Some of the best perspectives on HubSpot's product come from those who use it every day. In this interview series, we profile HubSpot partners, providers, and customers, and ask their thoughts on what our product team should keep in mind while solving for them, and where the future of the industry lies.
How did you first come to work with HubSpot's products?
I led a digital agency (Fig Leaf Software) based in Washington, DC that we grew to be one of HubSpot's top partners (working with Mark Greco starting around 2012). We had such great success that we sold the agency in 2017. At that time, I joined ADF Solutions, a cyber forensics software company that was using Pardot unsuccessfully. My first initiative was to implement HubSpot as the foundation of our website and marketing activities. Within about a year we had moved to the HubSpot Growth Suite.
You're CEO of ADF. What's the biggest challenge your team is working on right now?
Our biggest challenge is building an end-to-end customer experience which will enable our customers to discover our tools, purchase them, renew them and receive support 24x7 when it is convenient for them. We are mid-way through this process and we've had good early success integrating multiple back-end systems to be tightly integrated with the HubSpot platform.
As a first step, this provides our team members with increased transparency for where customers are in their buying journey, which helps our team members focus and prioritize which customers need the most help — and at which point in their relationship with us.
You're also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, teaching courses in subjects ranging from digital marketing strategy to product management fundamentals. If your students could take just one lesson from the classes you teach, what would you want it to be?
To build engaging experiences, organizations need to reduce and remove friction points and provide transparency.
As a member of HubSpot's Customer Advisory Board, what do you think is the most important thing for HubSpot's product team to keep in mind when solving for customers today?
Many HubSpot customers were drawn to HubSpot for the simplicity. As HubSpot has grown and expanded, the system has become more complex. This has been very helpful to customers like me who have been able to grow with HubSpot, but the HubSpot product team members need to remember that people don't like change... it's hard! The fastest way to get people to grow with HubSpot is by letting them learn and grow at a pace that works for them. No one likes to be overwhelmed.
A great example is how HubSpot has done such a great job creating the Academy. Anyone can learn just about anything but for a new user, it can be daunting to know where to start, so I'm hoping that HubSpot can use some artificial intelligence to build navigation paths for Training and Product that will help customers excel. I think some of the mobile language apps are great examples of how to build systems that engage, challenge, and help people grow and excel while having some fun along the way.
What's the most helpful feature of HubSpot's product for your team currently?
It's really tough to pick just one, though, I have to say that Ticketing has been a huge help to our team. Ticketing really brought our support team onboard with HubSpot, which provided the rest of the company with visibility into customer roadblocks and successes. We're able to monitor our responsiveness and address issues quickly while keeping the organization relatively flat. We have an internal weekly call with team members to review tickets and pull the technical and sales teams together to discuss any issues and allow Sales to hear what customers are saying (getting more technical along the way) and the technical team hears from the sales people what they are hearing from the customer.
If you could add one feature to HubSpot's product right now, what would it be?
I would add context within the product. Users have help available to explain what a field requires but it does not explain why it is important. I would love to have users understand the "Why" behind fields so that they become knowledgeable in the field.
For instance, if a marketer is publishing a blog post, the Optimization Tab will explain what should be included, but it really doesn't explain why optimization is important or why a well written blog title is important for users. Obviously some of this is covered in training but many HubSpot users haven't taken the relevant training (I'm sure HubSpot has stats).
What's one prediction you have about the future of marketing?
In addition to screens becoming more ubiquitous, I believe audio will see a resurgence as a means for marketers to make their experiences sticky — so re-queue the jingles but add on two-way audio interactions with technology.
Interested in working with a product team that solves for marketers, salespeople, and developers alike? Check out our open positions and apply.