A Review of Bedrock Data Integration with Zak Pines: One Last Tool 2.4
George: Hey One Last Tool viewers, George B. Thomas here and I’m super excited this week. I know I say that all the time, but this week, we get to get nerdy with data. In other words, do you need data to go from one point to another point, like from a CRM to a marketing automation software? Well, if so, then Bedrock Data might be a right fit for you. Let’s dive into this week’s interview to find out.
Hey everybody, George B. Thomas back again with another episode of One Last Tool. Today, I am very excited because this is the first time … I don’t know. It’s a tool, but it’s not a typical tool meaning, you might not download it, you might not use it every day, although … Actually you probably won’t touch it every day, you’ll use it every day. Anyway, you’re probably wondering what in the heck am I talking about? Without further ado, let’s go ahead and invite our guest to say … Zak, explain to the viewers who you are, who you work for, and what you do there.
Zak: Great George. Zak Pines. I’ve been in the mar-tech space for a couple decades, so thrilled to connect with you today George. I’m with Bedrock Data. We’re based in Boston. We’re a big time HubSpot partner as well as partnering with other marketing automation and CRM and broader sales and marketing stack tools. We work with over 50 today. We are an integration platform. We help companies connect HubSpot and other marketing automation systems to other parts of their sales and marketing stack, and we do it in a way that is both easy and powerful, and I know we’ll get into that probably a little bit more here. I’m VP of marketing, so I’m both a user as well as out there sharing the good word about Bedrock Data. I’m a HubSpot user, Bedrock Data user. You and I met, George, in the lead-up to Inbound last year and I featured you in my HubSpot Power Research series, so thanks for inviting me back in here today.
George: Well Zak, the viewers know that’s how it works. Tit for tat, right? We just kinda share the love around. Now viewers and listeners, I will say this too, that if we get too nerdy for you, you’re just gonna have to either reach out to me or reach out to Zak because we may, this is just a warning, there may be nerdy speak ahead. But before we get too nerdy Zak, I want to talk about a little deeper, cause I know at the beginning you kind of said it, I want to talk a little bit deeper about what is Bedrock and maybe even, and I don’t usually do this so I may throw some of the listeners off, but what is, and maybe who is, and maybe a little bit of culture around Bedrock Data?
What is Bedrock Data?
Zak: Okay. We connect … The most common, I’d say use case, if you will, for Bedrock Data, is you’re a company, you’ve got an established CRM system. We see NetSuite, we see Microsoft Dynamics, we see ConnectWise which is very popular in the MSP space. We see even things like ZOHO CRM or SugarCRM. And you’re a marketer, your company is well established on those CRMs. It’s running sales processes, back office processes, finance team, operations team. It’s well established. But you as the marketer want to either turn to HubSpot or really step up your use of HubSpot, or other marketing tools. Bedrock Data helps you connect those systems in an easy way. One of the phrases that one of our customers uses is, “We got unleashes. We unleashed the marketing team in HubSpot but we were able to stay align and connected from a data perspective with sales, with finance, with all the other departments.” So that’s what Bedrock Data does, we do it in some neat ways which we can talk about.
Culturally, we’re a small growing company. We’re based not too far from HubSpot in Boston. Some of the founders of Bedrock Data, in fact, came from HubSpot so there’s a lot of orange in our DNA for sure.
George: And viewers, you know by this room and by me in general, I bleed orange so I’m glad that we can have the orange talk here. Although I want people to realize that Bedrock Data, like you said, is not just about HubSpot it’s about many platforms and so, again, I’m going to warn people this might get nerdy with this question but I want to ask the next question Zak, and that’s just simply, how in in the world does Bedrock Data work?
How Does Bedrock Data Work?
Zak: Cool, that’s a great one. Think of it as, you’ve got HubSpot and let’s go with the example of CRM system. These systems have objects, so HubSpot has contacts, and opportunities, and accounts. Those are probably the three biggest ones. Now, the other systems have similar things but they may call their objects something different, and they’re going to have a different fields so Bedrock data, first and foremost, helps you map the objects, the data, from multiple systems. Two or more systems. And in doing so it has powerful options like determining when data is gonna move from one system to another, how it’s gonna update, what system is in control if there’s a conflict. Everything that gets involved.
A couple things about this market that are pretty interesting, because I think it will give context to who we are and what we’re doing. There’s some very high-end, IT-heavy tools on this market. There’s actually a whole market category called iPaas, which is Integration platform as a service. And that’s well beyond the price point of Bedrock Data. These are toolkits that IT teams want to invest in for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Informatica, Dell has a product called Boomi, MuleSoft has a product and these are all high-end IT tools. Bedrock Data is solving that problem for the marketer, for the small-business owner, for the sales marketing and support executives that want to see their data aligned so we’re typically working with teams anywhere from, I would say even 5 and 10 employees up to a few hundred where they want to get these SaaS systems working together. But they want to do it in a way that’s easier and less expensive than an IT heavy bypass approach.
