What is HubSpot?
If you’re reading this blog, you’ve already heard of HubSpot. But are you familiar with everything it has to offer? HubSpot is a cloud-based, software-as-a-service company that offers a full stack of marketing, sales, and service software for your business.
Based out of Boston, HubSpot has continued to grow over the last few years after going public in mid-2014. This has allowed HubSpot to expand its service offerings - keeping its customers, and their customers, as the main focus.
HubSpot can help B2B and B2C marketing strategies with three main tools: Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub. Each can be used separately, but they are most powerful when used together. HubSpot also offers a CRM, which is completely free with any package.
The Marketing Hub offers email marketing, marketing automation through workflows, social media monitoring and posting, analytics tracking and much more. The Sales Hub allows users to connect one-on-one with prospects through the use of sequences, meetings, playbooks and pipeline management. HubSpot’s most recent major roll-out is the Service Hub, which allows for ticketing support and shared inboxes within the tool.
The Evolution of Inbound Marketing
Much has changed since HubSpot was founded in 2005. The tool first featured only the Marketing Hub, which has since remained its flagship product. At this time, internet marketing was in its infancy. However, a fundamental shift began occurring in the industry.
Sales teams were growing frustrated calling on cold leads. Marketing teams were growing frustrated by sending out marketing messaging into a black hole. In 2010, co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Sha published a book called Inbound Marketing, about - you guessed it - how to grow your business through the Inbound Marketing methodology.
HubSpot’s new methodology for marketing strategies solved these frustrations. The inbound marketing methodology focuses on attracting the right visitors, converting them into leads, closing deals to make them customers and continuing to delight their customers.
HubSpot shifted the focus from the traditional sales funnel to a new concept: the flywheel. The flywheel keeps the customer at the center of all activity, where the funnel has the customers as an afterthought.
All of HubSpot’s products align to each area of the flywheel and connect all teams to work together to serve the customer - Marketing, Sales, and with the addition of the Service Hub, Customer Service.
Who is a Good Fit for HubSpot?
Marketing automation software is not one-size fits all. The needs of your business may be different than those of your competitor’s based on a variety of things like team size, business size and overall strategy. HubSpot works best for growing, mid-market and Enterprise businesses that are looking to increase the amount of leads they generate online.
Content creation and thoughtfully-mapped automation based around your business's specific user personas are at the core of the inbound marketing methodology. If you do not have the time, resources, or team to dedicate to creating fresh content, then this tool may not be for you. While HubSpot does require maintenance and strategy, it will pay dividends if you are willing to put in the time.
HubSpot Pros and Cons
Like any other software or product out there, there are pros and cons of HubSpot. We're outlining them below to help you determine if HubSpot is a great fit for your eCommerce business.
Pro - Marketing automation is arguably HubSpot’s most powerful tool. With HubSpot’s automation, you can give a team of 3 the power of a team of 15. Creating a more efficient marketing machine with less effort is the core of HubSpot’s practice.
Con - Setting up marketing automation with HubSpot is an investment. A simple newsletter sign-up auto-responder can be done in 20 minutes, but a proper marketing plan for nurturing leads takes more time and energy to set up.
Pro - In 2018, HubSpot released their CMS product, which could be purchased alone or as an add-on to any Hub tier. The CMS product is great for small sites that want to leverage the power of personalization in an easy-to-use and intuitive content management platform. If you’re already using HubSpot tools, it’s a no-brainer to consider.
Con - The HubSpot CMS offers everything you need for a basic site out of the box, including a free SSL authentication. However, the CMS only supports the same languages that the HubSpot CRM supports - which can create complexities for multinational businesses.
Pro - Did you know that 60% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand because of a poor customer service experience?
The addition of the Service Hub to the HubSpot tech stack has been the biggest roll out since HubSpot’s inception. This tool has made it easier than ever for eCommerce-focused businesses to incorporate all aspects of marketing strategy into HubSpot.
The Service Hub includes a Help Desk with ticketing, shared inboxes so teams can tag-team support and a chat bot to automate help and route tickets. Best of all, this activity is stored in contact records, which gives full context of your customer’s relationship with your business.
Con - If you have complex needs for your Customer Service team, such as RMAs, you may need to look into custom integrations for Service Hub or consider alternate options.
