defines Inbound Marketing as:
“…a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, inbound marketing forms connections they are looking for and solves problems they already have.”
At a time when it is so easy to reach global audiences, we find inbound marketing to be a no-brainer. Rather than knocking on 1,000 doors to find five people who might need your product, why not build an online ecosystem with a broader reach that attracts and engages people who are already interested in the products and services you offer?
We know, that’s hard work. Building a powerful online presence and great online experiences is no picnic. But once that machine gets going, there is no stopping you.
HubSpot is made up of a core CRM system and five Hubs: The Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, CMS Hub, Service Hub, and Operations Hub. All designed to build—and capitalize on—-an inbound marketing ecosystem. You can learn about each of them here
Personally, we find that the Marketing and Sales Hubs are enough for most clients, but if you have the budget and want to centralize every single aspect of your business into a single solution, HubSpot certainly has the tools to do just that.
That’s a good segue for what I want to cover next, which are the reasons why I think HubSpot is so powerful.
One of the biggest operational challenges we’ve experienced in our career at almost every company we’ve worked for is the conglomerate of isolated technologies companies use. This is problematic for a variety of reasons:
This is an important area where HubSpot sets itself apart from CRMs such as Salesforce or Zoho.
It’s easier to use than the alternatives (Salesforce, Zoho, Dynamics)
That’s not just us saying that, PC Magazine agrees.
The vast majority of times we’ve introduced people to HubSpot they’ve found it easy to use. Especially people who come from other CRMs. Of course, there is a learning curve, but it’s not overly steep.
The only times we’ve seen people frustrated is when they try to configure it themselves. This brings us to my next point.
As long as you use an expert, it’s easy to implement
This may sound obvious but some CRMs are a pain to implement—even for an expert.
The combination of an intuitive user interface, a massive app store—allowing you to easily integrate with most well-known software out there, a very engaged support community, and a powerful API that comes with great documentation, makes HubSpot implementations a lot more manageable than that of its peers.
To be clear, the efficient and effective implementation of any robust CRM requires expertise, or, at the very least, a technologically savvy internal team with enough time to allocate to implementing and managing the tool. But even for professionals there are varying degrees of difficulties, and compared to other tools such as Dynamics, Salesforce, and even Zoho, HubSpot is a breeze to implement.
The inbound methodology can be applied in three ways: i) Attract: drawing in the right people with valuable content and conversations that establish you as a trusted advisor. ii) Engage: presenting insights and solutions that align with your target clients’ pain points and goals so they are more likely to buy from you. And iii) Delight: providing ongoing and consistent help and support to empower your customers to find success with their purchases.
HubSpot has tools for each stage:
HubSpot offers one of the broadest sets of integrated features to publish content to attract people to your brand. These include social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), online ad management, landing page builder, video hosting and publishing, blogging, and more.
Evidently, the chief prerequisite for all these tools is content, but even that is covered with HubSpot’s recently launched AI tools. More on that later in the AI section.
ChatGPT Alone Won’t Cut it
HubSpot is a very powerful tool even without an inbound marketing strategy, specially the Sales Hub, but its true power is leveraged when coupled with a strong inbound (content) strategy.
While AI can be unbelievably helpful to create content, we maintain that if you are not committed to investing the time and resources into content creation (beyond what ChatGPT can provide, your inbound marketing strategy won’t succeed.
Converting Leads (Engage)
We’ve worked with clients who have an enviable ability to generate leads due to their powerful brands and online presence, but they were faced with an issue that not many people have the luxury to focus on: capitalizing on all the eyes they were getting on their brand.
What a great problem to have, right?
The features HubSpot offers to turn social media followers and website visitors into leads are not just effective, but extremely easy to set up.
These include a website builder with a myriad of conversion capabilities, landing pages, social tracking, enterprise-level email marketing, forms, notifications when users visit your website, a live chat, forms, and a number of very effective CTAs (calls to action) that you can place on your website to encourage visitors to give you their contact information.
