The Biggest Problem with Hubspot in 2012 and Beyond

by Marcus Sheridan

Hubspot CostAs most of you are well aware, I’m a passionate fan of Hubspot. The Boston-based company and all-in-one social media platform gave me the tools and information I needed in 2009 to save my swimming pool company and turn our website into the #1 trafficked site of its kind in the entire world.

After experiencing so much success with the system, about 10 months ago I became the first customer in a non-tech field to become a Hubspot partner, or ‘VAR’ (value added reseller). This essentially means that businesses who are interested in Hubspot sign up to the system under me and I help them through the process of boarding on this new platform, which includes teaching them to use and understand all of the Hubspot tools but also catch the vision that is Inbound Marketing and carry out a plan that will catapult their business and brand to new heights.

Today, as one of the largest Hubspot partners in the world (in terms of clients), as well as the fact that so many existing Hubspot users email me regularly because of this blog and my free eBook (Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy), I’ve been reminded day in and day out of the one great problem Hubspot is facing in 2012 and beyond.

A Company of Extreme Growth

But before I discuss what this problem is, I want to do a brief over view of Hubspot’s history, which in many ways coincides perfectly with the theme of this article.

You see, when I started with Hubspot in 2009, they still had less than 1000 customers. (Today they’re around 6k). They also had one main blog, which was updated once, maybe twice a day.

The core to their system was:

  • A simple CMS/blog platform (content management system)
  • Keyword/SEO tools
  • Lead tracking/nurturing tools

For me, as a new Hubspot user and total tech dummy, this was perfect. It enabled me to focus on the same key elements of inbound marketing and analyze the same tools day in and day out.

But fast forward to today, weeks before the start of 2012. Google has dumped tons of money into the Hubspot movement. Other investors have thrown their hats in the ring as well. They’ve been named the 2nd Fastest Growing Software Company by Inc. Magazine.

Hubspot_Growth

The list of accolades could go on and on, but the movement has made everyone in the social media industry pay close attention.

What’s interesting though, if you look at Hubspot’s core system today, their features include (to name a few):

  • A more advanced CMS
  • Improved Keyword/SEO tools
  • More in-depth lead tracking/nurturing tools (especially with the acquirement of Performable)
  • Landing Page creation and Advance A/B split testing
  • Advanced Marketing Automation/Email
  • A robust App Marketplace
  • And much more

Many people will look at all of these new and improved features by Hubspot and give it a huge ‘thumbs up’, as well they should.

Hubspot_Landing_Pages

Here's a Shot of Hubspot's Landing Page Analysis on my Swimming Pool Site

During my time with the company, it has been obvious that Hubspot is the opposite of a static company. They are constantly developing, improving, adding features, etc. The list above will likely be a spec of the platform’s core features a few years from now.

Notwithstanding all of this, there is also a dark side to such growth and improvement.

Yes, most people in my position wouldn’t talk about this subject, but then again, I’m not most people. Fact is, Hubspot has a unique problem on its hands-

The Curse of TMI

That’s right, too much information. This is Hubspot’s biggest problem going forward. Why? Think about this for a second:

Pretend you fall into the 95% of Hubspot customers who are small to medium sized business owners with very limited knowledge as to how the web works. The phrase ‘social media’ is intimidating to you. The idea of ‘inbound marketing’ is very attractive, but the thought of ‘blogging’ and ‘producing content’ makes you a little (or a lot) nervous.

This being said, you start to learn from Hubspot and something happens:

  • You’re getting hit with multiple blog posts a day telling you what you need to be doing.
  • You feel like you need to be good at twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
  • You feel pressured to write blog post upon blog post.
  • You feel pressured to create landing pages, call-to-action buttons, and lead capture forms.
  • You understand the need for continual education and staying up to date with the industry
  • You want to keep up with and learn about Hubspot’s newest tools, features, etc.
  • And on and on and on and on.

Catch what I’m saying here folks?

When I say there exists a ‘Curse of TMI’, I’m not kidding.

Hubspot_Blog

To say that Hubspot blogs often would be an understatement.

On an average day, I’ll receive 5-10 personal emails from Hubspotters and Inbound Marketers stating:

“OK, I’ve just signed up with Hubspot, but now what??!”

“Marcus, I know I should be blogging, but where do I start??”

“I’m so confused with all I’ve been reading and feel like I’m getting pulled in 10 different directions.”

“I know all that I’ve been seeing and reading is important but I just need to know what my priorities are!”

These are actual statements I received last week alone, and as you might imagine, there are many, many more.

Now is this Hubspot’s fault? Are they falling short?

Some might answer ‘Yes’ to this, and others will answer ‘No’.

Personally, I think there is a little bit of both going on.

Paralysis By Analysis

Look, over the last couple of years, no one has given more free information to the public about social media and inbound marketing than Hubspot. This act deserves major applause and appreciation from all of us.

But, because humans have a natural tendency to lose focus so easily, all of this information can act as a curse, as it can induce a ‘paralysis by analysis’ from users.

With 100 items on their ‘inbound marketing to-do list’, Hubspotters and inbound marketers often times feel overwhelmed and the starting point, at least in their minds, simply isn’t there.

Don’t get me wrong here folks. I believe what Hubspot is doing is a major service for all of us. The fact that they put their money where their mouth is and have become the leading ‘teachers’ of this marketing movement is unbelievable.

And trust me when I say they do not want their customers to fail. More than ever, Hubspot is offering continuing education and training for their users. They’re producing tutorials on a weekly basis. They’re offering more 1-on-1 consulting than ever before.

Notwithstanding all of these actions though, they need to do a better job of addressing this TMI issue. They need to find a more clear and concise way of helping clients and users catch a clear ‘starting point vision’ with the product and with inbound marketing in general. If they achieve this act, the difference it will make for their user experience will be monumental.

The One Thing Hubspot Cannot Change

Despite all of this though, many users will fail with Hubspot and Inbound Marketing because of laziness and lack of effort. I’ve seen it at times with my own clients and I’ve seen it with Hubpsotters that have come to me for help. In fact, I’ve never talked with someone who ‘failed with Hubspot’ where it wasn’t their fault.

Simply put, all the information in the world will not overcome lazy and unmotivated people, and Hubspot will never change this.

Like the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

Your Turn

Here is a question for all inbound/content marketers, whether you’re using Hubspot or not: What do you feel is the key to starting a successful inbound marketing strategy and not getting caught up in all the information, education, tools, and to-do’s? Also, if you are using Hubspot, what suggestion(s) would you offer to someone who is just starting with the product?

Jump on in folks, I’d love to hear your take on this matter…

Download your FREE copy of my 230 Page Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy eBook now and start reading in 60 seconds!

Feel free to contact me directly with further Hubspot questions as well.

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{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick Allmond December 12, 2011 at

This is where people like you and I can help. I tell people to ignore most of what they read in online marketing, and pay attention to the plan I’ve laid out for them. The difference between me and the next guy is I have a plan I use that guides you through what you should be doing from Day 1 to Day 30 and beyond. If you start reading every internet marketing blog you will quickly get the pretty butterfly syndrome. Build your plan and stick to it.

I’ve seen a HS demo but I’ve never used it. What would be nice is if they had a day by day task list. You sign in on Monday morning and it tells you the 3 things you should do today. They will take you an hour. Do no more and do no less. You will have a new set of tasks tomm. Do less than what the plan says and you will likely fail. Do more or something not on the plan and you might derail the plan.

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2011 at

Patrick, I’m really digging your approach and vision to this man. People need plans. They need direction. They also need a Day 1, Day 2, etc. I think if the focus can become this, Hubspot and Inbound Marketers everywhere will benefit.

Thanks for starting off the conversation brother,

Marcus

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Tom Treanor December 12, 2011 at

Marcus, I completely agree with you. Not being a hubspot user I’m not sure what internal data and reminders they provide, but as a follower of hubspot I see quite a bit. I’ve been thinking to myself, “man, hubspot is like a content generation machine. It just keeps coming!”. There are so many guides, webinars, blog posts. I almost think it’s overkill in terms of how much is being put out.

