Ever wondered what it's like to build and launch something as big and game-changing as a CMS that plans to take on WordPress? Luke Summerfield, HubSpot Go To Market Lead and GDD inventor, shares a behind the scenes look at the huge launch of the HubSpot CMS Hub.
Link to website grader (get the red flags on your site now): https://website.grader.com/
Find out what it's like to work on a product launch this huge.
Whilst you can check out all the ins and outs of the new HubSpot CMS Hub features and benefits from various places, I really wanted to know what it's like to work on such a huge (and exciting) project.
When he was over at our offices back in February for LOVE INBOUND, Luke talked a lot about this being the biggest HubSpot product launch ever. So, what goes on behind the scenes on a job like this?
How do you coordinate everything remotely, as he has done? How do you find time to eat, sleep and do anything else?
Plus, how does it feel to know that all your hard work has paid off and you've actually planned, built and launched a CMS that's going to change the way medium-large businesses do their websites?
Luke gives us some interesting and candid insights to all of this and more in this bumper episode of a podcast.
We originally planned to chat for 40 minutes but, as you'd expect, he couldn't help sharing some must-do tips and tricks to help make your website more effective, TODAY.
Check it out at the top of the page or wherever you get your podcasts and remember to subscribe.
And the learning doesn't stop there...
Don't forget, you can join our exclusive Facebook Group here and talk tips, tricks and insights with hundreds of other inbound marketers.
And if that sounds interesting to you, you might want to attend our totally free but totally amazing training event - LOVE INBOUND 2021.
PM - Welcome to my first Inbound Influencers. I'm doing it with somebody who I think is fair to say, has taught me nearly everything I know about websites and HubSpot CMS and methodology. If you've been consuming for awhile, you'll know all about him. But, hello Luke Summerfield.
LS - How's it going? Thanks for having me. Welcome, everyone.
PM - Pleasure, pleasure. So where are you now, right, are you at home? I presume, is it?
LS - It's home for the last month or so. We haven't been doing too much. I'm fortunate enough, I live in San Diego, California. So we're way in the south. It's always sunny here, always good weather. So at least we get to go out on the patio and enjoy some sun. So we're definitely fortunate and a little spoiled to be able to do that. But, yeah, it's been quite quiet here. Everything's all shut down. All the beaches. I mean, it's on lock down. So, which is as it needs to be.
PM - Absolutely, so we're recording this remotely over Zoom. The original plan was to do this when you were over at the office, like I said. You were gonna talk to us at first about, what you talked about at , which is re-thinking web design. So we've got another podcast about that. Can you just give us a bit of a teaser of, what do you mean by re-thinking web design?
LS - Yeah, well what we've seen is that, if we take a step back and we look at the web design industry, we are seeing three fundamental shifts, in how companies think about building websites. Those shifts are in the company culture, how the company thinks about the website as a tool, for business growth and where it fits in, from a process standpoint. How does a company go about actually implementing and building a peak performing website? Then from a technology standpoint. What types of technology are they choosing to build their website on top of? So the other podcast, talks very much more deeply in the culture and process. I'll give like kind of the high level here, but of course, anyone listening, you're probably better off checking out the other one which will go into much more detail. But from the culture standpoint, what we're seeing is that traditionally, companies think about their website very much as a business expense. It's like, this kind of necessary evil, we just got pay the money and that money's gonna float away and that is what it is. It's very much a static brochure. Probably took some PDFs that they had and they just digitised them into a little website. It very much is based off of a lot of subjective assumptions, like what looks pretty? What does the CEO think? So, what we're seeing now, is this shift, where you look at high growth companies, Silicon Valley start ups, companies like HubSpot, companies that are in all different industries, but just high growth, are thinking about their website very differently. They see it as a growth investment. So as they invest more and more effort, and calories into the website, it spins the flywheel faster, it gets all the different parts of the business moving quicker. They think about it like a product, like a living, breathing product, just like their other products or services they offer. This is just one of their product offerings. Maybe it's free. Or maybe they have paid subscription items on their website and it actually is a paid product on their website. Lastly, they're using data to inform all their decisions. In this day and age, there's no shortage of data and information. Of course, you need to know what data's important, but it allows them to make much smarter decisions. So that's kind of the shift in just how companies are seeing the culture side of it. Then there's also the shift on, "Okay, how do we actually go about building this?" Traditionally, companies have really focused on a business focus strategy, it's a very me, me, me, like let's talk about our products. Why we're the best. It's very much a huge project, three, six, nine month long, goes over budget, delivered late, everyone's frustrated by the end of it. Then, because of that, they just kind of set it and forget it. It's like, "We got this thing done." Throw the website to the side and it becomes very stale, very, very quickly. Again, from when we look at how companies, modern companies think about their website and build it, they've switched to a customer focused strategy, where they gain an empathetic understanding of the world that their customers live in. Start there, like start with your customers. Then weave the website in as a part of that story. They build, instead of doing these monster projects, they build something that looks and performs better than what they have today, but it's just a starting point and is done quickly, in order to start gathering data and make those informed decisions. Then of course, once it's launched, that's just the starting point. We can continuously improve it with all this data and again, make it like a growth engine that's built up over time and so, that's really what we talked about or focused on in the other podcast. Again, you can get the deep dive on all of that. But those are the two first shifts that we've been seeing. The culture shift, the process shift. Then there's the third one, which is I think what we're gonna dive into today a bit more detail, is the technology shift.
