Inbound 2017 Product Updates: What's hot, What's not?

Karl Fischmann

October 8, 2017   Follow
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Another year, another Inbound (and all the crazy parties that come along with it!) As with every year in recent history, HubSpot have released (or at least announced) a slew of product updates, both for the Marketing and the Sales sides of their platform. But the question is, of these newly announced updates, which will matter to you? The short answer is that the applicability of these new features relies heavily on how you use HubSpot, what sort of a business you have, and therefore what your most-used parts of the platform are. For us here at You & Co, there are several releases which we're pretty excited about; let's go through them all together shall we? This will be a long post, strap yourself in...

Quick Overview 

Reimagine Your Growth Strategy With HubSpot Marketing

What: HubSpot Marketing is gaining several new tools to help primarily with the attract and convert stages of the funnel.


Content Strategy Tool 

A new, modern approach to content and SEO that helps marketers get more traffic with less content. This tool encourages a more organised, more holistic approach to SEO, as opposed to thinking at just the page-level. If you've been paying any attention to Google's school of thought in recent history with regards to how content is ranked (hint: pillar pages, content clusters, topics vs keywords), this announcement should come as no surprise, especially considering that the Content Strategy tool has been in beta for about a year.

When: The Content Strategy tool is available now to those with HubSpot Marketing Basic, Pro and Enterprise. Check it out in your HubSpot portal here.

Does Y&C care?: Yes, we really do. The SEO "best practices" we so often hear about are almost only ever descriptive, but not prescriptive, and they often lack context. What this tool will allow you to do is to simplify the planning and execution of an SEO-focused content strategy, as opposed to just helping you figure out on-page aspects of SEO (which are still undeniably important, of course). After all, new SEO is really about crafting online relationships, not just about ranking for keywords. 


HubSpot CMS Improvements

HubSpot's CMS has grown in leaps and bounds in recent history, allowing developers and marketers to craft personalised experiences based on marketing personas, using information collected on contacts from website behaviour as well as from conversions. Speed has always been a big focus, as has reliability.

When: CMS improvements are already live, as are HubDB and AMP.

Am I keen as mustard?: If not, you should be - HubSpot's CMS has reached a new level of maturity over the past year, now is as good a time as any to take the plunge. Need proof? Check out how we increased organic leads by 65% for our parters Clinic to Cloud using a persona-centric website hosted on HubSpot CMS.


Native Shopify Integration

What: HubSpot is working on a native integration with our favourite eCommerce platform, Shopify. This came from left-field; we knew that HubSpot were making more of a play into eCommerce, but this is a significant show of investment into that play. Shopify was the correct partner to choose for this integration, too, given the robustness yet simplicity of their platform, as well as their obvious market share. Features will include:

  • Sync Products to HS: A new object has been added to HubSpot, allowing a product library to be synced directly to the platform, and therefore used in all areas of marketing such as list segmentation, automation, email and so on. This makes stuff like abandoned cart nurturing and personalisation based on RFM natively possible, which is pretty exciting for those of us involved in eCommerce.
  • Purchases sync to HS as deals: This will make reporting from the eCommerce perspective (LTV, ASP and so on) natively possible within HubSpot. A boon when combined with the reporting dashboard.
  • eCommerce bridge APIs: An entire new set of APIs come together with this release, allowing the programmatic integration of any Ecommerce system.

When: Early beta access is available now, available to the masses 'soon'; hit this link to sign up to the beta. This could give the likes of and Revenue Conduit something to worry about...

Should I?: If you've already got a Shopify site that is connected to HubSpot via an external integration such as Revenue Conduit or, I'd hold off until you have a solid understanding of the feature comparison between what you have and what this integration will offer. If you are on the hunt for an eCommerce platform and are already using HubSpot Marketing Professional or better, this is a no-brainer.


Facebook Ads Integration

This new integration allows marketers to use HubSpot’s granular segmentation tools to target ads to specific audiences on Facebook, and easily convert more people with new formats like Facebook Lead Ads.

