In every sector, more and more of our new business comes from the digital space. That means that finding new customers is easier than ever. The tricky part is it also means the stages of our customer journeys have become blurred. Once marketing, sales and services distinct entities, but no more. Today we’ll look at one way to manage this with our HubSpot review.
But first, what’s the problem? It’s true that more collaboration between these areas is a positive. In fact, sharing information and best practices is likely to result in improvements across the board. The trouble is that, for many companies, existing procedures aren’t up to the task.
Take for example different IT systems. If your different teams are using a whole range of different packages, then its harder to get a complete view of the customer journey. In turn, this will cause problems when it comes time to collaborate. HubSpot aims to overcome this.
What is HubSpot?
The idea behind HubSpot is to be a complete suite of marketing, sales and service tools. These are all built around a central, free CRM platform. Appropriately enough, this is called Free HubSpot CRM.
Then we have Marketing Hub, Sales Hub and Service Hub. We’ll go into a little more detail on each later in this HubSpot review. One point I’ll raise now is that they’re available as separate subscriptions. The benefit of this is that you only pay for the tools you actually need.
The main thing at this point is to emphasise that HubSpot let’s you’re different teams work off a single resource. Working from a single CRM is, of course, normal practice. The real difference here is having all of your other customer focused activities integrated directly into one another. This could potentially offer massive benefits in terms of saving time and improving cross-team communication.
So, let’s drill down into the individual elements. First things first, what’s HubSpots CRM like? Even as a standalone product, it’s actually very impressive. The first thing to note here is the UI. The CRM is centred around a very clean and logically laid out dashboard. This is crucial, as it means that even tech-averse team members can easily manage their sales funnel.
I mentioned already in today’s HubSpot review that their CRM platform is free. What really impressed me is that they mean ‘free’. There’s no limits on the number of users or the amount of data stored. There’s also no expiration dates, so even ignoring the additional functions, HubSpot is a very attractive option just as a stand-alone CRM.
With Marketing Hub, it’s difficult to know where to start. As a matter of fact, it does pretty much everything. Let’s take email marketing for a start. The built in automation platform is a great mix of power and ease-of-use. If you don’t have any HTML knowledge, there’s a range of built in templates to let you make attention grabbing emails. It also offers support for A/B testing and subject line personalisation. As such, it’s difficult to see why you’d ever need a dedicated email tool.
I think sales is where HubSpot impressed me the most. One standout feature is the ability to track visitors behaviour in real time. This combines really nicely with the ‘Messages’ function, which allows sales agents to communicate with visitors via live chat.
This can even be automated using ‘Sequences’, which allows your sales team to program specific messages to appear to the customer if they carry out different actions on your site. This resemble marketing automation, but with agents speaking to individual prospects. This is an example of the blurring of line that we mentioned at the beginning of this HubSpot review.
Service Hub is the newest addition to the HubSpot family. The benefits of integrating your service platform directly into your CRM are obvious. It gives your agents the full picture of your relationship with the customer, including their purchase history and how they found your company.
There’s also some fairly advanced features on offer. Impressively, Service Hub has a built-in chatbot function. This works very nicely to make your service team more efficient. You can let the bot resolve simple issues and free up resources for customers with more complex or urgent problems.
I went into this HubSpot review with one concern in mind. Can a Jack of all trades ever be as good as a dedicated platform. Indeed, some functions were a little bit of a let-down. For example, Marketing Hub offers a built in CMS. That’s great, but it lacks some advanced features like built-in eCommerce or multi-lingual support.
Similarly, HubSpot’s CRM might not be totally suitable for businesses with complex sales funnels, as it’s somewhat lacking scope for customisation. It’s worth noting that HubSpot offers extensive integration options, including with WordPress and SalesForce. Even so, the fact that some businesses might need this undermines the principle of being a single platform for all of your customer facing activities.
HubSpot Review: Final Verdict
So, how would I rate HubSpot overall. There are situations where I can see it offering a lot of value. For small businesses, I think the ability to only pay for features that you use make it a really attractive option, as it makes it easily scaled to your needs. I think where HubSpot would really come into it’s own is a start-up environment, where team members need to cross skill. Having your marketing, sales and service in one place makes it much easier to switch between tasks.
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