I have to admit that HubSpot has really impressed me as a CRM specialist over the past few years.
What was once a popular inbound (and outbound) tool for marketers has now grown into a full-fledged customer relationship management system. For a while, I told companies evaluating HubSpot that it was a “good marketing platform with a CRM add-on”. But that’s not necessarily true anymore. It is now a very good all-round CRM platform. And get better.
By better, I mean the company is expanding the capabilities of its software to slowly (but surely) turn it into a suite of business applications that can perform most of the tasks a business needs. Just look at the features the company announced this week on its Incoming conference. For HubSpot, it’s all about improving ‘connections’.
“Companies are in a crisis of disconnection today,” the company’s CEO said in a statement press release. “Their systems and data are disconnected because of paved point solutions. They’re disconnected from their customers, because buyers are rejecting saturated channels.” We are committed to helping our customers grow in this new world by providing strategies, technology and communities that drive deeper promote connections.”
To back up its claims, HubSpot rolled out expansions to its payment capabilities, now allowing merchants to better customize their payments and there will soon be capabilities to link those details to HubSpot payment transactions and to its quote-to-cash solutions that do quotes, billing and contracts.
The company has also added new AI features to help identify issues in a database, including automatic flagging and bug fixes before data is published. There is also a new “custom object builder” that will help enforce more consistent data entry with ownership validations and a “data quality command center” with data integrity insights and analytics.
They also announced a new analytics tool that “will provide marketers with detailed visualizations that make it easier to identify moments in the customer journey that can be optimized for better conversion and deeper insights into customer behavior.”
On the service side (wait, service?), the company announced new connectivity tools to help service teams better connect with their customers, complete with a help desk, channels and automation. Integration with the WhatsApp communication platform and improvements for incoming calls will be coming soon.
This is all great, but it speaks to a much bigger change taking place within the HubSpot ecosystem. All you have to do is look at the platform’s new features and expanded modules and it becomes clear: what was once just a marketing application now has a ‘sales hub’, a ‘service hub’ and an ‘operations hub’. It does quotes, invoicing and contracts. It receives cash. So what now? Well, isn’t that clear?
It’s accounting. And I bet it will.
As the company evolves its platform to handle all aspects of a client’s business, it will eventually need an accounting solution. Sure, the company can (and does) integrate with some of the more popular accounting platforms for small and medium businesses. But isn’t it time to step up and tackle those products immediately? If I am one of the 150,000 HubSpot customers who have enjoyed the evolution of the product, I would be interested in a comprehensive, integrated business application. Right now, that’s what HubSpot lacks.
My advice to company leaders: go for accounting. Go ahead and take on Intuit and Xero and Sage and the others. You might as well build something, brand it, and attract a growing number of your 150,000+ existing (and prospective) customers to choose your platform because of its all-in-one capabilities. Start now, build relationships with the accounting community (who will be your biggest influencers) and take advantage of the dissatisfaction I hear from many of my clients with the existing accounting options available to them.
Zoho did this. Microsoft and Salesforce have done this. Given the company’s recent expansion, I bet HubSpot will too.