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A First Look at the New HubSpot CRM [Digital Exec]

Michael Reynolds

Posted by Michael Reynolds on 10/10/14 10:30 AM

A great sales CRM can really add power and scalability to your sales team. With so many choices out there it can be tough to decide which one is best for you.

We happen to be in love with HubSpot's new fully-integrated sales CRM (click for a review) so we sat down with the HubSpot CRM product manager, Andy Pitre, to learn more.

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Michael Reynolds: Hey, everyone. Michael Reynolds here with SpinWeb. Welcome back to the Digital Exec a marketing and technology insight show for business leaders like you. I'm here with Andy Pitre from HubSpot. Andy, how are you today?

Andy Pitre: I'm doing pretty well. How are you?

Michael Reynolds: Great. Andy is joining us today from the HubSpot headquarters in Boston. Andy is the product manager for the HubSpot CRM. CRM naturally stands for customer relationship manager. It's a brand new addition to the Hubspot suite of tools. Today we're discussing the HubSpot CRM, what it's all about, how you can evaluate and decide if it's right for you and just kind of dig in and just talk about it and kind of showcase what's great about it and what's on the road map.

Sound good to you, Andy?

Andy Pitre: That sounds great.

Michael Reynolds: Fantastic. Let's have the 10-second intro on you though, what's your background, what you do at HubSpot, favorite colors, favorite hobbies, favorite foods.

Andy Pitre: Great. As you mentioned, I am a product manager here at HubSpot. Specifically, I'm currently the product manager for the CRM. I've been the product manager for the CRM for about a year. Before that, I was product manager for HubSpot for the contacts database in HubSpot, which has kind of grown into the CRM in a lot of ways, and for analytics at HubSpot. I actually started my career at HubSpot back in 2009 as an inbound marketing consultant, so I've been at HubSpot for 5 years now.

Michael Reynolds: All right. Fantastic. Any other interesting information we should know about you? Any fun hobbies?

Andy Pitre: I love marketing. I have a marketing background. I did Marketing before I came to HubSpot. I'm kind of a marketer at heart. I work on a product team now. Probably the most interesting thing that comes to mind right now, probably because it's relevant, is I help put on a music festival that happens in Atlanta every year. Actually, it's starting tomorrow, October 8th. It's called the A3C Festival. It's in Atlanta. It's every year in October and, specifically, this year, it starts tomorrow and it runs through Sunday, so October 8th through 12th.

Michael Reynolds: Fantastic. That sounds amazing. Good luck with that. That's awesome.

Let's jump to the HubSpot CRM. HubSpot, as many people know, is a marketing automation tool, or suite of tools really, and it's obviously what we use for inbound marketing here at SpinWeb also to help our clients.

In the past, we have been very focused on how do we connect HubSpot to the CRM, how do we flow leads from the marketing database into the sales database with the CRM. It connects to Salesforce, it connects to the other CRMs, but at the inbound conference a few weeks ago, HubSpot kind of blew everyone away by unveiling this fantastic new CRM product which is basically baked into HubSpot, which we really like.

We've been playing with it. We've been exploring it. In the short time we've been playing it, we've gotten to the point where can confidently recommend it to many of our clients. We're really excited about it.

I'd love to talk to you about what's some of the highlights of the CRM are, maybe who's it right for, maybe help our listeners decide, if maybe they want to explore it, maybe they want to switch, maybe they don't.

What are some of the highlights of the CRM? What are some of the key points or the 2 or 3 primary features that really make it stand out in your opinion?

Andy Pitre: I think the biggest thing for me is the ease of use of the CRM. That was something that we really wanted to nail when building the CRM. By ease of use, I don’t just mean like making it easy to use in terms of having a nice user interface, which I think it does, which I hope you think it does as well, but also make it easy to use in the sense that you don't have to do a lot of manual data entry. We tried to minimize as much of that as possible so that, like you mentioned, it integrates HubSpots with your HubSpot customer. When you start using the CRM, we're going to pull all your contacts over from HubSpot so that they're just automatically in there and we're going to keep them in sync.

The other piece though is that it integrates with HubSpot Sidekick, formerly, HubSpot Signals, so that it integrates also with your mail client like Gmail and it also integrates with websites so that basically as a sales person, no matter where you are, if you're composing an email to somebody, then you got the sort of CRM sidebar right there next to you so that you can add contacts, contacts are automatically added, companies are automatically get added from people's email addresses. It's really just about taking all of the things that, for lack of a better word, are a pain in the butt about using a traditional CRM and trying to make those easier. That's probably the biggest thing for me in terms of what we're trying to accomplish with CRM.