Like a Digital SLR camera where you can shoot for your whole life on “auto” without ever getting into advance functions, maybe they should have a “beginners” layer where the content you get is basic. The fundamentals across the main disciplines (SEO, Social Media, Content, Calls to action, etc.). When you’re ready, you can subscribe to more advanced topics to get the flood of other info…maybe by topic area.

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2011 at

Very good points Tom. They are machines when it comes to their content. I think this has helped their brand and SEO in a major way, but it also has overwhelmed many a follower. As I mentioned to someone else here, it’s certainly a catch-22, and I’m not sure if I have the right answer.

Although HS does have 3 different levels of their product, I can envision a 4th level, which is even more basic, in the future. That’s just me speculating, but I know it’s a product many seem to be clamoring for.

Great to see you bud,

Marcus

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Garry Stafford December 13, 2011 at

Tom, regarding your first paragraph, that’s pretty much what I was going to write. I have a folder on my desktop named Hubspot. As I receive their consistent offerings, which are always great, I end up feeding this folder, with the intent to go back and reference as needed. I’ve not done so in the last few months.

And since I’ve found that over time I’ve subscribed to too many newsletters/blog post updates that end up being those items that distract and increase the sense that I just can’t keep up (and a feeling of failing), I’ve unsubscribed from many. Hubspot included.

IMHO, their information, which is excellent, would be experienced as a rare gem … if it were treated as such.

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

Hey Garry, really interesting comment man, and it made me think of this analogy–

Sometimes, when we date someone, we enjoy being with them. We enjoy learning from them and spending time together.

But if that same person all of the sudden starts calling us 10 times a day, wants to hang out all the time, and is constantly hitting us with texts and messages, it might get old.

Now I’m not saying it’s that bad with HS, but there is certainly some of that there when it comes to HS and what certain folks are feeling.

Thanks for the comment Garry!

Marcus

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Angie December 12, 2011 at

I am a Hubspot user and I must say that is has rev-o-lutionized our inbound marketing efforts particularly in the area of lead conversion. I would never trade it but I would agree with your article entirely. It really is TMI. Don’t get me wrong here, the info is great a its awesome to have it right at your fingertips but, there is way too much email, way too many things “to-do” for the audience for which it was intended. I have been using it for more than a year and I sort of had to watch what changes were most effective for our business and work on those things one day at a time.

For example our customers and potential clients demographically speaking do not tend to be the biggest You Tube or users so dinging me constantly about my Twitter account is somewhat annoying. It is up-to-date but as an army of one as far all things marketing, not just inbound, I do not have the time to sit around tweeting to make the “grade” lest I be chastised by my dashboard. I sort have just plugged along at it, chipping away bit by bit starting with what I felt were our weakest points (at the beginning it was our blog…we didn’t have one) and working through it steadily but at my own pace as opposed to how one feels when their inbox is barraged by all of theses articles and content camps. It’s a lot of pressure!

I understand fully that all of the tools, analytics and set-by-step hand holding is done because the Hubspot really DOES NOT want you to fail but I can see very easily how it could overwhelm a web novice because wonderful as it is, its SO much all at once. Hubspot does work if you work it, I was not a complete novice by any means but I guess the best advice I could give is to be patient with yourself and as long as you are devoting time to it on a consistent basis success will come. The water is all there, just sidle up and drink!

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2011 at

Wow…wow….WOW Angie!

Seriously, this one comment could have been the blogpost itself, and it would have saved me about 1300 words. Why didn’t you email it to me beforehand??? ;-)

Among your many great points, the one about not focusing on certain mediums like Twitter is an excellent on. In my business of swimming pools, it’s the exact same. Twitter has very little value, as does FB, when compared to a blog. Had I been focusing on the little blue bird or my FB page, it’s very likely the blog would have suffered. Thus, knowing one’s main platform is one of the most important keys to making this whole inbound marketing thing work, which you’re obviously doing Angie. :-)

Thanks so much again for this awesome comment,

Marcus

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Patrick Allmond December 12, 2011 at

Angie/Marcus,

Something else HS could benefit from is send the right emails to people at the right time of where they should be. For example: If you are in the SEO part of your inbound marketing schedule then you should really be getting SEO-type tips & tricks. So you will eventually get all of the info they have to offer, but you will get it just-in-time to help you. This would match with how your email marketing should work. When people join your email list you might put them on a predefined list of 10 emails sent 3 days apart. Everybody on your email list will eventually get all 10 emails. But they get them relative to when they joined your list. One person might be on email 1 and other on email 9.

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John Paul December 12, 2011 at

Great write up Marcus.

I agree with you, that to much of a good thing will become a bad thing.

Reminds me of my days in MLM. You would think a presentation with as much info and stats and etc would eb the way to go to bring in new member. Truth was it was the fastest way to lose people.

People want simple.. people need simple. Even the most motivated person would rather have enough info to get them rolling, but not to much where they lose focus of where they need to start.

Stick to your core tools, develop a simple system to put those tools to work in the right order. THEN once they are set, introduce new tools for the more advanced user that already knows the system and is working the system correctly..

There are many ways to update your service/products, adding more tools isn’t always the right way to go.

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2011 at

JP, awesome points man.

“People want simple.. people need simple.”

That’s the key to just about all of this, right? That’s the key to using social media well. That’s the key to content marketing. That’s the key to owning a business. And that’s certainly a key for such an advanced tool like Hubspot.

Thanks so much for dropping by my friend,

Marcus

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Kevin December 12, 2011 at

I would agree with you on this. I have set up a demo account and right away did not know where to start. The demo by a staff member was howerver helpful.

Apart from tmi I think that HS needs to create a cheaper option for multiple site owners. I run two corporate sites and to use their tool would be cost prohibitive. Also would like to see a scaled back version with no lead generation stuff but with the blog and seo information. Sort or a hybrid between seomoz and hubspot.

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2011 at

That’s actually some really great feedback Kevin. I think you’re right, there is a great improvement opportunity for those companies with multiple websites. And yes, a hybrid, scaled down system might be a great fit for some folks as well.

Very interesting food for thought Kevin, I really appreciate you stopping by.

Marcus

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Jeff Ogden December 12, 2011 at

I wrote a blog post “Why I unsubscribed from Hubspot” which covers the TMI problem. My smartphone was going off constantly. They produce too much info. It’s drinking from firehose.

http://fearlesscompetitor.com/2011/05/20/why-i-unsubscribed-to-hubspot/

Jeff

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2011 at

Yeah, drinking from the firehose is a nice analogy Jeff. The problem is, for some folks, that’s good, for others, it’s bad. For Hubspot, it means much better SEO but it also means less community interaction with said posts. A catch 22 without question.

Thanks for stopping by Jeff,

Marcus

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Jim Schultz December 12, 2011 at

A year ago, I knew nothing about Inbound Marketing. We are a software company and I am not a techie. As a small business owner, I was looking for a way to increase our leads which would provide a larger sales funnel and customers. I read everything on Inbound Marketing. I tried to simplify things before executing our Inbound Marketing strategy. Keep it simple stupid. The only metric of value was how many new customers did we add from our Inbound Marketing activities. All other metrics are just vanity measurements for me. Four months ago, we started using HubSpot. My three suggestions on getting started based on my experience: 1) Read Inbound Marketing by Halligan and Shah 2) Make HubSpot 121 webinars and subsequent next actions a priority for your organization 3) Get Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy ebook by Marcus. Can’t wait to learn more!

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2011 at

Jim, this was GREAT! I’m not saying that because you included my eBook, I’m saying it because it truly follows the KISS principle and has depth at the same time. Congrats on the way you’re doing this bud!!

