A Review of HubSpot Marketing Automation with Mark Kilens: One Last Tool 2.5
George Thomas: Hey, folks. George B. Thomas here, once again, for One Last Tool. I am super duper super excited which is more excited than I’ve ever been for any episode of One Last Tool, but that’s because today, I feel I am bringing the school that I have gone to for about 1,000 years which, of course, in internet years, that’s probably four years. We’ll wonder if any of you know what I’m actually talking about, but today’s tool is a great tool. Mark, why don’t you go ahead and explain to the viewers who you are, what you do, and who you deal for.
Mark Kilens: Thanks, George. Hey, folks. My name is Mark Kilens. I lead the HubSpot Academy Team at HubSpot. Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode. I’ve been with HubSpot for about seven years and have been leading the Academy team since it was officially founded about four years ago. We provide education and training to all of our amazing HubSpot users. We, now, have all types of users both for our marketing and sales products. We train them on everything from how to use the tools, Inbound marketing best practices, Inbound sales, the methodologies we have for those two things, including a lot of other exciting and interesting things that revolve around growing your business with Inbound and HubSpot.
George Thomas: Yeah. The academy is incredible, certifications upon certifications. Look, listeners, viewers, if you want to change the way that you’re doing business and really, if you want to change your life, you dive into the ecosystem and that is HubSpot Academy. Now what I will say is, today, we’re going to bring it about 50,000-foot view up above all of this. We’re going to be talking about just HubSpot in general as the tool. It’s funny, Mark. As I do this interview, some of these questions, for me, are easy and some of these questions are hard. I’m like “Well, I can’t believe I’m about to ask you what is HubSpot?” Because, well, shoot everybody should know what HubSpot is but the reality is, there are still some people out there that don’t know the power of the orange. Why don’t we start there and let’s talk about, what the heck is HubSpot?
What is HubSpot?
Mark Kilens: Sounds good, George. HubSpot is an all in one Inbound marketing and Inbound sales platform. We have marketing and sales tools to help you grow your business. HubSpot has been around for about 10 years now. The companies evolved over those 10 years. It started out as just a marketing software company. Now, like I just mentioned, we’ve really grown into becoming a platform company. We have hundreds of different software companies that integrate with HubSpot now. You can use HubSpot to run both your marketing and sales. Now, we also have a free CRM that ties together your marketing and sales. It’s amazing. You should check that out but that’s, basically, HubSpot in a nutshell.
George Thomas: Mark, that’s awesome. Viewers, I will let you know the CRM, even though the word free in front of it, it ain’t no joke. You should go over to our YouTube channel, just do a search for HubSpot CRM tutorials. You’ll find a ton of them. You can do some mad crazy stuff. Now, Mark, let’s go ahead and dig a few levels deeper into this. How does HubSpot work? You feel free to talk about either just the marketing software, just the CRM software, or if you want, you can talk about both of them and how they work, how people can get them to do the things that they need them to do.
How Does HubSpot Work?
Mark Kilens: Great question, George. HubSpot is a unique type of software company and it’s a unique type of platform because there’s a methodology behind it that powers, really, the way you should setup and use HubSpot. We call that the Inbound methodology. There are four phases. HubSpot helps you attract people to your websites, to your brand. We then help you turn those people, convert those people into real leads contact to your business that you can engage with. We then help you close and turn those contacts into real customers and that’s where the revenue comes into play. Everyone’s favorite award, revenue. We hopefully give you some advises and tools to help you turn those customers into promoters of your product, of your service, and/or your brand and really evangelize what you’re doing as a business. It’s attracting, converting, closing, and delighting.
We have tools to cover the entire spectrum. The CRM that was announced about two years ago really ties together the marketing tools and the sales tools so that someone who is using HubSpot can watch a person go from being a stranger all the way to that customer to that promoter stage and measure what’s going on and see how you can serve up the right content and understand their behaviors so you can actually sell to them and help them in a way that they want to be sold to really buyer-centric, not seller-centric. Does that answer your question, George, or do you want me to get even deeper?
George Thomas: It answers my question, but if you think you can get deeper and you want to, then, hey, I’m open to that.
