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Review: "Hubspot is awesome, just drink the Kool-aid."
https://www.trustradius.com/marketing-automationHubSpotUnspecified8.31291101
Kirsten Meyer profile photo
Updated June 17, 2015

Review: "Hubspot is awesome, just drink the Kool-aid."

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
Professional
Modules Used
All

Overall Satisfaction with HubSpot

Hubspot is used by some clients as the center of their online marketing efforts, including housing the website, landing pages, email, social, blog, content offers, measurement, etc. Other clients use it in various configurations; for example some may have a blog hosted elsewhere and/or a website hosted elsewhere but with email, landing pages, social, and analytics done via Hubspot. It is used most successfully when sales and marketing are invested and working together (organizational issue, not Hubspot issue) and also when there is adequate allocation of resources for content production. It can address business issues such as SEO, biz dev/leads, sales, and marketing.
  • Hubspot is very education-oriented and makes learning about the nuances of online marketing accessible to everyone. Even, to a large extent, non-clients.
  • Hubspot never slows its pace of evolving to better solutions, better features, and the latest technology. In two years, every complaint or suggestion I've had about drawbacks of the platform have been addressed- in addition to new features I didn't expect or didn't realize I needed until they were rolled out.
  • Their service and tech support is ALWAYS on-point. I always feel like I'm speaking to an actual, well-paid, well-fed, well-informed actual Hubspotter in the Boston office when I call.
  • Organizationally, Hubspot has good energy. They hire well, they're well-managed, and it shows through in all that they do. They make for a great business partner.
  • Coming from Exact Target as an email marketer (2.5 years back), I was less than impressed with Hubspot's original email offering. Within the first year or so I was using Hubspot, they completely redesigned their email product. I have no complaints. It even features built-in plain-text and webpage versions, social sharing, mobile previews, and an array of previews provided by LitmusApp (which I used to pay for separately, and not very cheaply! So, significant value added).
  • Since I've been with Hubspot so long, and given their constant upgrading of features, I still have to access many features in two places. For example "new landing pages" and "legacy landing pages." Hubspot did make it easy to navigate between the two, but I'd still rather have had all of work done in earlier versions be rolled over into the new ones, for reporting, etc. This is relatively minor, though.
  • I've been thinking of a third point for 3 minutes, coming up blank....I've used some similar products and really love Hubspot.
  • In 24 months we saw a 550% increase in monthly inbound leads. 462 total unique leads, of which 247 were sales-qualified.
  • Comparing the first 6 months to the last 6 months of a 24 month period using Hubspot, we saw a 233% increase in monthly visits from organic search.
  • In the same period, we saw a 171% increase in monthly visits from social media. (Honestly, we didn't put very much effort there so it could easily be higher).
  • 20, 687 blog views; 287 blog subscribers.
  • Over 800 webcast attendees.
The only case where I think it might make less than great sense to go with Hubspot is if you really don't have the resources to devote to it. Hubspot says 5-10 hours a week, I say that's the low end, though much depends on the focus of your business, products, and audience. It's smart marketing and money well-spent AS LONG AS you are also factoring in manpower for content creation and actually using the reporting features. Email, social, SEO, blogging, landing pages, CTAs, page content, downloadable offers- in many organizations those are each full-time positions in and of themselves. Some Hubspot marketers are a "marketing team of 1," which I've been, and that's possible too, but you have to realize that all of those items aren't going to happen each week with just 5-10 hours allocated.

Using HubSpot

5 - Caveat- I have a bunch of Hubspot client accounts, so I'm answering this based on the company I started using Hubspot with. More than 5 people (employees and outside consultants) have had access and gone in to do various one-off things in Hubspot, from posting a blog to design work, or just looking at contact details. However, as the main marketing person I'm the primary user, followed by our COO who is very hands-on with the site, and then its very occasionally the sales team logging in to reference information about a lead's engagement with our online marketing efforts and where their interest lie. While it is kind of nice to not have too many chefs in the kitchen, I think it would be better value/use for more people to be more involved in their respective capacities with Hubspot. You can set user permissions to be sales-team specific (contact data) and blog contributor specific, and the more you cultivate inbound as an organization, get your sales and marketing in synch, and dig into all that Hubspot offers, obviously the more value you will get.
1 - Again- answering this for the same client company with which I've been using Hubspot for 3 years. And I'm not in-house so I guess the correct answer is zero. Not counting the COO (who is hands-on in terms of ROI and poking around at performance metrics, etc.), we have had what's called an #inboundteamof1, which is me. (There is actually a group on Twitter and G+ devoted to this, on account of its particular challenges).

You don't need a marketing expert, because Hubspot really will provide the necessary education. However, when you think about the often-touted 5-10 hours minimum commitment, you have to factor in an hour or two (per week, when your starting) for education, and then if you want to get one content offer up, well that's one thing but aside from the offer itself, you also need to have a call to action, a landing page, a thank you page, a follow up email, so depending on what it is (and your quality standards), it's not unreasonable to think that might take 5-10 hours for one new offer. Steps to post a single blog can be similarly deceptive, not on account of Hubspot but on account of quality (I think 2-4 hours is generally realistic/typical including all editing, formatting, graphics, meta, depending on depth of topic. Some say 1 hour; I say those are exceptions or they suck...you can't post list posts or 1 paragraph posts every time and expect positive results).