Marcus

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Lindsay Sink December 12, 2011 at

Having been with Hubspot for 6 months now and having attended a seminar lead by Marcus during Hugs I cannot agree more than the points made in this blog. As an older non-techie who is trying to catch up it has been a challenge to try to achieve all the seeming tasks that Hubspot throws at you while – oh yeah – I still have to run my business.

I would very much favor Patrick Allmond’s idea of a structured plan which gives you a “do this and no more” assignment list. Obviously there will be “stars” who will choose to run ahead of the pack; but, a workable plan that achieves proven results and ultimately success is the perfect roadmap. That should be the goal even if the “Hare” does finish sooner than the “Tortoise”.

Marcus, you described perfectly many of our tendencies to try to analyze “why I am doing something” instead of “why not just do something”. Hubspot must, in my opinion, be more proactive in laying out the “do’s” as oppossed to contributing to a feeling of “being under seige” to do all! As John Paul says, keep it simple! Structure is not a bad thing.

Thanks for your continued guidance through common sense.

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2011 at

Hi Lindsay! So glad you were in my HUG seminar and I very much appreciate your kind words here as well.

A concise plan would really be great, and ideal. The only problem with that is the fact that every industry and business is unique, and benefits in different ways from various social sharing platforms.

For example, let’s say it was a standard that the first thing everyone did was ‘Write 10 Blog Posts to Answer Your 10 Most Common Questions’. (Something I strongly believe in BTW). If this was the case, some businesses, who really should be focusing their efforts on a GREAT facebook page, might suffer a bit (like, for example, a restaurant where FB typically outperforms blogging).

This being said, I could see 2 or 3 ‘main’ plans, where ‘blogging’ is the priority of one. ‘Facebook’ is the priority of the other. And so on. That way, if a person can identify their main inbound marketing shtick (as blogging is for me), then they can be off to the races.

Just a few thoughts but thanks again Lindsay for taking a moment to stop by! :)

Marcus

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Patrick Allmond December 12, 2011 at

Agreed that every business is unique. But I think that there are some main things that all of us would agree on: Creating a website, Email capture, new content generation (blogging is one way of doing that), automated email series for new leads, social media. For a company that comes to me from ground zero (nothing) I make social media a low priority. If you don’t have a website your social media is one of the last things you should be worrying about.

I also think it depends on how aggressive the company wants to be, and how much time the person doing the work has a day. That is an important factor to iron out early to build a realistic plan. Do you have 5 hours a week or 2? That dramatically affected the plan we create.

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

You and I think a lot alike Patrick, I’m serious. Looking at the way you handle clients, and push the to or away from certain things, is really spot-on.

Appreciate all you always add to the discussion bud.

Marcus

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Cheryl Pickett December 12, 2011 at

This made me think of one of the examples you like to use and that is of the kindergarten teacher. There is clearly a difference between what kindergarteners need to know and what 3rd or 10th graders need to know. And you certainly don’t put the Ks in with the senior high kids. Sounds like that’s part of the issue and not just for Hubspot. Even if it’s more like freshmen and seniors, there still has to be different material or the freshmen will have nervous breakdowns pretty quickly (advanced calculus and physics anyone??)

I’d also suggest part of the solution then is for both biz owners and service providers to recognize who is at what level and then serve them accordingly. It could be a bear to set up at first maybe, but in the long run I think things would go much smoother all around.

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Cheryl Pickett December 12, 2011 at

P.S. I wrote the blog post that shows up in LinkLuv before I even read this one tonight :-)

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

I really like your ideas here Cheryl. One does almost have to look at this as a ‘grade’.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an ‘inbound marketing placement exam’ we all could take/give? That test would show the grade level, and then we’d have specific content and training for said grade.

Hmmm, I think there is some potential there ;-)

Marcus

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Grady Pruitt December 13, 2011 at

I’m not a Hubspot user, but I can tell you that I feel that same curse of TMI. There are so many things I feel I should be doing it’s hard to know where I should start. Seems every day, I feel like I’m falling behind because I’m barely doing 1/10th of what I think I should do (and that only half as well as I think I should).

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

Grady, you’ve really got to embrace Pareto’s Law here—> 80/20 rule man. What is the 20% that you’re doing that’s bringing you 80% of your results? Once you know/identify that my friend, I say you literally forget about the rest. Just let it go and get a laser focus that’s unstoppable.

Good luck my friend, and thanks much for giving your thoughts here.

Marcus

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John Falchetto December 13, 2011 at

Marcus, this isn’t just Hubspot.

What I see and hear everyday from business owners is the same,
“How can I keep up with all the channels?”
“I feel I’m not doing enough on LinkedIn/Twitter/FB”

We are living in an age of TMI, everyday we drown under data, not information, data.

My approach is simple, cut off the hose pipe, listen to your clients and focus on your work. Let the others scream a bit louder in the echo chamber. Most of the stuff is spam and has zero value.

When you do go online, focus on strengthening relationships, build new ones, and stop adding to the noise.

Back to work :)

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

. Let the others scream a bit louder in the echo chamber.

Now that’s a heck of a powerful suggestion for many folks to chew on Falchetto.

Well said brother :-)

Now go get to work!

Marcus

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Greg DeVore December 13, 2011 at

Great post and brings up a huge issue for not just HubSpot, but many, many technology companies. This is actually an area we specialize in so here are my 2 cents.

Different content is appropriate at different levels of customer engagement. HubSpot primarily creates content that is optimized around generating leads. That isn’t to say that the content isn’t useful. It’s very useful but in reality it serves to let you know what you should be doing, what you could be doing and how HubSpot could help you do it. When you initially consume this content you are essentially window shopping. You are deciding if you want to go into the shop.

Now you sign up for the trial. Once again you are still just browsing but you have now stepped into the store. HubSpot has someone work with you one on one to make sure that you know everything that is possible and see how things might work. All of this content HubSpot is generating is still valuable here as it reinforces HubSpot’s position as a thought leader and makes you feel comfortable going with the product.

Now you sign up as a customer. A major shift has happened. You no longer are concerned with what HubSpot can do. You want to know how to use HubSpot to improve your business. Up until know it is like you have been looking through a cookbook that only has pictures of meals you can make. You have decided that the end result looks like it would be good. You now need a recipe that will guide you step by step on how to create that meal.

Remember, HubSpot is optimized around sales and marketing, so in general they try to repurpose their marketing materials in this recipe building stage and I don’t think it works very effectively. But to be fair, this is the toughest part of any semi-complicated technology product that is tied to a methodology. HubSpot has to teach you two things:

1. What the methodology is and how to use it.
2. How to use HubSpot’s technology tools to assist in implementing the methodology.

We face the same issue in our business. We create a product that helps people create online software documentation sites without having to use a developer. For awhile we tried repurposing marketing content as training and training content as marketing. Didn’t really work since a prospect and a customer are in two totally different mindsets and need content presented and organized in a different way.

What we have recently started doing is creating very specific user manuals containing multiple articles, not just one long one, on how reach certain real world goals.

Here is an example of one:

http://help.bluemangolearning.com/s/screensteps/m/creating-a-manual

We are currently working on expanding this to make it even more revenant. For example, “How to Implement ScreenSteps Live with Salesforce.” In this manual we wouldn’t just go through how to setup a connector app, but how you should decide what to document, how to create that documentation, how to train your team to create it and how to deliver it. Because the Salesforce user isn’t buying a documentation product from us, they are buying a result. And that result is going to be different than what the Zendesk customer wants from us.

I think HubSpot would do well to create these mini content sites that map out a specific recipe for what you want to do. Want to increase your blog presence? Give me a mini site that just talks about that. Not just a category filter, a real mini site. Want to increase your Twitter following? Another mini site. Additional ones could be lead nurturing, creating ebooks, etc. And these should be focused on delivering recipes, not just information.

Sorry this comment is a bit long but it is a problem I try to tackle for ourselves and our customers every day.

