Technology companies come and go, but only a small fraction of 1% of founding teams discover a scalable business model and steer their company to an IPO or acquisition with valuation more than $100 million.
I have seen plenty of rising stars in my 30 year career in hi-tech, that I knew from the outset would come to dominate their industry; Salesforce.com is such an example, while at MicroStrategy, I was both an early user and they were a prospective client of mine. Interestingly HubSpot is the 2nd fastest-growing SaaS company in history, behind Salesforce.com.
The road to success for every great company has milestones that indicate progress and the first User-group meeting is a marker of growing confidence and early market success.
I was lucky enough to attend the first HubSpot User Group Meeting #HUG2010 in Boston this week along with 325 fellow customers and partners and confidently predict that HubSpot will come to dominate Inbound Marketing or Internet Marketing in the same way that Salesforce.com has come to dominate CRM and Salesforce Automation as a Service.
The HubSpot company mission and shared values that align and drive HubSpot activity and in process serve its customers are what creates the foundation for the longevity of the business.
HubSpot Mission: Make marketing easier and in the process, create a million marketing superstars
Most important metric in the business: CHI (Customer Happiness Index)
A couple of statistics:
- Really Smart People working at HubSpot: 250
- Visionary Partners reselling and implementing HubSpot: 191
- User-base of early-adopter customers reaping the benefits of Inbound Marketing: 3400
- Collective user-base since January 2010 has created 61,000 blog articles and garnered 24,000 blog subscribers; generated a staggering 2,400,000 leads and collectively amassed 1.4M followers on Twitter.
Current HubSpot focus is on driving customer happiness vs. growth at all costs; Introducing CHI (Customer Happiness Index)
The lifeblood of a SaaS business is renewals and customers who are not happy with the product for any reason are most likely to have low CHI and low CHI is a reliable indicator of potential to churn.
In HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan’s opening speech, he commented on customer success, “Inbound Marketing is not something that you can dip your toe-in and expect results – you’ve got to jump in”. In a company that slices and dices data faster than a Hibachi chef, Channels Manager, Pete Caputa showed data that CHI is higher across the board for customers, where certified HubSpot partners are involved.
The HubSpot partner community has evolved to the point where a customer can get anything from “Do Hubspot for me”, a blog post written by a top journalist, to a custom Web redesign or professional video created in an efficient services market-place.
Brian Halligan overviewed HubSpot’s Big Priorities;
- Quality – following the thinking in how Toyota designs in quality.
- Platformization – Opening up and extending API’s for CRM, Ecommerce and other applications, (Lead management integration is available for Salesforce.com within the HubSpot Medium and Large products and via HubSpot partners for Sugar CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho).
- Making the 19 different applications in the platform integrate better and improve usability.
- Social CRM–making it easier to nurture prospects in the Middle of the Funnel.
- Mobile–the requirement is for HubSpot to look and feel great on smart mobile devices
- Speed of the application
The panel sessions were useful as were the feedback sessions and the opportunity to contribute to future product direction. Every channel customer and partner I spoke with was extremely happy with the event and very bullish about the future. You can view a brief recap of Hug2010 here.
In summary, an impressive first user group event and reason to be very encouraged if you are a HubSpot prospect, customer, HubSpot reseller or HubSpot investor.
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