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September 22, 2011

HubSpot Really Is A Bad MoFu…

Last week I checked out the HubSpot double feature: the Inbound Marketing Summit (IMS) followed by the HubSpot Users Group Summit (HUGS).  I even had the honor of moderating the Social CRM panel during IMS, which featured three influential executives in the industry:

  • Larry Augustin – CEO of SugarCRM
  • Kevin Egan – Vice President of Sales Strategy and Operations
  • Jon Ferrara – CEO and Founder of Nimble

We had a really good conversation as each of these gents offered up a ton of perspective and insight on where we are, and where we need to go with #SCRM.  Check it out below if you get a chance:

There were some great sessions throughout the two days from Guy Kawasaki (which I saw), Clara Shih (which I unfortunately missed but heard about) and a host of others.  Check out some of the video from the event to see what I’m talking about.

The second half of the double feature was HUGS.  It was my first time checking it out and I was very impressed.  Now anyone who’s read any of my stuff over the years will know I’ve been impressed with HubSpot since they were founded over five years ago by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.  Since then they’ve gone from a two person startup to about 300 employees and 5,000 customers.  And they had a thousand people – customers, partners, fans, etc. at HUGS 2011 – which to me was, well, pretty impressive.

Now when it comes to inbound marketing, HubSpot is the poster child.  Their platform – and their thought leadership/best practices – has helped customers (the majority of which are small and midsize businesses) to generate over 5 million leads and 600 million site visits.  Since they eat their own dog food, the same platform and practices their customers use has also led HubSpot to generating over 40K monthly leads (over 1M in total), those 5000+ customers, and venture capital from the likes of Google, Salesforce.com and Sequoia.

The $32M recently raised is helping HubSpot do something that I think will be important in assisting their customers, and the growth of the company.  Over the next year they are focusing heavily on the MoFus out there….meaning Middle Of the FUnnel.  Ok I admit when I heard Brian use that term I initially thought he was calling somebody out.

HubSpot has been great at building their platform to help customers address the top of the funnel with their content creation and analysis tools.  As stated above they assist their customers in driving a ton of traffic which generate a bunch of leads.  So it makes total sense that they now look to help customers sift through leads, warm leads, score leads and, when it’s time, convert leads into full blown sales opportunities.   

While they already made good use of the some of the money raised by acquiring marketing platform provider Performable, they pledged to the HUGS audience one of their main objectives is to help them tackle their MoFus…sorry, but I can’t help myself…

So in addition to building a deeper integration between the Performable and HubSpot technology stacks, they are beefing up their capabilities to provide customers with tools they’ll need to more efficiently and effectively manage the leads pouring in from inbound marketing activities.  Included here are:

  • Lead list nurturing
  • Better synchronization with CRM systems, particularly Salesforce.com
  • More email marketing capabilities
  • Tools to help with drip marketing
  • Mobile/Social capabilities
  • Providing APIs
  • Better tools to import mass leads into the system

As HubSpot focuses on the MoFus (theirs and their customers) they are also beefing up their marketplaces to make it easier for third party developers to help build out functionality and capabilities.  Currently there are about 30 apps in the HubSpot Apps Marketplace.  In fact I had the chance to check a new integration Nimble announced last week and was impressed (that word again) with what I saw. 

It will be interesting to see how many apps are in the marketplace a year from now, as HubSpot works on their platform to make it easier for developers to extend their core services.  I’ll also be keeping an eye on the Services Marketplace Hubspot has, where customers can find help with content creation and other needs that will help with inbound marketing activities.  HubSpot says it will be able to show their customers how impactful a service provider’s content is driving lead generation.  That will make things very interesting from both a service provider and service consumer perspective.  I can’t wait to see what HubSpot reports on this over the next year.  But it should keep the providers on their toes, which will be good for customers, and for HubSpot’s reputation to create value options for their community.

All in all I thought both ends of the HubSpot double feature were great.  The enthusiasm was there for all three days – especially at HUGS.  It kind of reminded me of the early days of Dreamforce.  That’s not to say that we should expect 45K attendees anytime soon, but it shows that the HubSpot community/ecosystem is active, engaged and growing rapidly.  HubSpot seems focused on building on the foundation they’ve laid over their first five years of helping customers use the web as their marketing platform.  They've come a long way and from the looks of it they plan to go a lot further.  And if they can bring that level of success into the middle of the funnel, they really will be some bad MoFus….



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