Hubspot’s Best Feature (IMO)

Note: This is not a product endorsement. There are some product flaws in Hubspot that I don’t cover here.

We recently switched from Marketo to Hubspot at CrowdRiff, yes I was involved in a switch from Hubspot to Marketo at Uberflip before so it was an interesting experience see’ing the process from both sides.

The primary reason for switching was usability. Hubspot in general is easier to use and manage then Marketo for a dozen or so reasons that I wont get into today. I’ll say this, the general perception that Marketo is more robust might not hold true anymore.

If you’ve read my previous post about building a lead to account matching in Marketo (without external plugins) you’ll realize how painful it is. Marketo’s matching caps out at 500 entries from what I know.

With Hubspot there is a magical setting that matches any new leads to existing accounts and syncs their status

What does this do?

Imagine you have an account in Salesforce from Acme Co and it has a contact with the email sophia@acme.co who is currently in the Opportunity status.

You run some Facebook ads and you get another lead from company Acme Co with the email kamil@acme.co. In the perfect world, you want to avoid communicating with kamil@acme.co with messages meant for a prospect because someone from your team is already chatting with acme.co about signing a deal. Ideally you want kamil@acme.co to be routed to the company acme.co and not sit as a lonely lead in your database and end up getting pulled into marketing comms and keep your reporting and database clean. That can happen one of two ways:

  1. kamil@acme.co is auto-converted into a contact in Salesforce under the Acme.co account and the lead status is updated.
  2. kamil@acme.co is NOT converted into a contact in Salesforce but the lead status is still updated to show that it’s part of an active sales opportunity.

With the Hubspot trigger, any new lead that is created from an existing account will match the lifecycle stage of the existing contacts within that account. What that means is, kamil@acme.co will not have the status ‘MQL/Lead’ which means open season for marketing, typically nurture emails or such. Instead kamil@acme.co will have the lead status ‘Opportunity’ because someone from that company already has that status.

Here’s an attempted flow chart to simplify the text:

I am not great at flow charts.

The same principles apply if it’s a lead from an existing customer. It’s does happen, more often then not, that you have a customer in your database with 3 known contacts. What if a 4th person from that customer account downloads an ebook you just put out? How would you avoid putting that person from a company who’s already a customer in your ‘Downloaded eBook’ nurture? With the matching in Hubspot enabled, the new person will have the status ‘Customer’ so they’ll get routed to a suppression list.

You must always have a suppression list.

Before we moved to Hubspot and enabled this, we had some instances where customers/opportunities got pulled into marketing lists by accident since the status wasn’t changed.

You might be thinking, that’s all great but we don’t use Hubspot Lifecycle Stages because we can’t customize them, so we use our own custom field for status, how would it work then?

Use Workflows.

Workflows take care of mapping your custom status field to match the Hubspot lifecycle stage. So even though you are not using the Lifecycle stage to track lead/contact status, you can create workflows to trigger your custom field based on the changes to the lifecycle stage field. Word of caution, make sure you don’t have multiple workflows overwriting the same field.

Although the system only looks at the domain information, it comes pre-packaged with Hubspot and it does save me much of data management problems such as pulling customer contacts who have not been set as customers into an email list for a sales campaign. You could use third party Salesforce plugins like LeanData for more robust fuzzy matching with multiple data points and auto converting leads into contacts under matches accounts within Salesforce.

If you’ve experienced issues like this and have tried this or a different approach, please let me know in the comments below!

P.S: This setting is in Hubspot Sales, Hubspot’s free CRM.

P.P.S Hubspot also has a Company -> Lead ownership matching, avoiding the scenario where leads & accounts have multiple owners for the same company.