In this blog, Huble Digital CEO, Bob Dearsley, discusses how HubSpot has disrupted the CRM landscape in recent years.
On 9th January 2007, a charismatic man wearing light blue jeans, grey New Balance sneakers, and a signature black turtleneck took a deep breath, stepped out onto a stage, and changed the world.
As you might have guessed, I’m referring to Steve Jobs introducing the first iPhone to a fawning crowd during his keynote presentation at the 2007 Macworld event. The reason this announcement is such a turning point in modern history lies in Apple’s seamless execution of a simple principle: user-centred design.
More specifically, Steve Jobs and his team of engineers and designers showed us that you can create a product that’s not only incredibly powerful but also easy to use.
At the time, the smartphone market was dominated by brands like Blackberry. While Blackberry’s competitive edge came from strong features, the iPhone offered an experience that was leaps and bounds ahead of other players in the nascent smartphone market. Today, Blackberry is absent from discussions of innovation and the cutting-edge. Rather, the brand is associated with nostalgia and legacy tech.
Similar to smartphones, CRM technology in recent history has been in desperate need of a revolution. Traditionally, CRM tools have been difficult to use, with customers needing system-specific expertise to get anything done. That is until HubSpot entered the market with a CRM that changed the world of business.
How did they achieve this? Simple. The HubSpot CRM was powerful, but not overpowering.
HubSpot disrupted the CRM landscape
When Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah founded HubSpot in 2005, the now legendary MIT graduates had a simple idea: to build software that met the needs of everyday professionals. When creating the HubSpot CRM, this meant offering a platform that prioritised ease-of-use over unnecessary depth and difficult-to-use features.
HubSpot’s devotion to user experience and ease-of-use stands in direct contrast to established players like Salesforce — a CRM that needs technical specialists to implement and administer the system.
You might say that having a CRM that’s as complex as calculus may seem like a good idea.
Surely the more complex the system, the more it can add to your business?
Actually ‘No!’. (…and don’t call me Shirley.) This is because, in practice, this complexity makes it difficult for everyday users to do their jobs. For example, complex systems typically need to be updated often to perform at their best. This can be frustrating for sales, marketing and service teams who would rather spend less time on admin and more time actually ‘doing the work.’
For a business to succeed with any CRM solution, a great user experience and employee adoption are everything. HubSpot, like Apple, knows this. That’s why they’ve designed their platform to be simple, intuitive, easy to use, and a natural extension of an organisation’s website.
With easy integrations, elegant user experience and widespread business application, HubSpot is to CRM what the iPhone was to the smartphone industry.
Consider it this way: The iPhone was smart, easy to use, and gave users the tools that they most wanted in a smartphone. HubSpot is smart, easy to use, and gives its users the tools they most want in a CRM. See the pattern?
Many others have noticed the similarities between these two ground-breaking tech companies. In aglowing review, iVenture Solutions executive Cody McLeod calls HubSpot “the Apple iPhone of CRMs.” But buying into HubSpot, like buying into Apple, is about more than any single product or feature.
HubSpot dares to be human
Another reason HubSpot is the Apple Inc. of CRMs is their brand identity. On the surface the similarities may seem self-evident: both are positioned as fun, stylish, creative brands. But it goes deeper than that: the HubSpot brand is built on a foundation of a human, empathy-driven culture and the inbound philosophy. This is what adds a spark to their communications and informs their holistic product ecosystem.
One of HubSpot’s key brand messages is “Grow Better.” This philosophy is all about helping businesses embrace – rather than overcome – their innately human qualities like compassion, empathy and understanding. In their words: growing better is succeeding with a soul.
By retaining and championing that quintessentially human element of doing business, HubSpot has helped businesses place people at the centre of their activity. This extends not only to their customers, who can benefit from more relevant, meaningful, and useful brand engagements; but also their employees, who can use a suite of “straight out the box” tools that are tailored around their needs.
HubSpot is more than the sum of its parts
What’s more, as all products within the HubSpot ecosystem work together and speak to each other, teams across the company have a single customer view and shared source of truth. This system offers more than convenience: it’s a new paradigm of inherently scalable business that works better, feels better, and helps companies grow better.
If this dynamic and connected product ecosystem sounds familiar, it’s probably because Apple has achieved a similar experience with their range of connected devices. When a customer add a new Apple product to their personal tech stack, they’re guaranteed a consistent, seamless, and convenient experience that complements that of their other Apple devices.
In a complex world, simplicity is king
Running and growing a business is, by definition, a complex affair. For most businesses, it simply doesn’t make sense to add fuel to the fire with unnecessarily complicated, inaccessible CRM tools that require trained specialists to get even basic things done.
That’s why the true victors in the technology space have been those companies that cut through the complexity with products that just work, plain and simple. The user-centred design makes this possible: whether you’re building a smartphone or a CRM platform.
Simplicity, however, does not mean an inability to handle complexity. On the contrary, simplicity is often necessary to thrive in complex environments. After all, by doubling down on simplicity and tailoring its UX and UI to the needs, desires and capabilities of its typical users, Apple has grown to become the most valuable company in the world: with a$3 trillion market value that’s greater than the GDP of the UK.
Similarly, HubSpot gives businesses the tools they need to thrive in a complex world. To understand their customers better, to build a high-performance website, to optimise their customer experience andkeep their flywheel spinning.
At Huble Digital, we’ve seen this first hand. Not only do we help our clients succeed with HubSpot – we have built our business on it.
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