PM - Absolutely and the big news this week in the HubSpot world, which we yesterday, was the launch and the sharing about the HubSpot CMS hub.
LS - Woo!
PM - So, I know we were, not allowed to talk about this publicly for awhile. Let's see, I remember you coming over with Meghan and you were talking about how much work was going into it.
LS - It was a massive project. This was about the biggest launch ever, ever. I'm confident in saying that. What we've done though, is because of the state of global affairs, all the proactive promotion and the big bang, it's just not the appropriate time. It's not where people are focusing, so. The product itself, all the training, all the enabling, everything's all ready to go. It's live. And they were chugging away and we're gonna talk about that in a minute. Then once the timing is right, we'll see a nice big bang in the market.
PM - Yeah, I think you mentioned, everybody will know what we're talking about, even if they listen to this in a year's time, but what we're finding is that, it's a tricky balance at the minute, of websites becoming so important anyway. Now is actually a time that you can work on improving your website and actually you can't go out and go and attend sales pitches. You can't host that event. You can't go to that networking event. So, everyone's actually got time and budget on our hands. So now's a good time to be working on this, summer, spring 2020. Now is the time to actually take a look at your website and focus on it. So it's good timing in that way, to have all these new tools going on. So what, these new tools in the CMS hub, what is your top line pitch? Describe it to us.
LS - Well the first thing that's worth going through is, the shift that we're seeing on the technology side, because that shift is what informed what we built. So the shift that we saw, was again, the culture, the process shift, but in addition to that, the technology shift was that traditionally, the technology, so for those of you listening, the tool that is used for building and growing your website, is called a content management system, a CMS. Traditional CMSs, very much are built around, the need for high maintenance and high security. That's because, when you're a small business, the website can be maybe a little simpler, but as you grow, your business demands more out of the website. As it demands more out of the website, you start layering on more plug-ins, more traffic, more visitors, more things. The problem is, as that website becomes more complex, it starts to become almost unmanageable. You spend more time, in traditional CMSs, focusing on maintaining the system, and less time being stolen away from focusing on your customers. Security, oftentimes in these traditional CMSs, is not built in from the ground up. It's something that is an afterthought where, when you think of all, whether you're using Drupal, or WordPress, or Joomla, or any really traditional CMS, there's a level of plug-ins, themes, core system, that all need to stay up-to-date. Anytime that stuff's not up-to-date, you're at risk for hacking. It happens all the time. So, because of that, there's a lot of security concerns and of course, you can layer stuff on top of that, but it doesn't completely mitigate it. So, we also saw with traditional CMSs, because they get so complex, they start to become un-usable for marketers. They almost always need to have a gatekeeper, a developer, an IT person, to make any changes onto the site. The problem with that is, in a world like today, where we need to be agile, we need to allow our teams to feel empowered, for those of you who maybe this sounds familiar, you're in this scenario where you need to make a change on the website, you submit a ticket to that development team, but they're on another project, or they're in the middle of a sprint cycle and then you gotta fight with them to prioritise it. Six weeks later, maybe it'll get prioritised. Maybe it will get done. That slows the business down. Makes it very hard to be agile and honestly, it's frustrating and not needed in the modern world for today.
PM - tiny thing as well, can't it? That can be?
LS - I mean anything, anything. I mean there's literal like, "I need to update this text, "or we added a new team member", which are such trivial updates. But yet, you have to go through this gatekeeper, to make any of those changes. The other two things that we're seeing with traditional CMSs, is that they very much create a one-size-fits-none type of an experience. Especially in this age today where, right now, the only way that your customers are interacting with your business, is digitally, you're showing the exact same, with a traditional CMS, because it's a disjointed system, you're only able to show one experience, whether they're a visitor, first time visitor, or a life long customer, or one of your distributors, versus one of your direct B to C customers. So it's very much a one-size-fits-none. Lastly, very hard to gauge the ROI, or the impact of your website and content efforts. It's very fuzzy. It's tough for them to track it. At the end of the day, that's what you're being measured on, as a marketer, your CEO, your CMO says like, "You just invested this much time "and built this much content, like, "how is that helping the business grow?" So, when we shifted and we looked at what modern CMSs do, they're built on a SAS infrastructure. So just like every other technology industry has shifted to SAS, for some reason, the CMS industry has not. So modern CMSs are built in a SAS infrastructure, where all that maintenance, all that security, all that headache, is just taken care of for you. So that you can focus on your customers, not battling your systems, managing your systems. It's also, modern CMSs, are built in a way that empowers each one of the team members, to just get their work done, to drive results. Like let's empower the marketing team, to make changes, make up dates, build pages, do the work they need to do, which then frees the developer's time up. Because developers are critical. They're absolutely critical for building these experiences. But those developers should be working on more complex, more interactive types of solutions, not changing the text on a headline, or changing, adding a CTA into a page. Set up the system to let the marketer get their work done. Free the time up for developers to build the cool stuff. It's also modern CMSs, again, are building personalised experiences so that, when a visitor comes to the site, no matter, lots of information about it. It's connected with your CRM. So you have so much information about who these folks are, that you can tailor the experience around them. Then because it's connected with your CRM and all your marketing tools and everything else, it's really easy to pinpoint the ROI, the contacts, the deal stages, the opportunities and the closed deal won, that are generated from the website. So, that's again, regardless if you're talking HubSpot, or whatever CMS, when you think of the technology, those are the things that modern companies, high growth companies are looking for, out of a CMS. So what we launched yesterday, CMS Hub, is a modern CMS that basically enables everything we've talked about. It enables the culture shift. It enables the process shift. It enables the shift in marketing technology. So, longer than elevator pitch, but I think there's an important story here, for people who are evaluating different technologies.