The other comparison that we get asked about a lot is, “How does Bedrock Data compare to Zapier?” And the answer there is, Bedrock Data is actually syncing databases. Zapier you’re moving something at one point in time from one system to another, but if you think about integrating HubSpot to a CRM system there’s a constant back and forth between marketing and CRM. You’ve got a guy, on a given day he might be talking to a sales rep, he might be registering for content, registering for a webinar, visiting multiple webpages and it’s actually continuous back and forth between the systems. That’s not what Zapier does, Zapier does really like a one-time update to create something once, that’s it. That bidirectional databasing is where Bedrock really specializes. When companies are trying to make sure their systems are continually talking to each other in current to allow their teams to be as effective as possible as they’re working through their day and working with customer data.
George: Zak, that was an awesome answer and it got me thinking like, I’m listening to who you said: sales and marketing and small business and so I realized they’re probably listening or watching this interview and they’re wondering, “Well, I wonder if Bedrock Data is a good fit for me” and I want to flip that question and I want to ask you this simple thing and that is, who is Bedrock Data a best fit for? How do you determine that?
Who Is A Good Fit For Bedrock Data?
Zak: We are a good fit for anyone … I’ll tell ya the people that are reaching out to us every day they’re marketing, sales, support, operations, leaders, or those responsible for the operations of those teams. And they are people that either have or are purchasing new systems that have them thinking, “I really need these systems to work better together.” Those are the people we’re talking to every day, those are the people we’re helping every day.
George: I’m going to dig a little bit deeper in this one because I’ve always been curious. It’s sort of the same question but it’s phrased in a different way, is there a set of tools that people will come to you and you’re like, “Oh! Not again! Why would anyone want to integrate with that. You shouldn’t be using that.” Are there maybe one, two, three tools that you wish you could do something about but because you can’t these are like non-fit customers.
Who Is Not A Good Fit For Bedrock Data?
Zak: That’s a heck of a question. There’s not one tool that comes to mind. What I will say is the nature of our business is, we do have to build these pretty deep connectors so we’re up to over 50. People do come to us and say, “Can you guys integrate with XYZ?” And what we’ll say is, “Let’s see if we can get them to a product roadmap, let’s see if that timing works for you.” So we do get off the beating path requests, they could be a vertical specific CRMS, we’ve seen stuff in education, we’ve seen stuff in finance, we’ve seen stuff in healthcare. And we’ll always talk to people about it. Personally, I’m always curious about what people are trying to do but we do sometimes have to say “no” if it’s not something that is on a roadmap just because we’re looking to develop those connectors for broad market adoption.
George: Great answer. You answered that about the best that anybody can answer so, Zak, kudos to you. I know we talked about Bedrock Data and how it’s about data syncing and that would be the easy answer and I could leave it at that but I’m not going to because I think there might be a deeper rooted answer to the question I’m going to ask now, and that is, what problem does Bedrock Data really handle? What is it solving for the end user?
What Major Problems Does Bedrock Data Solve?
Zak: That’s good. I appreciate you pushing on that one because you’re right, the data sync is the function, but problem, it certainly goes deeper. The way I’ve thought about this, George, is I’ve actually looked at a few hundred customers that we’ve helped now over the last couple years and I bucketed them into four ways that Bedrock Data is helping.
Number one is moving leads and customers through their process as efficiently as possible. Which is to say, as a marketer I’m always beating up sales, response times, calling the leads, being informed about the leads. Those are all ways that Bedrock helps companies in terms of gluing together systems and making sure … Okay, lead comes in in HubSpot, I want someone to call that person, in PhoneBurner, in the CRMs and I want that to happen in real time. So the speed of what sales and marketing team are working is one way.
The second is visibility. HubSpot has all this rich data, once again, if I’m using a different CRM system, I want to get that data over so the sales reps or the BDRS can see. You know, what form fill did this guy make, what was the email sent to them, what is their lead score, where’s the HubSpot public contact record. So getting that, kind of key HubSpot intelligence, for example, into another system be it a CRM or a support system is very valuable.
The third thing is really being able to really leverage your database. HubSpot Smartlist, very powerful, even more powerful if you have data coming in there from different data sources that you could then automate my Smartlist so I want to segment by industry or by customer type and I want that just to be set up automated. Maybe I’m triggering nurturing campaigns, maybe I’m triggering customer marketing campaigns based on lifecycle. Those are all kind of powerful concepts.
