HubSpot Has Become A True Platform
A few weeks ago Mike Donnelly and I were talking about how to build a strong tech stack on The Blackline Podcast. We concluded that one decision is as important as every other decision combined. That decision is what platform you will use.
When you choose your platform you're choosing your operating system. When you choose your platform, you're making thousands of decisions that will influence everything else for years.
HubSpot has been talking “platform” for at least five years. There were several periods where I worried it was more talking than walking. Today, I can say that HubSpot is a platform, in every sense of the word.
The “power” of HubSpot has always been its ease. They've always focused on building for the user and keeping things simple.
But, companies that required more robust capabilities to support more complex processes had to make a choice. The downside of ease showed itself, and companies had to choose between a powerful platform or a simple one.
One of the main reasons I made a BIG bet on HubSpot almost 10 years ago was because they always look beyond barriers. They approach common barriers as the raw material for high-value innovation. Historically users have always had to make a simple trade-off. Do you want powerful capabilities & flexibility or do you want ease and simplicity?
Earlier this year HubSpot promised that this was a false trade-off. They exclaimed it’s no longer power vs. ease. Rather it should be power and ease.
With today’s announcements, that promise is a reality.
New and improved features
Today, HubSpot announced several new applications and improvements to existing ones.
For companies that have more complexity, one of HubSpot’s biggest weaknesses was the inability to create custom objects (relational databases). HubSpot’s platform was simple, but for many, it was too simple.
With HubSpot, you got four objects: companies, contacts, deals, and tickets. That was it.
Now with HubSpot, you can create additional objects to support the unique attributes of any business’ go-to-market efforts.
Sequences is not a new app, it’s actually one of the oldest in its Sales Hub. Sequences is HubSpot’s application for sales automation, and candidly it was (keyword here is “was”) everything that was wrong with sales automation.
Today’s announcement addresses many of its flaws, while also providing some simple and very proactive enhancements:
- You can now require tasks in sequences to be completed before the next step in the sequence can be created.
- Additional functionality has been added to the tasks that can be scheduled within sequences. This means you can now implement cross-functional, cross-platform plays utilizing Sequences.
- My absolute favorite new feature is that when scheduling emails, you can embed the email template into the task. This reduces the keystrokes and latency that was previously required for sales reps to send emails, and it greatly reduces the likelihood of mistakes.
- Improved reporting makes tracking and assessing sequences easier.
Sequences is still an app that needs more work, but it has gone from one that enables lazy sales automation to one that enables smart automation.
HubSpot is going all-in on reporting. Over the last three years, they’ve transformed a major weakness into a core strength (and I can’t wait to see what they announce in 2021).
The enhanced reporting capabilities provide greater flexibility in terms of the reports and layouts, making it easier to get the right information for the right people in the right context at the right time.
Their partnership with Snowflake is also enabling them to bring important data into HubSpot, which will enable Reporting to be a single source of information for customer-facing activity and outcomes.
Products and Quotes have increased their robustness, becoming objects themselves. This gives you the ability to manage things more efficiently and effectively.
Additionally, the ability to create custom quotes and to house those quotes on your domain has been added.
While still not quite to parity with full-fledged CPQ applications, it’s getting close.
A Single Database Means A Unified Experience
When we’re building or implementing tech stacks, we follow some first principles:
- The business process must drive the technology, not the other way around.
- The simplest stack that meets the needs is the best tech stack.
- If you can’t do it manually, you can’t automate it.
- Don’t buy technology, hire it - focus on the job to be done.
- Solve for the whole.
If you’re a mid-market company (or smaller) there is only one platform that enables you to meet all of these criteria. It’s the primary reason we recommend HubSpot as distinctly as we do.
Built for the Sales Rep
I still remember when Brian Halligan stood on the stage of the BCEC and asked the question, “What does a sales hero need? A sidekick.” This ushered in what has become the Sales Hub.
HubSpot has always built its sales tools for the salesperson. While this may sound obvious, up until that point CRMs were built for senior executives and were cumbersome for sales reps.
That choice made HubSpot easy to use, but it also required a sacrifice in the power and controls the application could provide.
The biggest compliment I can give is that as the power of HubSpot has increased it’s still built for the rep.
Providing insights to leadership
Today growth-focused companies don’t need to choose between a system built for reps or a system built for leadership.
The platform is now built for both.
Our first principle of tech implementation is: The business process must drive the technology, not the other way around.
Today’s announcements bring the reality of martech implementation a giant step closer to the vision. If you’re not currently using HubSpot, now is a good time to consider it. If you are using HubSpot, now is the time to optimize your business processes to unlock its full power.