PM - Oh, definitely. I think it's all good stuff now. One wouldn't even know, if you had any in it. the personalization and talk about the benefit to the marketers, or the company with the website, benefits ROI and tie into CRM. What are the benefits of such good personalization to the end user, to the visitor, to the prospect? How do they benefit from that?
LS - Again, if we go into it with a customer-focused strategy, where we're understanding the world that that person's living in, what desired outcomes are they trying to achieve, depending on the stage their at, right? So the desired outcome for someone who's a prospect and the pain that they're feeling, when they're early on in their journey, is gonna be very different than if you're a distributor, or if you're, so understanding those worlds, of those different personas, is very key to start. Then, finding and tailoring the experience, to basically, so whatever stage they're in, there's some kind of desired outcome they're trying to achieve. There's some problem, or friction, that they're running into, that's causing pain, in not achieving that outcome, as fast, cheap or easy, or as ideal as possible. So when you're able to build, again, thinking of your website as a product, when you build a product, or build a website, it should be focused on alleviating that pain or that friction, to get to that desired outcome, as quick, fast, cheap and easy as possible. The only way to be able to do that, is to first, go through that strategy phase and understand that. Two, to have rich information, right at your fingertips and we do that by coupling a CMS and a CRM tightly together, like basically connected together, so that all the information, what they've clicked on, what they've viewed, what source did they come from? What conversations have they had with your service reps, with your sales reps? Everything, that rich data that we have, is at the fingertips to now, adapt that website experience. So that's where you can really start to weave the website in as a part of their story. Get them to the desired outcomes that they want and at the same time, the business wins, as well, right? They're converting on offers, they're upselling, they're cross selling and solving all of that pain. So that's, when you see someone who does personalization right. Again, there's different levels of personalization. There's the high level surface personalization, where you're adding their name, or their company name and kind of like the contact information tokens into the website. That's nice. It's personalised. It makes the person maybe intrigued and wants to dive deeper. But, there's layers to it, where you can go a little bit deeper and now, the second layer of personalization is, now we're serving new content blocks, or modules, or offers. Then you can get one layer deeper. Which is what the new CMS Hub Enterprise edition, we can talk about the two tiers. The Enterprise edition allows which is where, you build essentially a web application that, just like when you jump into Facebook, just like when you jump into your Twitter, or I jump onto Asana. When you go into those applications, the entire UI, the entire visual, what's displayed to you, is adapted to the things that are most relevant to you. You can start building those types of experiences, whether you're a manufacturer, or whether you're a SAS software, or whether you're in the financial industry. At the end of the day, that's what your customers are trying to experience and you're able to do that now.
PM - Then, you just straight away, to things like how you can really delight your customers within your website and offer them a more wholesome experience, a more high end experience, which means, you're just giving them a better service, aren't you and they're less likely to either get frustrated by always being treated like a newbie whenever they come to your website and so on. But then there's the other things like, you mentioned reaching out to people and putting your content in front of them. We can tie all this in, with the knowledge of when they're going around the website, what times they're active and we use another tool called, I think it's Seven Cents, for the marketing guys use. Email send in and enter in their inbox, at the time that they use their inbox. We've got HubSpot now telling them, the right content that they're actually interested in, as well, .
LS - Right, serving it at the right time.
PM - Yeah, absolutely. Big question from all the hard work that's gone into the launch. Did you get a chance to celebrate with everybody ?
LS - We did. I mean, not yet. We do have a party planned, at some point. Of course there's a lot of virtual Zoom and Slack, little celebrations, but, yeah, the hard work's not over, that's for sure. I mean, launching, just like in as we talk about with websites and what we talk about in the growth driven design methodology, this is just the starting point. So there's been quite a flood of questions and use cases and things like that. So I think it'll be another month before some of the dust settles and we could take a step back and enjoy it. But yeah, we will plan a party at some point, I'm sure.
PM - I tell you what's interesting, I think is, could you give us some insight into what, how do you launch something this big? Not just this shouting about it, but, how do you even plan like with the different lists, where do you start and where do you even begin? Give us some behind the scenes look at something this exciting.
