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

Ready to make the switch to inbound marketing but unsure on 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  |   16 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 it means 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 tying all of that to one platform and 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. That’s a good first step - searching for the right platform to manage your team’s everyday activities. Trust me, they’ll save a lot of time, effort and resources when they can finally manage everything in one place. 

With so many options out there, you’re bound to have come across HubSpot already. It’s an inbound marketing and sales software which helps companies like yours attract visitors, convert leads and close customers. Finally, you’ll have a place where you can 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 actually is. It’s quite a powerful platform so rather than trying to cramming everything into one paragraph, carry on reading to find out more on what is 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?

The fact is, every single HubSpot Partner will say the same thing about the platform: that it’s the perfect inbound marketing and sales 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 is a caveat though. Although we love it because it works so well for us, we wouldn’t recommend it for anyone that doesn’t have the time, energy or finances to invest in HubSpot or an agency to help.

Rewind to 2006 - Google’s just bought YouTube (for $1.65 billion), Facebook rollouts 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.

Just for some context, the likes of Michelle Obama have hosted keynotes at HubSpot’s annual INBOUND event. So yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.

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, 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 which does. 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 a combination of software like WordPress, Moz, Google Analytics, Hootsuite and more. But trying to juggle all of that can be pretty 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 out there 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. Here’s a quick look at just how popular HubSpot is.

hubspot statistics

Still wondering how HubSpot can help your business? Here’s why you should use the platform for your inbound marketing campaigns:

  • It’s an all-in-one marketing, sales and service software. No more juggling between different platforms.
  • 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.
  • Even with the powerful tools available, HubSpot is really easy to use.
  • Regardless of whether you’re a HubSpot newbie or expert, the HubSpot Academy offers extensive training through certifications, courses, projects, workshops and more.
  • HubSpot can align your sales and marketing teams and allows for closed-loop reporting.
  • You’ll be blown away by what’s on offer in the HubSpot Marketplace. From Slack to Databox, HubSpot has lots of integration partners you can use.
  • Around the globe, there are over 150 HubSpot Users Groups (HUGs) which you can attend. You can learn more in these communities and network with other HubSpot users.
  • There’s also the annual INBOUND conference you can fly to in Boston. You’ll experience seminars, keynotes, workshops and also catch a glimpse at the latest features. This is a great way to stay ahead of the game.

    inbound 18 keynote
  • HubSpot can identify and track IP addresses, so it’s much easier to identify prospects.
  • HubSpot monitors the entire buyer’s journey so you can actually see what stage of the buyer’s journey your contacts are in.
  • Whenever HubSpot receives new information about a lead, it’s clever enough to automatically update the records. Perfect for your sales team.
  • In the HubSpot Reports tool, you’ll have a centralised home for all your data and reports which is a great way of measuring your ROI.
  • HubSpot’s email offering helps you gain deep insights into your prospects. There’s also an email tracking feature so you can see when recipients interact with your emails.
  • You can also use HubSpot’s pre-made templates without typing the same content repeatedly.
  • It’s reported that professionals burn up to five hours per week scheduling meetings. HubSpot’s Meetings tool syncs everything together so you always have up-to-date appointments.
  • If one of your challenges is content organisation and management, HubSpot’s extensive built-in calendar is a lifesaver. You’ll get a clear view of what’s scheduled and eliminate the risk of duplicating content.
  • In HubSpot, you can integrate your social media accounts and schedule social posts straight from the CRM.
  • You can also design your own calls-to-action (CTAs) to stand out from the crowd, perfect if you want your conversion rates to reach new levels.
  • Automate your emails after customers take specific actions and nurture your contacts over time.
  • Inbound success relies on nurturing your leads into customers with email workflows. HubSpot lets you create workflows from scratch and customise them to react to a contact’s actions.
  • Don’t let visitors get away before you can talk to them. HubSpot Conversations lets you connect with users in real-time. You can even personalise chatbots so you never lose a lead.
  • If you want to offer extra support, you can take advantage of HubSpot’s ticketing system and collate enquiries in one place.
  • Reduce the chances of contacts unsubscribing by segmenting them in HubSpot and placing them in relevant lists.
  • In HubSpot, you can keep all your buyer personas in one place and manage their properties however you need.
  • Landing pages, website pages, emails - in HubSpot, you can personalise content based on how customers want to engage with your brand.
  • By automating tasks such as emails and social scheduling, you can provide customers with the content they need at the exact time they want it through HubSpot.
  • HubSpot features integrated SEO tools which let you optimise content easier than before. 
  • In a few clicks, you can tinker with the edits on your website, blog posts and landing pages quickly and easily.
  • HubSpot also has an easy file management system, so you never waste time searching for relevant files you need.
  • HubSpot has legendary customer support whenever you need it. There’s also an extensive knowledge base that you can check out when you need answers.