Mark Kilens: I think this is good for now. I just will say that we really strive to be three things. We try to be very helpful, human, and holistic as it relates to what HubSpot does and what Inbound is all about. It’s very human-centric marketing, human-centric selling, not interrupting people, really trying to add value at each different interaction someone is having with your business or brands. At the same time, we want to be very helpful. We want to help you understand how to be better, how to grow your sales, how to grow your business. You could do that through the software but also through HubSpot Academy in our certification programs and the different free resource we have to offer through Academy.
Holistically, this is all related. If you only do marketing in one part of your business as a separate entity and then you use sales as a separate entity, you’re almost in a silo and you do service separately, that’s no good. The way you should run and grow your business is using a very holistic Inbound approach. That means, everyone at that company, at your organization, it could be a five-person organization, it could be a 500-person organization is working together to provide that helpful human first approach to marketing and sales.
George Thomas: Yeah, Mark. I love it, holistic. I love the fact of human. Listen, viewers, listeners, I love the methodology. You got a football field and the players know where the out of bound is, they know where the 50 yard line is. You can look at your digital business and go, “Oh, this is this phase, this is this phase.” By the way, I’ll just go out on the limits and tell everybody right now that my favorite phase of this whole thing is the close phase because that’s money, money, money. I’m just saying, Mark mentioned it, revenue is what we’re all here for.
Now Mark, actually we’ve said business so far, we’ve said companies, we’ve said marketers, we’ve said sales professionals. I’m going to take us even deeper into this HubSpot Landia if you will and ask you, instead of just a general set of groups or people, who does HubSpot really feel they’re a best fit for?
Who Is A Good Fit For HubSpot?
Mark Kilens: That’s a good question. We find that HubSpot Inbound. It’s less about HubSpot. It’s more about Inbound. That way of thinking the philosophy of your Inbound being human and helpful, it really should be for everyone these days. It’s no longer good enough to just try to blast your message out. You need to really understand how you can use content and education to pull people in to the thing you’re trying to help them achieve. That could be anything in life, literally anything. For us, it’s about Inbound. We provide you the education, the way to think about this, and then we have this thing called, HubSpot, the tools to help you actually take these concepts, these philosophies and the best practices and implement them with our marketing platform, with the sales platform and tying them together with the CRM. We call that the growth stack. You want to have a growth stack for your business.
It could be, again, an Inbound team of one, one person, and he’s doing this. You try to grow a very small business which is awesome. I’ve been in that spot in my life or it could be a larger business and you have a marketing and a sales team and other teams. You’ll use this growth stack, the CRM, and then the sales and the marketing tools to attract those people to your website. Try them into customers and then build trust. Continue building links on that chain that is trust. You build more and more links over time by providing that helpful content. We help you create that content. We help you research what you need to create and what types of content you need to create or what types of format you need to create that content in to best achieve your goals, which is, again, building that bridge between marketing and sales to revenue.
George Thomas: Mark, that’s awesome. You just said the magic word, ding, ding, ding, trust. We’re all in the business of trust at this point. It’s funny because back in the day when I would ask that question, I would’ve thought that we would had to have a cost conversation where, “Well, if you’re a company that makes XYZ type of money or above, then you’re a good fit. If you don’t have this money, then you’re not a good fit.” Folks, I just want you to know that I haven’t been able to have that conversation about HubSpot since last Inbound because they came up with HubSpot free. No matter if you’re a very small business and you want to use the free tools to dip your toes into this Inbound world or you’re actually a small to medium size business that can afford the basic professional or enterprise version, which we’re going to talk a little bit more about that in a little bit. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s really wide open for almost anybody to start using this.
This is the question that, as I thought about our interview, and most companies that I’ve interviewed, they probably solved one or two problems. I started giggling to myself, Mark, because I was like HubSpot and CRM together, they probably have at least 32 tools inside of them. When I ask you what problem does HubSpot handle, it could easily go into a three-hour diatribe on each individual tool. I want you to boil this into, maybe, two or three of what you guys at HubSpot classifies like “These are the major hurdles that we are helping people solve.”
What Major Problems Does HubSpot Solve?
