Industry Insights

HubSpot Becoming Major Ally for Startups and SMBs

There is always quite a difference of opinion when it comes to the right time to jump into the world of owning a startup or small business and it depends entirely on who you talk to. Some might optimistically say "always" while others may fiercely caution you to not even consider it unless you’re willing to lose your entire life savings and spend the rest of your days as merely a cautionary tale.  

In fact, Failory, the self-proclaimed "experts of failure" recently released The Startup Failure Rate Infographic, which speaks to something that, in my opinion, determines if an entrepreneur will be successful or not: how friendly are you with failure? The advice "fail fast" is so commonly given in the startup world it's almost a rite of passage, get it out of the way as fast as you can so you can learn from it, regroup and take another run, (or two or three) at being a successful business owner. 

But it's that very Russian roulette, jumping out of a plane and building your parachute on the way down kind of adrenaline-laced excitement that leads people to not only create SMBs and startups but also work for them. It's that immersion in the exciting, volatile, highly creative and rapidly evolving world that gets them out of bed in the morning, or at the very least that and caffeine. 

IF there were a great time to be in that world though, now would be it, given the moves inbound marketing and sales giant HubSpot has made to become even more of an ally to those in the startup and SMB space. 

HubSpot Launches Integration with Shopify

Given the way HubSpot and Shopify are both household names in the business world, it was only a matter of time before the two would come together with an offer in the SMB space each enterprise started in. Enter their ecommerce integration that was originally announced at INBOUND 2017 now becoming available at no additional cost for all shared customers. 

This integration for the Shopify app store will allow Shopify merchants to bring sales data from their store, including that of customers, orders and products into the HubSpot platform. “Over the past five years, we’ve seen the growth of small online merchants that occupy a specific niche. These companies quickly build an initial audience, but it’s hard for them to scale up,” said Kipp Bodnar, Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot. “In a time when online retail giants consume the vast majority of demand in almost all industries, it’s important that these small businesses have access to tools and strategies that will help them break through the noise. Inbound marketing offers a solution to these challenges, helping SMBs personalize their marketing and build a brand that can stand up to the biggest competitors.”

Designed to make HubSpot’s power and insights more easily accessible and useable, some of its standout capabilities for ecommerce merchants are to:

  • Sync specific merchant sales data from Shopify into HubSpot for use as a marketing signal. Users will see a new orders pipeline in the CRM and have their online store customers imported as new contacts, complete with a shopping and marketing timeline.
  • Segment users based on products, deals, and order history, then use those lists to inform emails, ads, and workflows.
  • Automate campaigns with pre-built ecommerce workflows like abandoned cart nurturing. When users connect their store they’ll see three pre-built workflows in settings, specific to ecommerce.
  • Report on results with a new ecommerce reporting dashboard. This new home for results will share data on orders, new sales, lifetime value, abandoned cart recovery, and how marketing efforts relate to revenue.

Brad Coffey, Chief Strategy Officer at HubSpot even shared his excitement on what it means to him to have joined forces with Shopify: “We’re really excited to integrate Shopify to help SMBs grow. They’ve done amazing work in this space and helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs build businesses that fuel the economy and bring something really special to consumers, ecommerce in general is something we’re really bullish on here at HubSpot. We’re committed to providing the tools and support that will help ecommerce SMBs grow in a competitive space.”

Inbound Marketing and Sales Content for All

10 years ago, HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah wrote Inbound Marketing, Attract, Engage and Delight Customers Online and while its latest update came in 2014, we all know the expectations of buyers are ascending by the month let alone by the year, and the ways in which engagement happens is becoming so complex, those creating these strategies are starved for more specific content to meet their needs. In fact. 63% of marketers are saying they are still most challenged by generating traffic and leads and 38% of salespeople are saying getting a response from their prospects is getting more and more difficult as per HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017. 

In response to this, HubSpotters took to their keyboards to expand on the inbound philosophy HubSpot is known for, to write four brand new books aimed at helping organizations of all sizes realize their goals of growth and business transformation with inbound strategies. The over 1,000 pages of inbound-rich content is broken out into the following topics and audiences:

Inbound Content: A Step-by-Step Guide To Doing Content Marketing the Inbound Way by Justin Champion is for the ones who spend their days navigating the mindset of the modern consumer searching for clues to get and keep them engaged:

“Inbound Content is a step-by-step manual for attracting the right people, turning them into leads, and closing them into customers. Today, everyone knows that content is king. It’s how we engage, how we inform, and how we pass the time; content is everywhere, and if you’re not leveraging its power to promote your business, you’ve already been left behind. Having a website and social media is not enough; if you truly want to take advantage of unprecedented levels of connectedness, you have to create content that draws customers in. It’s not about blindly expanding reach, it’s about reaching out to the right audience. Today’s marketplace is no longer about chasing the sale—with the right approach to content, your customers will come to you.”

