I recently caught up with my friend Mark Roberge, who is currently VP of Sales and Services at HubSpot. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years, HubSpot is inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. They are the leaders in the SMB market and have been gaining market share within the enterprise.
Here is a cool video on what they do:
HubSpot has been known for creating fantastic marketing software that generates leads for sales, but not actually creating software for sales people themselves.
Now, I must admit, I am a complete sales geek and have been praying for innovation within the sales automation space. Well, as of a few weeks ago HubSpot has now introduced a new product called Get Signals. It’s a really neat Chrome browser plug-in that tracks activities that are meaningful to salespeople.
So, I was curious and asked Mark a little more about this new direction.
Here is some feedback below:
Jorge: What was the inspiration behind launching Get Signals?
Mark: “The same way the Internet changed marketing; it’s changed sales as well. 15 years ago you had to talk to a sales person and for the most part they were your best source of information on everything from the product to their competition. Today the buyer has the power. The buyer can research, test, and even buy your product – anytime and from anywhere.
Get Signals is trying to help sales people transition into the new way of selling. For a long time, sales tools were for management. We want to build tools for sales people that work within their workflows; tools that make sense to them. Get Signals will help sales people understand what to do next.
It’s really about allowing salespeople to listen to the market in the same way that marketing has through easy-to-use tools. This “listening” will help sales people understand who needs their help, when they need it, and how to prioritize. Activities such as who’s looking at their website, talking about them on social media, etc.
HubSpot is investing a lot money in this new genre of sales-person centric tools. We are a mature business, who’s raised $100 million dollars, and backed by organizations that include General Catalyst Partners, Matrix Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures and Salesforce.com. We are not a startup and are committed to innovating in this space.“
My Product Feedback So Far:
So I am quite familiar with a few of their competitors in the space, and although Get Signals is a new product, I’m quite impressed by the product so far.
The product’s email tracking feature is pretty neat. As opposed to their competitors, Get Signals seems to live outside of your email inbox. Although there is the ability to select emails to be tracked (see image below, “Tracking Button:”), the “activity feed” is independent and is accessed via a button on the browser (see image below, “Activity Feed in Browser:”).
Image: Tracking Button:
Image: Activity Feed in Browser:
Image: Filter Dropdown for the Activity Stream on dashboard:
Get Signals also features a dashboard, which is also accessible via the browser (see image below, “Image: Activity Stream Dashboard:”).
The salesperson is able to filter the feed by activities like email opens, link clicks, Salesforce.com activities, and HubSpot activities.
One aspect to Get Signals that will give them a huge advantage is their HubSpot integration. HubSpot already serves thousands of marketing organizations of all sizes; this integration allows for true sales and marketing alignment that actually fits into the salesperson’s workflow.
There are marketing automation companies such as Pardot and Marketo that have similar apps that typically sit within their Salesforce.com dashboard. Even though the last two companies that I have been a part of have had them set up, I haven’t seen a lot of value out of them. I think because they feel so far from my real workflow, which is dominated by email, I haven’t felt compelled to adopt them. For the record, my current employer uses Pardot.
Image: Activity Stream Dashboard:
My Short Term Conclusion:
I do believe that this is the time for innovation around sales automation and that tools like Get Signals are on the right track. Although they will experience competition, if they indeed focus on the salesperson and make this a company-wide initiative, they will have a strong position in the market. The fact is that even with such an early product, there are only one maybe two other players in the space today that are competitive. I’d say things are looking up for Get Signals and am excited to see how they continue to evolve and compete.