LS - Yeah, it's just a massive launch. Again, probably one of HubSpot's biggest launches. Again, we won't hear the big splash, as we may have seen or heard in other product launches. But, it was a massive project, from working on, it started, I mean we've had the CMS forever. We've had it for 12 years. But this has really been the next evolution of it and we started putting together what this would all look like, about six to eight months ago. We kicked off this launch. So a six to eight month long project. I don't know how many teams were involved, but I mean it was every department in the company. Product, engineering, sales, service, marketing. So a couple things we, no matter if you're building a website, or you're building a, in this case, a software product and you're launching it, it's really important and I think it's kind of cliche to say, but it is really, really important to have a really crystal clear understanding of the vision, what is the like, "Where are we gonna be in five years with this product?" I'll put it this way, to first start out with that many people, you need some type of guardrails, that you can come back to as an anchor, to anchor in all the millions of decisions that are gonna happen over the next six to eight months. The way that you set those guardrails and that kind of anchor, is by, we create what we call vision docs. A vision doc is the scenario that the person finds themselves in, which we call jobs to be done. We talk about in growth driven design. So what is someone trying to do? We talk about what's the, again, the friction they're running into, that's preventing them from accomplishing it? We say, the vision of how we want to change the world for the better, in the future. Then we talk about how we're gonna do that. We don't necessarily talk about specifics and "Oh, it needs this feature. "It needs this thing." It's just, what are the guardrails that we need to set out, to make sure that, when we hand this off to all these different teams, like, they're gonna be able to use those kind of guardrails, as decision makers. You can kind of think of them like core values. But instead of core values for a business, it's kind of like core values of this product itself. So I think that's step one, is just really spending the time to build that out and feel really confident in it, because, if you don't, and we had a few areas where we didn't do this well up front and it caused a lot of questions, a lot of misalignment, a lot of re-working stuff, near the end. So yeah, spending the time upfront to get that guideline, will save so much time, in again, re-work and alignment and all that stuff. So that's one. Two, the second thing we did was, you need to set milestones, that are very strategic milestones. The milestones can be set, some of the considerations for how you set milestones, is you want to set milestones, that are going to put a healthy amount of pressure on the teams that are responsible for getting the work done. And by healthy amount of pressure, you don't wanna put too much. Where everyone's burnt out and stressed and like, they're just gonna like fall off the boat. But you don't wanna put too short of milestones, where, or too long of milestones, where people procrastinate and it's just like, it's really slogging along. So the timing of it is very important, along with putting some pressure in terms of them taking something they're working on, behind the scenes and making it internally public at the company, or, it could even be externally public. So we, for example, one of our milestones was to kick off a beta. One of our milestones was one solution partner, in the new CMS Hub Enterprise beta. We just needed one, that was it. But it was a public one. It was a very, did this happen, yes or no? It was very easy to tell. It caused, once you set the milestone, in order to achieve that, in order to achieve that desired outcome, at that milestone, a bunch of other things have to happen, from the product standpoint, from the engineering standpoint, from the partner standpoint, like communicating to partners the right things, at the right times. From the legal standpoint. The right agreements and terms have to be. So there's a lot of things that stem off of that milestone. So, the more you can do it as a public milestone, either public meaning like public to the entire company, or parts of the company. Or public to the general public. It causes a bit of forcing function, to make sure that it's done well and that it's right. So anyway, that's the second thing. I won't go too long on this. I could probably do a whole podcast on this, but, setting a clear vision with the guardrails upfront, setting the milestones of what needs to happen. Those milestones then, will inform what teams need to be a part of it and so you can rally those teams. You basically make a list of all the plays that need to happen, between now and launch. It shouldn't a tonne. Like keep them a little more high level. Then you find out who's the DRI, that's on the hook, to make that a reality? That's really key. A lot of people don't assign DRIs to things and if you don't assign a DRI, or you sign two DRIs to one play, it's never gonna happen. It'll just slip through the cracks. So you need one person where, that's saying the buck stops. Where the buck stops, then there's one person who's held responsible for presenting that, when you hit that milestone and if it doesn't happen, they need to put together a plan on how they're gonna make it happen. So the DRIs are really, really key. Then from there, we just did the third thing is, just keeping everyone aligned and in sync. So, we did weekly cross-functional team syncs, every week. We have a project manager, Robbie, who did a phenomenal job on this project. He ran all this, he put together the trackers, he put together the weekly syncs. That's the third thing. Then the last thing, is just knowing that whatever you plan, is gonna get thrown out the window, at some point. It's just inevitable. Like, you start somewhere and you say, "Here's how it's gonna go." That vision of like, or that blueprint of, "Here's exactly what's gonna happen." I guarantee you, the project will not go that way and just know that.
PM - A global pandemic.
LS - So the global pandemic, I say that specifically, because of that. That threw a lot of wrenches. Not wrenches, but a lot of, we had to be very adaptable. To make sure we were doing the right thing and to make sure that we were taking into consideration having empathy for our customers and our partners, and all that stuff and our team itself. But that's just an example. There's, I guarantee, whatever project you're running, it's going to go off the rails and just know that that's just part of the game and be comfortable with that.
PM - So how many people are you talking? You said there's someone from every department. Sort of, was this your only project for this six to eight months? Are people, did you have a core team who was on this 100%? Or, were some people 50% of that week? How does it work somewhere like HubSpot?
