This week 14,000 people descended on Boston for HubSpot’s annual conference, Inbound Inbound 2015. That’s a far cry from the 200 to 300 people attending the very first Inbound in 2008, which I had the pleasure of participating in as a speaker.
But this year, attending with my analyst hat on, I was impressed with the quantity and quality of announcements and enhancements HubSpot delivered.
Here are five HubSpot product improvements that marketers and any small business wanting to improve its online marketing may find of interest:
HubSpot Ads Add-on
HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah said during his keynote that 53 percent of its customers use some form of paid advertising. And, if HubSpot customer trends are in line with the general digital advertising trends, that number is probably on the rise.
The new Ads add-on tool gives HubSpot customers the ability to create and manage Google AdWords and LinkedIn Sponsored Updates campaigns.
With this new add-on, customers will have a fuller handle on how earned, owned and paid marketing activities work together to create leads and provide more data on what drives the customer journey. Being able to manage your content marketing, email marketing, social media activities, and now AdWords/LinkedIn campaigns all within one platform, one platform, HubSpot customers will get a truer sense for what’s working and what’s not. You get a stronger picture of the optimal mix of activities and your overall ROI. Being able to manage all types of marketing activities from one place will become a need-to-have very quickly.
Predictive Lead Scoring
If you use the inbound marketing strategies and techniques HubSpot has taught over the years you may have seen a dramatic increase in leads coming in — even if you don’t use the HubSpot platform.
But all leads aren’t created equal. Having tens, hundreds or thousands of leads is only good if you have a way to easily understand which leads are hot, and which aren’t.
HubSpot’s new lead scoring functionality provides a score based on behavior, demographic, social, email, and spam detection data. The benefit is that HubSpot customers should be better able to focus their efforts on the right leads at the right time, while nurturing leads that aren’t quite ready based on their current score.
HubSpot says customers that both use their marketing platform and host their company’s websites with HubSpot, saw average organic traffic increase by 70 percent in nine months, compared to only 30 percent for HubSpot Website customers.
While those numbers are impressive, not everyone will want to move their website over to the HubSpot content management system. But, with the new free LeadIn tool — developed under the HubSpot Labs division — you can capture leads from your current website and know what pages they visit and what social networks they’re on. You don’t need to switch your website CMS at all.
HubSpot Connect provides a timeline of every interaction a customer has within the HubSpot Marketing and CRM products. You see not just activities taking place in HubSpot, but also data from other popular systems you use, including Zendesk, Shopify, SlideShare, SurveyMonkey, Perfect Audience, PandaDoc, Citrix and others.
So now you’ll be able to see when a customer pays an invoice, creates a support ticket, views a slide deck or fills out a survey in the same way you see when a friend’s update on Facebook shows up on your timeline.
Enhancements to HubSpot Sales Platform
HubSpot cofounder and CEO Brian Halligan said during his keynote that 250,000 people use the HubSpot CRM and Sidekick (live notifications when someone opens or clicks on your emails) tools every week. Standout enhancements include:
- Prospects (Sidekick for Business) — helps sales teams find important details on companies expressing early interest by visiting your website. Create filters and alerts when the type of company you target appears on your website.
- Connections (SideKick for Business) exposes email connections across the team to facilitate introductions — similar to LinkedIn introductions.
- Sequences (Sidekick for Business) is a simple workflow system for sales to use inside of Gmail to automate follow-up.
- Insights (HubSpot CRM) automatically builds and updates a timelime (mentioned above) made up of account information and activity.
- Meetings (HubSpot CRM) automatically sends you a cheat sheet 15 minutes before your sales call with the most up to date information about the account.
Compared with previous years, this was an impressive amount of product development. And most interesting to small business people will be that the enhancements went beyond the lead generation aspect of inbound marketing and focused on turning opportunities into business.