One look at G2’s 2023 Best Software Awards will tell you everything you need to know about HubSpot’s ascension to the top over the last couple years.
Spoiler: It hasn’t been by accident.
So, what happened? Yamini Rangan happened.
Since taking over as CEO in September of 2021, she has articulated a goal for HubSpot to be the #1 CRM platform for scaling companies. To complement this, the vision of HubSpot is to scale selling and servicing with expert partners. The buy-in to this has been overwhelmingly positive. Yamini’s ability to make this vision a reality has taken HubSpot to a new level, and they aren’t about to stop rising any time soon as, for example, partner-influenced MRR has grown by 127% in just the last few years.
In a recent edition of the Agency Unfiltered podcast, HubSpot Academy Senior Manager Kevin Dunn sat down with Yamini to discuss HubSpot's strategic objectives for the immediate future and her vision for partners moving forward.
If you didn’t have a chance to catch the podcast, you can watch it down below and/or check out these highlights of everything discussed!
A Crisis of Disconnection
Delivering results isn’t just about good numbers. To truly drive lasting, impactful change, there have to be solid relationships and connections in place. Unfortunately, last year, the biggest problem customers were reporting was a crisis of disconnection. More specifically, the problem centered on disconnected systems, disconnected people, and a growing feeling from HubSpot’s customers that it was difficult for them to connect to their customers. This brought about a focus on:
- Connected Applications: Enable HubSpot’s customers by delivering connected applications (Marketing, Sales, Service, Ops, CMS)
- Connected Platform: Enable customers by delivering a connected platform which brings their data across their enterprise into a safe space
- Connected Community: All about insights, education, and community. Helping to solve how HubSpot customers connect with their end users
It is within this context of HubSpot’s recent success and commitment to addressing the issues surrounding feelings of disconnection that Yamini put forward the two strategic objectives for HubSpot in 2023.
Strategic Objective #1: Depth, Not Breadth
Over the last few years, HubSpot has gone broad in terms of their product portfolio as they launched the CMS Hub and the Ops Hub. This year, though, Yamini communicated a desire to “go deep” and make sure the Marketing, Sales, and Service Hubs are the best in class by delivering value for the customer and connecting the hubs across the entire customer journey.
Specific Areas of Focus
To ensure HubSpot provides a world class experience, there are specific areas that have been targeted for improvement.
Learning to leverage omnichannel marketing is no longer a choice. The bottom line is that it’s simply not effective to have a single channel strategy, and in order to drive ROI you must be constantly optimizing all channels.
At Inbound ‘22, customer journey analytics was launched (at the time, in beta). The benefit of this is that it allows you to see the vision of omnichannel marketing through the lens of the entire customer journey.
Here, there is a focus on deal management, prospecting, and rep productivity being made much easier by tying together with Marketing Hub. Also, there is a need to be grounded in the business outcomes that the customers want: better ROI, better visibility, and better customer connection.
AI has been talked about for a long time, but because the technology often wasn’t in line with the expectation, it was always kind of on the fringe. But change has a habit of happening very slowly and then very quickly. AI was no exception to this as ChatGPT suddenly exploded onto the scene and brought it into the mainstream. Yamini called this “an iPhone moment” for our industry and it has become an emerging priority for HubSpot.
Partners can add value by leveraging this technology and tying it to the use cases of their customers. When partners are deeply engaged with their customers, they get much more value out of HubSpot as the customers stay longer (decrease in churn) and they buy more from HubSpot later on.
There are three specific areas in which generative AI will be a boon to HubSpot's customers:
With AI, creating content becomes much easier and allows for a higher level of productivity. The caveat to this is “the last mile of human intelligence”. While companies will now be pumping out content at a higher rate, what will differentiate great content from average content is the human intelligence aspect, which is something HubSpot partners excel at.
Generative AI can help develop code in a much more productive way.
Natural Language Interaction
AI allows for natural language interaction. With respect to HubSpot, this human interaction with CRM software occurs with ChatSpot (thank you, Dharmesh!), as it takes the power of ChatGPT and connects it with HubSpot’s API.
Strategic Objective #2: Move and Win Upmarket
A few years back, HubSpot was going through a period of change as they were a marketing automation company transitioning to a CRM platform and the bulk of their revenue was coming from mid-size customers (20-200 employees). Now, though, the objective is to scale selling and servicing with partners and move upmarket to the 200-2000 employee range.
What Do Upmarket Customers Want?
HubSpot’s focus, as they go upmarket, is to deliver powerful features that meet the needs of these customers while maintaining the ease of use. These needs and wants include tighter controls, more granularity of how they control their implementation, more admin features, and customization (i.e. making HubSpot relative to their business).
How Does HubSpot Win Upmarket?
The current customer environment is very risk-averse, which translates into a desire for people who are proven and well-educated with regards to their product. It’s therefore important for HubSpot’s Partners to be deep product experts so they can better serve their customers with business, technical, and full suite capabilities.
For Partners looking to accelerate the ability to deliver value, one key area is accreditations as this contributes to obtaining expertise and backing up HubSpot’s vision statement. Some accreditation examples include CRM Implementation, Custom Integrations, and Solution Architecture.
Another good option, especially for Solutions Partners, is HubSpot Academy’s sections related to technical functions (e.g. data modeling, data integrations, and plugging HubSpot into a tech stack).
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Time to Value
Different strategies are needed for Partner engagement as the last year has seen two big changes: a lengthened sales cycle and more executives involved in the buying process. Right now, customers care most about time to value and TCO.
Customer tech stacks have become too complicated, and this increases TCO and decreases connection.
Time to Value
HubSpot’s playbooks will continue to evolve to be sharp in terms of communicating the time to value:
- How quickly can we implement
- How quickly can we drive change management
- How quickly can we drive user training and adoption
Bottom line: HubSpot wins by getting time to value in a matter of weeks, not months or quarters.
Close Rate and Retention
Partners who are deeply engaged with customers and deliver the value of the breadth of HubSpot's product portfolio have driven better outcomes.
Direct/Partner engagements increase close rate by 15% (lower friction, more collaboration) and customers who are consistently connecting with Partners retain at 94%, which is 7% better than customers who are not engaged with their Partners or HubSpot.
Our (RevPartners) Response
The goal of RP is to eliminate the risk of change and help HubSpot win upmarket deals.
When it comes to marketing, we will have three priorities:
Cost of Ownership
- Action: Create public facing asset for all HubSpotters
- Asset: TCO
Time to Value
- Action: Capturing customer stories
- Asset: Videos
- Action: RevOps and Super Admin Bootcamps
- Asset: Monthly training
When it comes to product, we will have three priorities:
- Implementation Mobilization
- CRM in Box via Supered
- Integration as a Service
When it comes to Enablement, we will prioritize Accreditations:
- Received Advanced CRM Implementation Accreditation
- Received Platform Enablement Accreditation
- Customer Integration Accreditation in progress