We’re HubSpot junkies, we’ll admit it! Here are some reasons why the CRM in particular is making us all happy inside.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes, 23 seconds.
HubSpot is synonymous with world-class marketing automation software. But did you know that they also provide a leading CRM? What’s more – it’s free! At Spitfire Inbound we use it internally and recommend it to our clients. We absolutely love it – so much so that we thought we’d write a blog post about it.
Why are we in love with the HubSpot CRM? Five main reasons
As the Inbound Marketing Strategist (IMS) for Spitfire Inbound, I treat my own company as my client, and provide the same level of service to them that other Inbound Marketing Strategists do for our customers, I apply the same principles, and I use the same tools. It’s a great way of drinking our own champagne (or even G&Ts). We love the CRM, both in the way we use it internally, and the way we can help our clients use it. Not only do we use it as a way of tracking our customer relationships – from the time they become a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to when they buy – we also use it as a productivity tool, since it’s so easy to track activity.
There are many reasons why we love this tool, but here are five we have to let you know about:
1. Ease of use
Having worked with multiple CRMs in my career, one theme stands out: People can’t stand the admin. Making simple changes to a sales pipeline often requires you to make multiple edits in different, unrelated fields. However, HubSpot does not have this issue; you can drag and drop desired changes with the click of your mouse, all in one simple location. Admin has never been simpler..
Having implemented and used almost 10 different CRMs, Trevor van Rensburg, our Commercial Director, says: “They almost always create extra work for myself and my teams. They were great in theory, but difficult to keep updated in practice.” But, because the HubSpot CRM is so intuitive and easy to use, it’s not only possible to implement the CRM in a few days (compared with the 80 days that a known vendor proposed he would need), it’s also really easy for salespeople to update thanks to the associated app. “The app means that I can update almost everything, even when I’m offsite. This is a real time saver.”
HubSpot CRM minimises effort for you. If you use it to its full capacity, you can do everything out of there – book meetings that are logged against prospects’ timelines, send notes, send emails, and track activity. You can also integrate your own email and calendars. This means each time you book a meeting or send an email, it’s logged in the CRM. Even better, not only does it go to the individual contact record, it is also associated with the deal. Which means I don’t have to look at each individual contact’s records separately - I can work directly from my deals.
HubSpot’s CRMs ease of use begins way before a salesperson picks up a lead. From the moment an MQL comes in, I’ll do my research on that lead, and add comments directly in the CRM. Then, when they become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), all the information is right there in the CRM – it gives our sales team greater insight. We can see the activities they’ve undertaken and can then keep track of each detail. By adding my research in the contact record, the sales team have direct access to all my insights there and then. The result: our sales and marketing people are working more effectively as a team.
In a nutshell, it’s easy to use, and intuitive, with multiple functionality.
2. Sales and marketing alignment (smarketing)
When sales and marketing work together in perfect alignment it’s called ‘smarketing’. At Spitfire Inbound we have an amazing smarketing approach that we encourage our clients to adopt as well. The HubSpot CRM allows us to make the most of our close team alignment because all the information about a prospect is stored in one central place. You don’t have to go into five different applications to find all that information. I love that everything integrates into the CRM.
As Marlize Laubscher, my fellow IMS and inbound event specialist puts it, “I like the fact that it tracks activity, so that you can use this information to make strategic decisions on when and how to communicate with a prospect or client”.
Trevor agrees. “I have complete visibility of my contacts and their individual buyer journeys. Everything that happens pre- and post-sale is recorded in one place, and it is date-and time-stamped for reference purposes.”
At Spitfire, the HubSpot CRM data is accessible to everyone. This means the whole team can see what’s going on in the pipeline, where things are sitting, how they’re progressing, and the total Rand value that sits in a specific stage of the pipeline. But if you are not comfortable with this level of visibility, it’s also possible to limit access to certain account records – for example, a sales manager can see only their team’s records, or one salesperson can see only their own deals, companies, and contacts.
For me, and for us at Spitfire Inbound as a team, the power of the HubSpot CRM lies in its ability to do smarketing better – by being used in combination with another tool. We choose to use the HubSpot Growth Suite, but you could use something like MailChimp instead. The great thing is that via integrations, you can bring all your MailChimp information into HubSpot.
3. Granular reporting
A key requirement of any CRM is to keep track of everything involved in the sales cycle and enable granular reporting. I've found HubSpot reporting to be far more granular than many other CRMs I’ve worked with.
The CRM gives robust reporting, which is critical for sales and marketing integration, because it really allows us, as marketers, to drill down into the impact that our activity is making on the progression of our clients’ leads. We are able to perform best when we know what activity the salespeople are doing, and have access to their insights. It enables us to; see the gaps in the sales process, to identify hold ups, to ask our clients why this might be happening, develop a strategy to resolve the problem, and (if necessary), to put automation in place.. This means that together, our smarketing approach and tools allow us to improve both sales and marketing for our clients (and ourselves).
In addition, the HubSpot CRM allows me to tell my clients what their monthly return on investment (ROI) in our marketing activities is.
When it comes to sales reporting, the HubSpot CRM ensures that it’s not a laborious spreadsheet task – but a tool that enables us to perform well for ourselves, and to maintain our pipeline, as well as giving our clients the best possible service.
A common issue businesses face, is when salespeople store information in spreadsheets, emails, or other documents, only to then leave the company.. The result; chaos. The business doesn’t know where the information is, and they’re stuck. With the HubSpot CRM, though, that information doesn’t leave the business, even if a person leaves. That is the essence of any CRM, but in my opinion, HubSpot does it better than anyone else.
Since all the information about a prospect and their activity is in one place, nothing is left to chance. As long as people are maintaining the CRM, it’s possible for someone else in the business to see the information and pick up right where the previous person left off.
5. Very cool tools
Nicole Sengers, a senior IMS and HubSpot specialist at Spitfire, loves the log and track functionality in her inbox. “Without any effort I can just log an email to a contact record.” And don’t get her started on the meeting tool. “I have a link in my email signature where people can book time with me. I don’t have to have those awkward meeting booking conversation any more.”
Not to mention the fact that the HubSpot Conversations tool comes free with the CRM.“You get inbox and chat functionality, and even a bot, for free,” says Nicole. “It makes it so easy to set up live chat for a client without having to pay a fortune. It’s such a value-add for clients and so easy to use”.
Often in sales, you start a conversation only to be being let down by prospects who say they aren’t ready. But If they don’t meet one of the BANT criteria, for example, it’s easy to forget about them. With the HubSpot CRM tasking tool, you can task yourself to follow up in a relevant time-frame. That means if you forget about that prospect over time, you’ll get a reminder to follow up on it, and will see every conversation, note, and document you’ve used with them;. It’s that much easier to re-engage with prospects.
We love it – and we think you will too!
At the end of the day, I love the HubSpot CRM because it makes my job better. Not just easier, but better. And it makes me better at my job. I love being a marketer, but it isn’t always easy. Being able to get such in-depth reporting and see the activity of my sales team makes me a better marketer.
We love the Hubsport CRM, and recommend you give it a try. It is available for anyone to use, and yes, it really is free. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, you can sign up and get started with the HubSpot CRM. We think you’ll be glad that you did.