    dan on laptop on hubspot digital 22 office
  • One of the best things about going all-in on HubSpot is that you can get early access to beta features. Usually, this luxury is given to Diamond and Platinum partners so it could be a good idea to partner with one and make your HubSpot journey easier.
  • One of the best features in HubSpot is lead scoring. Based on the information leads give you, you can assign values using lead scoring to determine how each lead has engaged with your websites. This helps your sales and marketing team prioritise each lead.
  • HubSpot’s deals boards ensure your sales team has the information they need right away so they never miss a deal again.
  • If you’re out and about, take a quick peek into your daily reports and more in the HubSpot app.

To explore each point in more depth and to see how each one will help your business, I’d recommend checking out this blog.

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 🧀.

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.

Or, your marketing team is producing a lot of qualified leads but the sales team isn’t getting them in time. Another bottleneck could also be the need to import and export data between systems or even a lack of data to inform decision-making. 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. 

Helping your marketing, sales and service teams and improving collaboration

Your customer-facing teams need a lot of support but it’s tricky with so many handoffs, miscommunication and juggling too many platforms. It makes a lot more sense to support all three teams with a single platform like HubSpot. Combine this with working with an expert agency and your teams will get guidance like no other.

The goal is to build an infrastructure for your business on HubSpot, designed to support all the customer-facing teams within your company who work with a common set of tools. This allows them to coordinate their efforts and work from a shared source of truth. Not only that, but this also enables a seamless buying experience for your customers as well. 

HubSpot can be integrated into your business in a way that enables your marketing, sales and service teams to collaborate and ensure smooth hand-off of leads and customers between them.

We’ve also realised that a key to growth is delighting customers through the buyer’s journey. Promoters can help you generate leads that complement your marketing efforts.

An experienced HubSpot Partner can provide the services and tools to help you identify your promoters and communicate with them directly - while also addressing feedback to make sure they all have a positive customer experience. 

The buyer’s journey isn’t linear any more

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 take into account 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 is a visual representation of 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 alignment. It has three crucial features that make it a better model than the funnel:

  • Funnels can work for marketing and sales but they’re not 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 dropping off. You don’t want to neglect the promoters that rave about your business to others.

hubspot digital 22 flywheel

The HubSpot Growth Platform is also built around the flywheel.

The HubSpot Growth Platform

Another misconception marketers tend to have about HubSpot is that it’s a suite, kind of like Microsoft Office and G Suite. Remember when I said HubSpot and inbound marketing continue to evolve?

Well, HubSpot is now more of a platform rather than a suite - a group of technologies used as a base upon which other applications are built.

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

HubSpot is organised into Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub and CRM. They’re all created for the relevant teams and you can buy them separately but they’re designed to work together seamlessly. Here’s a quick glance of the HubSpot Growth Platform so you can see how it caters to each team and then more in-depth explanations further below.

  • Marketing Hub: For your marketing team, HubSpot’s Marketing Hub is designed to help you get found online, convert leads, nurture them and measure ROI.
  • Sales Hub: HubSpot’s Sales Hub will let you streamline sales outreach, cut down on manual labour, cut down on admin, connect with prospects on their terms, measure and improve.
  • Service Hub: HubSpot’s Service Hub helps you organise and track customer communications, assist and delight customers at scale, measure and improve.
  • HubSpot CRM: At the centre of it all, we have the CRM. It’s a single source of truth where marketing, sales and service information sits and is accessible to all three departments. It’s also free and enabled with each hub as a nice little extra.

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

Obviously, to use each Hub to its potential, it’s a good idea to work with experts as well as getting clued up yourself on all things inbound and HubSpot. To get the results you want, you need to invest time, energy and resources.

That’s just an overview. HubSpot’s products can be broken down further into tiers: Starter, Professional and Enterprise. As you can probably guess, the bigger the plan, the more features you’ll have at your disposal.

Marketing Hub

Starter (includes 1000 contacts)

HubSpot CRM plus:

Professional (includes 1000 contacts)

Everything in Starter plus:

Enterprise (includes 10,000 contacts)

Everything in Professional plus:

Ad management. Marketing automation. Partitioning.
Live chat. Smart content. Hierarchical teams.
Conversational bots. Blog and content creation tools. Single sign-on.
Forms. SEO and content strategy. Social permissions.
Contact website activity. Social media. Email send frequency cap.
List segmentation. A/B testing. Calculated properties.
Email marketing. Landing pages. CMS memberships.
Ad retargeting. Calls-to-action. Adaptive testing.
Video hosting and management. Multi-touch revenue attribution.
Website traffic analytics. Filtered analytics view.
Campaign reporting. Custom event triggers and reporting.
Custom reporting.