Mark Kilens: Great question. It comes up to two things, I think. Changing your business, transforming your business so it’s more human-centric and provides more value. It’s more helpful to the people you’re trying to reach and the people you’ve already reached and you already have their attention. That’s the first thing. I would say, you should check HubSpot Academy. We have a ton of free, actually, all of our training now. This is just as of a few months ago. All of our training in HubSpot Academy is free to anyone. There’s a lot of non-product training, not specific to HubSpot software.
We will help people grow personally and professionally. If you’re out of business, you’re going to learn how to take your business and make it more human and helpful. If you’re not on a business, maybe, you’re a college student, high school student, maybe you’re looking to get into marketing or sales, you’ll be able to use HubSpot Academy to understand those philosophies and those ways of doing business. That is the way you should be doing business these days which is matching the way people want to be marketed to, want to be sold to. It’s all about them, not you. The second thing is around growing yourself and growing your business. You can use HubSpot Academy to do that. You can learn how to do that with HubSpot Academy. Really, that’s where the tools come in, George.
You mentioned it, we have three, I want to say two, but we actually have three free different tools now. We have the CRM, which is that base of the growth stack. That’s a free tool. We have a marketing free tool and a sales free tool. Both of those are 100% free. You never have to pay for them. If you start with just those tools and use a little bit of HubSpot Academy’s education to make you understand what those tools can do and how you should use Inbound with those tools, you’ll quickly understand that, “Hmm, maybe, I should try and use one of these tools with our business” or “Hmm, maybe, I should try using one of these tools with my personal website that I have and maybe, I can increase my leadership on my blog or my personal brand that I’m trying to build.”
It goes both for the individuals and the businesses were here to serve. Between the education and the tools, we’ll try to become the one destination you need to go to to learn how to start and grow a business. HubSpot is that one destination you go to for a platform that can run your entire business.
George Thomas: Yeah. People, there is no ecosystem like HubSpot out there. I’ve looked. I’ve tried to dive into some other ecosystems. What I will tell you, and I’m big on a roadmap and Mark said something about how we actually have there’s education that is not specific to the actual platform. Folks, if you’re thinking, “Wow. Okay. What would that be? How do I get started?” I can tell you right now, get a piece of paper, a pen, because what you’re going to write down is that you should definitely focus on getting Inbound certified. You should focus on getting Inbound sales certified. After that, there’s a great certification on content marketing and e-mail marketing. Those four certification right there could literally change the way that your team does business moving forward in 2017, but that’s not why we’re here but I had to go on that little feel.
People are thinking, they’re listening to this, Mark. They’re going, “Holy crap. It’s sales. It’s marketing. It’s automation. It’s 30 some tools.” If not dipping my toe in with the free version, the burning question here is cost. I know that HubSpot cost can get confusing pretty quickly. What I want you to do for me on this one is, try to just go as simple as possible so people can get a feel before they head over to the pricing page, what they might find?
How Much Does HubSpot Cost?
Mark Kilens: Sure. Besides those free tools, there’s three of them, you can start with the $50 marketing starter products we have now. It’s called marketing starter. You can start with a $50 sales probe products we have. That’s where I would begin. I would just simply start with those products and they could help any size business. They really can because both of those tools are going to help you both convert more people who come to your website into real contacts. The sales tool is going to help you understand more about those people and help you actually sell to them in a buyer-centric way following the Inbound sales methodology.
Beyond that, George, that’s where it does get a little bit more into the weeds in terms of the packages we have. We have a marketing package that starts at $200. We call it marketing basic and it goes all the way up to the enterprise package which is made for much and much larger companies, hundreds of employees, lots and lots of contacts in these lots of marketing automation, but if you just start with those $50 products and see what they can do for you, you’ll quickly know, “Hmm, all right. Well, we’ll need some more tools to do more e-mail automation,” for example. We’re going to have to go to, maybe, HubSpot professional. “You know what, we don’t have enough contacts through e-mail marketing automation, HubSpot Basic is going to be perfect for us.”
