32 MIN READ By Phill Burrows
Last Updated November 2021
This guide is written for those who would like to learn more about HubSpot – the one-of-a-kind content management and customer relationship platform.
What does it do? Is it a CRM? A sales tool, or something else?
What is HubSpot?
The guide provides a comprehensive overview for Business Owners or Marketers who are trying to determine what HubSpot is, how it can help them, and what it can do.
Maybe you already know a little bit about HubSpot. Maybe you know quite a lot!
Either way, you likely already know that HubSpot is a strong contender for any organisation looking for an inbound-focused platform for content and customer relationship management.
But do you need a developer? Can you connect HubSpot with your existing applications? How secure is it compared to other content management systems?
This guide has the answers, and will help you decide whether it’s the right platform for your company or organisation.
We will be looking at the company, some of the main features, how to set it up, and each of the 4 ‘Hubs’: Marketing; Sales; Customer Service and HubSpot CMS.
We’ll break it down into:
So when you’re ready, let’s dive in.
In 2020, HubSpot reported 883 billion USD earnings for the fiscal year (the majority of which came from user subscriptions)—an impressive increase of 31 percent year-on-year from 2019.
A deep employee culture code exists within the company and this attracts talent from 11 different countries all over the world including Germany, Ireland, Belgium, France, Japan, and the US.
HubSpot wants its employees to focus on the impact of their work, not where and when they do it. Remote and Hybrid working is welcomed.
They offer a company-wide week off and unlimited vacation so it’s easy to see why HubSpot employees love the company so much.
Riley Stefano, HubSpot’s Culture Content creator describes the expectation of HubSpot employees and company culture this way:
“Our culture is built on the belief that the way people work and live today has changed. We want our employees to build their work around their lives, not the other way around.”
HubSpot’s whole focus is centered around one major idea:
To help companies grow by providing one platform that makes it easy for an entire company to work with. From Sales to Marketing, and Customer Service, everyone gets a unified view of their customer.
All of this is accomplished through the idea of inbound marketing.
Fifty-eight percent of companies with a clearly defined purpose experienced growth of 10% or more, compared to only 42% of companies that don’t prioritise purpose.
The folks at HubSpot understand that purpose matters, and they are firmly committed to their progress-oriented Culture Code, serving both an organisation’s customers and the employees that power the company.
What does HubSpot rank as their most important guiding principle?
They chalk their success up to developing a company ecosystem that unites software, education, and community to promote the growth their businesses are seeking.
HubSpot believes that every company has a culture, and that it can be curated purposefully to foster a positive environment based on progress—that’s what sets HubSpot apart.
You can feel it on every page of their site, in all of their correspondences, and in the work they do.
“HubSpot culture is driven by a shared passion for our mission and metrics. It is a culture of amazing, growth-minded people whose values include using good judgment and solving for the customer.
Employees who work at HubSpot have HEART: Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent.”
Now CEO and CTO of the global giant, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, co-founders of HubSpot met while they were mere graduate students at MIT.
Halligan and Shah saw a unique problem with sales and marketing tactics that existed at the time.
Buyer behaviour had changed, so companies needed to create a customer experience that exceeds the competition. Clinical, pushy, or purely transactional processes were no longer working.
The two founders saw this as an opportunity to help organisations grow better. Customers no longer wanted “interruptive bids for their attention,”
Think about it—all the ads and posts we no longer want to see? We’ve just gotten really good at ignoring them!
So Halligan and Shah coined the term “Inbound Marketing” and launched the company in 2006.
They wanted to use their new inbound principles to build a platform that would help businesses adapt to the new way that customers were buying online.
The HubSpot platform is a SaaS (Software as a Service) product which is hosted on cloud infrastructure providers such as AWS and Google Cloud. As a SasS product it requires no installation from IT specialists.
Out of the box, it ships with with free tools including:
A paid subscription to access any of the starter, pro, or enterprise Hubs allows you to access more advanced features.
The hosted infrastructure is fully supported, secure and takes data privacy seriously. It is trusted by over 100,000 customers in over 120 countries. Read more about HubSpot security.
The game-changing idea behind the HubSpot platform is that an entire organisation works from a singular database and system of record.
Every team has shared access to the information in HubSpot, which allows for smoother handoffs between teams for a much better experience for customers.
But where many CRM platforms end is only the beginning for HubSpot. HubSpot is also stocked with all kinds of marketing features like blogs, email marketing campaigns, smart content, landing pages, CTAs, A/B testing and built-in SEO features.