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Marcus Sheridan December 14, 2011 at

Greg, please don’t apologize for the length of this bud, because it was one of the best dang comments I’ve seen here on TSL in a long time. I absolutely LOVE how you broke this down, and your suggestion of very specific sites and manuals at the end.

Wow, seriously, I’m going to refer back to this one a few times I can already see.

Thanks so much Greg,

Marcus

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Art Gatenby December 19, 2011 at

Greg

That is a fantastic concept. With the usual mods I could work for us. That separation between marketing and taking care of customers large and requires different techniques. Your approach is the best I’ve seen.

Thanks for sharing

Art

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Walter Pollard December 13, 2011 at

As you, I’m extremely passionate about HubSpot. The whole reason why I started the HubSpot D.C. user group is because of my wonderful experience with the HubSpot software, inbound marketing and working with individuals within the company.

I have seen HubSpot grow from a small organization to now supporting thousands of clients. Hiring many new employees to meet the ever growing demands for their core customer base.

Inbound marketing being the life blood of this organization has produced a content creation juggernaut that has a number of websites for obtaining a vast array of free information.

In many cases, HubSpot customers aren’t even aware of all these sites let alone the amount of content that resides there. With large amounts of information changing and updating daily it’s next to impossible for any hard working individual to keep up.

It’s my personnel belief; TMI in any business creates a disconnection between the client and brand. Information over load breeds dysfunction for best achieving the task at hand.

I think the challenge for HubSpot is in leveraging a better ecosystem for the creation and delivery of content. More defined channels for levels of client engagement and specific to the inbound marketing task at hand. I envision highly targeted training that delivers detailed solutions in a timely manner. Adobe is great at this.

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Marcus Sheridan December 14, 2011 at

Awesome points Walter, and love the vision. The analogy of how adobe is doing it is perfect man.

Keep rockin brother, and thanks for all your support to me and the Hubspot movement as well.

Marcus

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Patrick Allmond December 13, 2011 at

I also want to make sure people see and act on the obvious: unsubscribe. Unsubscribe from any new article notifications you get from Hubspot. Then schedule time weekly (not daily) to consume their content according to your schedule. Scan the post headlines, and read the ones appropriate to what you care about about.

This is unrelated to the Sales Lion, but one of the biggest problems of TMI is having it all pushing to you. I turn off all of the subscriptions/push notifications to my email and phone. I think manage my time and go consume my RSS feeds, etc. according to my schedule.

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Dan Moyle December 13, 2011 at

I love this advice Patrick! That’s the beauty of Inbound Marketing – as a consumer I can walk away! Cheers!

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

Extremely sound advice Patrick, love the way you control the information and set up filters, versus allowing the information to control you and your schedule.

Keep rockin bud,

Marcus

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Dan Moyle December 13, 2011 at

I love the conversation going here. So much passion! Patrick is right though, people need a plan. VAR’s and HubSpot’s own Inbound Marketing Consultant teams are great for giving direction. We’ve seen tremendous growth at my company, but it’s because I’m the dedicated inbound marketing person who blogs consistently and offers eBooks, etc. for our prospective clients.

Having a plan is vital, and sifting through the information is crucial. To those who help businesses do this, kudos. For those who feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Just remember: you don’t have to read EVERYTHING HubSpot produces. Focus on one thing at a time. If you’re using HubSpot (or a similar platform) you’re likely already ahead of your competition and they’ll have a hard time catching up!

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

Dan, love your words of passion and advice here my man. Very, very sound.

Also, I think it’s awesome your company is willing to dedicate the resources into having someone like yourself be the CCO and rock the inbound marketing. If only more shared that same vision!

Thanks again,

Marcus

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Laurie McCulley December 13, 2011 at

Great post Marcus. We have to remember this with our customers – overwhelming them with too much information too often. Hubspot has made it easy for us to learn all about inbound marketing and it is an easy system to learn for newbies.
We do have a (semi) structured plan. We started with the basics and moved on. I recommend following the learning center when starting out.
I keep different files on different subjects (such as Twitter, Email Marketing, etc) and when a blog article, day camp or webinar comes out that is good information on ‘how to’ or ‘how not to’ I print it out and put it in the file, or I make a note of it to find it in the archives. That way, when I get ready to work on that particular thing, I have a wealth of information at my fingertips.
For instance, we have been with Hubspot almost a year and are just now doing lead nurturing campaigns. I ignored the information about this until I was ready to tackle it.
It is easy to get overwhelmed; I certainly do. But at the same time, it is exciting and encouraging to feel if we work hard, we can succeed with this in such a down economy.
Your story is a great one to share, and that we do.
Thanks!

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

Here is what I like so much about what you did in terms of your HS approach Laurie— you didn’t try to do and be everything to everyone. Really, this is what this article, in many ways, is all about. Businesses, when using HS and doing IM, have to have the ability to say, “You know, let’s just forget that and only put our focus on this right now….”

Well done lady, and thanks so much for dropping by!!

Marcus

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Laurie McCulley December 13, 2011 at

Thanks Marcus. The funny thing is my boss and I were discussing this very thing the other day. That we need to stop trying to learn everything and get busy DOING what we know so far – and focus. That is what will make us money. It is good to know the information we need is going to be there, when we are ready for it. And plus, some of the information does seem to change often.
Have a great day!

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Howie at Sky Pulse Media December 13, 2011 at

Do you see Hubspot being a take over target by say Salesforce.com Seems like a perfect fit for them.

Anyway to your post here. Managing growth is always the hardest thing. You need more structure as you get bigger. More processes written down. Often the businesses get more impersonal.

It sounds Marcus like the reason people fail with Hubspot is the reason they fail in Social Media or any endeavour. But before you use the term ‘laziness’ is it possible the platform is overbearing? I say this because I was an early user of Salesforce.com in 2001. My employer signed on and the Sales Management (I was outside Sales) wanted to micromanage sales using SF. Which meant instead of 10% of my time dealing with reporting and systems now 50% of my time was bogged down with data entry and updating.

I went through this again when I got into Advertising with a start up. The two partners decided to use Salesforce and once again wanted it used in ways that impeded vs facilitated sales. I actually quit over this since I was an independent sales rep not paid a salary. But I use it now myself and it is a great and useful database/CRM platform.

There is a fine line between ease of use and a complexity that becomes a burden. I haven’t used Hubspot so I don’t know.

Either way grats on the growth and your success Marcus! I am sure 2012 if the world doesn’t end will be a banner year for you and Hubspot.

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

Interesting you bring up Hubspot and SF. Frankly, I think the two companies would be better than the Death Star if they combined forces. Talk about a ‘true all-in-on’, that would be something exceptional.

But despite the fact you’re an alien Howie, this statement was down right awesome: “There is a fine line between ease of use and a complexity that becomes a burden.”

Now if you could only figure out what that line is and you’d be a very rich man. ;-)

Marcus

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Howie at Sky Pulse Media December 14, 2011 at

Hi Marcus

If you want me to look into Hubspot for this fine line I can. One thing I have never really capitalized on is my ability to be a liaison between the common person and the really smart people. I am really logical and have a great way of communicating.

When I bring up my past corp job I have a finance degree. I sold things that did not exist to rocket scientists and people like them. I remember we had this valve that cooled a Fuel Cell Bus kept failing. For a year. Shipped it back and forth between Vancouver and NY. Everyone on both sides was angry. Then I had my Ah-Ha! moment. The really smart engineers on both sides didn’t figure out that my client changed the operating specification but didn’t tell us. Performance met ours (their original) and not theirs. Seriously we were on the brink of lawsuits over program delays (It was a Mercedes project). Then me. The non-Engineer figured it out.

I bring this up because you are one of the smart people like me, and seriously I get really frustrated with the common person who doesn’t ‘get’ what I do or think is simple. And I have to keep remembering ‘I am lucky to be blessed with such ability, be humble and remember others aren’t like me, help them’.

