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.
In this installment, we chat with Prashanth RV, 2021 HubSpot Customer Advisory Board member and Marketing Manager at Ramco Systems, an enterprise software company “disrupting the market with its multi-tenant cloud and mobile-based enterprise software in HR and Global Payroll, ERP and M&E MRO for Aviation."
How did you first come to work with HubSpot’s products?
My first job was at a marketing agency and I heard about HubSpot for the first time there. Although I didn’t get to use HubSpot then, I did earn some of the certifications and got to know more about the platform and what HubSpot does. Later, when I joined Ramco, our team was switching from our in-house CRM tools to HubSpot. That’s when I got the opportunity to extensively work with the HubSpot suite of products.
How do you envision the future of digital marketing?
Digital marketing is definitely here to grow. I can tell now with confidence that the industry is in a mature phase, and there are plenty of avenues left to grow. The rapidly expanding internet infrastructure across the globe is going to keep providing marketers with more ways to show up in front of their prospects/customers.
People today love consuming content more than food! Marketers need to emphasize getting creative in their prospects' eyes. With the competition growing in this space, it is definitely going to get difficult for marketers to stand out. I believe smartly developed content can help us get there.
I also believe we may see a shift in the platforms that marketers use to reach their prospects. What worked five years back may not necessarily work now. The world is changing, our customers’ preferences are changing, and so must our strategy. Let’s keep evolving!
How have emerging technologies such as AI and ML helped to transform Ramco’s enterprise resource planning software (ERP)?
As an organization, we never shy away from embracing new technologies. AI & ML have made our ERP offering more intuitive and intelligent. Our ERP software today can analyze tons of data, simplify complex processes, and recommend optimum solutions for our clients. It has enabled anomaly detection and smart prediction, which is made possible by the AI engine parsing millions of data sets and learning from it. Overall, we have moved from a passive to an active ERP.
How does your team measure success when using a new product (i.e. - HubSpot’s product)?
It’s all about creating a difference. When we migrated to HubSpot, our team was well accustomed to our native CRM tool. We faced our own challenges in getting the team to start using the new platform. With the help of a series of training sessions, the team slowly started exploring the platform. A few weeks post-migration, a member from another regional team mentioned over a call, “Hey, this HubSpot thing is making my life easy.” And that’s when we knew we had succeeded. Right now, we have our entire marketing and sales teams on HubSpot carrying out their daily activities like lead qualification, pipeline analysis, etc. So for a product like HubSpot, all that matters to us is the adaptability and usability.
What challenges was your team encountering that pushed you to explore and adopt HubSpot’s product?
Our development team had done a great job in building an in-house CRM which could be used as a repository to store contacts. As we expanded our marketing operations, we realized we wanted a more robust platform that could do much more. We were finding it difficult to attribute a contact to its original source. Prospects don’t visit our website, add products to their cart, and make the payment online. There are multiple touch points involved and we wanted an infrastructure to record all this data and make informed decisions.
We realized we were spending a lot of time on redundant tasks that could easily be automated. We also wanted a system that could integrate with all other marketing tools that our team was using. We were also not keen on using different platforms to solve multiple challenges separately — we required a single solution to address them all. So, HubSpot became a natural choice and I must say we took the right call at that time.
What are the three most important features of HubSpot’s product? If you could add one feature right now, what would it be?
(1) Workflows for sure. They are the best. I have always had a love-hate relationship with grunt work. I knew certain redundant tasks were required for us to succeed, but always wondered if they could be automated. And workflows did just that. It is magical and will always be my most favorite feature of HubSpot.
(2) Integrations – I love the fact that HubSpot is friends with all common marketing tools. As a marketer we tend to use lots of tools and HubSpot integrates well with most of them. This not only saves time but we have fewer passwords to remember now. Also, the one feature that I would like to see on HubSpot is HubSpot integrating with itself. We use multiple HubSpot accounts and need to rely on third party tools for moving data between them. A native integration there would be great.
(3) I am not sure if I can label this as a feature, but HubSpot has got the best customer support out there. I would have troubled your live chat team so much that they would have wished there was a block user feature! They are quick, extremely knowledgeable and do their best in getting our queries resolved. Some of them take it up a notch by following up a week later and checking if the proposed solution actually resolved our problem.
You write on your LinkedIn profile that you’re “an admirer of marketing automation.” What are your thoughts on balancing automation and human interaction?
Automation is nothing without human interaction. I believe that automation can’t be a solution to everything. One can automate the process, but not the thinking. It is the human thought process that should be feeding automation and not the other way. We should use automation only to save us time and not our thinking. The more we think, the better we get.
As a member of HubSpot’s Customer Advisory Board, what do you recommend for HubSpot to keep in mind as we continue to build and improve our product?
From my interactions, I have seen HubSpot keep a high focus on the customer. I hope this remains the case always. Having a customer-centric approach is important for any product company. Have your ears open for your customers’ words and they will definitely be your word-of-mouth.