HubSpot Broadens Offerings for Big and Small Company Marketers – and Sales Teams Too
At this week’s INBOUND event, HubSpot made a number of noteworthy announcements, especially around its Content Optimization System, Social Inbox (which I previously covered), new reporting engine and “Signals” tool for sales teams.
As discussed in my last post looking at HubSpot’s growth and outlook, I called out several areas/challenges the company needed to address, including:
- Building out its enterprise story;
- Expanding its channels and partnerships;
- Looking at new ways to monetize/grow its core customer base.
Parsing through these announcements, the buzz and keynotes at INBOUND, and what I was able to glean in talking to some of their product folks before the event, it looks like the company is getting serious about all of these areas – especially in terms of expanding its footprint (challenge #1) and creating new revenue streams (challenge #3). Interestingly, the paths to doing both involve taking the company beyond its roots and into the sales and service organizations.
So, what stands out among the new announcements?
First, while HubSpot is known for its inbound and email tools, the Content Optimization System allows users to also manage their Website and blog, generate mobile-ready content, and easily personalize campaigns (in a limited sense). If it sounds like the company is now in the CMS/WCM space, you’re right. And even though this is still a “starter” CMS, the fact that it’s part of a widely used marketing platform makes it a big deal.
Second, with its new reporting engine, HubSpot makes it possible to tie top-of-the funnel marketing campaigns all the way to conversion, and dig deeper into channel effectiveness by segment. Plus enhanced customization makes this more of a toolbox vs. just a bunch of standard reports, something that is definitely a “big company” requirement. When combined with the customer profile capabilities in Social Inbox, it’s not a stretch to see HubSpot as a de facto social CRM alternative, even if the company is hesitant to brand itself that way.
Third, from what I’ve seen, the new Signals notification tool – a free Chrome plug-in – is a clever yet simple sales planning/productivity app. I love the idea of getting alerts when a prospect’s LinkedIn or Salesforce status changes (perfect example of small data in action) or when someone has read your email (likeYesware). Plus, when you connect it to HubSpot (in the paid version) a rep can easily get visibility into site activity as well. Definitely an offering that could create a sizable new revenue stream over time AND a new beachhead for reaching forward-looking sales professionals that may or may not know HubSpot already.
The Bottom Line
HubSpot continues to broaden the scope of its inbound mission by moving more fully into the “front-office” space, while offering enhancements to core tools that should appeal to both big and small company marketers. Even so, on the channel front, I’d still like to see a broader range of (larger) agency and SI partners join the mix of partners – something that is essential to boosting deal size and cracking the next tier of WCM and Customer Experience Management.
Meanwhile, Social Inbox expands the company’s social focus, while a confident move into CMS (check out the last quote in this piece) brings the HubSpot platform closer to an all-in-one offering. But the star of the show for me is Signals. This app takes the company in a new direction, into the sales organization, and even provides the roadmap for offering additional (small) data apps, plug-ins and services that connect to and extend the value of adjacent Web analytics, social business, and traditional CRM platforms.
With the company’s proven expertise in community building and need to push the inbound movement “up and out,” it’s these connections that foreshadow future directions, partnerships (addressing challenge #2 above) – and even acquisition possibilities.
What do you think of HubSpot’s new direction and offerings? We’ll be doing a deeper dive into their CMS functionality and plans over the next few weeks as well, so stay tuned!