And then the last thing is the full-funnel analytics. As marketing hands off leads to other systems, pulling that data back and unlocking some of those key data points in HubSpot like, what’s your mile lead sources is driving the most opportunities or the most customers or the most dollars. That’s very powerful stuff for modern marketing teams to have.
George: I am like, so glad I pushed back on that question because that was brilliant, love it. Four ways, four problems that it’s solving. So I gotta be honest with you and I always love this next question that I bring out because usually people get a little squirly and they’re like, “Aw man, really? We gotta answer that question?” And I will tell you too, that I’m really loving it in this interview because I’m sure if we can look in the other way of this camera and see people who were watching the interview, a little bit ago in the interview you said, “IT solutions of a hundred thousand or plus dollars.” There were probably some people out there that fainted. And so now we’re talking about … It’s we’re connecting to platforms, we’re syncing data continuously, it’s solving these four problems and you know what all that usually equals, Zak? Is that I have to give my right arm, my leg, and my firstborn child to be able to afford it.
How Much Does Bedrock Data Cost?
So with that said, I really want you to talk about, how much does Bedrock Data cost? And I don’t know if there’s a firm hard number, maybe there is, but at least give the viewers, the listeners an idea of, you know, “I’m gonna solve all these problems but it’s gonna cost me this.”
Zak: We’re big believers in SaaS and transparency so our pricing is right there on our website, bedrockdata.com, there’s a pricing page. But what I can tell you, George, is pricing starts at $399 a month, it does scale up for larger databases but we find that $399 price point opens this up to a lot of companies. We have 10, 20, 25, 30 person companies and this is painful enough where getting HubSpot or other marketing systems connected into their sales systems is giving them really good value to solve some of these problems and just the nature of having connection between the systems and being able to more rapidly follow up leads and track them through and have sales and marketing systems working more effectively, there’s good value in being able to solve the problem for as little as $399 a month.
George: Yeah and folks, that’s probably not $3.99, that’s three hundred ninety nine dollars. But to be honest with you, the way I look at this, Zak, is with the problems that it solves and the nature of the beast between sales and marketing being able to work together, that’s a bargain at twice the price. It just is, people. So, the next thing and again, we’re about to play volleyball, we’re playing interview volleyball here for a second because I’m going to ask a question that again sometimes comes off as difficult but the question I ask after that I’m going to set it, and then you’re going to spike it during the second question. So, you mentioned Zapier, it does things a little bit different. You mentioned these hundred thousand dollar tools for IT that really is larger-scale than what you’re trying to focus in on but, who are, when you look at the space, who are Bedrock, your guys’s competitors?
Who Are Bedrock Data’s Competitors?
Zak: What’s fascinating to me, George, and continues to be is, there really is this sweet spot in the market that we’re solving. There is … We find ourselves competing against what I described to you, which is, we’re competing at times against the IT approach, IT-centric approach, we’re at times competing against lower end simple tools like Zapier.
In the mid-market sweet spot that we’re really going for, I haven’t seen another tool that is doing it in this sort of enabling the marketers and the operations folks through a product but in a way that is well supported by an onboarding team, like our approach. The competitor that we end up seeing is, more of a professional services approach, which is, “Okay, we’re a services firm that’s going to charge you an hourly fee to get this wired up for you.” But what we warn people about is, these things change and evolve. So people like Bedrock Data because they have this ability to the integration, they can see what data is connected, if they make a change, if they’re adding fields, they can do that themselves. Or work with our support team to do that whereas if you pay a services firm to wire up your systems, well guess what? Things change. The cash register keeps ringing and using your comment, it’s going to be a lot more than $3.99 to make those updates over time if you’re working with a third party systems integrator.
George: Which actually is interesting, that’s really a good place for you to be that you can’t name, two, three, four competitors yet, right? My thing, though, is, and this may be a longer answer because you have the professional services, you have the Zapier, you have these more expensive tools, and other than cost, because saying, “Hey, we’re cheaper than those tools.” How would you say, if you had to explain to folks, and you sort of did a little bit right there, but I think we can go deeper. Why is your solution, why is Bedrock Data better than the other opportunities out there?
What Makes Bedrock Data Better Than Their Competitors?
Zak: So it’s empowering that marketer to manage and have visibility into their integration. So Bedrock data is a product with an interface and the marketer is in control to see it, to understand it and to be able to make adjustments. Which is important as time goes on, and as you want to bring in more and more systems and you want to make changes.