Just think where hubspot would be if all these people ‘got it’ and were driving success. You would have 100,000 users in 2 years 8)

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

Hahahaha Howie, I’m liking your vision my man ;-)

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Michael Schechter December 13, 2011 at

Couldn’t the same thing that go them into trouble get them out of it? There are some larger sites that I came to late in the game. Merlin Mann’s 43Folders.com is a great example. He drives people to a landing page that shows them where to get started with the site. It helps take an overwhelming amount of content and make it manageable.

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Howie at Sky Pulse Media December 13, 2011 at

Shhhh. He can figure this out himself. He is a big Lion. Though if he doesn’t eat all his vegetables he is grounded.

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Michael Schechter December 13, 2011 at

Oh, he just can’t wait to be king…

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

LOL, you’re a goof MS ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

I think something like that would actually be quite valuable Michael. Nice point bud.

Marcus

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Michael Schechter December 13, 2011 at

We all knew that there would come a day when I finally made one :)

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Lee Kirkby December 13, 2011 at

Great set of questions Marcus. The comments are really on the mark. I am rapidly coming up to the second year as a Hubspot user and the changes for us have been substantial. Our results are not dramatic like yours Marcus but we see them getting better each day.

I think one of the challenges that Hubspot has is not looking at their blog and e-mail streams as part of a total system.

Example. I have tried to be a regular with Content Camp using the webinars each week as refreshers in many ways to remind me of what I was shown in the early days when I did one on one training. This has really helped me pick up tips and strengthen our material. But the down side is I end up on the content camp blog and e-mail trail as well as the Hubspot blog and e-mail trail.

Then you sign up for one of Dan Zarrella’s master class presentations and you end up on the e-mail list again. Now they have lots of people sending out content and I don’t see a lot of co-ordination between the lists…the marketing automation does not discriminate between current users and prospects. So the CTA asks me to do a trial on software I already use. That’s a real no no.

I understand the challenge they face but I can also see how it could cause some people to turn off on the product especially if they have not been entrenched into the system like I have become.

I like you have had to decide which platforms to focus on. We do little with Twitter or Facebook beyond maintain a presence. We focus on the blog and on LinkedIn since it is much stronger in BtoB and has the ability to be focused geographically better.

All this said, I strongly appreciate what Hubspot has done for us and I love the new Marketing Grader…while not perfect it does help me focus on the parts I need to improve to get even better results. The additions to the package are worth the pain of learning how to use them…if it was all easy then we would not appreciate the effort.

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

Lee, you have done an excellent job here expressing one of the main problems that many people are feeling—Too many HS mailing lists, which in-turn can cause some folks to be overwhelmed by the whole thing.

The fact that you have a solid focus though is great Lee. It sounds like you’ve really made HS and inbound marketing work for your company, which is awesome.

Oh, and I’m with you on the new Marketing Grader. Very, very impressive and way more thorough than the old webgrader.

Marcus

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Julia Stewart December 13, 2011 at

Thanks for saying all this, Marcus. I joined HS about the same time that you did and although I don’t have the #1 site in my field, which was already crowded with high-content sites, HS helped keep me in business in a year when 10% of my competitors went under. Today, my organic traffic is doubling yearly and it’s the #1 source of new customers for us, so I’m pretty happy.

When I first joined HS, the thing I loved most, next to their awesome content, was that they had dumbed it all down just enough that I ‘got it’ and began leveraging the data that was coming in. Before, I had Google Analytics, which is awesome, but mostly I just stared at it and said, ‘Gee’.

I used to take all of HS’ trainings, got the certifications and became an ‘Inbound Marketing Educator’, etc. But today, HS’ fire-hose content overwhelms even me. I have to wonder if I could have made it, if I had joined this year, instead of 2 years ago.

My personal solution is to pick and choose what trainings & blog posts to check out, but because I know how good they are, I’m always left wondering if I’m missing something important. So it would help is HS funneled some of it for me (then again, I’m a big girl, not sure I really need HS to hold my hand on everything – doesn’t stop me from wishing they would though).

I’m still on HS Small and I think HS is focusing on larger companies now, but if they want to continue serving us small fries, I think streamlining the content from ‘everything you could do’ to ‘most bang for the buck per hour’ for smaller companies.

Either that, or this is a big business opportunity for VARs.

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

I have to wonder if I could have made it, if I had joined this year, instead of 2 years ago.

Of all that has been said here Julia, this is easily one of the most profound, and a very deep thought to chew on for those managing the content there at HS.

Beyond that though, I congratulate you for making this work, for pushing through it, and finding success. I’m very, very impressed….and thrilled you stopped by too!

Marcus

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Srinivas December 13, 2011 at

Marcus,

I think it’s interesting as a Hubspot reseller that you’re having these feelings. The other day somebody wrote a post on one of Danny Brown’s blogs about 7 things pieces of blogging advice you shouldn’t pay attention to. I saw the words hubspot and crap used in the same comment. While I don’t think that what they produce is anywhere near crap, I do have to say that they are guilty of information overload. Their blog is really useful but because it’s so much information and sometimes starts to sound repetitive I only make it a point to visit there once or twice a week. Now you brought up something else really interesting. You said that usually when somebody fails it’s their fault. I don’t think this is isolated to hubspot. The value of working with any coach or doing any program is based on what you put into it. If you do the work, you’ll get results. If you don’t do the work then you won’t get results. I’ve interviewed tons of product creators and this is one of their biggest sources of frustration. But amazingly enough, these same people who spend $500 bucks on an info product don’t ask for a refund (which is great for the product creators). But it’s basically like flushing money down the toilet.

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

Great takes all around Srini, thanks for jumping in here bud.

I really want to be known as someone who keeps it totally real in this new frontier of content and inbound marketing. So if I hear folks saying it, and if I keep making the same observations again and again, then it’s my job to speak up and say something.

I think most of the information found at the HS site is very solid, but there have been times when they’ve allowed articles to pass through that I was really bothered with. But again, if I were the guy running the show there, I can’t say I would be able to manage or do things any better.

Thanks again man,

Marcus

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Alan December 14, 2011 at

Small world! So, I just joined HubSpot as an onboarding consultant — Marcus, I’m sure you met with one of us for a few months when first using our platform. Really enjoyed reading this post and comments, and thought it quite the coincidence that I saw Srini’s name pop up — Srini and I worked together at flightster.com and I just interviewed him for a new project of mine, nerverush.com.

Regarding information overload, as a new HubSpot employee I’m overwhelmed with the amount of training materials, internal Wiki articles, printouts, etc. at my disposal. It’s fascinating to see a company churn out so much information, both internally and externally. Happy to be on this side of the fence, but understand that, as Srini mentions above, it’s not necessarily about the noise, it’s more about how much work someone is willing to put in to get things done. That’s what all these strategies are about, right? As a HubSpot user (or VAR, in your case), it’s inbound marketing, and as a HubSpot employee, it’s sorting through the materials and staying organized.

Great post, Marcus!

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

Alan, a pleasure man, so glad you stopped by and I actually saw Srini tweet something about being interviewed on neverush….Tell me, do you live on the West Coast but work for HS? That’s really interesting and I actually didn’t know they hired outside of Boston.

But I hope your new employment goes well man. It’s an incredible company that I care deeply about and believe firmly in.

And thanks so much too for stopping by Alan,

Marcus

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Alan December 15, 2011 at

Nope, live in Boston! Keep up the good work over here.

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Bryan Thompson December 13, 2011 at

Interesting problem to have. You certainly can’t fault Hubspot for having bad content. They are up to the minute with information. But there needs to be some coaching perhaps. For all I know there is, but some type of follow up to let users know where to spend the most energy when starting out and when to start doing more advanced stuff.

I recently began exploring the forex market to do a little trading, so I signed up for a practice account with FXCM. The next DAY one of their coaches had called me AND emailed me with any advice I needed to start. Maybe something like this would be helpful for Hubspot.