Reporting and analytics dashboards are shared across marketing, sales and service teams so the whole company benefits from one centralized source of data.
When it comes to determining which organisations are using HubSpot, the better question might be, “Who isn’t using HubSpot?” Its use as a content and customer relationship management system is prolific and widespread.
Today, there are over 132,000 companies using the HubSpot platform.
Data shows that HubSpot is mainly used by companies that range in size from 10 to 50 employees, but there are plenty of examples of organisations with just a handful of employees using HubSpot up to corporations that manage 1,000 employees and beyond.
Most organisations using the platform earn between $1 million and $10 million USD, but again, there are still countless examples of companies with smaller annual earnings and some that earn over $200 million annually, and beyond.
45% of organisations using HubSpot are located in the US and the UK make up 8% of HubSpot users.
There isn’t just one kind of company that HubSpot serves either. HubSpot is used by B2B marketers from industries including:
So, What does HubSpot Do? Perhaps the better question is, “What doesn’t HubSpot do?”
HubSpot helps align sales, marketing and customer service teams, and eliminate the frustration of managing multiple systems across siloed departments.
As an out-of-the-box solution, HubSpot handles all the moving parts associated with the inbound marketing process. It streamlines the process of lead generation and sales conversion, through to post sales customer support.
HubSpot also helps companies extend the core functionality by providing access to the HubSpot App Marketplace and are implemented through “bridges” called application programming interfaces, or APIs for short.
These third-party integrations allow companies to connect other business critical applications that they already know and love, so that this data shows up in HubSpot.
Think of marketplace integrations like an all-access pass.
They help achieve greater productivity and customisation of HubSpot so that companies can design more sophisticated workflows as the organisation grows.
Popular integrations include:
Inbound Marketing is a buzzword that gets tossed around a lot these days, but HubSpot is the organisation that understands what it’s all about. After all—they created it.
HubSpot doesn’t just talk about inbound as a theoretical concept—they build it right into the core of the platform.
On its website, HubSpot defines inbound marketing as:
“a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, inbound marketing forms connections they are looking for and solves problems they already have.”
Essentially, inbound marketing is all about building meaningful, lasting relationships instead of just a transactional one, which is a much more fulfilling experience for customers and employees alike!
The inbound methodology has three principal pillars: Attract, Engage, Delight.
HubSpot uses these principles to guide everything they do—including the creation and use of their flywheel concept.
Their thought is that if they attract and engage with prospective customers rather than seek them out, the customer-company relationship is far more valuable, and far more likely to delight and build lifelong business relationships.
How do these principle principles fit with the inbound flywheel concept—and what exactly does “inbound flywheel” mean?
The inbound flywheel is a business model defined by HubSpot that demonstrates the way your organisation can build momentum when you prioritise and deliver exceptional customer service.
You spin and build momentum by investing in strategies to acquire and maintain customers.
Compared to a traditional sales funnel, which doesn’t foster growth or momentum, the flywheel is all about building upon what you’ve created.
The idea behind creating momentum is that anything that slows your flywheel creates friction.
In the business world, this friction typically happens when one team hands off a customer to the next team, like is often the case when marketing teams pass new leads onto the sales teams.
By reducing friction, alignment and communication between teams is improved and momentum is added to the flywheel. With an inbound methodology, your marketing, sales, and service teams can add more momentum without adding friction.
Once you attract customers and continue to engage and delight them, they will also help keep your flywheel spinning by promoting your brand and bringing new customers to you.
Whether we realize it or not, we experience the buyer journey as consumers nearly every time we make a purchase.
Sales and marketing teams should have a deep understanding of their prospects buying journey.
A typical B2B customer begins their buyer journey when they experience some kind of problem that triggers a need to search for a solution.
Consumers go through three stages of the buyer journey:
Having a complete understanding of your audience and their needs at each stage will help move them through their inbound journey.
Successful Inbound Marketers build a documented content strategy to map content that helps consumers at each stage of the inbound process.
How does this buyer journey tie in with what we already know about inbound marketing and HubSpot?
Pairing these two principles together, organisations can create a pretty powerful combination. When applying this buyer journey to the principles of “attract, engage, delight,” content marketing might look something like this:
We all love individualised attention. It’s the same reason we feel more important or connected to a topic when the person we are talking to continually uses our name in conversation.
Knowing this information, it might be easier to answer the question about why we should personalise our marketing, sales, and service efforts.
