What a week. In fact it was the kind week we needed a week to recover from! So many new product services being launched, so many amazing people we connected with and heard speak. David was even a featured Speaker this year…. Also amazing.
While David has been to INBOUND for the past 6 years and has truly seen the evolution of this incredible machine that is HubSpot ....and you will be hearing from him also in this Blog ….. This was my first in person experience. I have heard SO much about this week for so long. It was a bit surreal for us to be there together - something we have talked about for many years.
I couldn’t agree more, this was such a surreal event for us! And even though this was my 6th INBOUND Conference, it was my first with my wife and business partner. There was so much I wanted to show her and share but since I was also a speaker at the event, I was a bit preoccupied with last minute dry runs of my presentation before hitting the stage on Thursday.
My experience was a little different than expected. It was actually better than expected. Yes there were amazing topics to hear experts speak about. Yes the Keynote speakers were awesome and inspiring. Yes Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah were WAY funnier and entertaining than I expected. But what I really took away from this week is that HubSpot has created this incredible week that brings people together. Peers, clients, prospects, and the amazing people we work with at HubSpot … we got to see so many and connect in a real way. Sit together and share a meal, tell stories about who we are as humans. For those peers that we ran into …. Just talking a bit of shop and sharing our struggles made the whole experience of what we do more real somehow. We are not alone … not at all.
It’s so true that every year we get to meet with other business owners, HubSpot Partners, and HubSpot Customers that are all facing the same problem, just in different forms. We are all trying to solve the lead generation riddle… how can we get more qualified leads, at a lower customer acquisition cost, that sales can convert on a more predictable basis? That’s it in a nutshell. For some, it might be a SEO or PPC issue, for others, it might be a poor converting website, others might have terrible content that doesn’t convert… whatever it is, we are all trying to solve it the best way possible for our business and this is one of the things that I love most about INBOUND; we are all there trying to learn the next best technique or strategy!
The keynote by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Hallighan was exciting and fun as it always is, however, they did something different this year. Typically, they come out and open up together, setting the stage for what to expect over the next 90-120 minutes. Then one of them would stay on stage giving their part of the presentation for 30-60 minutes before the other founder would come out and present. This year, Brian came out first… alone. Seemed completely normal but my OCD kicks in and I wonder, why didn’t they come out together… just like they have every other year? I’m sure it means nothing but I would be lying if I didn’t say I have thought about more than once since it happened.
However, they threw so many new upgrades and enhancements at us that I think at least 10,000 of the 25,000 in attendance had their head spinning… I know mine was at least tilted. First of all, Brian talked more about the Flywheel. HubSpot did a good job of dropping the Flywheel on us back in May to give us enough time to digest it… 4 months later, I think I like it.
As a matter of fact, I know I like it. The Flywheel represents a circular process where customers feed growth. It helps you to invest more in customer marketing, more in customer advocacy, and more in creating delightful onboarding for your new customers. Since you’re applying all sorts of force all around your flywheel, ensure that none of your investments oppose each other. A lack of alignment between sales and customer success, for instance, can create unhappy customers and slow your flywheel when they churn. We will often refer to this as friction. The goal, is to reduce friction whenever and wherever possible. Classic sales and marketing misalignment is another area where the flywheel can slow. Alignment is crucial. Here at Maven, we have preached this since our existence. The flywheel makes it easier to explain to our customers and prospects.
Advanced Capabilities at the Enterprise Level
HubSpot announced updates to better support the needs of large, sophisticated teams:
- A major upgrade to HubSpot’s Marketing Hub Enterprise will include improved analytics and custom bot building.
- The new Sales Hub Enterprise will include features like Sales Playbooks, which will help users build a library of best practices and resources for their sales team. It will also include calling transcription, eSignature, and quota management tools.
- The new Service Hub Enterprise will include tools to help teams track against SLAs and other metrics.
- Across all three Enterprise Hubs, additional capabilities will include advanced team management; a native Slack integration; machine learning to power features like predictive lead scoring; and HubSpot’s recently-released Conversations tool, which is available to all customers and unites email, chat, and social in one inbox.
Service Hub Starter
In addition to launching the new and improved Enterprise products, HubSpot also introduced a new Starter edition of Service Hub. The new product will offer Tickets, the ability to create a help desk, and useful tools to increase productivity, connect with customers, and help them succeed. It will include features that allow users to:
- Build a help desk in HubSpot by allowing users to turn chats, emails, and form submissions into tickets that can be managed and monitored to meet customer’s expectations.
- Respond to customers faster by building a library of email templates, short text response snippets, and documents with existing answers and knowledge.
- Connect with customers in real time through live chat and book meetings via shared calendar links. Users will also be able to make calls from HubSpot that are optionally recorded and logged.
HubSpot Video is a set of new features that will be available across the entire HubSpot platform. The new features include video hosting, in-video calls-to-action and forms, a simple video creation tool, and more, and are designed to help growing businesses leverage video in a personal, authentic, and positive way. With HubSpot Video:
- Marketers will be able to host and manage video files inside of HubSpot.
- Salespeople will be able to build stronger relationships with prospects by creating, sharing, and tracking personalized videos right from the HubSpot CRM.
- Service teams will be able to help customers faster and more completely with personalized help videos created and shared directly from Service Hub.
The HubSpot CMS – which will be available for purchase as a standalone product – combines the power of website creation with HubSpot’s CRM to customize the entire customer experience, streamline marketing and sales alignment, and deliver true closed-loop reporting. With the HubSpot CMS, users will be able to:
- Use drag-and-drop editors to easily edit content, change designs, and modify page layouts.
- Create a personalized experience for every website visitor using smart content tools and the details stored in HubSpot CRM. Users will also be able to dynamically tailor website content based on each individual visitor to increase engagement and conversions.
- Leverage a safe, SSL-enabled browsing experience, backed by a world-class content delivery network, to serve content across the globe quickly and reliably.
All of these updates are focused on one very important thing...scalability. HubSpot can now support the startup with a few employees all the way up to the enterprise with thousands of employees. “The needs of a business change dramatically as it scales. Our mission at HubSpot is to create a comprehensive platform that starts free and grows with you over time, so you can focus on what’s most important – acquiring and delighting customers,” said JD Sherman, President and COO of HubSpot.
Owning a business, it’s sounds like a great idea. For those of us with an entrepreneurial soul it is a good idea…… most of the time. There are plenty of fetal position moments that go along with it though. Obviously with everything HubSpot rolled out at INBOUND, they understand the needs (and the fetal position moments) of the business owner. This week of connection that we experienced really helped to open up the world of business that we operate in, helped us really feel the value of being a HubSpot Sales Partner, helped us know that we are doing the right things for our customers and ourselves, got us out of our silo, and made this small business owner happy to see actual faces and hear real stories 1st hand and not polished for social media.
My experience at INBOUND was worth every exhausted evening (and following morning). It was worth waiting in a monster Starbucks line at the convention hotel. It was worth every dollar we invested to be there and the time it took us away from home. It was worth it for the people and the stories, and the amazing meals. INBOUND makes us all a bit more human.