When factoring in how many people you need, do you want two blogs posted per week? Do you want 1-2 unique content offers/calls to action? Do the math. Want someone who can take all of Hubspot's great performance metrics and apply them to actionable priorities? Well, that takes some time too. Not much, but that can easily be an hour a week or a few hours a month, depending on how much you want to get into it. Emails? Social Media? Workflows (a GREAT asset, btw!)? Time, more time, and more time. By the time you get everything in place, it will be time to go back and revise and update what you have, replace non-performing and dated content with better content, and so on. It is easily a full-time job for one awesome person working her butt off- if you can afford to do so. Or maybe 2-3 people working part-time, if that makes more sense.

Back to Hubspot's education- it extends beyond Hubspot's product and is also about the inseparable topic of inbound marketing best practices, much of which would benefit you even if you left Hubspot. Whether you see this as a chore or added value for your organization may tell you a lot about whether Hubspot is right for you. I'm not sure how much less time it would take if you start with someone who is a marketing expert but not versed in Hubspot...less (but how much less?)....if time is your concern and you are bringing on someone external, be sure to get someone who knows Hubspot well.

There's no way to say with certainty how much time (or people) all organizations would need; it depends on your goals, scope of services, target personas, geographical target, how big your site is ....etc. If you or your team is enthusiastic about maximizing your online presence, you may find Hubspot makes a lot of sense for you. If you are open to integrating it with your sales efforts, rather than just tacking on 5 hours for someone external (in every sense of the word) to "do Hubspot", then when the inevitable ROI question comes up, you will not only know exactly where you stand, but you will likely see much better results. That's not people/skills fit as much as organizational.

For your content, you would need to assume at least one person on your team has above-average editorial skills. Generally, I would say at least one very smart and competent person with advanced writing skills who is tech-friendly more than phobic, someone who loves to learn, and whatever other marketing, SEO, website, design, or editing skills they bring are a plus. And, if they are writing about your business and to your target audience, they also should understand it. If you are hiring an outside consultant for 5 hours a week, think about how that would happen. 5 hours goes quickly.
  • Follow-on sales, cross sales to existing clients
  • Boosting online presence for better SERP rankings and more organic traffic/leads.
  • Better understanding of how people are finding us, using our site, what formats and topics of information they are engaging with.
  • Opportunity to soft-nurture potential leads with workflow campaigns to encourage more ongoing relationships with new visitors.
I don't think any other vendor could deliver the same value in this price range. I've evaluated InfusionSoft and don't consider it a competitor. Marketo is much more costly. So is Eloqua. Those are probably the only other products I would seriously consider against Hubspot. And I'm not sure it would be worth paying more for them even if they are as awesome as I fully expect them to be.

Evaluating HubSpot and Competitors

Yes - It replaced Exact Target, which was then just email/social/landing pages (not sure exactly what it offers and it was recently picked up by Salesforce, so may be tempting to revisit them at some point). We then used Exact Target only for email (not social or LPs). I was the sole user and I loved it. We did not pick up Hubspot as a replacement to ExactTarget, but we needed a new website and found Hubspot as a great option with all of these built-in add-ons, and since they had an integrated email we had to drop ExactTarget. It was a sad parting because I really appreciated ExactTarget's analytics (actually found Hubspot overall to be very similar to ExactTarget in that respect), but at that time Hubspot's email was very weak. Today's Hubspot has a great email component with built-in Litmus App previews. I wouldn't go back to Exact Target unless they out Hubspotted Hubspot at a better price. (Hey, it could happen....).
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Positive Sales Experience with the Vendor
One of things that sold me on inbound strategy was that during the course of my marketing efforts in the year prior to getting into sales talks with them (stemming from a need to move our website), I had just been finding them in various searches and had downloaded a lot of their content, found it useful, and recognized and respected their brand based on that. I didn't really know or consider Hubspot as a vendor or service provider, I just knew they had been creating some content that I'd liked and they got a point for that. I figured if it worked for them in making an impression on me, it could also work for us in our industry niche.
Well, as crazy as it sounds now, we weren't looking for a full marketing platform or we might have looked at Infusionsoft (meh) or Marketo or Eloqua. We were just looking for a great website platform and got jazzed by the other possibilities. I'm still curious about those platforms but believe their pricing tiers are higher. It probably would have been smart to evaluate those if we had fully realized then where this road would take us.

HubSpot Support

I've been calling Hubspot tech support for 3 years. These guys never, and I mean NEVER, let me down. No one really offers service this great anymore. Super dependable. They're almost like an extra team member.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None

Using HubSpot

Anyone can use it. How well you use it depends on what you are doing and how well you know what you are doing. I'll compare it's usability to Word (rather than, for example, Adobe's software, which I also use but find much less intuitive). Anyone can use Word, but not everyone has good grammar/spelling and spell-check doesn't catch everything. You can learn all kinds of things to better take advantage of the software, but at the same time, anyone can open it and start typing and do basic functions. It supports everything from the most basic lists to awesome and compelling displays of graphic/text marketing. It's intuitive, and you can grow with it and bend it to your will.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
None
  • blogs
  • website page content
  • calls-to-action
  • emails
  • reporting
  • CMS to COS integration/ weird in-between place (temporary, but still extending over a year...I wonder if this could have been handled better). Shouldn't be an issue for new accounts; applies to older accounts.
  • templates can be less than intuitive (COS)
  • used to be that blog topics were not manageable/deletable, but I think they are now. Hubspot is really good about responding to feedback and making improvements.
  • For Canadian CASL compliance, at time of implementation, Hubspot was not as well-prepared to address this as they could/should have been, in my opinion. Email and form template settings could have been set up to be more conducive to compliance. Felt like they dropped the ball on this one a little. Found work-arounds, but not what I expected from a company constantly ahead of the game in this area. I'm sure improvements will be forthcoming.