Other very important things about what’s different about Bedrock Data, we allow you to connect multiple systems. Some of our costumes are doing three, four, five, six systems. So it’s not just a one to one kind of hard connection, it’s actually, you can tie together more systems and we’re finding … You’ve probably seen that Marktech infographic, George, there’s 4,000 plus marktech systems out there, there’s a lot of systems that people are working with. You want to connect them together.
And just lastly, the point, again, and this is more the comparison to a tool like Zapier, that bidirectional integration is a very important differentiator versus other, call it, toolkit approaches to moving data that if you’re truly looking at connect data across a business with multiple departments, data needs to sync in both directions as different teams and different systems are operating.
George: Yeah, you know it’s funny, I hate to even say this but so many times I believe that omnidirectional is like a waste of time, bidirectional data is the magic sweet spot. So, sorta snicker on this next question because I’ve actually used Bedrock Data before but I have to be careful because I am a techy guy, right? But one of the things that I found as I’ve traveled this world of the interwebs is that there are people who are techy and they’re savvy and they just “get it” and then, Zak, well, there’s these folks that just aren’t. And so, if somebody contacts Bedrock Data, if they try to get involved in getting this integration, this bidirectional data flowing, what are some of the possible problems that they might actually run into?
What Are The Major Problems A Bedrock Data User May Run Into?
Zak: Great question George, before I get to that I want to make one point because it’s interesting about how the business has evolved based on learning from our customers. What we’ve found is, most customers like the value proposition we’ve been talking about, which is visibility, control, the ability to make adjustments. But, everyone’s busy, and especially in sort of mid-sized companies, there’s a lot to really get right when you’re connection multiple systems. So we’ve found the best approach is we have this rapid onboarding, where Luke Owen runs that team, he’s actually a former HubSpot account manager, customer success guy and we’ve really got it down to a science where we’re making sure we understand our customer’s requirements but we tend to do call it, 80% of the keystrokes to make sure that the systems are wired up initially and then the customer understands it, they can evolve it, they can come back to our support team.
The kind of things that get typically, call it, you know, sorted out, that could be “gotchas” are, I mean the first is, guess what? It’s actually authenticating to the systems because for Bedrock Data to do its job, it’s gotta reach into the NetSuite, or the Microsoft Dynamics and HubSpot and Marketo and Pardot, Salesforce whatever systems we’re connecting. Well, step one is we need login credentials that have admin privileges. In the case of HubSpot that’s pretty easy but when you start dealing with an enterprise, getting that, the CRM credentials, that can be a couple weeks right there just to kinda make sure you got the right authentication. So that tends to be a key step in the onboarding.
The other step is, when it comes to connecting systems, we’re often reliant on adding custom fields. In that example I gave you earlier where you got some really good marketing data and you turned it the CRM system, well, before we do our job we actually want to go into the CRM system and add some custom fields to those field layouts because we want the sales reps of that team to see that information natively, as their used to, right in the interface that they’re using every single day. That’s going to be adding a few custom fields in the right pick list so it’s that kind of hands-on administration work that is part of the onboarding. It’s not overly difficult but it needs to be done carefully and precise and that’s a lot of the hand-holding that Luke Owen’s team does with our customers.
George: Incredible, this has been a great interview. Zak, I mean, there’s probably so many companies out there that don’t realize, A, this solution exists, and they’ve been trying to go back and forth between two different systems and manually do this stuff. If somebody wants to connect with you if they want to learn more about Bedrock Data, where do you want to sent them? And maybe I’ll end this way too, I’ll give you a little extra thing, you hop on an elevator, you got twelve floors to go up and somebody asks you, “Why should I do this?” What do you tell them?
Zak: Why you should work with Bedrock Data? You want … everyone’s challenge by growth, you want your systems to work together. Have your systems work for you, not against you. You need these things connected so that you can work at the velocity and the pace that your organization needs so that your teams have accurate information and that they’re being efficient with their time and that you can report on all of it. I’d say … You want your business to perform and performance means that your systems are connected and working well together.
In terms of, George, how to get more information, well by the beauty of the podcast recording schedule, as I’m talking to you, I’m also in the midst of launching a major website update next week but by the time folks hear this, I will be live. So check out my big website updates at bedrockdata.com. Definitely would love people’s feedback on the site but the way the site’s navigated is you can drill down into your system, so there’s a whole page dedicated to HubSpot and what we do with HubSpot, connectors and their capabilities. You can read about Bedrock Data, you can read about what Bedrock Data does for HubSpot or other connected systems at bedrockdata.com.
George: Very cool. Folks, that’s how we roll here on One Last Tool, no fuss, no mess, just great tools. Until next time, go out into the world, grab that tool and do good work.