HubSpot Disrupts the CRM Industry

by Akbar Jaffer
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HubSpot CRM Image

HubSpot CRM Image

On Tuesday September 16, 2014 at the Boston Convention Center, at its yearly user conference Inbound14, HubSpot’s CEO, Brian Halligan, demoed to its wide eyed 10,000 participants, what I consider to be a serious disruptor to the CRM industry. Developed with an Apple-like secrecy, I believe HubSpot CRM is about to spin the CRM industry on its head.

When CRM was commercialized by Tom Siebel in the early 1990’s, CRM promised to truly automate sales, marketing and service processes to eliminate silos of data by utilizing notion of single data source, reduce manual entry of data, avoid data errors associated with manual entry, automatically add calculated data and data abstractions, and therefore, make our jobs easier.  Although, CRM solutions did deliver some level of automation, they seriously fell short on their core promises of data intelligence. Garbage in and garbage out – or in many cases ‘no data in’ and ‘no intelligence out.’ Instead CRM systems became big, expensive, and complex. Pretty soon a popular topic related to CRM became “why over 90% CRM implementations fail?”

Let’s examine some of the serious challenges today’s CRM systems are plagued with and why I feel HubSpot CRM is about to disrupt the industry.

1. Sales folks don’t like or have time to enter data.

2. Sales folks don’t like to spend hours researching cold prospects. They rather spend all their time chasing highly qualified leads and closing deals.

3. In today’s social, connected world where customers are extremely savvy and well informed, sales person tends to have very limited knowledge of their potential customers’ habits, behaviors, and interests. Furthermore, its hard to extract that information unless you have tons of face to face time with them which means longer sales cycles.

4. Its difficult for managers to retrieve any serious meaningful business intelligence out of CRM because of missing or incorrect data in the system.

5. Things are moving fast and so are your customers. With today’s always connected, super social, and extremely mobile customers its nearly impossible to keep track of their activities, actions, and behaviors with traditional sales and marketing tools.

I believe HubSpot CRM has not only addressed all these issues elegantly it has forever demolished the ugly diving line between Sales and Marketing. Here are a couple examples how:

Hubspot CRM screen view

HubSpot CRM Screen – Click to enlarge image.

1. Using just the domain name of your prospect, the system automatically creates a lead and all associated contact records using social media and public records. If a CEO says “we need help with our content strategy” Hubspot CRM, with a click of a button, can tell you who the CMO of that company is, her contact information and gets ready to fire off an email that is contextual and highly relevant. Note that the sale person didn’t need to enter a single data into the CRM system.

2. Look at a prospect’s record in your CRM system and you automatically know all the social media activities, marketing assets downloaded, pages viewed, and emails exchanged by them. While you were sleeping HubSpot CRM was working behind the scenes. It will tell you that the VP of Marketing you spoke with last month is now the CMO of the same or even some other company as of this morning.

3. Your prospect was anonymous a month ago when she visited your website and checked out your blog, downloaded a data sheet, and spent over 4 minutes visiting a couple landing pages. Once you register a lead into your CRM, the system automatically matches a month old anonymous data with your new lead.

4. You interact with your customer via any number of communication channels and the account activity logs every activity and makes it available to you on a single well-organized view.

Having spent over 14 years in the CRM industry, I can tell you that the accuracy and integrity of data in the CRM is what sets a highly successful sales organization from the one that’s just okay.  Having more and accurate data in your CRM system means better business decision, beating of the competition, and closing those big sales deals. By significantly reducing or even eliminating issues related to collecting and organizing data in their CRM, HubSpot is about to give serious run to Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce for their money.

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