Creating unique experiences for every individual customer will help you provide buying experiences that are more relevant, useful, enjoyable, and helpful to the consumer.
Personalisation is powerful. It can have a big impact on what you do. Over 20 percent of marketers say that personalisation improves email engagement, and 99 percent of marketers agree that personalisation advances customer relationships.
More importantly Eighty percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase when a brand offers a personalised experience.
We live in an age where we have access to a plethora of data about our customers. Each year, we create more and more data as a society. In 2010, about 1.2 trillion total gigabytes existed since the inception of data-based technology. And in 2020? The number reached a staggering 40 trillion gigabytes.
We can carefully use all this information we are creating as a society to craft personalised, “human” marketing experiences and leave clinical, impersonal strategies in the dust.
HubSpot is designed to be a nearly all-encompassing software suite, so as to eliminate unnecessary friction in the flywheel, especially when one team hands off a customer to the next team at the next phase in the buyer journey.
This means much of the work is all done in one place, either because of included features or simple integrations.
One of the major perks of Hubspot compared to other CMS solutions like WordPress is that it doesn’t require nearly as many integrations.
On its own, HubSpot offers functionalities like:
HubSpot CMS is designed for marketers who don’t want to rely on developers to make simple changes. It is easy to use and users benefit from a WYSIWYG drag-and-drop interface.
Some CMS platforms offer simple automations like email marketing campaigns, but HubSpot CMS gives marketers the power of a CRM driven website.
From on-board SEO analysis to help attract leads, to on-site conversion opportunities such as forms and CTA’s, everything is within easy reach of the marketer. No plug-ins, no developer, no frustration.
Marketers are able to create content without worrying about IT issues, or breaking page layouts.
The question we hear all the time is, “HubSpot or WordPress?”
While this may not yet be an age-old question, it’s an important choice for organisations looking to select the right platform for their content. So how do the two stack up?
WordPress began life as a blogging tool, and evolved into a content management system. Many are drawn to WordPress because of the free base-price it offers, which is certainly appealing—at first.
WordPress is an open-source software package, which in practice means that it requires a lot of work to get it up and running the way you need it to. It must be installed or configured on your own servers or through a third-party hosting provider.
And as for that $0 base price?
Included in the no-cost price tag are basics like content creation, but besides this limited functionality, it requires plugins for things like sitemaps, SEO, analytics, and more.
The other downside of these plugins? Each one poses an added security risk. Also, depending on the theme or template you choose, you may need a developer for your WordPress site to make changes.
On the other hand? HubSpot’s CMS Hub was engineered from the ground up to serve marketers, with a user-friendly interface to write, optimise, publish, and analyse blog content, and doesn’t require plugins or other software for mobile content. Everything is included.
Marketers and developers can use HubSpot to build websites that are geared toward the customer experience. With HubSpot, you can create content, optimise it for your side, and gain valuable performance insight all in one place.
Consumers don’t just enjoy marketing personalisations—they actually expect it! In fact, 83 percent of shoppers would exchange some data for a more personalised shopping experience.
What does this tell us?
Personalisation isn’t a marketing luxury, it’s an absolute necessity—one that’s readily available in HubSpot.
With Hubspot CMS, you can build in additional customisations with personalisation tokens. These tokens enable you to show personalised content to your contacts based on the information you have set up in your CRM.
This helps to create highly relevant digital experiences that resonate with specific users using both default and custom contact properties.
The CMS is the core of any good marketer’s digital marketing efforts. This is one area where HubSpot really shines.
HubSpot’s CMS gives marketers the power to create and manage personalised websites, optimise pages for devices, produce conversions, and more with user-friendly features like:
HubSpot may be great for marketers, but it’s just as great for IT teams too. Easy integrations with existing applications make it easy to adapt HubSpot to the individual needs of each organisation.
A simple user interface means that IT teams spend less time assisting others with routine support issues. Many tasks are so easy that users with no prior experience can handle them on their own.
As a fully supported SaaS product, website and data security are no longer a need for concern. Compared to other platforms that rely on plugins which expose vulnerabilities, this is a major plus for those in IT.
You’ve made the decision: You’re going with HubSpot. But which version will best support your organisation and your work?
Let’s take a look at the innate difference between HubSpot CMS Starter, Professional and Enterprise.
In August 2021 HubSpot launched CMS Starter costing only $23 per month. It is aimed at scaling companies who are looking to upgrade their website and tap into the benefits of the HubSpot platform.