You can decide as well, do you want to host your entire websites and blog on HubSpots or you could keep it where it is and only use the tools like social media, e-mail, we have some new content tools coming out to really understand what is going on with your marketing and sales to best serve and create content that’s going to be helpful and valuable to people. Because you got to use that typical trust. If you’re not understanding the people you’re trying to attract at a pretty deep level, we call that buyer persona research. You won’t be attracting, potentially, the right people. There’s, pretty much, no chance. Many of those folks will turn into customers. If that’s happening, you’re going to get frustrated and you won’t be able to grow your business or your revenue. You got to really start with the personas. You’re trying to, at least, bring to your website.
I’d say, start simple, George. Create one ideal buyer persona. We have training in how to do that with HubSpot Academy. It’s 100% free. There is a persona tool with that HubSpot. To go back to your question, start with the $50 products, $50 marketing starter, $50 sales pro and work your way up.
George Thomas: Yeah. Folks, listen, I get this question a ton. Probably, daily. How much is it going to cost me? What I will tell you is, Mark just answered it great, but I look at HubSpot and their pricing page and I have to be honest with you, it’s probably the greatest pricing page out there. Many of you will know what I’m talking about here when I say the Where’s Waldo game. What you have to think about is or maybe it’s Cooking With Bjork or something like that where there’s a dash of contacts here and a website here. Maybe I need a report sat on here and then poof, here comes out your number, your package and you find exactly what you need. The thing I like about that is, they’re not trying to squeeze you into package A, B, or C. They realize that your company has to have the flexibility to do sales and marketing the way that it needs to and a the level that it can do. That’s why the pricing being so flexible and what could be confusing but really, it’s built so it’s best for you.
Mark, I love this question for you because this is the volley ball section of the interview. I’m going to set a ball up with this question right here and then you’re going to get to, in the next question, spike the ball and make HubSpot the winner of the game. This question now is, when you look at HubSpot, when you look at the marketing automation space out there, who does HubSpot consider to be their competitors?
Who Are HubSpot’s Competitors?
Mark Kilens: That’s a good question. It’s, actually, somewhat of a tough question to really answer because we have such a breadth, like you’ve mentioned, George. It’s probably more than 32 tools spanning all of the marketing and sales platform we have or inside that platform. Traditionally, if you think about some of our traditional competitors, it could be folks like Salesforce who have now marketing side to that application. It could be folks like MailChimp. It could be folks like even WordPress, free tools. I don’t know if there’s one direct competitor that we compete against. What we try to do is, we try to take what those tools do well and take those things and create a software platform that’s really easy to use and takes away a lot of the stuff in those other tools that you probably don’t really need and you might never need and provide you with what you really need in order to grow your business. We try to do it in a way that’s really, really simple.
We actually just had a huge update to our software platform from a visual style, from a usability style standpoint. I see George shaking his head. It came out at Inbound. That’s a huge update. We’re unifying all three parts of that growth stack; the CRM, the sales, and marketing tools. There’s really no other platform like it for small and medium size businesses to grow their business, to become that Inbound business. The other thing that makes us very unique and none of the competitors have, George, this is a fact, none of them have this. I believe this to be a huge value add to HubSpot and to our customers who buy HubSpot is the fact that we have this Inbound methodology. We have a whole team of people through HubSpot Academy, 18 folks now, that are here day in and day out trying to help you get the most value from that platform, from HubSpot, so that you can see success and so you can grow your business successfully with these tools. I think that is one of the special sauces along with us being able to integrate with so many other tools.
Like I was saying before, there’s hundreds other text integrations we have. We have open APIs and you can connect so many different systems together with HubSpot. If you want to do that, make it your central home base, which I would recommend you do. Really, it’s anything from, you have small business on this side and we have everything you need in that small business, all the way up to a complicated, fast-growing, hypergrowth business and you need to run that business with HubSpot, everything in between there, we have for you so you could be successful with Inbound and with your marketing and sales, you can create that bridge to revenue.
George Thomas: Man, I don’t know about you viewers and listeners. I think Mark could just probably drop the mic on that answer. That was crazy good. I will totally agree. Here’s our tool and let us educate you on it and on every strategy around it is, it’s just not found anywhere else. We’ve said that a couple of times where that is one of the secret sauces. Again, I want to pull out because I was shaking my head, Mark. They did redesign the HubSpot tool. It’s beautiful looking. It’s enjoyable to be in it all day. You might say, “Well, why would I be in that all day?” Because what Mark said in that segment that I want everybody to pay attention to is that because there’s other tools that you can connect to it, it really becomes your all in one hub for what you’re going to do day in and day out to make your business sell and market better in a more human way.
