Sell more, at a faster pace with Hubspot Sales
I have used many CRMs. In 2005, the business I was working for was using AS400 (This is an MSDOS-based program, people!... which I had also used as an ERP in one of my prior jobs), and over the years, I've tried JDEdwards, Oracle, SAP, Zoho, and, of course, the ever-so-popular Salesforce.
When it comes to how you take in this Hubspot CRM review, the real question you should be asking is, "will this help me close more deals at a faster pace?"
In short, the answer is yes. Absolutely. But only if you are willing to make some changes...
I am a sales guy, business owner, marketing professional, and tech junkie. For this Hubspot CRM review, I'm going to wear my sales guy hat, which means I'm providing perspective as a user vs a manager or administrator. I will also be publishing reviews for marketing leaders and business owners, because this impacts all of you.
One thing you should know about Hubspot before I go into the review - it's not a traditional CRM. It's not a database warehouse. It's not a management tool. Because of these things, it's not what you might expect.
It's a sales tool - and it likely requires a change in your sales culture. Certainly, it will require a change in how your CRM is leveraged on a day-to-day basis. But many go into this purchase with rose-colored glasses, and don't realize how much else needs to change in order for it to have an impact on your business the way you expect it to.
I can all but guarantee that it's going to ruffle a few feathers from your most seasoned salespeople. Even the mere suggestion of such will likely create a visceral response - possibly even with you. After all, most sales people I know hate change... almost as much as you hate the CRM you're using today.
In this review, I'm going to cover and score the following:
I hope you find this review helpful, and welcome your comments and questions!
Now, let's talk about how this single tool can be the game-changer in your sales cycle!
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The Cultural Shift - 9 out of 10 stars
I break down this concept in a lot more detail HERE, but will provide some high-level concepts in this review that you should keep in mind if and when you make the move.
I definitely think there's room for improvement with the way Hubspot portrays their sales tools. They talk a lot about the features offered, which are certainly important, and what gets most of you to perk up and listen... however, just about every implementation I've been involved with has had its rough spots around this update in culture.
Embracing this shift is important, because features come and go - but the culture change is indefinite. (DISCLAIMER: This is definitely good for my business, since I'm part of one of very few growth agencies that embrace and lean into this cultural shift... but I tried not to let that bias enter into this review - click here to learn more)
Initially, I scored this a 5, because the culture shift is painful for some of you... like really painful. However, it's an important step in your evolution. It's 2019, and the same old Always-Be-Closing playbook is simply losing its efficacy.
Click here to learn more about adapting to this culture change with our B2B Sales Coaching Services:
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this culture shift actually gives you a competitive advantage, and will propel your game in ways you may not have ever considered in the past. So, in the end, it's actually a strength in my book. This is the ways ales ought to be, even if you struggle to get there.
That said, I'm still not thrilled by the lack of clarity in this aspect of it when Hubspot is selling the tools to their new customers, so I knocked them down a point. (let me know if you're stuck and want help)
Special note about Free: The free program only gives you a taste of the modern features, so if this is where you're starting, I'd actually rank it a little lower - maybe 7.5 out of 10 stars, since it offers a lot of what you would get from a more traditional CRM.
Features - 9.7 out of 10 stars
Since the features change between tiers, I'm going to break them out individually. I'm also going to focus on those I feel are the most exciting and meaningful to you as a salesperson. Lastly, I'm also going to leave out features from tiers that are really meant for tasting purposes vs regular use. For example, Free offers calling, but only 15 minutes, so it's not really worth talking about at that level. They also offer the use of templates, but only 5... which will get you by for about a day.
- Live chat from your website
- Conversational bot - limited, but still great for qualifying leads & setting appointments
- Shared email prevents opportunities from slipping through the cracks (you get 1 inbox)
- Email scheduling
- 1 personal meeting link
- Standard sales reports
- 1 deal pipeline for managing your open opportunities
Starter (Free +):
- 8 hours of phone time through the CRM's VOIP
- Unlimited email tracking & notifications
- 1,000 email templates
- 1,000 canned snippets
- 1,000 documents
- 1,000 personal & team meeting links
- Productivity dashboard (more than basic sales metrics)
- 1,000 email template sequences (automated nurturing)
- Basic goals tracking
- In-app support
- Sales tools productivity reports
- Conversation routing
Pro (Free & Starter +):
- Conversational bots now includes custom branching (if/then)
- Custom reporting dashboard
- 100 team inboxes
- 33 hours of calling
- 50 deal pipelines
- Required fields (forces sales to input important data between deal stages)
- Workflow extensions (trigger other marketing automations)
- Phone support
- 300 automated workflows (deal stage, tasks, lead rotation)
- 100 quotes per deal (although, this doesn't have signing capabilities)
- Smart send times (let ai tell you when it's a better time to send)
- Native Salesforce integration (yeah, but who needs it?)
