When to adopt a CRM for your business

In a recent episode of The Inspectations Podcast, CEO of The Aebli Group, Justin Starbird, sat down with Lucas Stacey from HubSpot, one of the leading marketing, sales, and service hub platforms, to discuss CRM.

Lucas StaceyThe term CRM stands for customer relationship management and somehow along the way, people started to think of it as only a sales tool. “That's only a modicum of what it actually is," says Lucas. "Where Hubspot really stands out is that it is a very diverse set of software to manage the entire customer experience."

As Lucas explains, "HubSpot, at its core, is a CRM platform. It has all the tools for the front office management of a company, whether that's the marketing team, the sales team, content management, or customer service. We allow folks to manage their day-to-day operations from a single platform. The real power here is how all of those things work in concert together, marketing is trying to drum up and bring in leads, sales then hits the ground running trying to close that business, and then operations helps those prospects and customers in receiving the full value that the sales team promised.”

He adds, "Where HubSpot starts to become the most powerful that it can be is by having everyone on a single platform. We're tracking a customer from when they first Google you, before they have any idea of who you are, and it's the first time they’ve landed on your page to today where they are a three-year customer. We have every interaction with them stored in our database."

“Unfortunately,” he points out, “without a good CRM, what happens is a pretty disjointed process. It makes for a tough customer experience for the end-user and also limits the efficiency of the company itself. What HubSpot is all about is bringing those things all together on a single platform and helping to create some synergy across all those different functions within an organization. HubSpot is a CRM platform that takes a more holistic approach where we're looking at the entire life cycle of a prospect or customer."

Not only can a good CRM help to build your relationships with prospects and clients, it also offers you tools to recognize and address opportunities for growth.

Alongside interested and engaged clients HubSpot also tracks interactions with folks that never became customers. How is that beneficial? Lucas explains, “Now we have this really powerful toolset that we can use to inform your business decisions and identify what's working really well and what you thought was going to work, but it turned out to not be that great. This can allow you to stop spending time and money on the things that are not working and instead go invest more in the things that are. It's just so wonderful when a business can sit back and empirically look at some of these things and inform their choices rather than just make an educated guess."

So, how do you know when it’s the right time for your business to adopt a CRM?

"As soon as you start going through any exercise, as soon as you start getting serious about your business," says Lucas. "When I say ‘getting serious about your business’, I don't even mean once you've filed for an LLC, or once you've hung a shingle out in front of a storefront. If you're freelancing off the side of your desk for a passion project, you still need to track who you're having conversations with. You need a place to store those notes. You need to understand if you’re advancing a deal from just that initial discussion to preparing a quote, and a CRM helps you do all of those things. "

One big hesitation seen with the adoption of a CRM are the misconceptions surrounding cost. 

Lucas goes on to explain that HubSpot is a tool that is completely scalable and customizable to the needs of each individual client. It actually consists of five different hubs. At its core, it is a CRM, but it is also a marketing hub, a sales hub, a service hub, a CMS hub, and an operations hub. He says, “Maybe somebody doesn't need all five of those things, or maybe they need a free tier in one, and they need a top-level enterprise tier in another. We can modify an organization's approach and meet them where they are."

He notes, "One of the great things about HubSpot is that we also have free tools. You don't have to be a large, mature organization in order to move forward and make the most of HubSpot. If you want to unlock some really powerful, advanced automation or reporting features, there's going to be some paid requirements at that level, but if we're talking about just wanting to be able to know who your customers are, understand how you’re talking with them, see if your deals are progressing appropriately, things that every business needs, there are wonderfully cost-effective ways to go about doing so!"

Justin and the Aebli Group began working with HubSpot several years ago, and since then they have been a huge part of the TAG team’s growth as well as their clients, arguably what Justin considers their "secret weapon". Today, The Aebli Group is a HubSpot Certified Partner and can help you navigate and utilize HubSpot’s tools to their fullest extent!

partner-badge-blackHubSpot has grown a lot over the past years into one of the top marketing, sales, and service companies. Lucas says, "When you interact with us today, you're going to get industry-recommended best practices from our HubSpot team, but they might not be specially curated directly for your organization. Every company has their own wrinkles, specialties, or things that require a more nuanced or curated approach, and a certified HubSpot partner like TAG that understands all of the technical requirements that HubSpot requires, but also understands the intricacies and nuances of your particular organization, helps to create some synergy and marries those two things really nicely."

"HubSpot is just a tool," says Lucas. "We can give you all of the features and functions in the world, but somebody still has to get their hands dirty and do the work. Somebody still needs to set up the operational and strategic vision for what the project is going to look like. Working with a partner like TAG, who has the expertise from the marketing and sales side, and who brings their own set of services and skills, and who has also worked with companies similar to particular prospects and done implementations with HubSpot before, really creates a tremendous amount of value for an organization."

"The real benefit,” he says, “of working with an organization like TAG is that now you have this expert agency to work alongside you, develop that strategy, help you to really have the best experience, and make the most of our tools."

As for the future of HubSpot?

Lucas says, "I think that there are two things that are really driving the future direction of HubSpot. Number one is that we want to be this total full office solution for an organization. When we started, that was just marketing, and shortly after that, sales came along, and shortly after that, CMS came along so that people can develop their sites within the platform too. The service hub is not necessarily new to HubSpot, but the investment in time and the capabilities has really been a point of focus over the past few months, and I think it will continue to be through 2022. The reason behind that is recognizing the value of growing the customer you have, and the power they have to be a referral source for an organization. I think we'll continue to see those tools continue to be improved upon and really become a core focus to make sure we are able to handle that total customer lifecycle from somebody becoming a prospect to a long-term promoter of your brand. "

"The other piece that we're focusing on," he adds, "is moving upmarket. People have really thought of HubSpot as a small to midsize business solution, and while that's still true, we were also named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant as an enterprise solution. I think you're going to see us push further and further into those larger organizations as our features and functions continue to improve and grow."

To learn more about HubSpot, CRM, and what a Certified HubSpot Partner can bring to your business, listen to "When to adopt a CRM for your business" on The Inspectations Podcast. Live now! 

The Inspectations Podcast brings together business leaders from all industries to talk about best practices, innovation, leadership, and business development. The concept was born from an internal conversation within the TAG team, which resulted in the realization that processes and systems could be improved. 

Make sure to inspect what you expect!

Justin Starbird

About the Author: Justin Starbird I have been fortunate to have had several entrepreneurs that came before me take the time to “pull back the curtains” and allow me to be a part of their multi-million dollar companies… and actually value my input. They allowed me to see their mistakes and learn from their real-world lessons so that I wouldn’t have to pay the expensive costs of experience on my own. Additionally, they taught me what really works and the importance of action - not just ideas.

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