Hubspot announces product enhancements at Inbound 2013: Social Inbox, Content Optimization System and Signals

At Hubspot’s annual user conference (Inbound) they announced sweeping improvements to their software functionality as well as some enhancements that expand their reach – from marketing automation into sales enablement. These announcements were prefaced by comments from HubSpot CEO Dharmesh Shah: “Inbound marketing alone is not enough. The whole experience needs to be focused on the customer.” The changes Hubspot is rolling out are the first steps in delivering on that complete inbound experience.

hubspot

Hubspot already has a lot of information about your website visitors. They know what stage of the funnel they are in (visitor, lead, customer), they know what their interests are (based on what offers they have responded to), and they may have other information (social profiles, address, industry, etc.) that your sales people have added. They are taking this context and using it to enable both the marketers and sales team to personalize the experience of prospects interacting with your company.

Social Inbox

When you first fire up Social Inbox it doesn’t look much different from Hootsuite or many other social media monitoring tools. You can create lists of people you want to pay attention to or streams from searches on keywords. However, Social Inbox color codes each profile based on its stage in the funnel and allows you to focus on just one segment of your prospects (if you want to). So you could compare customer and prospect reactions to a new feature just by filtering on a color. Sales people could watch a stream of all their prospects’ status updates that contain certain keywords (or have that emailed to them).

Content Optimization System (COS)

The Content Optimization System, or COS, shores up one of the weak points in Hubspot’s offering, while also bringing some exciting new functionality. Hubspot’s prior CMS was notoriously difficult to design for. Most sites using the old CMS came out a bit clunky and, well, ugly. They have replaced their old system with a new, fully customizable COS that enables you to tailor the content of your website based to user who’s visiting.

So when a first time visitor comes to your site you can offer them a general message with a call to action that invites them to “find out more”. When that same visitor returns later after having downloaded an ebook, your website content can change and focus on different content, or a different call to action. This customization can happen on every page of the site from the home page, to landing pages, enabling you to create a personalized landing page for each visitor including, for instance, their name, or focusing on their industry, or problem.

All of this customization is driven by the data that Hubspot has collected from previous visits; the more a user or prospect visits your website the more customized the experience will be. This customization can be created in a WYSIWYG editor that any marketer can master.

Signals

Hubspot also created an interesting notification tool that alerts a sales person instantly whenever their leads are taking action. Signals will enable you to see when a prospect opens an email you sent, interacts with your website, or even if they do anything on LinkedIn. The sales person doesn’t have to guess, “Should I call her, or maybe she hasn’t read my email…” They will know! This provides a lot more context for the upcoming sales call and makes it easier for the sales person to close deals.

These three additions represent a shift in focus – from strictly marketing automation to data collection – that informs your sales process. This level of customization, paired with ready access to collected data, allows you to reach out to your website visitors and encourage the complete buyer’s journey. These tools transform your business development process; you are no longer a top 40 radio station playing for the anonymous masses; you areSpotify, offering “music for every moment”. With the power to add personalization to every interaction, the customer gets the most relevant information for them and where they are in their buying process.

Photo credit:  jameskm03

marketing and sales

Brad Farris

As principal advisor of Anchor Advisors, Brad Farris has experience leading businesses & business owners into new levels of growth and success. Through his work with over 100 Chicago area small businesses he has experience in guiding founders and business owners through the pitfalls and joys of growing their business. Prior to joining Anchor Advisors, Brad spent over 10 years managing business units for a family-owned conglomerate with sales of $2 million to $25 million.
When not working Brad enjoys cycling, cooking and the NFL. He is married with 5 children and lives in Chicago, Illinois. Connect with him on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.