What is HubSpot? The ultimate guide on why you should make the switch

Ready to switch to inbound marketing but unsure which platform to use? Here’s why you can’t afford to overlook HubSpot.

What is HubSpot? The ultimate guide on why you should make the switch
Written by Raza Kazi
HubSpot agency  |   11 minute read

Inbound marketing is the present and the future. It’s ever-evolving, it’s effective and it’s disruptive. It’s a more helpful and human approach to growing your business. It’s a method of attracting, engaging and delighting people by providing value and building trust. Customers are now in control, so you need to adapt to their needs and establish yourself as a trustworthy, authoritative figure in your industry.

At the minute, your marketing team is probably using one platform, your sales team is operating elsewhere and your service team is working from an entirely different software which makes tying everything together pretty much impossible.

Sound familiar? 

It’s time to think about having everything under one roof, saving you time, effort and resources. Chances are, you’re considering a range of inbound marketing and sales platforms already, but you’re struggling to decide which one to go with.

With so many options out there, you’re bound to have come across HubSpot already. It’s an inbound marketing, sales and service software which helps companies like yours attract visitors, convert leads and close customers. Finally, you’ll have a place to create compelling content, get it in front of the right people and convert visitors and leads into customers without juggling between multiple software and platforms.

That’s just a really quick, snappy overview of what HubSpot is. It’s quite a powerful platform, so rather than cramming everything into one paragraph, carry on reading to find out more about HubSpot, how it can help you and learn more about the specifics of the platform.

 

What is HubSpot and how will it help your business?

Every single HubSpot Partner will say the same thing about the platform: that it’s the perfect inbound marketing, sales and service platform. However, it’s one thing just saying it and another to actually explain what makes it so good and how it can help your business.

After all, we probably wouldn’t be all-in on HubSpot if we didn’t believe in the platform ourselves. There’s a caveat, though. Although we love it because it works so well for us, we wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that doesn’t have the time, energy or finances to invest in HubSpot or an agency to help.

Rewind to 2006. Google has just bought YouTube (for $1.65 billion), Facebook rolls out to the general public and the first-ever tweet was sent.

Meanwhile, two guys from MIT are creating HubSpot after noticing a gap in the market — mainly due to shifting customer behaviour. Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah have helped HubSpot’s offering go global in the last decade or so and are big believers in continual improvement.

 

That’s why HubSpot offers regular updates and additions for you to benefit from, allowing users to keep up with the ever-changing marketing trends.

So, what exactly is HubSpot?

At its core, HubSpot is a software platform that includes tools for everything you’ll ever need to run successful inbound marketing campaigns. SEO, content creation, email marketing, landing pages, automation, analytics, sales and service. It’s all there in one convenient place. It also has some newer, useful features like live chat and chatbot functionality, a Facebook Messenger integration, updated blog composition options and loads more.

However, just investing in HubSpot won’t get you the results. It’s a combination of using HubSpot to deliver inbound marketing campaigns.

That’s when inbound works best — when everything’s connected. As it’s all in one platform, you can finally align your sales and marketing teams, so they’re all on the same page.

I won’t lie. You can get results from inbound marketing and sales using software like WordPress, Moz, Google Analytics, Hootsuite and more. But trying to juggle all of that can be tiring and inefficient, especially if you’re winging a campaign and praying for results.

That’s a huge benefit. Having a single, unified platform which brings together everything each team does. You can manage every element of your inbound marketing campaign through HubSpot, see every part of lead generation, nurturing, conversion and everything in between all in one place. That visibility is crucial and with plenty of third-party integrations constantly added to the marketplace, you can connect everything you need.

This might sound like a lot and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t worry; HubSpot doesn’t send you on your way without offering any help. There’s plenty of educational content to help you use the platform to its potential. There’s the Academy with a plethora of training videos, guides, certifications, a handy knowledge base and excellent customer support on an ongoing basis.

If you want this knowledge first-hand, then HubSpot hosts the annual INBOUND conference each year in Boston. With HubSpot and the right support, you’ll learn and grow with a thriving community behind you so you can master the inbound methodology.

Want a snapshot of the HubSpot community you could be joining?

hubspot stats 2022

Still wondering how HubSpot can help your business? I’ve collated a list of 50 reasons why you should invest in the platform. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • I’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — it's a CRM platform with everything in one place. That’s marketing, sales, customer service, CMS and operations
  • It features unbeatable tracking and analytics so you can create content and tailor it precisely to where each user is in their buyer’s journey
  • You can integrate HubSpot with other platforms, such as WordPress, Magento and more.
  • HubSpot will support you every step of the way. There’s the Academy, HubSpot User Groups (HUGs), the INBOUND conference and more
  • Monitor the entire buyer’s journey, turning leads into customers and advocates
  • And there’s so much more
inbound 18 keynote

 

Why go HubSpot?

It all starts with the buyer’s journey

You might know it as the customer lifecycle, but the buyer’s journey has a big impact on your business needs and HubSpot. It’s how strangers turn from prospects into customers and promoters. It also includes the various activities your marketing, sales and service teams perform to nurture your customers.

