Last week, three of us from the team here at Imagine had the pleasure of spending two days with our inbound marketing partner, HubSpot, along with about 100 of their other partners, resulting in a room full of bright-minded, forward-thinking individuals who truly grasp the value of inbound marketing. We were able to accomplish three things with our visit:
- We had a great time.
- We learned a tremendous amount about what’s coming down the pike in terms of both dangers and opportunities for small and mid-market companies. While the rate of change over the last seven years has been intense, we’re only in the third inning (at the latest) of the shift that is occurring.
- We absolutely confirmed our decision to align so closely with HubSpot.
While I realize that this post may come across with as a little “bromantic” it’s actually quite serious. Six months ago we made a difficult and crucial decision to tie ourselves (and our clients) to the HubSpot platform.
We decided that if clients wanted us to execute or promise results, we would only do so by implementing on the HubSpot platform. While I’ve been comfortable with that decision, it seems that every day a new services company is making some promise about revolutionizing the marketing space. The net result is a very complex market, and I was pleased to see the commitment and investment at play in Boston.
I thought it would be valuable to share the five reasons we’ve aligned with HubSpot and would recommend that you do as well.
1. They've Got The People Equation Nailed Down
Frankly, you don’t need to know the other six reasons when you know you’re dealing with the best people. Four years ago, when we started using HubSpot for ourselves, the product had several weaknesses. I’ve always believed that in a long-term relationship you buy the people over the product or strategy. Give me the right people and they’ll figure out the rest.
HubSpot has amazing people. That’s not what makes them unique. Lots of companies have amazing people. What makes them different is that their people are aligned to a clear vision, and they all understand who their customer is. From the person who greeted us as we walked in, to the product managers to the senior team, everyone we talked to gets the vision, cares and brings their genius to bear every day. It’s no wonder their presentation on culture has had more than 1 million views.
2. Their Vision Is Spot On
All you need to do is watch Brian Halligan, co-founder & CEO, make his presentation at Inbound 2013 and you know that they’re seeing the playbook that the vast majority of marketing organizations are missing.
While many marketing organizations are hailing the idea of Inbound Marketing, they’re living it, and eating their own dog food. Here’s what I mean:
Today, HubSpot generates 40-50,000 leads/month, 60-80% of which are created through inbound marketing. Another major company in the same space, Marketo also generate about 50,000 leads/month, with less than 10% coming from inbound marketing. I don’t mean this as a shot at Marketo, just an example.
What’s more, HubSpot understands that it’s not about “marketing,” or even “leads.” It’s about consistently and sustainably adding profit customers/clients to your business. HubSpot is the only marketing software firm that fully embraces, supports and drives the alignment of sales with marketing. The launch of Signals last year was a big boost, and their product roadmap is directly aimed at making a salesperson’s life easier, more predictable and more successful.
3. Their Product Is Great
In 2011 their email product was horrible, and the CMS was useful if you were a very small company putting your first website up. Their primary value proposition was ease of use, efficiency and everything in one place.
Today their product is nothing short of amazing. Attending the partner event showed me even more of the functionality that the platform has that we’re not using.
HubSpot is what I like to call a “multiplier platform.” By that I mean that by using them I am able to multiply my results. They started the platform with a focus on ease and efficiency. While that was a compelling proposition (and the one that brought me into the HubSpot fold), there was a significant trade-off in how advanced and/or customizable the platform can be.
Over the last three years they’ve addressed the capability side of the equation (confirmed by several awards, most notably the top marketing automation provider from VentureBeat), without sacrificing efficiency. I could go on about the product, but there are plenty of more technically savvy analysis out there.
4. They're Committed to the Small & Mid-Market
With an installed base of more than 10,000 companies, the natural evolution for a Software-as-a-Service provider would be to move up-market towards the enterprise world. While HubSpot got their start in the SME segment (10 – 2,000 employees), you couldn’t blame them if they moved to the bigger checks that could come from enterprise customers.
The danger here is that you can be a hero to two different types of customers, and if HubSpot had moved in that direction, it would have certainly had a negative impact on the clients we serve at Imagine. The good news is that HubSpot has reaffirmed that commitment, and their goal is still to be a hero to companies with 10 – 2,000 employees.
5. They're Building an Ecosystem
HubSpot gets that it’s not about software or automation. It’s about fundamentally changing the way organizations grow sales, to align with the increased power and paradigm of today’s buyers.
In 2009, founders Halligan and Dharmash Shah literally wrote the book on Inbound Marketing. Over the last seven years, they’ve build a tremendously successful business enabling companies to deliver on the roadmap they shared in their book.
Today, with the exception of the number of employees they now have, you’d never know they’re not just starting out, with a need to prove themselves. As I shared earlier, HubSpot has jumped into supporting the sales side with gusto, and they continue to build a platform that empowers both sellers and buyers.
Oh yeah. One more reason I’m confident about my partnership with HubSpot. They hate to lose. So, sure they make mistakes; but they fix them fast.
If you’re not familiar with HubSpot check them out, or if you want to demo their platform let us know and we’ll get you started!