You got to give me a second here, Mark, though because we’re going to assume for a minute that if we were talking about competitors, we might talk about things like Zoho and we might talk about things like Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, ActiveCampaign. There’s so many things in the martech space now. Shoot, we’ve interviewed a bunch of them, pre-interviewing HubSpot. It just gets confusing for folks and you didn’t say that. I said that. Let’s assume that those might be competitors in your space. My question to you then is, we already mentioned education, but what really makes on a software level the tool better than the rest of what might be the competitors out there?
What Makes HubSpot Better Than Their Competitors?
Mark Kilens: The contact database, now known as a CRM. Everything is tied to that. If you host your website with HubSpot, your entire website can change dynamically if you so wish to set it up this way based off of your contacts. That’s everything from a stranger, to a visitor, to that lead, to that qualified lead, to the customer, to the promoter. It is a contact database. It is the brain or actually, better yet, it is the heart of HubSpot. It truly is the heart. It runs everything. It’s the beat that runs your marketing, that runs your sales, that runs any other function with all the different integrations we have. I think that is the unique thing.
There is no contact database in WordPress. There is no contact database for MailChimp in the essence to have, “Hey, look, we’re going to run your sales off of your contact database if you have MailChimp.” It doesn’t have contacts. You’ll have e-mails. Yeah, their data exist but that’s really, really marketing focused. I think the contact database is the unique thing that makes HubSpot so special. Yeah, now, you’re going to say, “Well, sales versus contact database.” Sales was the great tool. It’s a very powerful tool. I’ve used it in the past, but at the end of the day, for most small and medium size businesses, you just need a simple tool that is easy to understand, easy to use, easy to build upon and that is HubSpot’s CRM, that contact database.
George Thomas: Yeah. I knew you would slam this because I would totally agree. First of all, I agree with the simplicity. I’ve tried to jump in and use the Salesforce, the Pardot, the Eloqua, the Marketo and some of them are very difficult. Some of them have their easy spots too, but HubSpot, it was super intuitive. It was marketing automation for human beings which I love. I absolutely love that. Here’s the conversation that I love having with people because they’ll ask us. They’ll say, “Can you sync to my CRM? Do we have to get a CRM and sync to it?” Some people are worried about like “Will HubSpot work with Salesforce or Zoho?” There’s companies out there like Zapier or Bedrock Data which we just interviewed a while back that that’s their sole business model is to get systems to talk to each other.
If you’re using the HubSpot CRM and the HubSpot marketing tool, guess what, there is no such thing as sync. It’s a contact. When you change it in one side, it’s changing the same record and so there’s no extra sync time, there’s no, “Oh, well, it says this over here and it doesn’t over there.” It just makes it easy and it makes sense. We just said one of the great things about HubSpot was it’s simplicity, but Mark, I will tell you that while I’ve journeyed the interwebs, I found that there’s two types of people. There just really are. There’s those people who are tech savvy and they just get it and then there’s those people, “Well, no. They’re just not.” When you deal with new customers using HubSpot, what are some of the potential problems that they may face, some hurdles that they have a hard time getting over?
What Are The Major Problems A HubSpot User May Run Into?
Mark Kilens: That’s a good question. I think the place you want to begin before you even buy one of the products, $50 or up, you can use the free ones. I would recommend setting with the free ones right now. Before you actually spend money, try going through the amount of certification. Like George mentioned before, it’s going to help you understand why HubSpot was built in the first place. HubSpot was built around this concept of Inbound. We already talked about that. I think you need to understand those fundamentals. I think if you just watch the first video and attend the first class, it’s about 20 minutes of total content through the Inbound certification, you’ll understand what I mean when I say, Inbound and HubSpot go together as our CEO, Brian Halligan would say, like a bacon and scallop. They’re just delicious together. Inbound and HubSpot are delicious together.