HubSpot CMS Starter is ideal for those looking to free themselves from clunky maintenance and allows users to create up-to 15 website pages and one blog.
At the next level HubSpot CMS Pro is for larger, fast-growing organisations.
This subscription includes 2,000 CRM contacts, and offers further empowerment of sales and marketing teams. With HubSpot CMS Pro, your team can:
But what about HubSpot CMS Enterprise?
The Enterprise edition comes with everything that Professional has, but starts at 10,000 CRM contacts.
It allows larger organisations to build more highly customised web experiences using Custom Objects so the website can capture any kind of data which can then be stored in HubSpot.
Some of the additional features that CMS Enterprise ships with:
HubSpot CMS Enterprise also comes with more advanced reporting features and functionalities that allow you to extend the platform with custom chatbots, adaptive testing, and more.
The HubSpot Marketing Hub serves as command central for your marketing team.
It’s the place where they can set up a blog, publish content and use CTAs to connect with consumers at each stage of the buyer journey.
The Marketing Hub also includes search engine optimization (SEO) tools so you can outrank competitors and plan your content strategies for maximum inbound traffic.
With Marketing Hub, your organisation gets access to a suite of ad tracking and management tools.
Here, your team can manage all of your social media advertising and Google Ads right from inside HubSpot, where they receive real-time reporting data.
One of the most valuable features is the ability to build campaigns. Campaigns can be used to track performance of any type of content that you have shared or published through HubSpot.
Gone are the days of managing individual systems to deliver digital marketing. Marketing Hub is a one-stop-shop for all modern digital marketers who need to deliver campaigns and understand the data that is fed back to them.
Instead, you can navigate it all from the Marketing Hub.
Users can build landing pages, email campaigns, forms, and more, and as your company grows, add in features like account-based marketing for more targeted campaigns to spend marketing dollars wisely.
Should you go with the Starter, Professional, or Enterprise version?
This is a fairly personal choice based on the size of your organisation and your needs.
Here’s the scoop on each tier of the Marketing Hub:
The Enterprise edition includes all of this and account-based marketing, adaptive testing, predictive lead scoring, user roles, and more. It costs $3,200 per month
One of the main benefits of working with an intuitive, frictionless platform like HubSpot is that your marketing team can seamlessly pass along new leads to the sales team, who can connect with customers via the HubSpot Sales Hub software.
HubSpot Sales Hub offers a full suite of CRM features and sales engagement tools such as:
And when you’re looking to seamlessly integrate Sales Hub with other applications and operations? HubSpot’s App Marketplace provides access to over 875 tools!
HubSpot’s sales platform feeds directly into the inbound flywheel, where there is no friction between marketing and sales teams. Removing this point of friction helps generate more momentum as sales increase.
Perhaps the best part about the HubSpot Sales Hub is the focus on inbound sales.
Sales reps gain visibility of a customer’s place in the buying journey with full tracking capabilities along the way. There’s never a moment wasted looking for client information—it’s all conveniently located in the same centralized CRM.
Sales teams can choose to start conversations with interested prospects through automated email sequences which help guide customers through the buying process.
Sales reps do not have to struggle with spreadsheets and external databases. It’s all managed in HubSpot.
HubSpot also gives you the chance to log sales activities across channels, whether they are via email, social media or on a call.
Then sync it all with Gmail, Outlook, and other mail apps, and capture every call, email, and customer interaction.
It means you can see everything in one place, not just names and job titles.
Salesforce has a 16.8 percent share in the global customer relationship management market. So, how does the HubSpot Sales Hub compare to this colossal sales platform? Let’s take a look at the differences between Sales Hub and Salesforce
For starters, Salesforce looks great on paper. It’s an all-in-one sales CRM with automation tools, reporting, deal management, and more. You can manage leads, track progress, and automate sales processes.
But HubSpot’s Sales Hub is an all-in-one CRM as well, with custom objects, engagement software, CPQ tools, and powerful analytics so teams can work more efficiently, save time, and grow revenue.
The biggest difference?
It really is in the price! Salesforce charges for each user and requires paid add-ons for essential features, making it hard to align marketing and sales teams. Even a shared inbox for your reps costs extra!
HubSpot offers all the features in one advertised price.
You only pay for additional sales seats, but free seats are also available for team members who need visibility for things like reporting without functional sales tools, making HubSpot’s Sales Hub a much more cost-efficient option for many organisations.
Which version of HubSpot’s Sales Hub is the best choice for your company? The question comes down to price and functionality.