Michael Reynolds: Yeah, I agree with you on the user interface. It's actually very clean, very simple, very easy to use. I really, really like the user interface. You've done a good job there. A couple of things I also really like about it, one is I love the way it shows you a sales pipeline so you can actually see different deal stages, from evaluation to budget, whether it's 3, 4, 5, 10 stages of the sales process, because we're very focused on sales process. We like to see exactly how our prospects are going through the sales process because, if you've got a reputable process, you can optimize it, you can tune it, you can learn from it and you can really win when it comes to sales. I really like that part of it as well.

There's one feature I really have yet to play around with a whole lot. Actually, Abby our director of business development here, has played around with a bit. It's the "click to call and call recording" feature. Tell me a little bit more about that.

Andy Pitre: The click to call feature is pretty much exactly what is sounds like. It's built into the CRM. You have the ability to make calls from your browser, so. Obviously, it's HubSpot with a Web-based CRM. You can press a button and you can make a call directly from the CRM.

Our hope is that that's going to save you time on a couple levels. One, it will save you time because you don't have to pick up the phone and actually dial the number. All of that just happens for you when you press the button. The other piece of it is you don't have to take the extra time to log that activity into the timeline of the contact that you're calling. You call from the browser, we automatically dial the phone for you and then we automatically record that the call happened. We'll say, "This call happened at such and such a time." In addition, if you choose to record the call, then we'll actually include the recording of the call in the timeline along with the call and the duration of the call [inaudible 00:07:25].


Michael Reynolds: You actually record the audio file of the call?

Andy Pitre: Yeah, we do.

Michael Reynolds: That's fantastic. That's a really useful part to add to someone's timeline. That’s really nice.

Andy Pitre: Yeah, exactly. Again, our goal is I think, in thinking about the CRM, we're really trying to think about the sales rep first. The way I look at it is I think a lot of more traditional CRMs are really built around the sales manager, so the goal is to make it easy for a sales manager to be able to see what their sales reps are doing.

I feel like one of the things that's been missing in a lot of CRMs is that they haven't actually thought about "how do we make life actually easier for the sales rep" if you think about all the manual data entry you're doing, to add a contact, to add a company and then, every time you make a phone call, you hang up the phone, you spend 5 or 10 minutes typing all the information from the phone call into the CRM, any time you send an email, then you have to go back to the CRM and log the email.

Just taking any of those actions that we can and just automate them so that all you you have to do as a sales rep is do your job, which is making that phone call. We'll take care of the rest. We'll log the phone call, we'll put the recording in there and then, instead of thinking of having to do that, you can just move on to the next call.

Michael Reynolds: That is really amazing from a call tracking standpoint, a sales tracking standpoint, but something else that I'm sure you guys have already thought of probably from the start is this is really amazing for inbound marketing because how difficult it is always for us as a marketing team to kind of pull out common questions from prospects from the sales team because they're usually too busy to spend a lot of time with the marketing people.

Now, if these calls are being recorded, the marketing team can now go to those recordings and pull out content ideas from those conversations. Would you see that as a useful component of the CRM?

Andy Pitre: Yeah, I would see that. I would see that as a use case as well.

Michael Reynolds: Fantastic. I'm really excited about that actually. I'm happy to see that feature in there as well. Something else I also want to touch on is, you mentioned briefly Sidekick, it's so funny, Sidekick is the most amazing tool. We use it every single day.

Andy Pitre: Yeah.

Michael Reynolds: When I talk to sales teams whether they're using HubSpot or exploring it, none of them seem to know about Sidekick. I jokingly call it HubSpot's best kept secret sales tool because it's amazing. You plug it in to your browser, you look at a website, and then it gives you all sorts of intelligence and numbers and information about that company. That can be really useful in a sales context.

Tell me a little bit more about Sidekick and help our listeners understand what it does, how it works, and how it integrates.

Andy Pitre: Sidekick is a tool that works with HubSpot CRM. One of the key things to know is that it is a separate product from the CRM. The CRM is free. Sidekick is free. I think they work really well if you use them together. At the end of the day, you can use Sidekick all by itself or you can use Sidekick with Salesforce as well if you so desire.

Sidekick is basically a tool to help with sales productivity. The original feature of Sidekick was something that integrated with Gmail and basically put tracking on the emails that you send out of Gmail similar to how HubSpot does tracking in marketing emails and other systems could be tracking in marketing emails, so that, now, as a sales person, I can send an email and I can know when someone opened my email or when someone put them [inaudible 00:10:50].