LS - We had, so to start off, six or eight months ago, with just the leadership team, which was, for the CMS Hub specifically. That was myself, Angela DeFranco, who's the Director of Product and Alex Girard, who's the Product Marketing Manager and then Robbie, who's the Project Manager. So kind of us four, to kick things off and to get things organised. Then, from there, again, we tried, there's a certain level of, you want all the teams to be autonomous in the work that they do. You need to just set the desired outcomes and the milestones and then it's up to the team to figure out the heck they're gonna make that happen. But, we looped in all the DRIs. The DRIs were very involved. We probably had, off the top of my head, we probably had 20 DRIs and those DRIs were across all the different departments and then each DRI had a set of teams that were executing on a particular tactic, or a particular thing. So I mean, it was just a massive, massive project. I am so absolutely proud of all of the teams, all the people involved. For those DRIs, this was pretty much their full-time gig, the last six months and to really see them put the effort in and pull it all together and roll with the punches that we had to, going back to a boxing reference in Tyson. "You roll with the punches." It was truly incredible. I'm really, really proud of the team.
PM - Cool to use that analogy. He locks the title and then he took it back. Do any moments stand out where, you maybe don't have to go into specifics very much, but a real challenge that was a bit of a worry at the time and then you remember like the aha moment where somebody cracked it. Is there anything like that?
LS - Well we have two tiers now and I'm happy to explain what the difference is, between the two tiers. But one of the things that we got into and this goes back to this is a learning lesson. Something that we should have done early on, because it did require a lot of re-work and a lot of polish. A lot of changes that were disruptive in the short-term. The right changes to do in the long-term. But the challenge that we, the thing that we didn't consider, one of the many, that we didn't consider early on, was what is the story behind the professional tier, versus the enterprise tier. We were very clear on what the story was for the CMS Hub, in general. But when it got into the specific tiers, the story was a bit fuzzy. So there was a lot of debate on, "Well, do we talk about the enterprise tier this way? "Do we talk about it this way? "What are the pains that someone who "fits the profile of the enterprise, "what are they running into?" The reason that story is important, is you start again, with the, it's the same as what we talk about with growth driven design and with the process side of things, you start with the customer-centric strategy. So we needed to understand the world of the user and the companies of CMS Hub. Then understand where are the distinctions in the problems they're running into, that we can start to peel apart these two tiers and build a story about how CMS Hub Professional, CMS Hub Enterprise, solves those problems and allows you to make progress on it. Because that wasn't clear, it again, once those stories became clear, everything else locks into place. You know what features, what limits, what should be on the marketing pages? What testimonials do we need? Who should we get for the case studies? All of that locks into place. But because we didn't identify that upfront, that was, I guess, one of my learning lessons and one of the teams' in general learning lessons that, we ended up having to kind of put in some extra effort to make sure that we got that good before launch, which I feel very, very good at.
PM - I like it. Then, what's your day been like, in the past week, or so, last minute? Is it a mad rush, or did you get it done early and you've had your feet up? What's it been like for the past few days? I imagine quite busy.
LS - Well again, all the credit in the world to the team that had been working on this over the last few months and Robbie and Alex and Angela. Everyone involved did such a phenomenal job, that despite a lot of rolling with the punches and despite a lot of things that it was and despite it being HubSpot's biggest launch ever, it was very, very smooth. So, that's all the credit in the world to the teams that are implementing it and the effort and the hard work that they put in. So that was great. There's always, again, you gotta find those milestones, that puts that healthy pressure on you and healthy pressure on the teams. So we had a few milestones that the teams were maybe a little aggressive, in a good way. But the one towards the end, as you're talking about the last few weeks, have actually been quite good, because again, we have been trying to be very sensitive to the global situation and empathetic of our employees and our team members and all this. So the amount of things we were trying to do, a month ago, ended up getting spread out a little bit wider. So we got a little more breathing room, because we didn't wanna put pressure on the employees. We didn't wanna launch something at a critical point where, it's not appropriate for folks, so. That in, I guess, a silver lining way, helped with some of the timelines and milestones at the end, which made the last few weeks a little bit more just polishing and a little less of a scramble to get it done. So it's been good. Then the last day or two. I mean we launched it on Tuesday. So, there has just been an amazing flood of really interesting questions, that have come up, from partners, from developers, from internal sales reps and service reps. So the last two days, a lot of the leadership team is just making sure that we're answering the questions. Of course there's a couple of scenarios that again, you're never gonna account for all of the scenarios and that's okay. So there's some scenarios now, where we're like, "Oh, we hadn't considered this scenario. "Now, let's get together, do a little huddle. "Figure out the solution and deploy it in a day, "or deploy it in a half a day." So we're resolving a lot of those like really fun scenarios that you just can't anticipate. So it's been exciting. Doing a lot of stuff like this, with amazing people like you.
PM - Oh well, many people, plus me. Then I imagine it's like like a website where, that's like you only stop those things once you have launched and once people are diving into the tools. There's no way of having a crystal ball. Spotting everything, is there? So, yeah I've been thinking back to the growth driven design approach. Have you launched and gone to market with a wish list of things that we know are coming, that you know are coming, rather?
LS - I mean, the work never stops, on the product team, no matter what HubSpot product team that is. They are, I don't know, this is a public number, it's out there. Dharmesh has talked about it. But I mean they're doing like 200 pushes a day, to the live production portal, meaning like there's 200 a day of tweaks and updates and changes to always be improving it. A lot of those of course, are on very small scale. We have larger launches and stuff like that, periodically. So yeah, I mean there's a tonne of stuff, always in the works. Very happy that we got the, a lot of the existing stuff that came out with CMS Hub, we're gonna continue to polish, of course. But, we also have our eyes on resetting now and thinking about what's the road map, or what do we need to continue working on, to again, solve more of those friction, pain points, problems, in the world of those folks that are using the tools, so. It never stops, that's for sure.