Marketing is all about generating qualified leads, sales is focused on turning those leads into customers and then service is dedicated to delivering exceptional service that ultimately creates brand promoters. The problem? These activities don’t live in isolation.

They often overlap with some handoffs between teams to achieve the ultimate shared goal of supporting the buyer’s journey. That’s where HubSpot swoops in as — when implemented correctly with the right support — it helps you optimise and accelerate the growth in each of those areas and reduces the friction between them.

Champion HubSpot within your business and you’ll be the hero with HubSpot and expert guidance guiding you to victory.

Cheesy, but true 🧀.

 

Get rid of frictions and bottlenecks

Now you’re probably thinking about the friction or bottlenecks in the buyer’s journey. This could boil down to data transfer between systems, poor conversion rates or even weak hand-off points between teams. The buyer’s journey has quite a few bottlenecks and sources of friction that can limit growth and present you with some business challenges.

For example, you might get a lot of website visitors, but very few actually convert.

 

Basically, it’s anything that slows your business down from growing. 

HubSpot is designed to diagnose and eliminate a lot of these bottlenecks through a unified CRM, contact, company, deal and ticket database with seamless data sharing between tools. 

The result of this? Your marketing, sales and service teams collaborate seamlessly to help your business grow.

 

The buyer’s journey isn’t linear anymore

You may be accustomed to thinking of marketing and sales as a funnel. That was fine in the past as it was a convenient analogy for measuring success. However, it fails to consider three main things: the buyer’s cyclical journey, the points of friction between teams and the business growth driven by service.

The inbound methodology has helped account for this change. The flywheel visualises the buyer’s journey and the three phases of the inbound methodology: Attract, Engage and Delight.

We now use it as a guiding principle in all customer-facing activities and you should too, to ensure alignment between marketing sales and service. It has three crucial features that make it a better model than the funnel:

  • Funnels can work for marketing and sales, but they aren’t great for your service team. The flywheel is more holistic for the entire buyer’s journey
  • Just like mechanical devices experience friction, so do buyers in their journey. Eliminating friction leads to a smoother process and, therefore, faster growth
  • Why is it cyclical and not linear? Well, happy customers can generate new leads that continue the cycle rather than drop off. You don’t want to neglect the promoters that rave about your business to others

Avidly flywheel

The HubSpot platform is built around the flywheel.

 

The HubSpot platform

Think of HubSpot as a platform of interconnected tools with a shared database that third-party tools can leverage through HubSpot’s APIs to extend functionality. However, it can be a challenge to go on this journey alone. If you work with a certified HubSpot partner, the platform lets you build a solution and series of services that align with all the other systems and tools you use.

“Marketing, sales, service and operations teams collaborate to remove friction in the buyer’s journey” - HubSpot

If you currently use another CRM or someone in management refuses to budge, you can still use integrations to connect your CRM to HubSpot instead.

What do you get when you sign up to HubSpot? Well, there’s the overall CRM platform, as well as ‘Hubs’ that cover CMS, marketing, sales, service and operations. Each ‘hub’ has varying levels — Starter, Professional and Enterprise — with more features available each time you level up. 

To get the lowdown of each, keep reading.

 

CRM platform

Think of this as the foundation for the hubs. It gives you access to all the tools you need to unite your marketing, sales and service efforts and grow better. There’s everything from contact management, activity and insights to reporting, integrated email, live chats, tasks, ticketing and way more.

 

HubSpot CMS details

CMS Hub

The CMS hub gives you the ability to build websites with ease. The content management system makes developers’ and marketers’ lives easier. 

Thanks to the local website development, drag-and-drop editor function, dynamic content, themes, SEO recommendations, analytics, 24/7 security monitoring and more, you can incorporate your website into your growth machine — HubSpot.

Want to know more? Watch our video below.

 

HubSpot CMS features

Marketing Hub

It’s a marketer’s dream. It’s everything you need to attract traffic, generate leads and convert them into customers. Plus, the added benefit of in-depth reporting and analytics to put the proof in the pudding.  You’ll find the bread and butter of marketing in there — blogs, social media, SEO, ads and email marketing, plus lots of added extras to help you along the way.

To find out more about how to kickstart your HubSpot Marketing Hub for success, read this helpful blog. We went into more detail in one of our Inbound After Hours training sessions, which you can watch below.

 

HubSpot marketing hub features

Sales Hub

This hub will ensure your marketing and sales are working hand in hand, allowing you to gain deeper insight into your prospects, automate the tasks you’re struggling to find the time to do and helps you to manage your pipeline.

As well as integrating your email and calendar, there’s task automation, email sequences, live chat, 1:1 video and that’s just the beginning. To find out more, watch our Inbound After Hours training session.

 

HubSpot sales hub features

Service Hub

Once you have those customers, you’ll want to keep them happy, which is where the Service Hub comes in. It allows you to put the customer first while also creating efficiencies for your teams, making their lives easier.

There’s the customer portal, calling, ticketing, task automation, shared inbox, the knowledge base and the help desk if you get stuck.