By the way, I wonder if they will take notes of reviews like yours. It would be interesting to see what their response is.

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2011 at

Forex, ehhh Bryan? You’ll have to let me know how that one goes man, it has always been an interesting field to me.

As for whether or not HS notices the comments here, it’s my hope they will give it a look and lend their voice as well. It’s obviously a pretty significant topic for HS users, and really all marketers in general.

Really appreciate the comment bud.

Marcus

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Kirsten Knipp December 13, 2011 at

TMI – it can definitely be a challenge and you’ve rightly identified, Marcus, something that is a tension for any content driven business – especially in the land of the web where things change by the minute!
The good news, and as reflected by the many comments here, is that we are aware of the challenge as it presents itself to our customers and even our non-customer fans, followers and inbound ‘students’ if you will. Over the years, as we’ve increased the educational material, we’ve worked really hard to maintain or improve quality as we grew – glad to hear that’s worked. What we’ve also done more of is segmentation and parsing people OUT of the content firehose – for example, we auto unsubscribe customers from our marketing emails once they sign on … so that they can focus on their training.
That said – we are forever on the hunt for ways to find the RIGHT balance. Whether its product or content, we are looking for many ways to simplify and/or better deliver the RIGHT content at the RIGHT time to the RIGHT person. Ideas have included a library format that is defined by user search/preferences to dynamically presented content based on behavior and results.
Like many of the big, hairy problems we’ve tackled over the years, I feel great to be on a team that I think CAN crack the code. I am also thrilled that so many customers are sharing their voice – if you have more ideas as to what we can improve, know that we are all ears (virtual ears that is).
Thanks for a great discussion!

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

Kirsten, awesome of you to jump in here with this and give us a feel for what HS is doing. One thing I know for sure is that you all care very much, you listen, and you’re working on a solution.

Continued success with this wonderful movement my friend,

Marcus

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Joshua Porter December 13, 2011 at

Marcus,

Thank you so much for writing this and keeping us on our toes! I’m the Director of User Experience here at HubSpot and I want to let you know what we’re doing about all of this.

First off, your post is tough on us, and rightfully so. You have nailed a major issue that we have at HubSpot. I have spoken to a couple of folks here in the office and we were all nodding along with your analysis. In our exuberance to give out high quality marketing content we have actually gone too far…we send too many messages to our customers over time and for some of them it’s overwhelming. We see a broad spectrum of responses and there is certainly a group of folks who feel that they’re suffering from TMI. In some cases, as you mention, it’s actually distracting!

We are addressing this in several ways:

1) We are currently working on analyzing exactly how to fix the problem of TMI. It’s a tough problem because we have a lot of customers who love the large amount of content we provide and others who are simply overwhelmed. We’re confident we’re on the right track with our latest designs, but they’re not yet released so we haven’t effectively solved the problem yet.

2) Since September we’ve started usability testing all of our software as we develop it. (we only did it sporadically before). This has already had a big impact on our latest releases. Our product teams are seeing how people use the software in a live setting earlier than ever before. This has been a major change for our teams, and we’re getting so much good feedback that we’re pushing for even more testing in the coming months. Parts of our software are already much more simple as a result.

3) Recently we’ve been doing heavy user research on the customer lifecycle, including the pain points that you point to such as post sign-up, how to begin a blogging program, and knowing what your next priorities are. We are working with our VARs and consultants to pinpoint all the little friction points that our customers face and then working with the product teams to smooth them out. We are actively working on making our content more contextual…so that it surfaces for people when they need it.

4) We are actively investing in our design and development team. We’re adding people everyday who are awesome at what they do. We already had an amazing developer team, but we’re dedicated to making it even better. We’re betting big that we can dramatically improve the product over the next few months and continue to improve it, well, forever. We are embracing the concept that software is never done…because we know that our customers deserve software that is always improving.

5) We’re involving our customers more and more in our product development. We now have a beta group of customers who get first access to new features and who help us test early versions of software. We would love it if you or any of the folks reading want to get in on this. We can guarantee that your thoughts and feedback get heard by product managers who then use them as direct input into product changes.

If you or any of your readers are interested in participating in our beta group, please email me directly at jporter@hubspot.com

I know that us doing these things doesn’t make your life as a HubSpot customer better immediately. I’m extremely sorry and embarrassed about this. It is going to take us some time to thoughtfully change and tweak things. Although I can’t share any upcoming product details publicly yet, I can say that I’m extremely excited about the next few months…we’ve got some dramatic improvements to share with you.

Finally, thank you so much for writing this, Marcus! This is tough medicine to swallow, but it’s the medicine that is going to make HubSpot the world-class software platform for marketing professionals. We are taking it to heart, and we are dedicated to fulfilling that promise! Passionate people like you are the people we live to serve. Please keep holding our toes to the fire!

Thanks,

Joshua Porter
Director of UX, HubSpot

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Dan Moyle December 13, 2011 at

Wow. What a well thought out, transparent reply Joshua. This is one reason why I think HubSpot is so great: offering information even when it doesn’t “have to.” Thanks for responding for us readers! Cheers.

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

Joshua, dang man. Really. Double dang. This comment was so thorough that I linked to it directly in today’s Sales Lion newsletter. Really, it’s comments like this that show how humble you are, how much you care, and what your ultimate vision is.

And for the record, I’d love to be involved in any beta groups. And I’d love to help in any way. But you likely already knew that. ;-)

Let’s make sure to meet in person the next time I’m up there Joshua.

Marcus

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Joshua Porter December 15, 2011 at

We’ll definitely get you in our beta group, Marcus. And yes…please make sure to let me know next time you’re in Boston! Would be great to meet and catch up.

We’re going to keep at this until all of our customers are as passionate as you are. :)

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Ellie Mirman December 16, 2011 at

As always, we love the enthusiasm from you, Marcus, and all the readers/commenters here!

As Josh mentioned, we’re doing more user testing and research than ever before. And from this thread we’ve already got a few new beta testers – thank you!

For anyone else who would like to sign up to participate in the beta group (try out new software) or user testing (give feedback on prototypes and mockups of new software), you can sign up for the beta group at http://customers.hubspot.com/beta or sign up for user testing at http://customers.hubspot.com/user-testing

We love the feedback – keep it coming!

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Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2011 at

Thanks so much Ellie. You’re one of the best people that Hubspot has, and I’m really grateful for your words and efforts.

Best,

Marcus

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L December 14, 2011 at

I’m in the Hubspot TMI loop too sometimes. I want to experiment with it, before I recommend it to clients, but there are several issues for me

1 — the TMI is not the “I” I need. Eg. if I am working with a WordPress installation, the problem of getting the code into the theme, child, etc. is not addressed in an easy-to-find manner in their trial. This is a minor issue, I’ve gotten the tech help email.

2 — if I sign my client’s websites up for HubSpot, will I lose my ability to manage the “client interface,” ? and I sense they will get all this gunk email from HubSpot that reads “OMG did you not blog today? Shame!”

3 — HubSpot is definitely not for non-marketers, the idea that “any small business person” could use it is as absurd as thinking you can buy a studiopress theme and make it work for you without hiring a developer. Yes, you get out of it what you put into it, but it’s the rare small business that wants to put in that kind of time investment. That said, as a potential “reseller”, I don’t want HubSpot overwhelming my client, I want the to be able to be the filter, not abdicate that to HubSpot, even for their near daily emails.

4 – They are too Boston centric, there are no events in SF area where I can see a live demo and talk to someone who is using it. No, I’m not going to fly to their Boston conference and pay for the privilege. Seems they are only in SF to pitch investors for the potential IPO, obviously a focus.

5 — I never just “blast” a blog post out to FB, twitter, etc., all those feeds are customized to make use of their format; they are media unto themselves, just as I wouldn’t “blast” the same ad out to Car & Driver, the NY Times, and SFist. I am not sure how HS handles this issue, would love to hear from you.

