Sales teams have never faced so much pressure to move with the ever-changing face of the client or consumer. Buying decisions and patterns seem to change on line with the many technological advances of recent times; a perfect example being the trust that consumer hold in review sites such as TripAdvisor and G2Crowd, over and above the personal, omni-faceted referral or recommendation. Never before have people seeked out so much social proof before spending their hard-earned dollar.
In addition, the role of the salesperson has changed, and for the better. The consultative sell, and the desire to assist, has thankfully taken over from the outbound "push and thrust" - the aggressive stance of sales gone by. Successful salespeople are trusted advisors, and have the credibility, track record, and public profile to match.
HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan has recognised this, saying...
"The traditional sales process in broken. Instead of "always be closing," the next generation of sales leads will "always be helping."
Consequently, HubSpot and Brian made some BIG announcements at the company's Inbound 2014 event, in announcing the HubSpot Sales Platform!
What is it?
By far the biggest component is HubSpot's very own CRM. No more the integration steps required to hook up HubSpot with Salesforce, or the need for a third party service such as Zapier, to manage contacts between other tools. All the key features you'd expect of a CRM are there - Contacts, companies, communication records, reminders, etc. In addition, and at an additional cost, call tracking and recording can be activated. Useful for checking on just what you agreed to on that recent deal!
There are also some great reporting and forecasting tools, the simplicity and elegance of which really sit well in the overall HubSpot experience. Managing and visualising the pipeline is child's play.
For those who have found their way to HubSpot's Signals product, which provide notification on recipients interactions with emails, as well as lead acitivity on your website as it happens, a re-brand and upgrade is on the cards, with "Sidekick". Not only will you be alerted to email opens and clicks, but also augment your browing experience by providing company profiles and key contacts as you browse a company website in Chrome. From this panel display, you can choose to add contacts direct to the HubSpot CRM, unfiying the whole experience.
Sidekick also features the "send later" functionality, allowing emails to be sent at a specific date and time in the future - perfect for planning ahead, and ensuring all your follow-ups are done in advance.
Best of the Other New Features
There are a heap of other features being released in HubSpot's core Marketing Automation tool, too. Here's a few we're excited about:
Planning is a huge issue for companies, as we've seen with the demand for our own content calendar template, yet for those lucky enough to be sporting a HubSpot license, your very own content planner is being released. The tool has always been a one-stop-shop for many aspects of inbound marketing, but as a visual planner, we're looking forward to being able to quickly appraise and organise our comms and content assets for the coming weeks and months.
Playing on the established and growing need for consumers to research and prove their buying decisions via testimonials and customer satisfaction reports, HubSpot has release Tally - a simple tool that allows clients and customers to appraise your products and services from within your site. We've seen an example of the "smiley face" response interface, and it bodes well for those who do provide great solutions to their buyers, to benefit from greater social proof.
Branched Logic in Workflows
Admittedly a but nerdy, but for those with a techy bent, branched workflows allow for greater flexibility in the "automation" part of marketing automation. Emails and other actions can be triggered in every more elaborate and inventive ways, depending on what actions have gone before. The main benefit is in the level of personalisation you can offer your site visitors and leads, throughout your follow-up communications with them. No-one wants the generic schpiel. this is hood news for every web user.
We're looking forward to getting to groips with HubSpot's CRM and full suite of sales and marketing tools. Are you?