HubSpot service hub features

Operations Hub

Last, but by no means least, is the Operations Hub. It’s the place where you can automate processes, sync and clean customer data and make the HubSpot experience the best.

HubSpot ops hub features

Yeah… that’s a lot to take in. Rather than bombard you with an explanation of what each feature does and how it can help you, you can click here to find out more.

 

How to communicate the benefits of HubSpot to the board

By now, I’ve hopefully made it clear why using HubSpot for your inbound marketing efforts is the future. Although, I’m also aware that even though you’re sold on the idea, those higher-ups probably need more convincing.

If the board is stuck in the dark ages using medieval tools, here are some ways you can convince them to see the light.

 

Buy into inbound marketing, not just HubSpot

The first thing to do is believe in inbound marketing. Without a firm belief in the methodology, no software (HubSpot or not) will be successful. You need to convince them it’s time to use brains rather than the wallet to educate prospects and turn them into paying customers.

It’s time to avoid taking the easy way and chucking buckets of money on advertising and buying lists of prospects to email them.

 

Show them proof

To show that HubSpot and inbound work, use case studies featuring businesses similar to yours. If you can’t get your hands on any, HubSpot gathers plenty of statistics to show the true impact of inbound techniques on website traffic and lead generation. There are bound to be a few killer stats floating around that really hit home.

 

Try it and show them the impact

If you want to show your own successes, there’s no harm in signing up for a trial. Obviously, getting the proper support will help show even more benefits, but you’ll still have excellent data to share. Hopefully, you get enough results to pique their interest.

 

Brag about the competition

If your competitors use inbound marketing to a high standard, make sure the board notices their success. It should be enough to prompt further research if they're doing well. They might even sign off on making the switch to catch up and overtake them.

 

Educate them

Just like I’ve done throughout this entire blog post, educate the board! It probably won’t happen successfully in passing when you’re on lunch. Collate your findings into a presentation to avoid getting shut down as soon as you open your mouth. Find relevant sources, videos and blogs to explain to the board in a way which appeals to them.

 

Get some backup

If you need even more help to get the message to the board, get in touch with a specialist at HubSpot or a partner agency. They’ll assess your existing strategy, walk you through options and develop a custom plan to execute an inbound strategy unique to your business.

If it feels right, they can walk the board through everything themselves to determine if HubSpot is a good fit for reaching goals, budget etc. Think of it as a mate doing you a favour and offering advice when you need it most. 

working on hubspot in agency

Only you know how hard you can push the case, but if you’re 100% convinced HubSpot is perfect for your business and have the data to back it up, it’ll only be a matter of time before the board sits up and notices.

When explaining the importance of HubSpot to the board, be sure to outline the challenges you currently face. Highlight that you don’t need to juggle multiple systems as HubSpot does it all in one. State the goals and be sure to clearly explain the solution HubSpot presents.

If there’s any ambiguity, there’s a chance they might not be sold on it.

 

Working with the right HubSpot Partner

Another thing you might have noticed throughout this blog is how beneficial it can be to work with a HubSpot partner, especially if you’re new on this journey. Can you do all of this yourself? Yep. HubSpot’s tools have been designed for your marketing, sales and service teams to use as one unified solution.

The problem a lot of marketers like you have is you might not have the time, bodies or extensive knowledge to go all-in with HubSpot right away to see success. Working with the right partner links with every point mentioned in this blog. 

They can help convince the board because they have the experience, proven results and case studies. They have the knowledge, the manpower and resources — so you don’t need to invest in a brand new team to maintain the HubSpot side of things.

Thankfully, there’s a solution. Many agencies like us have dedicated themselves to being experts in HubSpot. Although it’s massively popular, many marketers, brands and teams do need a lot of support to adopt HubSpot and manage it effectively. Work with the right one and it’ll make implementation quicker, simpler and more successful so you can reach your goals.

If you’re at that stage, a good place to start is heading over to the HubSpot Directory to get help on your HubSpot journey from a certified agency. There are plenty to choose from, all sorted in different tiers based on their achievements. Obviously, research is important here as well.

Explore all the ones you’re interested in and whittle them down into a shortlist.

A crucial thing to look out for is not to look for a partner who will take over the process. At Avidly UK & CA, we aren’t about that. Sure, it can make lives easier if we come in and do everything our way, but that’s not the best way to learn.

Instead, we’ll share our knowledge, helping you and your teams get to grips with HubSpot and all the relevant tools so you know how everything works and can get hands-on when you want or need to. You’ll have access to experts; you’ll pick up actionable knowledge, get experienced support, benefit from increased visibility and get thorough analysis and optimisation.

 

Want to explore the potential of HubSpot? Chat with us!

You'd be in safe hands on your HubSpot journey with Avidly UK & CA

  • You'll be part of a 300+ strong, rapidly growing, truly global company
  • Have the chance to work with colleagues in seven countries and the possibility of working out of studios in various amazing locations
  • Get the opportunity to work on the biggest, most exciting HubSpot projects

Our Head of Solutions, Caz, is always on hand to help you start your HubSpot journey with us. Grab a brew and we'll chat it through! ☕️

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