With all the talk about Salesforce.com buying ExactTarget, there’s another company that needs to be mentioned: HubSpot. HubSpot is a great inbound marketing software company based in Boston. Early on, HubSpot was focused on being a blogging platform with related search engine optimization tools. Over time, they morphed into an all-in-one marketing platform with blogging, SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, and social media marketing. So, how does this fit in with Salesforce.com?
Well, Salesforce.com is an investor in HubSpot and HubSpot is a Salesforce.com AppExchange partner. HubSpot is emphasizing marketing automation and is moving up market, going from micro seven person companies with no dedicated marketing person to the SMB segment with dedicated marketers and a CRM. Their most common CRM integration is Salesforce.com. So, if you’re moving up market and your investor/most common integration partner buys a company that does amazing marketing automation (and soon will be the de facto standard), it’s time to think hard about the long-term strategy.
Since I no longer have a dog in the fight, here’s the answer: HubSpot needs to parlay their powerful system into being a full blown CRM and remove Salesforce.com from the equation. Businesses want the best tools to sell more stuff, and want it at a reasonable price. Salesforce.com is crazy powerful, but at $700 – $1,200 per user per year, it’s the most expensive system in the market (add another $1,000/month for marketing automation capabilities from Salesforce.com). There’s a real opportunity for a CRM priced in the $120 – $240 per user per year range with all the corresponding marketing automation capabilities. The right system can and should support both sales and marketing.
Outside of adding more CRM capabilities to the basic contact management they already have, the other big missing ingredient is third-party integrations. Looking at the HubSpot App Marketplace, there’s a handful of integrations, but not much compared to the Salesforce.com AppExchange. Connecting with a few integration-as-a-service providers will really help expand the number of potential integrations.
So, I see three changes for HubSpot to make:
- Turn the contact management functionality into a full CRM (opportunity pipeline, call logging, scheduling, etc)
- Put more resources into the App Marketplace and ensure the top 50 cloud apps used by 80% of the customers have a great integration
- Add an additional per user pricing option in the $15/user/month price range with metered pricing on web traffic and email sends (right now all pricing is based on marketable database size and functionality)
This changes the focus of HubSpot while helping them get closer to their value proposition: helping companies make more money. More tools, more systems, more user interfaces to learn adds more complexity. Companies just want great tools to close more business faster. HubSpot can do that. Salesforce.com needs a mainstream CRM competitor.
What else? What are your thoughts on HubSpot as the next mainstream CRM?