Nurturing and Closing Leads (Engage)
Once leads are generated, it’s crucial to nurture them, qualify them, and efficiently turn them into clients. This is where things like email marketing, articles, lead scoring, web visitor notifications, and webinars come in and they are all manageable from HubSpot
Keeping Clients Happy (Delight)
“The value of a promise consistently kept.”
Level5 Strategy, a Toronto-based strategy and transformation consulting firm, has one of the best definitions of brand I’ve ever encountered.
They define brand as the value of a promise consistently kept.
We love that. We think that’s also what it takes to delight clients. You make a promise to the marketplace as to who you are and how you will serve them, and if you are so fortunate as to have them do business with you, then you do everything in your power to keep that promise—always.
HubSpot has a large number of tools to help you keep the promises you make to the marketplace from a service level, amongst these are: automation, a ticketing system to quickly manage inbound marketing, a user-friendly knowledge base so your staff has quick access to answers, a conversation inbox for your team to easily handle all client inquiries—no matter what channel they come in through, and so much more.
Having worked in businesses where so many of the processes rested in the hands of human beings remembering to do stuff, which inevitably almost always led to processes getting discontinued or things falling through the cracks, we know all too well the power of getting your systems to help you.
Imagine having the ability to implement many of those things you’d like to do, but without involving costly software development. That’s essentially what automation is all about.
This is what that looks like in practice:
Boss: “HubSpot Administrator, I’d like the team to follow up with all attendees of X event.”
HubSpot Administrator: “For sure, I’ll create a quick workflow that evenly distributes unassigned attendees to each salesperson, it will even create a task in their calendars for them not to forget to follow up and you’ll get an automated report every two weeks on the progress of that effort.”
See the power of that? Nothing falls through the cracks. There are no conversations about: “Whatever happened to the people to came to so and so event”; “Oh, Jane was following up with them, but she left, and no one took over.”
It’s very difficult to provide a top-notch client experience at scale, here are some ways in which HubSpot helps in that area:
Getting all of this in place is hard work, but HubSpot is to me one of the most comprehensive tools in the market to aid you in the process of crafting a delightful client experience. And once that’s in place, the gains are transformational.
This is the latest and greatest HubSpot addition. Through two new and transformational tools that leverage ChatGPT, HubSpot has exponentially increased its user-friendliness by allowing users to interact with it using natural language.
So far, they have created two tools that leverage AI: Content Assistant and ChatSpot.ai.
Content Assistant: utilizes OpenAI’s GPT model to help anyone on your team ideate, create, and share content in a flash.
ChatSpot.ai: this powerful tool allows you to do virtually anything you can do on HubSpot, but using natural language. E.g. “Please give me a report of all my leads in Chicago.”, ChatSpot does it for you. Or “Please give me a report of all the deals created last month set to close in less than 60 days”, ChatSpot’s got you.
Despite what anyone might claim—even HubSpot—if you don’t have a person dedicated to implementing and supporting your CRM, it will either fail or be severely underutilized.
Using HubSpot is easy, but maintaining and it optimizing it takes time and skill. Many CRM companies will say it’s easy (“plug-and-play”). This might be true for an expert and relative to the other CRMs out there, but if you are not a techy person or are just maintaining the CRM on the side, it will never live up to its full potential
Just like it needs a technical expert, HubSpot also needs a business champion.
There must be a business person involved, constantly thinking about the needs of the business and testing that against HubSpot capabilities.
It goes something like this:
Business Champion: “Hi HubSpot Administrator, I’d like to trigger all these onboarding tasks when a deal is closed: a welcome email to the new client, an automated invoice based on the existing quote for accounts receivable to review, and a task for the assigned account manager to set up a kickoff meeting.”
HubSpot Administrator: “Absolutely.”
Unless you are thinking about what the business needs and curious as to how your existing tools can deliver on those needs, you’ll find yourself not only underutilizing the tool but also buying new software you absolutely don’t need.
As with anything worth doing, patience is a key ingredient in turning HubSpot into the business operations and sales machine it’s meant to be.
Here is what you need to be patient about:
Reach out, we offer a free one-hour consultation.
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