HubSpot CRM – A Brief Introduction

By Kurt Buttress - February 14, 2017

What's the deal with the HubSpot CRM? Why is it that so many businesses have been switching up to including it in their Sales campaigns? And why is it that, since 2014, you can't stop seeing and hearing about the increasingly popular Customer Relationship Management tool?

Ever heard the saying, "The best things in life are free"? That may not be the case when it comes to software tools that relate to the marketing or sales aspects of your business. And why should it be – surely you'd pay to get the best and most accurate results out of your CRM, CMS or COS setups. Since Inbound 2014, the HubSpot CRM has been a game-changer. Being offered for free, and not skimping on any of the features (although there are some features missing from the free version), it's seen companies flip at the opportunity to align their Sales and Marketing by using the handy HubSpot portal.

How does the HubSpot CRM differ from what you're already using? And what are some of the features that cause it to stand out? Let's have a look under the hood of what makes this useful tool tick …

Sales and Marketing Alignment

Any company that considers themselves a vendor to the modern buyer has realised by now that the relationship between sales and marketing has become quite intimate. Aligning the efforts of these teams can only benefit your sales campaigns and boost your revenue.

Use the HubSpot CRM to align sales and marketing and save time and money by managing your deals, pipelines and dashboards through one convenient portal. Creating feedback has also never been easier and more holistic as everyone works together toward the same goals within their sales and marketing dashboards within HubSpot, creating closed-loop reporting to better communicate their team's efforts and progress. Set up your reports by selecting from the same marketing and sales report templates that the HubSpot team uses, or create your very own custom reports focusing on virtually any metric in your database. Finally a tool is available that helps bring together sales and marketing teams to better facilitate lead generation, classification, nurturting and scoring.

 Screenshots courtesy of HubSpot

What it looks like

The CRM comprises of a Sales and Marketing dashboard and allows you to switch between the two with ease. For sales, your Contacts, Company, and Deal records take up the main display but may be edited and customised as needed. As everything is customisable, you can segment your records in the CRM by changing the views of those contacts, companies and deals. Sales reps can use Tasks to stay organised, up-to-date, and to plan and schedule activities.

The default view is a Table view, but may be edited by clicking on the Actions drop-down and selecting Edit columns. Another layout option is the Board view for deals and tasks – it allows you to change a deal's Deal Stage or update a task's Task Status by dragging and dropping the deal or task card into different columns. Your sales reps can easily log calls, emails, notes, activities and tasks in the individual record's Timeline. This timeline shows the team's interactions as well as other events from HubSpot's Marketing and Sales software.

The CRM seamlessly integrates with HubSpot Sales, which means the Sales team can log emails in the CRM automatically. Sales can create new contacts from email clients, and view open and click activity on contact's records in the CRM.

A word on Integration

The main aim of the HubSpot CRM is to get your team started quickly and easily, while being focused on selling and not having to change too much to their existing methods of getting things done.

There's very little onboarding required to get to grips with HubSpot, unlike other CRM's which offer deep levels of functionality, but means more time to master high levels of complexity. The key features of HubSpot CRM include:

1. Timeline – Think of timeline as your daily diary. It organises all your emails, calls, notes, and website visits. Making things cohesive and easy to view on the fly.

2. Database – Your database is clearly your most important sales portal, and for that reason, the HubSpot CRM has made this section quite comprehensive. Collect and store your contacts, companies, deals and tasks easily; and benefit from automated features such as de-duplicating leads, automatic company record updates and contact association.

3. Email – The CRM connects to Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, Google Apps and more ensuring smooth contact through emails.

4. Data Enrichment – Data enrichment helps to build your relationship with current contacts and potential prospects. These include background information or details about employees and companies, related companies and social data or influence.

5. Phone Integration – In today's mobile world, phone integration is imperative. Easily make calls from within the CRM system and easily (and automatically) log notes and optional recording of those calls.

6. Google Calendar Integration – The convenience of connecting your Google Calendar to HubSpot makes viewing meetings and scheduling events that much easier while working within the CRM and not wasting time having to leave and switch between the two.

The main takeout point from all of these factors is the focus on a convenient shift from your current setup to HubSpot's detailed portal. Many users find that it's HubSpot's versatility and intuitiveness that make it one of the top choices concerning which CRM to use.

So who is this CRM for? Who will get the most out of using it?

The simple answer to that is every business. Any and every business from SME to 'big tech firm' will benefit from using HubSpot. The CRM is geared toward the modern salesperson who requires fast-paced automation and reporting, but is easy enough to be used by any novice salesperson who's getting to grips with the sales and marketing process - this is by far HubSpot's main selling point. 

If on the off-chance, you do get stuck, there are a host of tutorials and lessons to get you familiar with the program. You'll soon begin to see just how easy it is to incorporate the HubSpot CRM into your specific marketing and sales efforts.

Browse our guide on How to Differentiate your B2B Tech Firm for further insights on how to radically improve and boost sales.

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