PM - Yeah those 200 product pushes, explains why as my roles change too at our agency and I'm less inside HubSpot as much as I used to be. I remember logging in one time last year and I was just like, "This looks different."
LS - Yeah, I mean it's a double-edged sword. It's at the end of the day, I believe that it is, I truly believe that it's the right thing to do, because the product is always getting better and it's done in the service of making it better and solve problems better and make it easier. But, there's a lot of, we do get the feedback and it's true that sometimes there can be, customers can feel like thrashing around a little bit, when there's so much new things and it's really hard to stay up-to-date on things. So there's a certain level of UX, or customer experience, that you have to understand is the trade off, when you move so quickly. But, I think at the end of the day, when you weigh the pros versus the cons, at least at this point, it's been the right thing to do and it's been led to why, in the last few years, it's just continually grow and help people.
PM - Hell yeah, the truth is why whenever I couldn't find anything anymore and somebody who's in the door more in than I am shows me and I always remember going, "Ah, that makes more sense." So lastly, we've got a lot of questions from people who are thinking of moving to HubSpot, as their CMS. So I've picked out three, that are probably the most common. "I've got HubSpot Marketing. "Why do I need to bother with the CMS too, "'cause I can do forms, I can do blogging, "I can do any pages on marketing. "So why do I need to get the full CMS?"
LS - Yeah, when you think of the tools that are in Marketing Hub, they are in service to, like we think of Marketing Hub very much as your system of engagement. How do we find? How do we engage? How do we grow and nurture prospects, leads and customers? CMS Hub, we think of as your system of content, this is like the experience on the website and the experience that you have. So, with Marketing Hub, folks buy Marketing Hub when they need email campaigns, ad campaigns, they may need blogging, for again, engaging people who are in Google, to pull them in onto the site. When you're doing landing pages, those are very much an in-service to compliment your ad campaigns, to compliment your email campaigns. So, the functionality that's in some of those tools is geared towards enabling that. On the CMS Hub side, it's built for people that just need a website, or wanna build a web app. That's kind of like plain as day. So, it depends on again, what you're trying to do. Then the tools and the limits and what you can do with them, are kind of the features and functionalities of each one of those, are kind of sprinkled together. Of course, there are many people that are very happy with other CMSs and you can integrate them in. We now have a WordPress plug-in that you can basically seamlessly integrate it into WordPress, so your marketing tools into WordPress. That's totally cool. Where you start to see the advantage of CMS Hub, is where people start to out grow their current CMSs. Meaning, they're finding that they're spending way too much time on updating plug-ins, or, "Oh our site got hacked and now we gotta spend "two hours, three hours, four hours, on there." Or, "Our theme is out of date and it's unusable for us." Or, "Every time we make a change on the site, "it breaks something else on the site." Like this system has just kind of the business has outgrown the system that they have. When you get to that point, that's where you can look at an alternative CMS, a modern CMS, like HubSpot, that again, it's a SAS. So it just takes care of all that stuff. It's one of the big features in the new CMS Hub, is a new editing experience for marketers and a new editing experience for developers. The developer one is all locally, all code. They can use all their tools and frameworks that they love to use. The marketer one is very, very drag and drop. Get what work they need to do. They have knobs and dials for changing all the colours that they want. They can add in modules, move things around and so, because it's a SAS CMS, you don't run into any of the updates, maintenance and plug-ins and the system is set up to just help the marketers get that work done. So that's where we see a lot of Marketing Hub customers start to purchase the CMS and add it on, is where, they're trying to do WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, could even be Sitecore, could be Episerver, like all of these traditional CMSs, that are really maintenance heavy, very hard for marketers to use. They outgrow those, or they're just not working for where they want for their business and then they turn and add on the modern CMS.
PM - Makes sense. One of the other top three questions probably that we hear is, "Can it do everything that you can do on any other CMS?" You mentioned the developer tools.
