I first started to use Hubspot in 2011, when I was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. I had gone there in 2005 to get my MBA. I was working for a Fintech startup right next door to their offices. I used to see Brian Halligan, the CEO and Dharmesh Shah, in the local coffee shop.
I’d also meet up with some of the Hubspot management team when I was out at night at the local bars and restaurants. As you can see in the chart above, this market has many different providers. Often, heads of global demand generation, such as myself, will have one 'go-to' provider.
It's a bit like football teams. Are you a patriots fan or 49ers? Do you support Chelsea or Manchester City? I have never been a very loyal fan, so I see the advantages and disadvantages of each system, and I've used pretty much all of the CRM providers.
Hubspot captures a significant market share. Hubspot is impressive at marketing. They know how to grab your attention and engage you – ebooks, guides to writing blog posts, videos, content creation clouds, you name it, they’ve got it covered.
Not to mention their army of inside salespeople, that they have relied on to build their business. Yes, I know they are all about inbound marketing. But they used outbound telemarketing campaigns to construct much of their business!
Why HubSpot may be the best provider for your inbound strategies.
1. It’s an all-in-one marketing, sales and service software
The one-stop-shop is the dream for us lazy marketers. With HubSpot, you'll no longer have to juggle between different platforms to market to potential and existing customers.
With HubSpot, you can create and optimise your content, nurture leads, monitor contacts as they become customers and see how your marketing progresses.
What's better than being able to do all of this and more in one tool? You've got the marketing side sorted, your sales can use it to gain deep insights on prospects and then use the Service Hub to grow customer satisfaction.
2. It’s the best software for an inbound strategy
Inbound marketing came to light and started to dominate marketing, thanks to Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. Their knowledge and expertise about all things inbound have resulted in a marketing platform that caters to every stage of a successful inbound plan and the buyer's journey.
The tracking and analytics available from HubSpot may not be the best - Marketo certainly is better. But Hubspot does enable you to create content and tailor it precisely to where each user is in their own persona' buyer's journey.
3. HubSpot is straightforward to use
HubSpot has gone to great lengths to fine-tune its usability. It now features a simple layout which makes it even easier to navigate to all of the different powerful tools on offer. The changes in the design have led to an increase in conversion rates, and it's practical to navigate through HubSpot.
4. Hubspot provides the best inbound education
HubSpot Academy offers extensive online training through courses, projects, certifications and software training. That for me is one main reason why Hubspot has captured so much of the market.
Just check out this brilliant article by CEO Brian Halligan on moving from the funnel to the flywheel. The other reason Hubspot did so well was their relentless outbound inside sales teams building business early on.
5. Network externalities.
As you can see from the chart above, Hubspot is now the No.1 email marketing software provider. How did it get there, many experts ask, since Pardot, Marketo, Eloqua, Adobe and others, are arguably better systems.
But ultimately it doesn’t matter who has the best product. If you have the critical mass and most the market are starting to use you, your product could hit the tipping point and become the 'industry standard' product in that market.
Microsoft Office was not technically the best product, either, yet now, everyone uses it. If everyone uses Hubspot, it will become the standard, what all marketers will learn and know how to use. Then Hubspot will gain dominance as Microsoft Office eventually did.
You can read more about The Network Effect here.
But, this is a big if. Other systems are equally good or better. To give you one example: Pardot works the most effectively with Salesforce as it’s part of the salesforce company. Hubspot can be a challenge integrating with Salesforce. Mapping fields can be tricky and time consuming.
But in Pardot, it's all mapped by default. Marketo gives you most granular and sophisticated analytics and is part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud. So that may be a better choice for you.
Besides, remember, this market is moving so quickly, we might even not have heard of the biggest CRM email provider yet. Look at ‘other choices’ in this chart – almost 28% of the market!
The key for me is to learn to use as many of these systems as possible. Every 'language' I learn, I get better at learning a new one. Then I will be in good position when the next big Marketing platform moves to the fore.
It's adaptability, and ability to learn quickly that will get you ahead of the game in this business, not loyalty to one single provider that may or may not get toppled in the long term.
So, whilst I thoroughly recommend Hubspot as a Marketing platform, firstly, it may not be the right one for you.
Secondly, I would always want to be testing and trying out new products and the extensions of existing ones. I wouldn't want to miss any new SaaS CRM develpments in this light-speed moving industry.