HubSpot has a strong and favorable reputation in the marketing world and with this they have developed a complimentary sales platform to go along with it. New updates are made to their CRM platform constantly thanks to the feedback they receive from their loyal customers. Continual improvement is one reason I love working within their sales platform and building a system where sales teams can grow and scale. However, sales processes can be complex and have unique needs that the out of the box CRM does not offer. Thankfully, HubSpot offers open API (application program interface) documentation and with some developer magic we have been able to build custom record widgets to solve for our client's many needs.
Before we can provide a sound solution to our clients we must first identify four key questions - Why, What, Who and How. These simple questions are the key to knowing how to solve for the most complex and challenging problems. As a strategic partner it is our job to identify the silent pain points in your sales process. Are there manual & repetitive steps? Are their steps in their sales process that lack standardization & tracking? How well can the executives tie back marketing & sales efforts to closed won opportunities?
The four examples below demonstrate how we have applied our knowledge of HubSpot Sales and the capabilities offered through using open API, strategic thinking, and some problem solving to improve the day to day processes for sales, customer service and retention teams.
Prospecting is easily one of the top areas where I notice the process is not standardized within an organization. I understand, why hold back your top sales managers to a standardized process if their way of doing things closes the deal. But as an executive can you easily identify the steps your team is taking to follow up on prospects? Without insight you could be leaving money and opportunities on the table.
For clients who do not have access to Playbooks in HubSpot, an Enterprise tool, we have created a customized widget in the contact record that the sales team uses during initial outreach or demo calls. This widget is set up as an internal form with pre-populated fields, text fields, multi-check boxes or date fields. This tool has proven effective for our clients to better organize their prospecting research into one spot. For example, you have a business development rep who does the initial 15 minute pre-qualification call. This team member is able to open up the widget, input their notes and findings and then save. When the prospect is ready for their demo, the sales manager gets involved. Instead of having to do a pre-meeting hand off, the sales manager opens up the widget and reviews the BDR's notes from their call with the prospect. Within that same form, the sales manager can update or create new notes while identifying next steps. We have even taken it a step further by using HubSpot's automation to create a workflow that triggers task creation when a specific next step action is selected from a customized property.
By creating a centralized place for storing notes, or comments left by the prospect, you provide opportunities for your team to dig deep and input their vision and mission for solving for their prospects. Not only does it give the executives insights into how their sales team is working their prospects but also teaches the sales team to be more insightful and thoughtful before reaching out to a prospect, while making it more personalized in the long run.
Centralize Customer Data
I have worked within many sales systems that are cluttered with properties on contact, company and deal records. One team sets up their own properties for prospecting. Another team sets up properties for customer service, and more properties get added for billing & invoicing. This is not ideal when it comes to streamlining client retention processes.
Retention is the key to company growth. Keep your customers happy and they will continue to stick around. So, finding a way to make it more simplified for your retention team to follow up with current clients is very important. We did just that by creating a widget to gather and pre-populate contact & company data so the team members following up had the insights into the current contact relationship. For example, pushing survey results into the widget provided important insights for the customer service representative without manually having to check in with the account manager on current state of client happiness. Additionally, the used the widget to pre-populated the client's product & subscription information eliminating another manual step for having to do research in a third party system prior to their annual check in.
Improve Organization and Efficiency
We have identified use cases for creating customized widgets that extend pass using the data in HubSpot but also pulling in data from other third parties. These integrations have reduced time spent on manual processes and have provided more insights into the progress of a deal and optimized how we use and gather data.
One unique use case we mapped out & implemented was creating widgets that captured quoting, purchasing & shipping information that syncs with PandaDoc. HubSpot has a native integration with Pandadoc that allows users to track all the documents created or sent from Pandadoc right within the CRM. There were a number of stages in the process and it was getting cumbersome for the team because each stage had its own template in PandaDoc and with each template required a number of properties to be filled out. Searching the deal record for all the different product names and their corresponding size, manufacturing and pricing information was making if very difficult for the team to adopt HubSpot.
To streamline the entire process we started by building a single widget that captured data points at these different stages. In PandaDoc, templates were customized & organized to cleanly present the data to the client. The sales team starts by filling out the first widget in the deal record, listing out each product, marking the materials and proofs needed and then pushing it to the corresponding template in PandaDoc. As the deal progresses through to the next stage, the user then moves to the next widget, filling out estimated delivery date, quantities order and finalizing the granular product details for accuracy. The widgets have been able to remove the frustration from having to dig through all properties in the individual records to input the finer details that improve order accuracy.
With the native integration between HubSpot and PandaDoc the template is saved in the deal record for easy reference for the user & management. These customized widgets & incremental improvements to their processes have increased visibility into sales activity and performance, effectiveness in quote follow up, active selling time and accuracy.
Eliminate Duplicate Work
Through my experience I have learned that using deals extends outside of the typical sales process of qualifying and closing opportunities. Deals & Pipelines can be used to track other opportunities such as closed loans or completing recruiting applications. My last example of how to implement customized widgets is how we built out the 1003 Mortgage Application within a deal record so Loan Officers could start the application process within HubSpot.
The concern was brought to us by the Loan Officer team that they were doing duplicate work and it was costing them a lot of time and energy. We set expectations that they were to work their prospects from within HubSpot and track the progress of the loans in deals. However, HubSpot is not a mortgage platform. So, we solved this by creating a customized widget that allowed the Loan Officers to start the application process. Some of the less sensitive data for starting the loan process was already getting capture from within HubSpot, so we made it possible for that same data to populate into the deal widget if it was known. Syncing data between contact & deal records saved time and eliminate the team from having to ask the Borrowers the same questions over and over again.
With the Loan Officers new capability of saving, updating and publishing this data to their mortgage platform without leaving HubSpot we have eliminated a redundant step in the process and improved insights into when loans are getting submitted and funded through automatic milestone updates. The incentive for the team is that if they create the deal, and start the application in HubSpot, then custom coding will take care the deal stage updates, while still being able to track their closed win rates and loan amounts towards goal.
No one Solution is a Fit-All
As I have learned, along with my colleagues, there is no single solution that will solve for all clients. Many CRMs have built out tools that will help increase efficiency, reduce redundancy, and improve sales processes. However, as a scaling company you will find ways to stand out from your competition, and in doing so, you will require a unique and customized approach in reaching those goals. Let our expertise guide you through the necessary steps and help you build the tools and widgets that will get there.