6 — My business model is different and more of a concierge advisory service that integrates a lot more than “inbound marketing” like their favorite VAR PR20/20, but it seems they want everyone to look like PR20/20 and that’s not my model, HS salesmen aren’t interested when they call me.

For all these reasons, right now I’m fine patching it together using adweber, google analytics, and so on, and hiring a developer to fix the inevitable glitches in SP themes, and making sure that my clients know what they need to know, when they need to know it, and I can present it in the manner I know they want to get it, and with a human touch.

There is huge potential in HS and I am watching, but I’m focused on the potential for me, not their IPO.

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

Hey Lisa, heck of a comment here, I’ll give you a few of my thoughts as well:

#2: You will not lose the ability to manage the interface. I jump in and out of my client’s ‘stuff’ all the time. Regarding the info coming, if you get a client and you want them to stay 100% focused, you can always just unsubscribe from any of the lists there.

#3: I will partially disagree with you on this statement. Every single client I have that uses HS (I have about 20) is a non-techie, non marketer. Each has been trained to use the CMS, produce content, utilize the analytics, etc. Yes, it does take a heck of a lot of work at first, but I find within about 2 months they start to really rock and roll with their comfort level assuming they’ve put in the time. For non-marketers though, I do feel it’s the best all-in-one platform out there.

#4 I would love to see this further developed as well. They’ve talked about having a major HUG (hubspot user group) conference on the West Coast.

#5 You can customize the platform to auto post certain things…or not.

#6 I actually like the sound of your model, and personally, I think you could rock in that type of format. I’m also very, very different than PR 20/20. I have zero retainers. I train them, give them the vision, and empower them to grow without me (or at least that’s always the goal). That’s the way I prefer to do it because that’s what I did as a pool guy turned Marketing consultant. It’s not a good fit for everyone, but it’s what works for me.

Good luck to you with this Lisa, don’t hesitate to hit me up with any questions in the future.

Marcus

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Lisa Kanarek December 14, 2011 at

Starting a project, any project, can be overwhelming. Add in factors like SEO, social media sites, etc. and business owners may throw their hands in the air and give up. As I read your helpful post, I thought of the saying, “if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” and could empathize with the people asking you where to start. They need some type of direction and definitely a starting and ending point. I’m sure Hubspot will work out the kinks and your observations may be the starting point for them. Thanks for the info.

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

Hey Lisa! (pretty cool URL btw ;-) )

I do hope that Hubspot, as well as folks like myself, can get this whole thing worked out. I’m brewing up a major guide in this area for 2012, so we’ll see how it shakes out. Much to do!!

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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Harriet December 14, 2011 at

I’ve never heard of Hubspot before, its nice to read about the technology that you bloggers use! I’m really trying to up my knowledge of technology, as my housemates keep telling me I need to know this stuff, we’re in the 21st century now (coming from them – IT students!)

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Marcus Sheridan December 15, 2011 at

Ahhh, it must be quite interesting Harriet living with a bunch of techies ;-)

At least they have you there to give them a piece of the ‘outside world’ ;-)

Good to see you,

Marcus

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Brenda Stoltz December 18, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

Great post. I do agree with what John Falchetto said, I don’t think it’s just HubSpot.

I keep three words in mind

Revenue generating activities.

I’m constantly in learning mode and a real sucker for all the information out there. But I am strict about making sure that the majority of my time is spent on revenue generating activities. It’s what keeps me sane (and on track) when I would otherwise be inclined to spend too long at the fire hose. I do the same with my clients. I work with them to help them understand where their time is best spent and ask them to ignore the rest of it (unsubscribe, delete and don’t ask Google).

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Marcus Sheridan December 19, 2011 at

Hey Brenda! So great to see you smile here on TSL :-)

‘Revenue Generating Activities’ may just be the most important phrase for businesses going into 2012 and beyond. I really mean that because the fire hose seems to be getting stronger and stronger, and those that can take the value from it, but filter out the rest without wasting time, are going to end up on top.

Again, so great to see you Brenda :-)

Marcus

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Art Gatenby December 19, 2011 at

Marcus,

Thanks for taking the time to do this. The comments about finding a way to break content by the stage of development that a user is working on will be a useful approach. The comments here cover most of the areas of concern to me.

Mostly for me right now its nose down, more blogs, more videos and GET TO SEO and stop being lazy

I repeat thanks again,

Art

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Marcus Sheridan December 19, 2011 at

Really appreciate you saying this Art and taking the time to stop by. In the next year, I’m hoping to develop one of the most premier Hubspot and inbound marketing ‘getting started’ guides in the world. We’ll see ;-)

Take care my friend,

Marcus

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Terry Robbins December 22, 2011 at

Marcus,
Good point and one I agree with. Where do I start. But in defense of HS, their training takes you from point a to b to c. The training has 3 levels and gets you up and running. At that point, you have to decide what social media your clients use…how often to blog…what offers will you have? There is always something to do, but I have the best tools ever for a non-techie and our traffic has increased 3000% in just over a year! Can’t fault that. And I agree with you 100% that if you fail, it’s not HS’s fault, it’s yours…you just didn’t do it.
Thanks for all you share too.
Terry

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Hartley December 23, 2011 at

Marcus,

I know I’m a few days late with this, but your post really struck a chord with me. I agree with most that the HubSpot product cold do more to direct actions instead of providing TMI. But I think that’s only a symptom of the larger online marketing arena in general.

Their are so many articles and reports and tips that a well-intentioned marketer could easily spend an entire day “drinking from the firehose” and not actually doing any meaningful marketing. It’s something that we, as marketers, need to be conscious of to prevent paralysis by analysis, as you mentioned.

I vented in an article I wrote earlier this afternoon that you might like (and yes, I note the irony of venting through an article that I’m sharing with marketing & sales professionals :-)

http://blog.hartleybrody.com/2011/12/stop-you%E2%80%99re-doing-it-wrong/

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Marcus Sheridan December 24, 2011 at

Hi Hartley, and thanks for adding your thoughts. Yep, the curse of TMI is everywhere, loud and proud, and I think we’ve all got to learn to filter much better than we have been doing up to this point.

Keep up the great work Hartley and thanks so much for dropping by!

Marcus

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Ileane December 25, 2011 at

Hi Marcus, I’ve been meaning to get back over here to your blog for the last few weeks and I finally made it! Whew! Believe or not, I just read the post and ALL of the comments. Do I get a gold star for that? :)
I signed up for a HS demo on behalf of my daughter who runs an online clothing store and after about 2 or 3 weeks I realized that it wasn’t the right tool for her. After all, since she is selling party dresses, she has a pretty simple business model.

HS also came up in a question on a forum that I’m very active on. The question was about the website grader tool and one of the metrics was mentioned that they should get more links from WordPress blogs. Keep in mind it’s been a long time since I used the website grader tool and I didn’t get all of the details from the person who posted in the forum but my advice was to ignore that portion of the report. I was almost tempted to run that website grader tool on my blog just to see “How I’m Doing?” But I decided against it because I started thinking about all the chatter over Klout and whether or not it really matters…..

Well at least now I know more about Hubspot and who can really benefit from it and I feel vindicated that I didn’t invest more time or money in it for my daughter’s website.

Hey, btw – I’m sure you know I’m a blogger and I spend a lot of time on social networks and curating content. So it’s really comical to me that I just found out there is such a thing as “content marketing”. (Don’t laugh) :)

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Marcus Sheridan December 26, 2011 at

Hey Ileane! So great to hear from you.

I’m not sure about the website grader report you heard of. There is a new one that Hubspot just launched that is way, way better than the old one, and you should consider giving it a look, as it’s not ‘Kloutish’ at all.

HS certainly is a great tool, but by no means is it for everyone.

