Ahead of IPO, Hubspot launches its own CRM tool, adds new features to its marketing platform

Integrated marketing platform HubSpot unveiled a whole set of shiny new features at its #INBOUND14 conference yesterday, most significantly, the launch of its own free CRM tool. The new features will go some way in drumming up support for HubSpot’s planned IPO, from it plans to raise $100 million.

HubSpot, which focuses on mid-size and small businesses, has long been offering an integration with Salesforce for CRM, but now it’s deciding to offer its own CRM tool instead of more integrations. That’s exactly the opposite strategy of Act-On Software, its biggest competitor in the mid-market space.

Speaking to Arik Hesseldahl at Re/code, HubSpot CTO Dharmesh Shah said a CRM tool had been one of the most requested features from HubSpot’s small and midsize company customers:

These companies, he said, are often too small to justify the expense of running Salesforce’s product or other CRM offerings from Oracle, SAP or Microsoft. “More often than not, they tend to track their sales process on spreadsheets,” Shah said.

HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan demoed the new CRM tool at the #INBOUND14 conference yesterday, highlighting its ability to connect to Gmail, Google Apps, Outlook, and Apple Mail, in order to log emails and build a database of contacts, companies, deals, and tasks. Other features include a sales timeline to manage team tasks and chart prospect journeys.

Here’s the video of Halligan demoing the new HubSpot CRM platform: (start at 1:15)

The CRM tool will be available to all current HubSpot customers for free starting in early 2015.

HubSpot also had a few updates for its sales acceleration tool Signals, renaming it Sidekick and giving it a hefty set of new capabilities. Sidekick s a browser extension that provides real-time notifications of how prospects are engaging the brand across all its digital channels, helping sales teams for better lead prospecting and nurturing. It will integrate with all major CRM systems, including HubSpot’s own.

Finally, HubSpot announced that it had ten new features for its integrated marketing platform. These include:

  •       Branching or “conditional” logic in Workflows to make HubSpot’s marketing platform more adaptable to changing customer behavior.

  •       Attribution Reporting, a new report to highlight which marketing channels or content are influencing conversions so that marketers can adjust budgets and optimization accordingly.

  •       Increased capabilities for Revenue Reporting in HubSpot to work with a range of CRMs and directly tie sales numbers to specific marketing channels, content offers, and campaigns.

  •       A Content Calendar to assign, schedule, publish, and organize content from one central location.

  •       Anonymous Personalization to personalize content based on a visitor’s device, location, or referral source, optimizing the site for maximum engagement and sales opportunities.

  •       A Campaign Wizard to organize and view campaigns across all digital channels.

  •       Suggested streams within Social Inbox, for recommendations on who to follow and what to monitor for marketers on social.

  •       An Email Optimizer to help improve deliverability, catch email errors and optimize message sending times based on previous email sends.

  •       An Email Dashboard to view and organize campaigns and content in a single interface.

  •       List Analytics which will run diagnostics on email/contact lists to determine prospecting and engagement chances.

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