HubSpot’s Sales Hub Starter subscription comes with a selection of features that are perfect for most small businesses.
It’s available for a low monthly price of $45.
A Sales Hub Professional subscription offers all of the features of the Starter version plus tools for larger sales teams who demand more:
This comes in at $450 a month.
A Sales Hub Enterprise account encompasses all of these features that enterprise level users demand.
It is available for $1,200 each month.
Within the inbound buyer journey, the follow-up to marketing and sales is customer service. This is where HubSpot Service Hub comes in.
The HubSpot Service Hub includes tools and functionalities such as help-desk automation, ticketing, automated workflows, knowledge base functionality, customer feedback surveys and detailed reporting.
We live in a 24/7 world, which means customers want personalised resolutions in minutes; they don’t want to wait. Nearly everything is available on-demand today, and first-rate customer service should be no exception.
Because service teams spend less time on data entry, since customer information is already there for them, they can spend more time helping customers succeed. With routing and automation, the help desk sees all customer data and interactions in one place, and can prioritise critical issues first.
HubSpot’s Service Hub - what is the cost of each subscription? And what does each offer?
The Service Hub Starter subscription includes
A Service Hub Starter subscription $45 each month.
The Service Hub Pro includes everything from the starter package along with:
The Service Hub Pro subscription costs $360 monthly.
The Enterprise Service Hub offers all of these features plus:
A Service Hub Enterprise subscription is available for $1,200 monthly.
Getting started with HubSpot can happen very quickly, but there are a few steps to take to ensure your HubSpot launch goes smoothly.
Setting up your HubSpot account starts when you sign up with your name and work email address. You’ll then add your users, and configure your account settings such as language, time-zone and company branding.
Users usually connect their email address to their HubSpot portal inbox so that they can manage and monitor all email communications and track customer interactions.
After this, it’s time to import contacts and companies. The CRM comes with a contact import tool which allows you to bring in your contacts from a .CSV file.
And that’s it for the basics. It’s a convenient process that requires minimal headaches or risk.
Being part of the HubSpot community quickly becomes exciting for sales and marketing professionals.
What to expand your skills, knowledge and inbound expertise?
HubSpot users can make full use of their HubSpot platform by learning more through their certification and training courses.
HubSpot Academy offers on-demand video based training in everything from marketing to inbound sales and digital advertising, as well as specifics on the Sales, Marketing, and Service Hubs.
There is a wealth of free information that is available to you when you visit HubSpot Academy.
Whether you are new to HubSpot or looking to grow your knowledge and your business, the HubSpot Academy courses are truly invaluable tools to make it happen.
Chances are, there’s something you love about your current operations.
The good news?
You don’t have to leave these behind. In fact, by going through your existing tech stack, you can determine which features and functions you want to take with you, and which ones you can replace with the HubSpot services.
Since no single software tool will accomplish everything a business needs it to do, companies can layer apps together, creating a technology stack.
When you audit your tech stack you may find ways to save time, money, and resources on apps by consolidating what you have and what you need.
Your marketing, sales, and service operations all require different apps. Can HubSpot replace some of the apps you are currently using?
We’re definitely taught to fear the word “audit” but in this case, auditing your tech stack is no cause for alarm. It just means you are determining which products you no longer need to maintain or pay for!
You can begin to edit your tech stack by looking at the functionality of each of your apps. When you examine the how, where, and when of when an app is used, you will learn more about what you can do, what you’re paying for, and what you need.
No man is an island, and no organisation has to go it along when it comes to your HubSpot implementation.
An agency partner like Hub Masters can help you set up HubSpot’s Free CRM so you can test out HubSpot for yourself and determine whether or not it is a good fit for your organisation with no risk.
Hub Masters’ expert services are all available at a low cost of £495, plus unlimited support for 90 days as you discover all that HubSpot has to offer.
With this kind of guidance, you can expect your HubSpot deployment to go fairly quickly. How long does it take? If you are building a new website in HubSpot, it can be accomplished in as little as 30 days, compared to 108 days without a CMS or CRM tool.
There’s a reason HubSpot is such a popular CRM.
Hub Masters is here to help you simplify your marketing technology so that you take your sales and marketing operations to the next level—without having to devote all your resources to pricey agency retainers.
It’s time to grow your business and see what you’re capable of doing.
Hub Masters can help. We’ll help you get started with HubSpot, see what it has to offer, and share a little bit of the expertise we’ve picked up along the way. To get started, contact us today!