That was the original value proposition for Sidekick. It really became a popular tool. I think it's funny, I agree with you, there's a lot of sales people who I think haven't heard of Sidekick yet. The overall usage of Sidekick, there's actually more usage of Sidekick than the HubSpot marketing product these days. It's just that I think that sales market is so large that we've really only penetrated the beginning of it. At any event, the original feature of Sidekick was really just that kind of email open, email click tracking.

Now, with the re-branding of Sidekick and what we announced, the inbound, I think the potentially an even cooler feature of Sidekick is the sidebar that basically follows you everywhere you are on the web. If you're in your Gmail, you get this sidebar that pops out and, when you're composing an email to somebody, then you see a little sidebar pop out with that person's information and your email history with that person, giving you basically that little screen to say like, "Here's the emails that you've sent. Here's the emails that they've opened. Here's the emails that they clicked," and then, if that person is using a corporate email domain, you can also see their company information right inside your Gmail inbox so you can expand that and be able to see information about the company, information about where the company is located, what their revenue is, and we'll even give you, if we can find it, some contacts who we know work for that company and information like that.

It's really, really, handy as a sales person. Of course, if you're using that with HubSpot CRM, then the sort of next logical step would be not only are we going to give you that information, but we're going to let you save that information directly into your CRMs that you can keep track with moving forward. That's basically Sidekick in a nutshell. I use it every day as well. I think it's a great tool.

Michael Reynolds: It's a fantastic tool, absolutely. Tell me a little bit about cases for switching or not switching. Obviously, I know that HubSpot and the Salesforce have a great relationship, integration is there, but I've talked to some people that say, "Oh, Salesforce is very powerful. We're never going to switch. We use all the features," and then I've talked to other people saying, "Oh, wow, I'm switching to HubSpot CRM today from Salesforce because we only use parts of the features of Salesforce. We need something simpler." What are some cases where organizations might choose to switch or not switch to HubSpot CRM?

Andy Pitre: I was get into that in a bit of a roundabout way. Our philosophy, in general, when it came to building a CRM, to give you some of the insight here at HubSpot, the first thing to know is our customers have actually been asking us to build a CRM for a long time. That's always been one of the top feature request that we get. It's like, "Hey, HubSpot has this really rich contact database, it has all these marketing information in it. We'd love it if we could just extend that and actually start using HubSpot as a CRM." That’s something we've heard from our customers for a long time.

In digging into that customer use case and then looking at HubSpot's customers and, even more so, in looking at the market of people that HubSpot sells to, of businesses that HubSpot sells to, what we found is that the majority of people in that market are actually not using CRMs today. We have a lot of our own customers who use the CRM, but it's actually the minority of our customers who are really using CRM. A lot of them aren't using CRM at all.

Our philosophy in building the CRM is really to build a CRM for that part of the market that either wasn't using a CRM or wasn't faithfully using a CRM, so, basically, some customers who might have had a CRM in name only. That's kind of my long way of saying, at the end of the day, I think if you're not using a CRM or if you're sort of "using" a CRM and the fact that you have it, but you actually doubt whether or not your sales people are actually recording any data in there, then I think for sure you would be a really great fit for HubSpot CRM. You should go and sign up a HubSpot/sales and get early access to it.

If you are using another CRM, I think there's some many use cases out there for CRM. This is actually one of the reasons that we decided to make the CRM free is that we want to give people a chance to just use the CRM without having to worry about making any sort of a commitment. If they like HubSpot CRM, if they're using another CRM, they can switch over to it. If they decide that they like their existing CRM more, if their existing CRM fits their use case better, then they can keep using their existing CRM. I think there's like lots of ... Again, as I said, it's a simple scenario where you're not using a CRM or maybe you have a CRM, but you're not really using it, I'd say, switch over and start using HubSpot CRM.

If you have a CRM and you're curious like is HubSpot CRM my use case, again I would say sign up at HubSpot/sales and get early access, get in and start using it. I think it will be pretty simple for businesses to make that decision on their own.

Michael Reynolds: It's actually a really big market because, I say this half jokingly, but half seriously as well, this is kind of a made up statistic, but I would say 90% of people I talk to that are using a CRM are just dabbling. They use maybe a little bit of the functionality. They don't really know how to really use all of its features. The sales people kind of halfway use it.

Andy Pitre: Right.

Michael Reynolds: They're not really using a CRM. You have this spectrum of people where, at one end, you got people that are Salesforce power users, they've got everything configured, completely all sorts of functionality in place; at the other end, you've got no CRM at all; and, in the middle, you got the dabblers; and most people seem to be gravitating in that beginner area where I don't meet a lot of CRM power users.