Inbound PR: The PR Agency’s Manual to Transforming Your Business with Inbound by Iliyana Stareva is for those looking to leverage the power of PR and turn it into an ROI:

“Inbound PR is the handbook that can transform your agency’s business. Today’s customer is fundamentally different, and traditional PR strategies are falling by the wayside. Nobody wants to feel “marketed to;” we want to make our own choices based on our own research and experiences online. When problems arise, we demand answers on social media, directly engaging the company in front of a global audience. We are the most empowered, sophisticated customer base in the history of PR, and PR professionals must draw upon an enormous breadth of skills and techniques to serve their clients’ interests. Unfortunately, those efforts are becoming increasingly ephemeral and difficult to track using traditional metrics. This book merges content and measurement to give today’s PR agencies a new way to build brands, evaluate performance and track ROI.”

Inbound Organization: How to Build and Strengthen Your Company’s Future Using Inbound Principles, by Dan Tyre and Todd Hockenberry is for those at the helm of organizations, the CEOs and Business Owners. In the startup space they’re often the ones who chose to take that plunge without a parachute:

“We’re in a major shift in a fundamental aspect of how businesses grow, how buyers purchase, and how businesses build meaningful conversations and customer relationships. Companies who align their mission, strategies, action plans, and tools with the way buyers think, learn, discover, and purchase will have a huge competitive advantage. Organizations need to adjust their mindset and build a strategic foundation to deal with these facts and not just update a business plan.

Inbound Organization shows leaders how to build their company's future around Inbound principles and strengthen the structural foundations necessary to deal with the changes in buyer behavior. It explains how and why Inbound ideas and how to create a remarkable customer experience belong in the boardrooms and on the desks of founders, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone who has a responsibility to lead their organizations into the future.”

Inbound Selling: How to Change the Way You Sell to Match How People Buy, by Brian Signorelli is for the sales leaders, sales teams, basically the ones who have to take all that wonderful growth and engagement and ensure it converts:

“Over the past decade, Inbound Marketing has changed the way companies earn buyers’ trust and build their brands – through meaningful, helpful content. But with that change comes unprecedented access to information in a few quick keystrokes. Enter the age of the empowered buyer, one who no longer has to rely on a sales rep to research their challenges or learn more about how a company’s offering might fit their needs. Now, with more than 60% of purchasing decisions made in the absence of a sales rep, the role of the rep itself has been called into question.

With no end in sight to this trend, sales professionals and the managers who lead them must transform both the way they think about selling and how they go about executing their sales playbook. Expert author and HubSpot Sales Director, Brian Signorelli has viewed the sales paradigm shift from the inside—his unique insights perfectly describe the steps sales professionals must take to meet the needs of the empowered customer.”

HubSpot and Google Cloud Side for Startups

One of the biggest things that shows HubSpot’s investment in being accessible to businesses of all sizes, is their HubSpot for Startups program, offering discounted marketing, sales and CRM software as well as specific education and support for those who qualify. It would only make sense for them to join forces with a similar initiative, Google Cloud Startup Program creating a first of its kind collaboration allowing across the board access for participants of each program.  

Kim Walsh, Global VP of HubSpot for Startups highlights the premise of this impactful move: “We’re working together to connect the dots to simplify the often complicated process startups often have to go through to put the proper tools in place to grow better, you build on Google Cloud, and you grow on HubSpot’s marketing, sales and CRM platform. Why not make it easier for startups to access both?”

Another exciting element of the coming together of HubSpot for Startups and Google Cloud Startup Program is the access to its START Package for eligible customers, which includes up to $3,000 in credits and invitations to Code Labs, classroom-style and online training courses. "Building a successful startup requires a combination of world-class technology and great tools to bring your product to market, we are pleased to offer support to early-stage HubSpot for Startups companies as they build, launch, and scale their products on Google Cloud.”  states Sam O’Keefe, Head of Startup Programs at Google Cloud.

Previous to this, HubSpot for startups has had multiple programs launched in collaboration with more traditional startup sources like accelerators, incubators and VCs but this is the first time it has joined with another partner companies’ program so similar to its own. 

Ending Notes

In light of all the talk out there, both positive and negative of when, how and who should start businesses or jump into the startup world, for anyone who wants to live that life my advice is twofold: listen to it all because there is a lesson in everything and finally, there is a good time to start, it is now, and I think every person who shares that thought might also, like me, love the famed quote by Earl Nightingale: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

The startup life and small business ownership aren't for everyone, but we live in a time when the allure of either being a successful entrepreneur or fearlessly following the dreams of one is more appealing than ever and this is both a result of and the inspiration for the amount of resources to help you succeed being greater than its ever been. There is also no end in sight as that number is only expanding year after year as companies like HubSpot, Google, Shopify and the like deploy programs and initiatives like the ones mentioned in this article.

Laura Myers

Laura Myers

A digital business, marketing and social media enthusiast, Laura thrives on asking unique, insightful questions to ignite conversation. At an event or remotely, she enjoys any opportunity to connect with like-minded people in the industry.

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