- 20 custom reports
- 30 currencies
- Standard lead scoring
- Teams (categorize users to make visibility & delegation easier)
- 1:1 video creation using Vidyard (We actually created THIS VIDEO using this tool, a Google Slide deck, and very basic editing)
- Video hosting & management for your website
- Products tool
- Slack integration
Enterprise (Free, Starter, & Pro +):
- Conversational bots now includes webhooks and totally programmable bots
- 25 custom reporting dashboards
- A more sophisticated Goals tool
- 500 automated workflows (up from 300)
- E-signature for quoting tool
- 500 custom reports (up from 20)
- 25 scoring properties
- 200 teams + hierarchal teams
- Predictive lead scoring
- Playbooks (internal resources for best practices)
- Events API
- Quote based workflows
- Recurring revenue tracking
- Calculated properties
- Call transcripts
- Call API
- User roles
Some of my favorite tools:
The conversational Bot - this is something we implement for every client, and I am a HUGE fan of having the ability to use branching logic, which starts at the Pro level. Even without the custom branching logic, having a bot greet folks while sales gets off their other calls or swallows their sandwich at lunch is a great touch to any business that cares about sales responiveness. (ALL)
Calling - You can forever rid yourself of the desktop phone with this feature (as long as you have a way to receive calls). Additionally, you can record conversations automatically (when calling states that don't have consent laws - and the software does this thinking for you) or manually. Playback is a breeze, and the recording will sit on your timeline. (Pro & Enterprise)
Multiple deal pipelines - Being able to manage my deals based on type, vs having to cram everything into a single, linear path, is awesome. For Orange Pegs, I have a pipeline for consulting gigs, one for normal sales, and one for renewals. Most of my b2b clients have something similar. My staffing agency clients that emphasize marketing for candidates have a 4th dedicated to job applicants. (Pro & Enterprise)
Required fields - Forcing sales to input certain data creates GREAT habits, and ensures the system's data integrity is where it needs to be. We align the requirements with the nature of each call, so input is natural. (Pro & Enterprise)
1:1 video - Sometimes a great way to break the ice is a quick video introduction and/or desktop recording. This 1:1 video tool is easy to use, and pulls videos in seamlessly directly in the CRM or Gmail/Outlook 365. (Pro & Enterprise)
Meetings - I use this tool for everything... and so do my clients. In addition to making scheduling appointments a breeze, you can link to multiple calendars at the pro level, so you completely avoid the "send me a couple of times, and I'll run them by my team" conversation. You can also embed these into your website. With Orange Pegs, when you request a consultation, you'll be forwarded to a landing page hosting said scheduler, so there's no dropoff. None. Zero... except for the tirekickers who never planned on showing up anyway. (ALL - but very limited with Free)
Email Templates - You write the same GD emails every day, 5 days a week... but how well are they actually serving you? In addition to ease of use (2 clicks in your email environment, and it pulls into your email, and even populates certain fields automatically), you get analytics on the back-end to show you what aspect of the email needs improvement. (ALL - but very limited with Free)
Documents - Upload your sales decks and presentations, and get a full report of how your collateral is being interacted with LIVE and in hindsight. You'll get a pop-up when somebody views, and you'll be able to see how long they looked at each slide, and each time it was opened. (All)
Deal stage, task, and lead rotation - Automate lead assignment once and for all. There is NO NEED to have a human being bottlenecking this process when a hot lead comes in. (Pro & Enterprise)
Predictive lead scoring - There's nothing quite like having an ai point to hot leads... seriously (Enterprise)
Email sequences - This is a lovely way to nurture leads that have needs tomorrow, but you don't want to spend a lot of time chasing, since time kills all deals. Pull it in, customize, and turn it on within just a minute or two, and let the system do the rest of the work for you.
Company views - This isn't one of the features you'll see on their published list, but I LOVE it, because it gives you insight as to which companies are visiting your website, how many times they've been there, and what part of the country they're located in. This will take your prospecting game to the next level if you have a good understanding of your target persona.