Really appreciate you taking a moment to stop by Ileane, have a great holiday!

Marcus

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Peter Martino January 3, 2012 at

Marcus, Like you’ve I’ve been a Hubspot user for almost 3 years and have seen their growing pains manifest. At this point the good still far outweighs the bad–at least for me, and some of the automation tools that are in development now are going to be a huge asset for us. I completely agree about the TMI syndrome and “feeling like you’re not keeping up”. It’s funny reading this blog post today because just yesterday I set up my Google Reader account to receive my RSS rather than getting the blog post alerts by email. That way I can take 10-15 minutes a day to scroll through the most recent headlines of the popular blogs I’m currently reading (including yours) and decide which I want to click and read–as I did this article. This method is going to clean up my email and recapture dozens of wasted hours per week. PS I believe there are 3 main Hubspot blogs: blog.hubspot.com / camp.hubspot.com / customers.hubspot.com

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Marcus Sheridan January 3, 2012 at

Using RSS as an outlet is a great idea Peter, and it will certainly help you from getting absolutely smashed by emails day in and day out.

You’re doing great stuff my friend, well done!

Marcus

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Weston January 9, 2012 at

Excellent post. I haven’t even tried Hubspot yet as a direct result of what you write about. I feel exhausted and overwhelmed by just the free stuff they put up. I’m very fearful of paying them money and feeling that it is wasted because I feel paralyzed by all they offer, all that they want me to do, and my own limitations.

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Marcus Sheridan January 9, 2012 at

Don’t count out Hubspot though Weston. They may be a very good fit for you, along with inbound marketing, but you may just have to have a more focused approach, one that emphasizes your core strengths and puts aside those things that currently aren’t a good fit.

Good luck to you Weston!!

Marcus

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Darryl Smith February 14, 2012 at

Hi Marcus

I enjoyed your article and agree with the TMI. I have been a Hubspot user for over two years and I am getting more overwhelmed each month realizing how much I do not know about Hubspot tools and Inbound Marketing.

I found Hubspot to be a great learning tool and initially I did everything myself. I then hired a Hubspot partner to redesign my site and things improved a little more. I’m am starting to realize however that Inbound Marketing is really not for amateurs and I hired a non-Hubspot partner to take over content creation and SEO.

While I have appreciated the education I have gotten I am seriously considering leaving Hubspot and hiring an outside company to manage everything for me full time.

Since hiring the outside company my stats have improved greatly – my Hubspot score is 97, mozRank is 4.6 and my Alexa rank is 741,091. Although these number seem great, I’m lucky if I get 1-2 leads per month and they do not normally turn into business.

I’d appreciate your feedback on my comments as I would like to continue with Hubspot but I am having difficulty justifying the expense and personal time commitment.

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Naomi Pierce July 18, 2012 at

Marcus, thank you for this blog and this post. One thing I’ve been pondering lately is “maturing business processes.” All the tools in the world are not going to benefit an organization if their business processes (or their PEOPLE) are not ready, able, or willing to use them.

I joined HubSpot in 2010 and was extremely grateful for the “onboarding” process where I talked to my inbound marketing consultant weekly until I got up to speed. This was much more valuable than all the blog posts I see. And often, when I go to look for something I’m really in pain about, it’s hard to find on the forums.

I’m sure this will even out as HubSpot matures. I think of it as growing pains.

In the meantime, it’s great to see you blogging. I remember the first time I attended a local HUGS user group … I said “It’s great to be in a room full of people who all know who Marcus Sheridan is!” HubSpot geek that I am.

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SUM1 October 22, 2012 at

I have also been a longtime supporter, customer and partner of Hubspot. I want to see it succeed and believe in the foundation of what they do. However as I have watched them grow — I have also seen them decline swiftly. The customer support may still seem cheerier and that they love their customers but the actual knowledge base of an account rep has declined majorly. Same for support. There are tiers now, and I always find that I have to wiggle my way straight to a trusted support person. Too many layers until I get at the info I need.

Also, their migration into beta, i.e. Hubspot 3 has been spotty at best. I have seen major issues. HUGE issues with syncing to SFDC. I am on a call to support daily. It’s gotten so bad we are looking at alternatives.

I really think they were not ready for the migration to HubSpot 3. They got a little ahead of themselves at Inbound 12.

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Marcus Sheridan October 26, 2012 at

Very interesting points, and I very much appreciate the comment.

Time will tell I guess.

Marcus

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Denise Kilmer November 12, 2012 at

Gosh, I could not agree more. This was very therapeutic to learn that so many others had the same response as I did during the first six months with Hubspot. I felt challenged and pushed, which was wonderful, but to the point where I was overwhelmed and clearly expressed that back to Hubspot. I just figured it was the culture gap of Milleniums vs. Boomers ( with me of course, being one of the baby boomers). I took their advice and switched my attentions to just blogging for the months that followed. Although blogging has brought some leads and improved SEO, I am ready to take it to the next level; but not certain about what to do next. In the meanwhile, I am working towards freshening up the look of our website and also going to hone the SEO on per page basis. Sales Lion always puts a common sense perspective on inbound marketing. So thank you for keeping us grounded in this new style of marketing!

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Eileen Forman November 30, 2012 at

The problem with Hubpsot is NOT too much information. The problem with Hubspot is that the system no longer functions properly after their November revisions. Changes to HS policy have severely crippled usability. Analytic data integrity is not there. So, not an issue of too much information…more of an issue of Hubspot not having market research folks on board to help them understand how to present the data on a historical basis.

I was initially thrilled with Hubspot. Linking SEO, CRM, and social media is a powerful tool. But if the SEO tool is down for months, and then the e-mail tool dis-allows many reasonable campaigns, and the ability to attach a reasonably sized white paper as a follow-up to landing page doesn’t work…and the archive process for contacts above your limit causes your data metrics to become SERIOUSLY skewed…you’ve got to wonder! HS needs to rollback to policies and systems they had as of September/October 2012, and put the recent changes back into beta test until everything is working more smoothly.

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Marcus Sheridan December 2, 2012 at

Eileen, this was really, really interesting to hear. What has HS told you as you’ve brought up these issues? Thanks so much for bringing this up,

Marcus

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Daniel Fox April 7, 2013 at

I used to subscribe to HubSpots blog, but I felt like I was getting blitzed with too much information so I unsubscribed.

I think instead of publishing as many blog posts as they do, they should focus more on an overall training programs and certifications.

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Marcus Sheridan April 9, 2013 at

I think they’ve definitely gotten better Daniel with this over the past year. Appreciate the comment!

Marcus

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Dan Moyle April 9, 2013 at

The HubSpot Academy is getting better and has some great training materials: http://academy.hubspot.com/

I don’t subscribe via email to the HS blog because of the fire hose syndrome. Too much information. However, I like to follow certain HubSpotters (on Twitter mostly) and see what they’re sharing. That works best for my taste.

Cheers,
Dan Moyle

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Ellie Mirman April 9, 2013 at

We also have daily and weekly subscription options to the HubSpot blog – it’s actually what I subscribe to myself so that I can stay up to date with the content. (http://blog.hubspot.com/email-preferences)

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Dan Moyle April 9, 2013 at

Ellie! I thought there was that option, too. Love it. Hope you’re well!
Cheers.

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Denise Kilmer December 13, 2013 at

On Hubspot-
“They are machines when it comes to their content. I think this has helped their brand and SEO in a major way, but it also has overwhelmed many a follower. ”
I could not agree more. I was was with Hubspot in 2011, and repeatedly told them how overwhelmed I was. They did encourage me keep focusing on blogging, which is what I did, and it did bring us some formerly unattainable business; even reaching across the globe. We just needed more of it in order to survive the recession. Sadly, we had to cancel our service after a year and a few months. I’m certain there is so much more to learn. We launched a new website, which has also been wonderful, but there’s still more work to continually be done to optomize. And I am a one person social media marketer.

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