LS - Yeah, I think I would have a very different answer, three years ago, four years ago. I think that's where a lot of folks have checked out the HubSpot CMS in the past. This is, I mean just a totally different tool. I almost wish we could call it, I mean we call it CMS Hub, versus HubSpot CMS, intentionally in some ways, because it is a brand new product and the experience is different. The functionality is different. Of course, we kept all the good things, like building dynamic content, using Hub DB, things like content staging, things like the AB testing, all of that stuff. But, we've really built up its functionality, so, these days, there are very, very few solutions, or functionality, that I haven't seen an agency, or a developer, or a company, be able to build on HubSpot CMS. The only areas where I start to see some, this is probably not a good fit for HubSpot CMS, or CMS Hub, is one, if it's a site that requires very, very secure sensitive data. So like medical records. Billing information. That sort of stuff, is not a good fit. Luckily, most industries that have that need, already have some industry-specific portal for banking or for medical records, or whatever. So but that's an area that I see, if you're dealing with something that's like very, very sensitive information, that's just not a good fit. Second is, full blown e-commerce sites. There's a certain level that you can do on CMS Hub and a certain level that it makes more sense to use a full on e-commerce platform. So if you have a full shop, you're selling hundreds of products, you're better off using an e-commerce platform, like Shopify and then what we've done is, we've built a native Shopify integration and we have an e-commerce bridge, SDK, to allow the developers to integrate into Magento and all the other big e-commerce stuff. If it's just, "Hey we have a subscription membership website." Or, "We have two products, or one product." All of that pain in processing type stuff, the very simple stuff, can be done on CMS Hub now. So that's where the lines are starting to shift, that those things are possible. Those are really the only two. Now we have, especially in the Enterprise edition, we've blown open the door on what's possible and we've done that again, the way that we position CMS Hub Enterprise, it's for growing companies, that want to build powerful web applications and provide governance of a growing team. So if the team's growing, they need to set proper access levels, use SSO, their security team just has a certain level of check boxes that the system needs to have. It checks all those boxes. But to your point, that web application, being able to build web apps, on top of Hub CMS. So the tools that are in there, we have membership log in functionality, so you can create memberships, gated content areas, example of that is like client dashboards, dealer only sections on to the site, subscription membership, paid subscription membership websites with exclusive content. We have a new feature called serverless functions. That's a little like techy word, but for us laymen folks, basically it means you can host web applications directly in the CMS. You don't need to go spin up some server somewhere and connect it through all these APIs and do all this stuff. It's just all baked directly in the CMS, which is more secure, allows it to move faster and it's just less headache. You don't have to maintenance all these external servers. So, allows you to run the web apps. We have things like reverse proxy support. We have again, Hub DB, which is a little lightweight database. That's in both tiers, but again, that allows you to create those dynamic database driven experiences. So, the sky is the limit. I've seen so many cool things and the place to check them out, if you're listening to this and you're like, "I don't know about this guy, Luke. "I don't know if he's telling the truth." If you want, the proof is in the pudding and if you wanna see it, we just re-launched a site that is on Inspire.hubspot.com. Inspire.hubspot.com. It is a new directory of all the cool stuff built on the CMS. We just launched it. I think we got about 120, 130 examples in there now, but we're getting loads of them in everyday. So, by the time you check this, there could be double, or more. But yeah, that's the place to go. You can see all the stuff. You can see the calculators. You can see the web apps. You can see the user onboarding experiences. All the cool stuff in there.
PM - I think as well, so I'll put that in the show notes and on the blog post. I think as well you showed me, like a preview of that, in just like a catalogue. We have a thing over here called , catalogue full of ties and it's like, "Oh, I can do that, I can do that." All the guys like that.
LS - Yeah and the cool thing is, when you go there, it's 100% built on CMS Hub. So it's a perfect example of a web application. It's a market place. It looks just like Airbnb. So it's a market place that is built 100% on CMS Hub and we built it using growth driven design process. It went from kickoff to launch in 45 days. So when you're like wondering, "What is this lightweight website? "What is this", we call it a launchpad site, the starting point. "What does that look like?" Again, it's a site that looks and performs better than what you have today and I can tell you, the new Inspire performs way better and looks way better and has a way better user experience, than the old one.
PM - Last one. "What if I want to move away from the CMS one day?" That is probably the biggest common objection I ever here. Quickly, what's your answer to that?
LS - Yeah, someone who has purchased software in the past, one of the things you always wanna keep in mind is, they call it vendor lock in, I don't wanna get locked in for the long haul. There's a couple talking points. The first thing that I love to level set with everyone and the level set here is, regardless of the system you're changing, when you're talking about something like a CRM, when you're talking about something like a CMS, it's always gonna be a big project. Anyone who tells you it's a simple, one-click to move something that massive, is blowing smoke. So that's one thing. No matter what system, even if you're moving from two open source systems, like WordPress to Drupal. Drupal to WordPress. It's always gonna be a big project. So I just like to level set there. The second thing is, we as part of our customer code, so we have this thing called the customer code, which is essentially our grading score book of how are we treating our customers? I think if you go to customercode.com, you can not only see exactly what that looks like, but you can also see how HubSpot's grading ourselves and we got some areas to work in. Just like every company. One of the line items on the customer code, I think there's like five line items is, don't block the exit. What that means is that, if you are no longer providing value, if you're no longer helping that person achieve those desired outcomes, don't make it hard to switch. Don't make it hard to get out. Again, there's levels to this, there's companies that are B to C that it's one-click you cancel, no big deal. Then you have legacy old ways of thinking where, you call up the Telecom company and it's like a nightmare to even get a hold of someone, let alone try to cancel. HubSpot errs on more the lighter side. We of course have work to do. So that's the first thing. From our core beliefs, we believe we shouldn't block the exit. The way we're doing that is, with the CMS specifically is we have a site export tool. There's three ways to do it. We have a site export tool, where you can download all of your website assets. Your files, your images, your pages, the site map, all that stuff, you can download it and export it out. The second way you can export the stuff is, through the local development tooling. So because we have a local development CLI, a developer can pull down all of the coded files, to their local computer. But they can also run it through a tool called GitHub. GitHub is, you can kind of think of GitHub kind of like Google Drive, but for developers. It's like way more technical, way more nerdy, but it's a way to store things and keep track of version control and all of that stuff. So they can pull it through GitHub, to have a backup, to have access to all the coded files and all of that. The third way you can do it, is through our APIs. So we have, again, if you have a developer, to note, the first one, the site export, is for marketers. There's a knowledge doc, it's really easy. You click a button and it downloads a zip file. Second one, you probably need a developer who knows how to work locally. Most developers know how to work locally. The APIs, you need someone who knows how to use APIs, like most developers do, but some developers don't. The APIs will allow you to pull down all the content, as well. No matter which, I guess the fourth option that you have, is there are services out there, there are companies out there, that basically just do this for you. So if you're like, "I don't have a developer. "I can't site export and I'm just kind of struggling." There's companies out there that basically do all this stuff for you. You do pay a fee, but they do all the heavy lifting and just save you all the time, basically. I will say, no matter which route you go, again, still gonna take work, just like any other CMS, you're gonna have to, depending on where you're moving into, you're gonna have to probably go through the code and just tweak things to fit the new system. But again, that's the exact same thing you have to do, if you're moving any other tools, so. We have a lot of ideas on how we're gonna make it even better. But that's what's available as of today.