Lead views - This also isn't mentioned anywhere in the documentation, but it's one of my favorite things about Hubspot's Sales CRM. Within the contacts tool, you can create saved filters based on a set of criteria you deem important. I know this may seem basic, but that's the beauty of it - it is basic. One can pin up to 4 lead views (filters) to the board, and even set one as their default. So, when it comes time to sit down and start dialing, you just click your list, and go.
The image below is one of my favorite lead views (HOT Staffing Agencies). In there you'll see predictive lead scoring (Likelihood to close), other ai scoring (contact priority), as well as persona. It makes blasting through hot leads in my favorite niches a breeze.
Features Conclusion -
The CRM functionality straightaway impressed me, but it's not a perfect system, and I give it a 9.7 instead of 10 for 3 reasons... 1 - the quoting tool in Pro doesn't have signing capabilities, and I think that's just plain absurd. It completely negates any value it would have provided otherwise. 2 - It's not HIPAA compliant. I really wish it were, because it would make things SO much easier for my healthcare clients. I know businesses that begrudgingly use Salesforce and Pardot solely for the fact that they are HIPAA compliant. 3 - incoming calls don't come through the software... it only works for outgoing - which is likely an incredibly complicated challenge.... but one they should try and fix. The ideas forum has hundreds of votes for this upgrade, so hopefully it's just a matter of time.
For a complete list of features based on tier, click HERE.
Integration Capabilities - 9.5 out of 10 stars
Despite their concerted effort in building a robust all-in-one system Hubspot does a great job building partnerships with other software companies to fill in the gaps with programs that are leaders in their space.
Strong sales-oriented integrations include:
- Pandadoc (it's like Docusign on steroids)
- Google Calendar (makes the meeting tool functional)
- Zoom (connects with meetings tool - creates a unique meeting room each time)
- Vidyard (1:1 video tool available in Pro & Enterprise - no additional paid subscription required)
- Stripe (Receive payments through the quoting tool)
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Ease of Use - 10 out of 10 stars
As long as you embrace the culture change, ease of use is one of the main things that makes this CRM so special. It doesn't just live inside its own box. It lives everywhere, and IT finds YOU.
Sales alerts - Receive pop-ups on your computer whenver a hot prospect becomes hotter. This means opening and clicking emails, reviewing your sales decks, or even just visiting the website.
Lightning response time - Simply click on any of the sales alerts, and you'll be given several options for interacting with the lead, and calling them is front and center. (see sample below)
Use it where you need it - Within Gmail or Outlook 365, you'll get a pop-up window that allows you to pull up a contact's entire database of information. There's no digging in different places for different information. It's just there.
Access to powerful features - Within Gmail and Outlook 365, you can pull up your templates, email sequences, snippets, documents, and meeting links. You will save a TON of time writing emails, setting up calendar reminders to follow up, and pulling sales decks to send off to clients. When you record a 1:1 video, you can pull it up with 2 clicks. It will automatically generate a link and even create a thumbnail if you want!
So much automation! - The meetings tool automates scheduling meetings, and by integrating with your conference call software, you literally don't have to lift a finger when somebody uses it. You can also check a box to remind you to follow up in 3 days or more. When you check the box "log" (which can be by default), it automatically logs the email in the CRM based on the email address used. No contact record associated with the email, keeping that box checked will automatically create one!
Smart send - this one is also right at your fingertips... The send button in your Gmail or Outlook environment is partitioned, so you can send right away or later (Pro & Enterprise will even till you the best time to schedule it).
Pricing - 9 out of 10 stars
At the highest tier (Enterprise), each seat averages at $120. Pro is $80 per seat, and starter $50. When compared to Salesforce, they are incredibly competitive.
My one complaint here is that Pro and Enterprise have minimum seat requirements (4 and 10 respectively). This is a non-starter sometimes, even when higher-level features are desired. I understand this is hard-coded, so it cannot be worked around, which has prevented some of my clients from moving forward with the tier that makes the most sense for their business.
When adding seats past those thresholds, you can do 1 at a time... but getting off the ground is problematic for some.
SCORE - 9.44 out of 10 stars
I hate CRMs... always have. They're tools for management, so they have excuses and what they consider to be objective reasoning for firing or disciplining their employees. And since they ADD hours to my day, I can't think of something I hate more as a salesperson.
But this tool changes the game entirely. It's a sales tool, and it puts closing the deal front and center. They go out of their way to make CRM adoption possible. And their marketing add-ons aren't even add-ons... they're built in from the ground up... all of this makes Hubspot sales a top-quality CRM, and the one to beat likely for years to come.
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