I say your market sounds pretty big when it comes to people that maybe are not using a sales CRM yet or they're just kind of dabbling. That sounds like a perfect fit. It might be.

Andy Pitre: Thank you. That’s our same philosophy as well. Again, it really comes down to what I had mentioned earlier, which is that most CRMs are sort of built around sales managers. Right? That also ends up being I think the reason that so many people are stuck in that middle zone where they have a CRM, but they've never really gotten the adoption of it, because you'll have a sales manager who buys a CRM and then go tell all their sales rep, "Hey, go start using the CRM," and, really, what the sales manager wants is they want to be able to accurately track activities and deals and like actually see what their sales reps are doing. If it's too hard for the sales reps to actually use the CRM and record their activities, I know sales reps, if something is too hard, they're just not going to do it. At the end of the day, their job is make of that to go and sell and make money for the business. If you're asking them to do all these things that are too hard to do, that are going to take too much of their time, they're just going to stop doing it.

Michael Reynolds: Right.

Andy Pitre: I think as a sales manager, what you're left with is this incomplete data which, if anything, is probably worse than having no data at all because now you're, like, "I can't really tell. Is this data accurate? Isn't this data accurate?" I think that ends up being the path for a lot of CRMs, which is why people are in that place where they're not using it.

That goes back to our goal in trying to make things as easy possible for the end user, for the sales people, like there actually going to be a CRM that works for sales people instead of making [inaudible 00:18:10] so that, hopefully, once you get your team using it, they see that it's not like, "Oh, I'm using it because my boss made me use it." It's more the feeling of, "Oh, this thing is actually helping me do my job," and so, therefore, you get adoption and then, therefore, as a sales manager you can say, "Hey, look, this is actually accurate, right?" because this has the emails in it, this has the phone calls in it, this has the deals, and people are updating their deal stages. That’s what we're hoping for. That’s where we're hoping to get to.

Michael Reynolds: Right on. Let's wrap up just some of the facts about how you can get it, how it works. It's free. It's included within HubSpot. If you buy HubSpot, you automatically get the CRM. Is it included in all 3 editions or just the Pro Enterprise editions?

Andy Pitre: It is included in all 3 editions.

Michael Reynolds: Really?

Andy Pitre: Yeah. HubSpot CRM is actually going to be free not only for HubSpot marketing customers, but it's also going to be free for everybody. Right now, if you want to access the HubSpot CRM, you can go to and sign up. If you're a HubSpot marketing customers, then you're going to get priority, and we're going to give you access to the HubSpot CRM before we give access to some of you who are not a HubSpot user. Our goal is, for some time in 2015, to be able to turn this on and, even if you're not a HubSpot marketing customer, let you start using HubSpot CRM for free.

Michael Reynolds: Very nice. We have some clients on HubSpot basic edition and they can use the CRM if they want to. It's included in that edition as well?

Andy Pitre: Yeah, totally.

Michael Reynolds: Okay. Fantastic. That's great news.

Andy Pitre: Yeah.

Michael Reynolds: That’s excellent. I really appreciate the insight. Again, we really love it. We use Membrain currently. It's a pretty powerful CRM, but we're obviously evaluating, kind of looking at the differences. We're going to be recommending HubSpot CRM to many of our clients starting now. I'm really happy with what you guys have put together.

Anything we've left out? Any features or functionality or benefits that you can think of that would be a great highlight?

Andy Pitre: I think we've talked about most of the stuff. I think we've talked about the automatic data enrichment. We talked about the integration of HubSpot and the integration of Sidekick. We talked about the calling. We talked about deals and being able to nicely visualize your deal stages and see which deal are fall into those different stages. We talked about the timeline. I think those are all the major features.

Michael Reynolds: Fantastic. I really appreciate your time. I'm really happy with what HubSpot has put together. Great work. Great tool. It's only going to get better and better, I'm sure.

Andy Pitre: Thank you very much.

Michael Reynolds: Thank you. Just leave our listeners with the next action here, the correct URL to go learn more and get access is Correct?

Andy Pitre: That is correct, yes.

Michael Reynolds: Okay. All right, so definitely check out to learn more about the CRM or just contact us here at Spinweb. We can give you a demo and kind of walk you through and help out with any questions you have.

Andy, a pleasure to talk to you today. Thanks for your great work there on HubSpot CRM.

Andy Pitre: Thank you so much.

Michael Reynolds: Thanks, everyone, for joining us today. I appreciate you're time, and we'll see you next time.

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Topics: sales, crm, hubspot

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