You really want to make sure you understand Inbound. Because if you can apply the power of Inbound with HubSpot together, it’s going to be more than one plus one equals three. It’s going to be mind blowing growth for you and your business over time. You got to dedicate yourself to it. Dude, you can’t just think, “Oh, I think, this is going to be a three to one strategy and that’s it.” No. You got to change. You got to change how you create contents, how you think about the people you’re trying to reach, how you think about how you’re going to grow your business and you want to start with that. The other thing that you should do is, we opened up all of our software training. I was going to say sales software training, but it’s our sales and marketing software training, the product training, to everyone now. That used to be only available to our customers.
I’m talking about our workflows tool training or enterprise event reporting tool training. That is now available for anyone to find on academy.hubspot.com. Just go to the watch training section. You’ll see it right away. You can see what the tool does. You can see what the best practices, the concepts are, and you can see real examples. Do that as well. If you do those things before you buy, you’re going to get into the software and typically, with the help of implementation specialist here at HubSpot, you’re going to be off and running. You’re going to be extremely successful. If you actually use the free tools or the $50 marketing and sales tools before you buy, you’re going to be even that much more ahead of the curve as it relates to you seeing success and real value with HubSpot. Those are my recommendations around how do you get started with this whole thing that is Inbound and HubSpot.
George Thomas: People, that’s how you do it. That’s how you do it. Now, Mark, I’ll tell you, I never understood the bacon and scallop thing, but then I went to Boston and now, I understand it. I’m more of a peanut butter-chocolate guy or maybe, peanut butter-jelly guy. I don’t know. I won’t sing the song, viewers. Don’t worry. I won’t get into that. Mark, if people want to learn more about HubSpot, because there’s a ton of places we could send them or if they want to connect with you and have more questions, where do you want to send them and where should they connect?
Where Can People Learn More About HubSpot?
Mark Kilens: We just have to use our websites, hubspot.com. Just go to hubspot.com. You’ll see the growth stack right there in front of the center and you can start to drill into it. That’s all about the tools, how the tools are going to help you grow your business. If you want to learn about Inbound, both marketing and sales, and you want to learn about how to actually use Inbound with a software, go to academy.hubspot.com. If you want to get really specific, just go to Google. All of our pages are optimized for the human which the search engine will help you find as a human, just go to Google and type in anything you want around Academy, HubSpot, Inbound marketing, Inbound sales, you’ll find it. Those two homepages are great places to start. I, again, echo what George said, if you want to check out how to actually do these things, content marketing, e-mail marketing, design in a deeper, more specific way, go to the certifications through Academy.
Also, we have a new section. It’s actually not that new anymore, but it’s somewhat new, HubSpot Academy Projects. You can check those out. Those are going to help you actually do the things you need to do to be successful with all of these different Inbound concepts and Inbound strategies. Those projects are not only part of HubSpot Academy. They’re part of the tools. If you buy the tools, you’ll get a HubSpot Projects tool that comes preloaded with 50 or so academy project templates that will walk you through and your team through how to setup and use HubSpot successfully for all of these different use cases, all of these different Inbound strategies. That’s what I would do. I would check those things out. You could also just follow me on Twitter @markkilens to connect with me. I’m always on the Twitter.
George Thomas: Mark, as always, you’re kilens it. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to do the interview, brother.
Mark Kilens: Hey, my pleasure, George. Always awesome to talk with you. We actually did an interview with George at HubSpot. We’re still putting the footage together. It’s going to come out soon. Stay tuned for that. We’ll be sure to share it with George and all of the viewers to all of the great shows that he does. Stay tuned for an amazing interview about George’s transformation with HubSpot and Inbound pretty soon.
George Thomas: Yeah. I can’t wait to see that either. Hopefully, they did some great editing. Now, folks, I do have one special thing. I don’t this for every interview, but if you are watching this and if you are listening to this, or one or the other, and this is literally the first time that you’ve heard about HubSpot, I need you to do me a favor. Go over to the Twitters, look up @georgebthomas and tweet me and say, “I just learned about HubSpot on One Last Tool.” Because I will do something special. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will do something special if I get that tweet from you and it’s true. Come on, it’s got to be true. Well, folks, that’s how we do it here at One Last Tool. No fuss, no mess, no fluff, just great tool. Now, go out into the world, find the tool you need, and do great work.