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Every year HubSpot arranges a Partner Day Summit for their partners across the EMEA countries. This year at the summit there was a range of keynote speakers and breakout sessions on different topics – a few of them given by HubSpot Partners.
Avidly contributed with a breakout session about Stakeholder Management by Jesper Toft from the Danish office, Barbro Fagerbakk from the Norwegian office interviewed the man behind HubSpot, Brian Halligan, Ingunn Bjøru from the Norwegian office participated in a partner panel discussion about how to raise a successful inbound agency, and Jonaz Kumlander from the Swedish office took a close look at HubSpot’s new Service Hub – a software upgrade that manages ticketing, customer feedback, and integrates a bot to handle simple conversations among a range of things.
Needless to say, it has been exciting and fruitful to be part of the Partner Days this year. Therefore we invite you to join us on an imaginary journey to learn what we did on the summit.
Jesper Toft, Avidly Danish office
You gave a break-out session on stakeholder management when rolling HubSpot out in multinational corporations? What’s so special about that?
In multinational corporations power is often divided between countries. Similarly, people responsible for making decisions are located in different countries. This makes it tricky to roll out a project like inbound marketing, because inbound changes the way people are supposed to collaborate on sales and marketing - and even customer service.
Organizational culture and politics are very important to understand, if you want to roll out something like inbound marketing in multiple countries at once. Employee concerns can differ from country to country, and the way you do business might vary.
For example, in one country a company division sell their products online, and in the rest of the world they might do it through distributors - so how do we incorporate these different ways of working to function with HubSpot and inbound? From experience we have learned that this is a very tricky thing to do.
Buy-in is crucial for any project to work, and especially inbound since it touches upon different disciplines that have to be aligned. Therefore, you need to understand both your stakeholder environment, and be aware of any language barriers. How do you build trust with a person that doesn’t speak the same language as you?
It is hard to do much about language barriers, but you can help yourself by trying to understand the stakeholders and where they are coming from. Every time you meet a new person, you need to figure out whether the person will be affected by the project or if he/she will have any influence on the project.
It is about understanding and building in-person-relationships. Actually, it’s about understanding people and culture. What seems like a socially reasonable thing to do in France might be highly inappropriate in Japa and so forth.
What is your key take-away from the summit - that you want to share with every client?
HubSpot sees sales, marketing and service in a holistic way, which is salient in the way they build new features. The CRM used to be an outskirt - now it is the center of the system. By bringing together everything in one system is changing the way we work together for the better. Sales, marketing and customer service are interdependent, and the system makes it easier to work closer and execute smart end-to-end strategies.
Furthermore, if you don’t think HubSpot provides the best solution for a certain task, you just plug in whatever system you’d like to use. By funneling all data through Hubspot, you end up with a flexible solution. Thus taking the best from two worlds. I’m excited to see the system evolve in the future.
Ingunn, Avidly Norwegian Office
You participated in the panel discussion “Agency Unfiltered”. What were your main topics for the discussion? What did you learn?
Kevin Dunn invited me to be part of the Agency Unfiltered panel together with Mikko Seppä from Finland and Christian Neff from France. Being an unfiltered discussion, explicit remarks soon surfaced with Mikko leading the way by sharing his thoughts on what agencies should do as to not screw up.
Avidly has grown very rapidly in all three countries of operation, and there are of course challenges that arise with such a change. This was a conscious decision and what the Norwegian office (which only opened 12 months ago) agreed upon.
We talked about culture, recruitment, financials and clients. Knowing what we know now, that agencies go through many of the same things, has become evident throughout the discussions.
Most agencies who have grown have experienced the same growing pains. Hopefully, our honesty can be of help to other agencies, or other startups, looking to grow.
What is your key takeaway from the summit - that you would go out and tell every client?
Definitely the new features in HubSpot! The HubSpot Partner Days are, as the title suggests, focused on the partners, their businesses and how we can help our clients in the best possible way. However, there are some golden nuggets for the clients as well.
HubSpot has realised what we in Avidly have been pointing too for a while: What we do is not just marketing – it is all about business growth. This means that every area of your business should always focus on pleasing the customers because people now need to see proof of happy customers or else they won’t even consider making a purchase.
Based on that insight, HubSpot created the flywheel, which puts customers in the middle, with marketing, sales and customer service tied together around the customer to ensure that the customer experience is seamless at every touch-point.
I also think the new integration opportunities opens a new world for companies who use a range of different systems. By integrating your MarTech (Marketing Technology) stack with HubSpot, all your data is gathered in one place, and you can easily analyse, interact and deliver better products or services to the end user.
Jonaz, Avidly Swedish Office
Tell us, what are the most exciting new releases from HubSpot?
The biggest launch was clearly the Service Hub. Hubspot started as a marketing platform, and three years ago, a sales platform was introduced. But now, you will be able to provide service through the platform, which helps you serve your existing customers.
The guys from HubSpot stated that "the funnel is dead - now it's the flywheel". Instead of the sales funnel, which symbolizes a straight development from status a to status b, marketers and sales reps should approach their delivery to customer in form of wheel.
Marketing, sales and service are connected to each other. The customer being in the center of that.
You can now use the publishing platform (CMS) without buying entire the entire Hubspot marketing stack.
If you want to build websites through HubSpot, this works great. And so, they've changed the packaging to highlight that every product now has a free version, a starter, a "professional" and an "enterprise" edition. For customers the features in each edition It will become much clearer.
What’s more to come?
In the future, we'll see a bunch of launches - HubSpot's stated goal is to launch as many features in the upcoming 12 months as they've done in their entire history. We saw a graph about how much money will be spent on research and development.
It looked like the classic hockey stick that start-up companies usually show, but HubSpot is far away from being a start up, and the money they’ll invest in R&D will be a vast amount..
HubSpot wants to become more than just a system. So, the company will open up for APIs for customers who want features not found in HubSpot. Through the API they can ‘boost' HubSpot with all kinds of integration. It's an incredibly exciting development!
Barbro, Avidly Norwegian Office
You interviewed Brian Halligan. What did you learn?
First of all, it was extremely fun to interview Brian Halligan on stage and I’m so glad I was asked to do it.
The topic I found most interesting during the interview was about women and what HubSpot does to attract more women to start working in HubSpot. For example, they offer longer maternity leave for women.
Being an American company, where women don’t normally have the same privileges as we do in Scandinavia, HubSpot exceeds expectations and requirements for women. Brian told me about their fund for women. That was interesting!
It’s always fascinating to meet people like Brian and get to talk about what inspires him and what drives him forward. It became clear during the interview, that Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Dalai Lama are people Brian look to for inspiration.
Something that left a big impression on me was the passion and level of engagement he and Dharmesh Shah have toward HubSpot. Brian told me about how his role as a leader and how it has developed as HubSpot has grown.
Not all entrepreneurs manage to grow with their company. Many get stuck in the details when they should be focusing on the bigger picture, however, Brian has worked a lot to make sure that he has grown with the company as HubSpot has skyrocketed.
He shared how he gets feedback from the organization, and it's clever, but I would be terrified. He receives a report with about 40 pages where employees give feedback on positive things as well as things he needs to work on.
Ps. And this might not be of interest to everyone, but for those dog lovers out there: There will be more dog merchandise coming in 2018 (the Norwegian office has six dogs.)
What is your key takeaway from the summit – that you would go out and tell every client?
HubSpot is developing from a marketing automation software into a complete platform. This means that HubSpot can be the core of the company's operations, and you can connect other systems to it. That and of course the HubSpot flywheel. The wheel is the new funnel.