Blog

The Happy Customers Festival and The Connected Platform 

Daniel Zarick

June 28, 2024

5 minutes

There's a reason the tech industry borrowed the term "ecosystem" from the sciences. There are undeniable similarities between app ecosystems and....well...actual ecosystems.

Both have companies/species that fill specific functional niches. Companies rely on others to do things they can't do for customers. As resources flow between organisms in an ecosystem, data flows between the apps that customers use.

When one tech platform intentionally builds an ecosystem of smaller tech apps to support its customers, and becomes the central platform for process and data–and everyone wins. Customers have better experiences, and employees have an easier time serving customers. 

The Happy Customers Festival

On June 4th, 2024, we threw the first (of many) Happy Customers Festival: a virtual, half day event where we walked through the customer journey all the way from the top-of-the-marketing-funnel, through the sales process, into customer onboarding and ongoing customer success management. 

Organizing the Happy Customers Festival allowed us to explore and showcase the profound impact of seamless integrations on the customer journey. We wanted to demonstrate and educate on what it looks like to leverage HubSpot and connected apps to power the entire customer journey–from the first webinar, all the way through the first renewal.

We partnered with leading companies like Wistia, Aircall, Grain, and PandaDoc to demonstrate how the entire customer journey can be managed within HubSpot through seamless integration. 

  • Reveal for building join partner account lists
  • Wistia for video and webinars
  • Aircall for SDR outreach 
  • Grain for call recording 
  • PandaDoc for document signatures, 
  • Arrows (us, hi 👋) for onboarding 
  • And HubSpot for ongoing customer health  

Leveraging workflows, processes, and data in the CRM from other tools empowers internal teams, and arms them with a single point of truth for a contacts engagement with their company. It also makes customers happier, because you can deliver a better experience for them. 

The Happy Customers Festival Keynote was given by none other than Yamini Rangan, the CEO of HubSpot. She and I discussed the ecosystem at large, and the future of the connected platform. 

The rest of this article is a summary of her ideas.

The Evolution of the Connected Platform and Unified Customer View

HubSpot started as a marketing automation company. And we had a powerful observation. When we did everything right for our customers, they were able to double, triple, quadruple the number of leads they were getting. 

Then they took those leads and sent them into other systems, and as they were doing that, there was a big leaky bucket. Marketing and sales started pointing fingers at each other – “you did not send me high-quality leads.” Then, “No, I sent the leads, you did not work those leads.” 

There was a fundamental need to provide clear visibility across the entire customer journey – from their first site visit through the entire customer journey. That's why we really wanted to have a customer platform.

The connected customer platform at HubSpot is made up of three things: 

  1. The Engagement Hubs: Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub are places where anyone in the front office can engage with customers and prospects.
  2. The Smart CRM: this unifies all of your customer data and all of your teams into one single place. When I talk to our happiest customers, they have found value from that CRM platform layer or the Smart CRM layer. 
  3. Third, and probably most important, is the ecosystem: All of the solution partners, the app marketplace, the academy course content we deliver, and the community we have created.

All of these things combined create a single source of truth for a business. 

Customers often say they chose HubSpot because it's easy to use, offers fast time to value, and has unified data in one place.

The unified customer layer is crucial.

  • If a marketer wants to see which campaigns touched a customer, they check the single customer record.
  • A salesperson can see what blog a customer read yesterday to discuss it on a call today.
  • Support can check what the customer bought there too.
  • And if anything happens in a separate tool, but that tool is integrated into HubSpot, it goes into the unified view.

App Ecosystem Evolution

The average HubSpot customer has nine integrations with other software, such as project management, onboarding tools like Arrows, accounting, HR, recruiting, and ad software.

There's something magical when our customers bring in data and integrate with other key systems in their stack. They gain much more value.

Our churn decreases, their perceived value increases, they stay longer with us and the integrated app partners they work with, and revenue retention is at least five to eight points higher.

The more integrated we are as an ecosystem, the more value our customers get and the happier they are. This has been proven repeatedly, making the move to a connected ecosystem crucial for us.

Customers Prefer a Connected Customer Platform + Ecosystem

As we shift upmarket, the first question customers ask after basic functionality is about ecosystem integrations. They want a cohesive tech stack, often with 15 different tools, to boost productivity and effectiveness.

And not only do they want to integrate all of their tools into they HubSpot, they also want HubSpot to be the place where they can connect their disparate tools to one another. If they have integrations between two crucial tools into HubSpot -> they can build powerful process and automation in HubSpot leveraging data from both tools, essentially integrating the tools via HubSpot.

This need for integration grows as we move upmarket.

And customers can tell when an integration isn't very deep. If it doesn't add much value, it's not what customers are looking for. They want to bring all of their customer and context data into a place that they can use to drive insights and growth. the depth and breadth of integrations, and how unified your data becomes as part of integrations is crucial.

It All Comes Down To Happy Customers

I want to wrap up with where we started, with happy customers.

In almost any economy, any technology shift, any industry, the only thing we have to be obsessed about is how to delight and make our customers happy. Thank you so much for putting this together, and good luck to everybody in the ecosystem.

Thank you Yamini for sharing these insights with us, and your passion for building the HubSpot ecosystem. We benefit from the strength of the ecosystem, and we feel strongly that our customers do as well. 

Next up, the marketing session covers how to integrate your favorite marketing tools into HubSpot and run a partner webinar, ultimately getting leads ready to send to the sales team. 

Check it out here.

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