  • Create Lead ads right inside HubSpot, which will be auto synced and tracked (such as with the existing social integrations)
    • Leads can sign up directly on Facebook, their data will sync directly to your portal
  • FB Audience Sync: Real-time synchronisation of Facebook Audiences to HubSpot Smart Lists
  • Look-alike campaigns based on HubSpot Smart lists: Target not just contacts in a given Smart List, but an entire audience like them!
  • Native integration: No external connector required, set this up once and everything will automatically sync and be tracked
  • Facebook Video Ad Publishing: Upload videos to your file manager, then easily tee up Facebook video posts right within HubSpot

When: Currently in Beta, coming soon, hit this link for more information.

Are we doing this?: Hell yeah. Facebook is a veritable goldmine of leads, and this integration will surface many conversion opportunities without leads having to even touch your website. This makes HubSpot's Social Tools even more likely to become your bestie.


Campaign Reporting

What: Users have been complaining about HubSpot's lack of campaign level reporting granularity since the dawn of time; it was never really possible to report on ROI. This update brings that capability, and will apply across the entire product- Available to Basic, Pro, & Enterprise users.

  • Show the value of everything you do: Show the faces of those who bought because of their interaction with a given campaign
  • Social Impact: Show amount of closed revenue each social channel contributed
  • Whats the value of MoFU? What are you doing to move people down the funnel? Its now easy to show how many contacts, how many deals, how much revenue was influenced by MoFu aspects of a given campaign.

When: In beta, Coming to HubSpot Marketing Basic, Pro and Enterprise soon. Hit this link up to be notified once the feature rolls out.

Do I want it?: Do bears sh... Never mind. Yes, you want this! This will help you justify your existence as a marketer and be able to effortlessly show ROI across all stages of a campaign, and will make the process of setting a campaign up in HubSpot that much more worthwhile.


Conversations In CRM Free

What: For a piece of free, cloud based software, HubSpot's CRM is pretty hard to beat. Conversations is a new, collaborative, multi-channel shared inbox that's designed to help you and your team have better one-to-one conversations with your contacts, without emails / chats getting lost in the ether. Think of it as a way to multiplex a bunch of communication channels together into once place, and then share it across teams, allowing your team to offer a unified experience to everybody.

  • A single, unified inbox: Multiplexes live-chat, email, social, chat apps such as Slack - people should be able to reach your brand from anywhere.
  • Contact communication history accessible by every team: CRM is typically sales focused, but in successful companies Marketers, CSMs and Product Managers reach out to customers for post-sale conversations. Context is hugely important for a cohesive customer experience!
  • Deeply connected to the rest of HubSpot CRM, giving you context on every contact so you always have the full picture.
  • Automation rules and bots help you manage conversations at scale, routing incoming messages and taking care of simple tasks.

When: Already using HubSpot CRM Free? You’ll get Conversations automatically when it’s live. Else, sign up to HubSpot CRM here, and sign up to get notified of the release here.

Any good?: HubSpot CRM has been around for a good while now. While it lacked in some areas initially, making it unsuitable for larger teams or Enterprise, its significanly matured since then. This update grants easily accessible and organised lines of communication with your visitors / leads / customers for your entire team, and is an absolute gold mine; do it, do it now (or at least, when its released!)


The 'All New' Sales Professional

What: In the same way that mild refreshes of cars are considered to be 'all new', if you're at all familiar with HubSpot's Sales Pro, this is the next iteration. The new version of HubSpot Sales Pro is the so-called 'all-in-one sales toolkit to supercharge your sales engine'. This new release promises to help sales professionals by providing

