A Guide to the HubSpot CRM

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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, Marketing and Service by using the handy HubSpot Software.

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, nurturing and scoring.

HubSpot CRM features

Total sales pipeline visibility

HubSpot’s CRM tracks all the sales transactions automatically and presents them in an informative display, to allow you maximum visibility into what is happening in your sales pipeline. This is an up-to-the-minute display, where it’s possible to sort deals won and lost and track performance against sales quotas. It also automates many of the tasks that salespeople dread, freeing them up to focus on closing more deals and less on the mundane tasks, like data entries. It even goes as far as to track customer interactions automatically, regardless of whether they’re on social media, in a call or via an email.

Complete lead information drill downs and overviews

How do your current leads look? HubSpot’s CRM goes beyond the basics and closes the loop between sales and marketing. Both your sales and marketing teams can now share their contacts, customer data, dashboards, reports and pipelines in one place. You’ll have access to a leads analytics dashboard and contact activity details, allowing you to make more informed decisions about your leads and marketing.

Sales insights through enriched contact records

Drawing from HubSpot’s database of over 20 million businesses, you can guarantee valuable insight for your sales team, through the automatic population of contact records. This enriches your contact knowledge, adding details that might prove pivotal in helping your sales team close those deals.

Integrated calendar functionality

Want to book more meetings with prospective clients? With HubSpot, you’re able to set your availability and generate a shareable link that syncs with your calendar. This allows your leads to select a time that works best for them. Afterwards, this is updated to your schedule. Planning a call? A simple click from within the CRM gives you an option to record the call (although, perhaps, ask for permission before doing this). Thereafter, a call log will be automatically saved to your contact’s timeline, as a record of the connect.

Marketing tools for greater efficacy in your marketing efforts

The free HubSpot CRM includes several marketing tools to help streamline and personalise your marketing efforts. You’re able to create custom email templates and track the performance of those emails as part of a sequence, which you’re able to set up for maximum effect. The leads analytics dashboard, mentioned before, gives your marketing team vital information on how their efforts are performing and where there’s room for improvement or experimentation. Any enhancement or testing is thoroughly data-driven, thanks to updated contact details and activity tracking.

Facebook lead ads also open up the opportunity for your potential customers to sign up for your offers. This, in turn, will give you their contact details, so you can follow up. When a user clicks on your lead ad, an auto-populated form displays, complete with the information they’ve shared with Facebook. These forms are mobile-friendly, and customers appreciate the fact that there’s less information to complete. You’ll even get reporting on your ads, including the number of contacts they’re generating, the total spend amount, a run report and a placement report.

Unlimited users

You can invite your entire team to use the CRM. Plus, you won’t pay an additional penny to add a user, regardless of how many you choose to bring onboard.

Exceptional data storage capacity

HubSpot’s CRM will allow you to store up to 1 million contacts and companies free of charge. That’s truly an exceptional number!

Here’s the best part though. It’s free - forever.

There won’t be any premiums kicking in, either after a month or a year, should you wish to continue using it. HubSpot has promised it’ll remain free, giving businesses an unparalleled opportunity to improve their marketing, sales and services with a CRM that was recently voted the best CRM lead management software for 2018 by Gartner’s Peer Insights.

What it looks like

CRM-poster

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.

CRM

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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