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Marketers today have more than 7,000 martech solutions at their disposal – HubSpot is just one of the many platforms that can help you optimise your sales and marketing efforts. But as the only HubSpot Platinum Solutions Partner in the region, we swear by using HubSpot both for ourselves and for our clients.
As we’re seeing more and more Slovenian companies considering HubSpot's free or paid packages, and because some of our webinar viewers expressed the desire to learn more about the platform, we’ve decided to dedicate a whole webinar to HubSpot and its features. You can watch the webinar recording anytime, but since it was held in Slovenian, we’ve also prepared a short summary for those of you who don’t speak the language.
Why CRM and how to implement it
By now you probably know that inbound marketing is all about attracting, engaging and delighting consumers by creating content that is tailored to their needs and expectations. To achieve that, it's crucial that your marketing, sales and customer service teams are aligned, rather than operating in silos.
HubSpot's flywheel model nicely illustrates the importance of a strong collaboration between the teams at your company. It places the customer in the centre of all activities. In each stage of the customer lifecycle, the right team must provide the customer with the right content. The speed at which the flywheel turns depends on friction; to keep the friction as low as possible, you must ensure smooth processes and good communication between all three departments.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) will help you keep friction to a minimum and give you a better understanding:
- where in the flywheel is a contact at this moment
- which communication channels work and which do not
- how to optimise time by prioritising leads
- how to build better relationships with your contacts
CRM implementation requires planning
The growth of marketing tools may be slowing down but picking the right technology stack remains one of the biggest challenges for companies. It’s a very important task – marketing is co-responsible for achieving company growth, and its success will greatly depend on choosing the right tools.
Your choice will firstly depend on your budget. Many start-ups and companies sadly cannot afford investing in a CRM in the initial phase, even though building client relationships is just as important in the beginning as it is later on.
HubSpot provides both free and paid packages – the latter are available at different price points. “The greatest thing about HubSpot's CRM is that it is free and that companies can add features as they are growing”, Actuado’s MD Jasna Suhadolc emphasised throughout the webinar. Time will tell which features are crucial for your company’s needs, i.e. ‘worthy’ of paying (more). This means that as your company grows, the CRM grows with it.
We advise (and help) our clients to analyse and plan before making a purchase. It's critical that you understand exactly what your company needs, and even more so, what your employees who will be using the tool need.
Another thing to consider is your current martech stack: think about which tools you are already using, how important they are to you and how they are going to integrate. HubSpot supports integrations with over 300 applications, such as the conversational marketing platform Drift, Salesforce, etc.
You can connect your email account (such as Gmail or Outlook) with HubSpot and automatically log emails and meetings into the HubSpot CRM. You can also send emails to contacts through the HubSpot platform.
HubSpot provides excellent customer support
For Jasna, one of the biggest advantages of HubSpot is the excellent customer support it provides to its users. “HubSpot is known for its large knowledge base of articles, videos and other resources. The knowledge base is updated regularly and is available to all users, but with each of the paid packages you get access to HubSpot's live support via chat, phone or email.”
HubSpot customer support is especially helpful during the onboarding phase and for employee training. Although HubSpot's free CRM is simple enough for you to implement on your own, expert guidance will make the onboarding process easier, better and faster.
All customer information in one place
The free version of HubSpot CRM provides insight into basic information about your contacts in one place. With paid features you can also see what emails they have opened, what webpages they visited and what products or services they have previously purchased.
HubSpot gives you an overview of the entire communication with your customers and leads. You can follow all conversations, deals and planned meetings. By keeping track of all interactions with customers you ensure that all your employees know the current status of each customer relationship and that nothing slips through the cracks.
Jasna warned that this however means “No more paper notes or post-its'! If you want your team to always be on the same page, you must meticulously log all tasks in the CRM, or better yet, assign them to a specific person using the tagging option.
Be careful when importing data
Before you import data into HubSpot CRM, it's important that you ensure that the data is clean. You should not import anything until you have fixed formatting issues and removed duplicates and unsubscribes. Don’t forget to ensure that your databases and mailing lists are GDPR compliant.
HubSpot offers several ways to segment your audience. You can create lists depending on where the customer is in the buyer’s journey or other characteristics. There are two types of lists: static (they do not change) or active (they always update with new contacts that meet the criteria).
Save time with the Meetings tool
One of our favourite HubSpot features is the Meetings tool, because it helps you schedule your appointments faster and avoid those ‘when are you free’ back-and-forth emails.
With HubSpot's easy-to-use scheduling tool – which automatically syncs your meetings with your Google or Office 365 calendar – you can create a custom meeting link to send to contacts so they can pick times to meet with you based on your availability.
You can customise your meeting link details in several ways, for example, you can specify a custom availability slot, set the length of time contacts can book you for, set buffer time between each meeting, etc.
HubSpot’s free CRM now comes with free email marketing tools
HubSpot's free CRM now also includes free automated and personalised email creation, sending and analytics. The free email marketing tool works on the simple drag and drop method as familiar to Mailchimp users. The biggest advantage HubSpot has over Mailchimp is the number of contacts you can store (up to 1,000,000!), however the number of sends must not exceed 2,000 in a calendar month.
We've covered the differences between HubSpot's and Mailchimp's free features in a separate article.
Inbound marketing & sales upgrades
Beyond the free CRM version, HubSpot offers paid upgrades that combine to create a very powerful inbound marketing, sales and customer service platform.
At the end of the webinar, Jasna highlighted some key features available in HubSpot’s paid packages that can take your marketing and sales efforts to the next level:
- Marketing automation
You can use workflows to automate your email campaigns with content that is tailored to specific segments and scenarios. For example, you can use different wording in emails for leads at different stages of the funnel and thus improve your marketing and sales results.
- Live bots and chatbots
Bots can help you shorten your sales cycles and qualify leads. In the free HubSpot CRM, you can use a chatbot to help you with booking meetings, ticketing and lead qualification. However, if you want to create chatflows (follow-up conversations based on visitors’ responses), you will have to get one of the paid packages.
- Smart content
Based on certain criteria, such as country, device type, referral source or lifecycle stage, you can display different versions of your content to different viewers. You can add smart content to your blogs, website pages, landing pages and emails.
If you have more questions or need help with HubSpot, you can schedule a 30-minute call with Jasna.