Too much to take in right now? Here’s a separate blog I wrote explaining the features in more depth.

Sales Hub

Starter (includes one paid user)

HubSpot CRM plus:

Professional (includes five paid users)

Everything in Starter plus:

Enterprise (includes 10 paid users)

Everything in Professional plus:

Email tracking notifications. Deal stage, task and lead rotation automation. Playbooks.
Email sequences. Workflow extensions. Goals.
Calling. 1:1 video creation. Call transcription.
Live chat. Sequence queues. Calculated properties.
Meeting scheduling. Quotes. Predictive lead scoring.
Email scheduling. Products. Quote-based workflows.
Deal pipeline. Teams. Recurring revenue tracking.
Sales rep priductivity performance. Salesforce integration User roles.
Multiple currencies. Single sign-on.
Required fields. Record customisation,

We’ve got some more insight into the Sales Hub in this blog.

Service Hub

Starter (includes one paid user)

HubSpot CRM plus:

Professional (includes five paid users)

Everything in Starter plus:

Enterprise (includes 10 paid users)

Everything in Professional plus:

Ticketing. Ticket status. Playbooks.
Live chat. Ticket routing. Goals.
Calling. Task automation. Hierarchical teams.
Conversational bots. Multiple ticket pipelines. User roles.
Team email. Knowledge base. Single sign-on.
Canned snippets. 1:1 video creation. Slack integration.
Email templates. Custom reporting. Calculated properties.
Email sequences NOS surveys. Webhooks.
Meeting scheduling. Customer experience surveys.
Tickets closed reports. Customer support surveys.
Sales rep productivity reports. Insights dashboard.
Time-to-close reports.

HubSpot CMS

HubSpot CMS features everything you need to build a powerful, optimised website that converts. It includes:

Landing pages. Blog and content creation tools. SEO and content strategy. Calls-to-action. Smart content.
Phone support. Form follow-up emails. Forms. Conversational bots. Live chat.
Ad management. List segmentation. Mobile optimisation. Standard SSL certificate. Dynamic content with HubDB.
Website analytics. Robust template and module marketplace. Staging environment. Design manager. Website pages.
Google Search Console integration. Custom domains. 99.99% uptime. Content delivery network. Security monitoring and threat detection.


Yeah...that’s a lot to take in. Rather than bombard you with the 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-up probably need a little 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 as well, not just HubSpot

The first thing to do is actually believe in inbound marketing. Without a firm belief in the methodology, no software (HubSpot or not) will be successful. You need to convince them that 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 works, 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.

rikki presenting at love inbound

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 amazing data to share. Hopefully, you get enough results to pique their interest.

Brag about the competition

If your competitors are using inbound marketing to a high standard, make sure the board notices their success. If they’re doing well, it should be enough to prompt further research. 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. To avoid getting shut down as soon as you open your mouth, collate your findings into a presentation. 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 some options and develop a custom plan to execute on 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 in terms of reaching goals, budget etc. Think of it as a mate doing you a favour and offering advice when you need it most. 

Only you know how hard you can push the case but if you’re 100% convinced HubSpot is perfect for your business and you 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. All of 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 one links in 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 be experts in HubSpot. Although it’s massively popular, a lot of 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 successful so you can actually 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.

digital 22 red rose awards

A crucial thing to look out for is not to look for a Partner that will come in and take over the process. At Digital 22, we’re not about that. Sure, it can make lives easier for a bit if we came in and did 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 actually 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, you’ll get experienced support, you’ll benefit from increased visibility and you’ll get thorough analysis and optimisation.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Experience.
  • Specialised skill sets.
  • Hit the ground running faster.
  • Save yourself money.
  • Take fewer risks.
  • Save on office space.
  • Avoid outbound marketing issues.
  • Achieve realistic targets.
  • Gain the best objective feedback.
  • Make the best use of HubSpot’s software.
  • Generate brand promoters.
  • Maintain content consistency.
  • Develop the SEO of your website.
  • Get access to innovative tools and resources.

Finding the right HubSpot Partner is an entirely different topic that requires further research once you’ve decided HubSpot is the way to go. To make sure you get the correct information, we’ve created a guide on how to choose the right HubSpot Partner Agency.

The Ultimate Guide to Picking the Perfect HubSpot Partner Agency

We’ve written a comprehensive guide to help you to make the best possible choice. We’ve covered everything from how the HubSpot rankings work, the tools they use, how to tell if a Partner is truly an expert and loads more that’s worth checking out.

Download your free copy now using the link below.

Find the perfect agency partner