PM - I don't know why that's the biggest common objection, but I guess, a WordPress agency will get asked the same thing. Why should I move, how do I get out of the work, that seems to be . Yeah, so it all makes perfect sense. Where we'd like to finish this is, a quick tip, take away, or one thing that somebody can do to improve their website? What they should investigate? What should they try and tweak? What test could they run? Something that they could just try, that you are pretty confident will make their website better for their customers?
LS - I'll give you a long-term and a short-term. The short-term is like what's something you could implement today and probably see some value in. The longer term is probably like the longer strategy. So the longer term one, again, we wanna have an understanding of the customer, the customer's world, so that we can start tailoring, understand what anxieties they're going through, why they switched to our product? Why did they leave us, to a competitor? That all informs again, the pages, the testimonials, the copyright, the way you position. So, the best thing you can do, as much as we try to be analytical and look at data and pull things from analytics, the best thing that you can do, is find 10 customers who in the last 30 days, switched to your company's product or service and 10 customers who in the last 30 days, left your company to a competitor. Have a conversation with them, to have a better understanding of what scenario they were in. What anxieties did they have? What was the forcing function or push, that caused them to start looking for a new solution? What attracted them to either a competitor, or attracted them to your company? All of those, if you run those user interviews, they're time consuming, but you're gonna find absolute gold. So, that's great. Then from there, the insights you get from those interviews, you can go check the data and validate it in other ways, when you look at the analytics. But, you will find absolute gold there. The things you hear in there, will probably spark a tonne of ideas on how you can improve the site. But that would be first-- Across the entire business, exactly. 'Cause the website is just a digital extension of the business. It's the digital experience of that business, including the products and services and all that stuff. So yeah, totally. Then, the quick thing that you can do today. The lowest effort, highest impact thing that you can do to drive change on your website, a lot of people really goof up messaging and copy. Especially in very high impact areas like, the hero image, that's kind of the first thing you see, when you land on the page. It's like the big header at the top. The menu items. The call-to-action, that is in that first snapshot. So I would, and again, the user interviews will help inform this a lot. But I would take a look at your message and see how clear and concise it strikes heart at the pain point the person is experiencing and a quick sound byte on the new world that your product or service can create. If you pull up your website and it doesn't, it's a good activity. You can first write that on a journal and talk to people and write down in a journal. Once you have it written down, go look at the front of your website and see if they match. Most likely, they won't. That will help inform like how you should adapt that. That's where you're gonna see the most impact. Again, a lot of it is just being crystal clear. Being very, very crystal clear, very short, very to the point and of course, you can always do AB testing and things like that on different variations. But, even just taking a step back and looking at what's being said there is, a lot of times, you'll be like, "Wow, I can't believe we were even saying it this way. "We haven't even thought about it."
PM - I've already got pages coming to mind and that's going straight on my to-do list for next week. Re-visit all of our pages and all our clients' pages.
LS - I'll give you one more really quick.
PM - Oh yeah definitely.
LS - So a part of this launch, we have a tool called Website Grader. It's Websitegrader.com. This is a free tool that does an audit on your website and basically tells you what you're doing really well on and some areas to improve. As a part of this launch for CMS Hub, we've re-launched Website Grader with even more detail. So, it is probably the easiest way to just kind of get the red flags that are happening on your site, from an SEO, from a performance, from different perspectives. Then it tells you exactly what you need to do to fix that. Of course, you gotta fix it on your own, or hire an agency, or use a tool like HubSpot. But, it's the easiest way to identify the low hanging fruit, or the high impact stuff that you could do on speed, security, SEO, performance, that sort of thing.
PM - Amazing. That's been the most enjoyable hour of my day, by far. Thank you, Luke.
LS - Oh I appreciate it too. I haven't been able to jump on a call yet today. It's been just all heads down work, in my home alone. So, being a social person, I'm really happy I got to spend an hour with you.
PM - Yeah, brilliant. I hope you have a good rest of the day. Like we said at the beginning, check out the talk from Inbound and we think in website. Check out for more on that topic. Also, we'll put in front of you the links Inspire.hubspot.com. When we can, a big splash about CMS Hub. We're all pretty excited about it. Thank you very much, Luke.
LS - All right, thanks for having me and thanks for everyone who's listening. Cheers.