  • Professional version of HS CRM for sophisticated teams: 'Huge' robustness improvements with larger teams in mind
  • Advanced access controls, team permissions: Easily control who has access to what, share details within teams, can report on teams across sales org
  • Workflows are now a core piece of Sales Pro: HS marketing is no longer required, allowing automatic creation of deals, tasks, and rotation of leads
  • Require reps to enter certain fields on Deal creation: Helps to keep CRM data clean
  • Advanced reporting capabilities: Proper deal forecasting, reporting metrics are now far more 'trustworthy'
  • AI baked in wherever possible: Priority notifications, uses machine learning to improve over time
  • 'Industry leading' Predictive Lead scoring: HubSpot has access to not only 'firmagraphic data', but behavioural data across web interactions, better informing predictions
  • New Apps: Android CRM app, and also iPad specific CRM app

When: The new features of CRM Professional will be coming November 1st. $400/month for teams of up to 5 users, and additionally anybody using the current HS Sales Pro prior to 1st November will be automatically upgraded for free.

What do we think?: Sales Pro is definitely an advantageous suite of tools to have for your average sales rep, this new release builds upon the existent tools to introduce further efficiencies to your sales cycle by harnessing automation and AI. Not sure? Here is a pro tip; the basic funcionality of HubSpot Sales is free. Dip your toe first!


The Customer Hub

What: The 'first native end-to-end customer experience platform'. This one is especially interesting, but not surprising. In recent years HubSpot have been attempting to establish themselves as exactly that; a hub, with a toolset aimed square at the median of tools that the average marketer requires. Moving into the post-sales world of customer support software was always going to be a natural progression (attract, convert, close, delight anybody?), and here we are.

  • The Customer Hub is an extension of the newly announced Conversations feature within HubSpot CRM, empowering reps to escalate an everyday chat into a case that can be easily managed by support reps directly within HubSpot
  • Avoid negative reviews, keep your finger on pulse of customer sentiment with feedback and insights tools that you can deploy across the HubSpot platform
  • Stop frantically "solving tickets" and start actually helping customers; solving tickets only so that your customer support software isn't lit up like a Christmas tree is so 1999.

When: Coming in 2018. Get notified when Customer Hub is live, will start with free version as part of HubSpot CRM.

Are we excited? Yes, and no. If you're already using a dedicated customer support platform such as Zendesk, don't pack in your subscription quite yet. Part of HubSpot's DNA is to release products or features that aren't as polished as they could be, so its worth waiting to see how Customer Hub will compare to dedicated platforms. Acquisition

What: This is less a feature, more of a sign of things to come. are a startup of about two years out of Illinois in the 'States, whom HubSpot have acquired. Their special sauce, as you've likely guessed, is the creation of intelligent chat bots at scale, of which utilise machine learning to further personalise the experience they offer to those who interact with them. Their system utilises a visual creation interface, much like HubSpot's existing Workflows interface.

When: TBA. The acquisition was only just publicly announced, therefore I'd wager that it'll be a while before we hear more from this.

Are we excited?: Yup. This is a biggie. An interesting stat thrown out to the audience at Inbound was that approximately 2% of web traffic, on average, will convert on forms, yet 10% convert on web chat; how do we scale web chat without filling rooms full of employees whose sole task is to chat with contacts? Answer; intelligent bots. While creating a chat bot isn't difficult with some dev knowledge, some experimentation, and some patience, creating a truly effective chatbot which utilises machine learning is very difficult, even moreso at scale. Bots are already here and are being used to great effect; this acquisition means that in the near future, marketers will be able to easily create and deploy chatbots directly from HubSpot and harness the many conversion opportunities that they provide. Now, we just need to teach them how to storytell effectively...!

Read the press release of the acquisition here.

Aside from all this, there were a few other releases as well, with fewer details (We'll update once we know more) :

  • New HS Connect integrations
  • Native Search on HubSpot CMS
  • Custom Module Marketplace
  • Account Based marketing (ABM): Targeted display ads at company level
    • Kicks workflow off with Terminus integration: Blankets other employees at that company with the same messaging that the original lead converted on.
  • Instagram for HubSpot: Tee up posts and get mobile reminders to publish your content on Instagram. Coming soon to beta.

What are your thoughts? Which features are you most excited about? Sound off in the comments below and let us know. As always, we're here to help you on your Inbound journey; get in touch with us if you wish to accelerate your growth.

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