The New HubSpot CRM: Is It Ready For Primetime?
There are big things brewing for HubSpot. In their IPO in October 2014, HubSpot released 5 million shares at a price of $25 per share. As of Friday, January 23, 2015, the share price is $33.51. That’s an increase of 34% in just over 3 months.
Why are investors so hot on HubSpot? The main reason is their consistent ability to grow their subscriber base year over year. By constantly improving their software, HubSpot has acquired over 11,500 corporate customers since their founding in 2006.
As part of their software improvement process, HubSpot announced a new CRM product at their Inbound Conference in late August, 2014. HubSpot Sales, which is currently in beta, has been rolled out to current HubSpot marketing customers as part of their existing software subscription and will be rolled out to new customers in 2015.
Clearly, HubSpot views their CRM offering as a key part of their business strategy – which is to provide a complete sales and marketing solution to SMB companies. For enterprise companies and other Salesforce users, HubSpot is offering a new product called Sales Accelerator which is in paid beta stage.
Why do marketers love HubSpot?
Marketers love Hubspot – not so much because it does something revolutionary, but because it has integrated a complete suite of inbound marketing tools into one simplified workflow. Hubspot Sales shines among CRMs for the same reason: it simplifies the workflow. Its strength is end-user usability, which has been the primary obstacle in Salesforce’s decade-long transformation from an app into a platform.
A tightly-integrated sales and marketing process for the new buying paradigm
How B2B decison-makers buy has changed. B2B buyers now complete 57% of their sales process before ever contacting a salesperson, researching purchases on the web and social media sites. And so it follows that how we market and sell has to change. Hubspot’s bet is that, in the new order of things, you’ll come to adopt a much more tightly integrated marketing <–> sales workflow, that seamlessly passes data and follow ups between departments. In a sense, it’s as if Hubspot is hoping that everyone will become a “VP of Sales and Marketing” (emphasis on the “and”).
Content marketing expert Marcus Sheridan puts it this way, “The old days of Marketing being in one silo and Sales being in another is absolutely foolish if businesses are going to be able to give consumers what they want during the buying process.”
Is the HubSpot CRM ready for primetime?
Before answering this question, it’s important to remember that the HubSpot CRM is in beta. If their software development process for the CRM is anything like it has been for their marketing platform, it’s a safe bet that many of the gaps that we identify will be closed over the next 12-18 months.
A pragmatist’s view on Hubspot CRM depends largely on whether you already have a CRM or not. In my opinion, these are the situations where the HubSpot CRM in its current form makes sense:
- You’re currently not using a CRM and you have a greenfield opportunity to deploy.
- You’re using the Hubspot marketing software already and you value usability over integration.
For most companies with larger sales teams, our fundamental tenet about CRMs is that the top criteria for selection should be its integration capabilities. That’s one of the Hubspot CRM’s weaknesses as a beta product. Give it time and they will likely catch up – but recognize that you may find yourself wanting the Hubspot CRM to integrate with one of your other sales technology apps. The solution in the short term would be to write your own code for the integration or use Zapier.
While Hubspot promotes ease of use by sales reps as a key benefit of the software, this is largely negated by the fact that most sales pro that you add to your team will know how to use Salesforce. It’s very likely that they won’t know how to use the Hubspot CRM. For sales leaders, you have to take the long view that your reps will become more productive over time with the HubSpot CRM.
At Ringio, we share Hubspot’s design philosophy of putting the user first. We believe that sales interactions and touchpoints are central to the sales process and think it makes a lot of sense to make interactions the primary paradigm for interacting with the CRM.
We believe that the Hubspot CRM has a bright future, and look forward to helping Hubspot customers achieve the benefits of a truly integrated sales technology platform.