The Newsletter Pro November 2018

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BUSINESS PROFILE HUBSPOT IS IN THE HUMAN BUSINESS How the Inbound Process Sparked a Global Movement

Fans of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” will recall its famous but strangely poignant final scene: After nearly sending astronaut Dave Bowman to his deep-space death, the supercomputer HAL begs to be spared. But as Bowman disconnects HAL’s malfunctioning wires, the computer pleads, “Will you stop, Dave? My mind is going. I can feel it.” Viewers all around the world watched this scene with an uncomfortably forlorn feeling. It seems impossible that a piece of technology could have the capacity for such human emotions, and this disconnect remains problematic in the field of artificial intelligence. However, when it comes to the world of marketing and sales, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah seek to overcome the often technical and inhuman nature of outbound strategies by reintroducing a human element. In the process, they have created something entirely different. If you even have a toe in the business world, you have likely heard of HubSpot. However, you might be unaware of the circumstances that led Brian and Dharmesh to develop their au courant marketing software. The two met as graduate students at MIT in 2004. While Brian was helping venture-backed startup companies through traditional marketing strategies, he and Dharmesh started to notice that the tried-and-true marketing tactics of the past decade simply didn’t work anymore. The companies’ attempts to reach customers through direct mail and email blasts made one thing abundantly clear: People have mastered the art of evasion. Armed with this information, Brian and Dharmesh decided to build HubSpot. In order to humanize

the marketing and sales process, they claimed that businesses needed to start treating buyers like people instead of numbers on a spreadsheet. This was the start of inbound marketing, a completely new and personal way to help people. With over 200 million people putting their numbers on no-call lists, 44 percent of people throwing away unopened mail, and 86 percent of people muting all TV commercials, Brian and Dharmesh created their company with the intention of appealing to humans rather than pestering them. Now HubSpot helps startups create content, optimize it for search engines, and share it on social media to attract and engage potential customers. Companies that use HubSpot’s inbound technology amplify the longevity of their relationships with customers, ultimately creating a holistic experience for anyone who interacts with their business. HubSpot also offers a plethora of free articles, guides, and tools that people can use to turn their business dreams into a reality without turning out their pockets. HubSpot’s mission to help businesses humanize their sales and marketing tactics mirrors the tenets that make up their company’s culture code. For example, take three of their 10 culture code points:

These points demonstrate that HubSpot’s goal of helping people bleeds into their expectations and overall treatment of their team members. They are constantly reinforcing the purpose of the inbound process by simultaneously emphasizing their mission and their metrics. They know the significance of honest communication with customers, clients, and employees, even when the conversations are difficult to have. And they understand that as consumers’ interests evolve, HubSpot’s processes must also adapt in order to stay on the cutting edge of marketing and sales. While creating easy-to-use, indispensable software helped Brian and Dharmesh’s company gain traction over a decade ago, their mission and culture make HubSpot the success that it is today. Any business owner knows that when it comes to maintaining momentum, it doesn’t matter how innovative, unique, or necessary your product is. The longevity of a company depends on the employees who work there. In fact, according to a Towers Perrin survey of 90,000 workers worldwide, companies with a low level of employee engagement have a 33 percent annual decline in operating income and an 11 percent annual decline in growth. Companies with high engagement, on the other hand, reported a 19 percent increase in operating income and 28 percent growth in earnings per share. HubSpot’s culture code demonstrates their knowledge that happy employees make a happy company. By taking care of their team members, they are not only furthering their mission of helping startups increase their web traffic and connect with potential leads, but they are also proving that they really are in the human business above all else. So even though Kubrick’s film and others like it touch on the disconnect between technology and human beings, HubSpot’s success proves that the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

We are as maniacal about our metrics as our mission.

We are radically and uncomfortably transparent.

We are a perpetual work in progress.

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