Getting started with the HubSpot CMS: What’s the right route for you?
May 24, 2022
Is the HubSpot platform ready for enterprise use? Now that includes these 5 powerful features, it definitely is. And Gartner agrees.
HubSpot's roots lie in building marketing software to help SMEs market themselves and grow better. This is something that they, and we as an Elite Solutions Partner, make no bones about since it is this focus on SMEs that has given rise to HubSpot's refreshingly polished, intuitive, and consistent user interface - something that has led to happier, more successful customers and a large community of internal, external and partner evangelists.
These origins meant that for a long time HubSpot wasn't considered ready for use in enterprise applications. Partly this was an issue of perception, and partly an issue with missing features.
However, in the intervening years since HubSpot's Marketing Hub, as it came to be known, first rose to prominence, HubSpot has been expanding its platform and adding the features that enterprises expect, need, and demand from their marketing, sales, and service technologies, to the point where its CRM Suite is now officially enterprise-ready.
This effort has been recognised by Gartner, when in October 2021, listed HubSpot as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for B2B Marketing Automation Technology.
Fortunately for all, these enterprise-critical features have all been added with HubSpot's usual care and attention to the overall user experience. And when you have a platform at your disposal with enterprise power and features, but with SME ease-of-use, any team can achieve great results.
So, what are the key features that have been added to the HubSpot CRM Suite to make it suitable for the enterprise?
HubSpot's enterprise-ready features:
Not only has HubSpot introduced and rapidly enhanced custom objects functionality, but it has taken steps to ensure that customers don't get themselves into the same kind of complexity-rooted trouble that has been common with custom objects on other systems.
Now in HubSpot, you can declare your own custom objects, with their own unique custom properties, and the cardinality of their relationships with other objects - both standard and custom.
Records in a custom object can be created, viewed, and interacted with in much the same way as any standard object. Each can be viewed and filtered in a list, has a detailed record view including a timeline, and appears as a detailed card in the right hand 'associations' sidebar of any related object record. And you can build lists, trigger workflows, and create reports using custom object properties, just as you would with standard objects.
Custom objects is the ability to define custom tables of information within a relational database alongside standard objects such as contacts, companies, and deals. While custom properties (columns with the object table) are great for storing data that has a one-to-one relationship with an object (i.e. can only have one value at any one time), custom objects are better for storing data that has a many-to-one relationship with another object, or relationships with multiple objects.
The presence of custom objects functionality in familiar enterprise systems like Salesforce was, for a long time, a barrier to the adoption of HubSpot. Many businesses either were already or planned to use custom objects in their CRM and ruled HubSpot out because of their absence. But not anymore.
Enterprises are often complex, multi-line, or multi-brand entities. HubSpot's Business Units and partitioning tools cater to these complex organisations and allow multiple brands, teams, functions, and units to effectively operate on a unified platform.
Business Units expands upon the previously available brand domains add-on, which supported the hosting of web content on multiple branded domains, adding the ability to delineate marketing assets like lists, forms, emails, workflows, etc. by unit, and the ability to build multiple email subscription preference centers - essential for effective email marketing in a multi-brand organisation. Contacts, companies, deals, custom objects, and integration can also be assigned to specific business units.
Partitioning on the other hand allows organisations to use roles, teams, and user permissions to control which CRM records and marketing assets specific team members have the power to view or edit.
Layering Business Units with partitioning gives enterprises the ability to segment their HubSpot portal in line with their structure and to provide the optimum customer experience.
Serverless functions in CMS Hub Enterprise and coded workflow actions in Operations Hub Professional offer enterprises two ways to create their own, wholly-owned and managed, custom extension and integrations - with third-party APIs or their own proprietary code.
Integrations have become an essential tool in the pursuit of a seamless, friction-free customer experience for buyers and a single-view-of-the-customer for businesses. Both require a connected platform to realise.
The increase in the demand for connectivity between systems from a myriad of different vendors has produced an enormous increase in the numbers of off-the-shelf integrations lists in those vendors' marketplaces and low-code or no-code integration platforms that are available.
In certain situations, these solutions are very attractive, especially since the code and infrastructure are, in theory, managed and maintained for you. But they don't meet every requirement. Features may be lacking from marketplace integrations (which are often very narrow in their focus), or the necessary connections missing from integration platforms. And, of course, neither can speak to your proprietary code base without additional custom development.
HubSpot's Serverless functions and Coded workflow actions enable enterprises to write their own code, to address core or edge cases, while still removing the need to take on responsibility for the underlying infrastructure, giving them additional freedom and control.
A HubSpot sandbox is a functional replica of your live, production HubSpot portal that allows you to test new integrations, configurations, and processes away from your sensitive customer data. Sandboxes are an important enterprise tool for minimising the risk that comes with introducing new tools and ideas into an already active system, that is holding valuable customer information.
For some time, it has been possible to create vanilla 'test portals' from within a HubSpot developer account, and this has allowed businesses to do a degree of testing away from their main portal. But a Sandbox contains the custom objects, properties, pipelines, and templates from the original - allowing testing to go even further.
With flexible associations, you can define labels for different relationships between contacts, companies, deals, and you can create many-to-many relationships where previously only many-to-one was possible. And you can use the different types of relationships to segment contacts into lists and workflows. For example, this allows you to continue email marketing to one set of contacts at a company, while still being able to recognise the existence of another set with a different relationship to it.
Sometimes, you don't need a custom object to achieve the desired structure, you just need a different relationship between two existing objects. This is particularly common in sales settings that involve channel partners, resellers, introducers. While HubSpot doesn't allow you to clone a standard object, the fact that it lets you define different relationships between them is a huge help to enterprises that need it.
While the features listed above are what make HubSpot ready for enterprise adoption, they also make HubSpot even more powerful for scaling SMEs. Businesses of all sizes can now use HubSpot's connected, customisable, customer-centric CRM suite and marketing tools to grow better, and know that HubSpot will scale with them all the way.