Sales & CRM
Pro - There are many options out there to empower your sales team, including Salesforce vs HubSpot. HubSpot is the one tool that gives you the full picture of your customer’s interaction with your website, marketing materials and sales team.
Contact records in HubSpot hold all information about a customer’s interaction in one spot. This allows for quick pick up from one sales person to another and then from salesperson to customer service rep. The CRM feature is also free to start, which is a huge added bonus.
Con - If you’re operating with an enterprise team with complex team structures and many team members, HubSpot Sales Hub may not be the right tool for you. Although it can support businesses of any revenue size, businesses may experience difficulty after expanding to include a large number of staff on their sales teams.
Pro - With over 800 integration options available in the marketplace, you can likely find something to fill almost any need when connecting HubSpot with your business. Salesforce, CallRail, Facebook Ads and Databox top the list, just to name a few. An Open API also allows for developers to build custom integrations.
Con - If you require a large amount of integrations, especially paid ones, costs can add up. However, HubSpot’s baseline functionality is robust enough, so this is not a frequent issue.
Pro - Integrating with your eCommerce platform and HubSpot takes connecting with your customers to the next level. By linking HubSpot with your eCommerce platform, you can take advantage of more-flexible abandoned cart emails, capture more leads and service your customers by answering their questions all in one place.
Con - eCommerce implementations with HubSpot typically require an integration. Fortunately, we’ve developed integrations for BigCommerce, HubSpot and Shopify that can help you sync order and customer data into your CRM.
Pro - HubSpot’s support is top notch. Pro plans and above receive priority phone support in addition to the chat and email support available on the website. Response times average about 1 business day, but help is often offered immediately on chat.
HubSpot also does a phenomenal job of owning and updating their knowledge base. Try searching for just about any “How to do XYZ in HubSpot”, and the top result will be a relevant, helpful article from HubSpot.
Con - Honestly, we’re hard-pressed to find cons with HubSpot’s support. If your customization needs are heavy, it may take a little while to get routed to the right person that can help solve your problem. However overall, we give HubSpot support and responsiveness a 9.5/10.
Pro - Weighing the costs of your CRM tools might be your biggest influence when making a decision. HubSpot has several pricing structures based on the tier you choose.
As always, the base Hubspot CRM is free. They also offer packages for any size business and budget. Packages start at $50 per month and go up to $2,400 per month for Enterprise level. Your incremental costs are based on the number of contacts you keep in your system.
The Sales Hub pricing has an additional factor of price per seat, on top of a base price. The Pro level includes 5 seats, and you can pay incrementally for additional seats needed
Con - If you have a large sales team, the incremental cost per seat of each Sales Hub user can add up. Perform a cost analysis before making a decision to see where HubSpot pricing falls in line with other products while accounting for scaling your team’s growth.
Pro - If you’re wondering how your customers are interacting with your email communication, HubSpot provides crystal clear reporting on that front.
Every email records sends, engagement, bounce rates, scan data and click through rates. You can attach several emails to a specific campaign, along with landing pages, blogs, CTAs, etc. to track overall engagement with your targeted marketing efforts.
Con - HubSpot continues to roll out improvements to their reporting tool, there is still room to grow. To cover our bases, we always simultaneously maintain Google Analytics accounts to verify client performance.
HubSpot Success Stories
HubSpot isn’t just for B2B lead generation businesses. As we already mentioned, HubSpot has robust resources for eCommerce brands looking to jump into inbound marketing.
Cutter & Buck is an American sportswear company based out of Seattle, WA (and a Groove Commerce client). After struggling with Pardot email marketing, they were looking for a more intuitive and powerful solution to meet their needs.
Their team aligned its HubSpot Marketing Hub roll out with a new site launch, and was able to make tremendous leaps in its marketing efforts. After increasing email efforts and configuring automation, sessions from email increased 33% YoY. Furthermore, their eCommerce conversion rate increased 45%, revenue increased 25% and the number of transactions increased 22% by implementing HubSpot and BigCommerce.
If you’re looking to implement an inbound marketing strategy for your business by using an all-in-one tool, then we highly suggest taking HubSpot for a test drive. Have questions about these HubSpot pros and cons or want to learn more? Leave us a comment in the form below and we’ll be in touch!
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