In this post we look at why HubSpot built a mobile app, but these are lessons that could be applied to anybody considering building an app ⁠— particularly in the SaaS or B2B space. In truth, there are many reasons to build an app — from market expectation (do you know any banks that don’t have a mobile app these days?) to a paradigm-shifting behavioral change (I’ll never print a boarding pass again) but first, we’ll look at the number one (wrong) answer people give for building an app...

The #1 wrong answer: We want to make more money

When I previously worked in an app development agency, we spent almost as much time telling people not to build an app as we did encouraging others to invest in the space. Why? When we asked potential clients what their goal was for the app, many simply said, we want to MAKE MORE MONEY. If this is your sole motivation, the odds are not in your favor. Gartner, rather infamously, predicted that less than 0.01% of apps would be considered a financial success by their developers.

Instead, your first worry should be, will anyone actually use your app? 

Data from Statista shows that 25% of mobile apps were only accessed once after being downloaded. Sensor Tower estimates that there were 115 billion downloads in 2019, marking a 9% year-over-year increase. Users have countless choices, competition is intense, and finding your audience has never been tougher. App analytics firm Adjust estimates that 83% of apps do not appear in the Top 300 lists for the 23 app store genres, essentially making them undiscoverable from an organic search perspective. These apps simply exist in the app stores but have almost no signs of life... they are the walking dead.

A graveyard populated by phones. The screens read "the operation could not be completed"

Fortunately, for any established B2B company making their first move into the mobile space, they likely have an established user base. In HubSpot, three out of four of our Mobile Weekly Active Users (WAUs) are also WAUs of our desktop product. But while we offer free sign-up via our mobile app, making money through subscriptions has never been the goal, so why do HubSpot have a mobile app?

Create value before you extract value

At HubSpot, we believe you should look to create value before you extract value. This is something that our CEO, Brian Halligan, talks about a lot, and it’s the foundation of our mobile app. 

Overall, almost half of our app users are on free HubSpot accounts. When we look at this in closer detail, 45% of mobile users work for a startup business (one with less than 10 employees) and of these startups, 70% are using HubSpot for free. Our internal research shows that it is these startup businesses who have employees that are carrying out multiple roles (a bit of sales, a bit of marketing etc.) and it doesn’t take any research to know that when starting a new company, every penny counts.

That’s why our app provides a 100% free CRM and delivers the free tools users need to build up their contacts and deals. We’re unique in offering a free Business Card Scanner — no limits, no gotchas, along with other key sales tools like Caller ID and HubSpot Keyboard. Our app's core focus is to create value for our users.

To be clear, HubSpot has also benefited from having a mobile app. Whether it be in software, sales, or life, the best relationships are ones where the benefits go both ways. Our data shows that users of HubSpot’s Sales Hub who are also active on Mobile have a higher revenue retention. In addition, our monthly recurring revenue per sign-up almost doubles when a Sales Hub account also uses the mobile app. In short we’ve found that what’s good for our users is invariably good for HubSpot.

Mobile drives delight

We’ve also discovered that Sales Reps who use the mobile app (relative to those who only access HubSpot on a computer) are more likely to recommend HubSpot to a friend or colleague. We collected this data through a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, which is a strong indicator of loyalty and growth. The results of this survey also showed that the more you use the HubSpot mobile app, the higher your overall NPS rating for HubSpot is. The idea of mobile being a driver of loyalty is somewhat supported by a paper from Zogby Analytics which showed 30% of consumers would consider leaving a brand solely due to a poor app experience.

As of January 2021, we have an Apple App Store rating of 4.6 and a Google Play Store rating of 4.6. We really do care about delighting our users — we track this regularly to see how we’re doing and learn how we can do better.

Customer happiness decreases the risk of cancellation (attrition) and increases the likelihood of upgrading (monetization) to some of the more powerful versions of HubSpot. Again we’ve found, what’s good for our users is invariably good for HubSpot.

HubSpot using HubSpot

It is common for software companies to eat their own dog food (otherwise known as dogfooding). In other words, a company using its own product. At HubSpot, using our product is a key part of doing business. Our Sales Reps, Marketers, and Service Reps use HubSpot every day.

Cans of dog food, but the labels read "HubSpot Mobile"

For our mobile app, we’ve discovered an additional benefit: our app helps HubSpot sell HubSpot. We analyzed six months’ worth of sales data and found that HubSpot Sales Reps who use our mobile app MAKE MORE MONEY. 28% of our own Sales Reps use the app several times a week and those reps have a sales attainment rate that is 12% higher than those who never use the app. This connection between usage and attainment holds true for those that are Low, Medium, and High users of the app.

In this case, what’s good for HubSpot is good for our users and what’s good for our users is good for HubSpot. We’ve shown mobile can be a driver in setting up you and your company for happiness and success. This is why HubSpot built a mobile app, and we believe we’re just getting started in this exciting space — there’s plenty more to come.

You can download the HubSpot mobile app for free today by scanning the below QR Code or pressing on the App Store or Play Store badges.

QR code to scanApple Store download badge with linkGoogle play badge with link

Want to work on a team tackling cutting-edge mobile challenges? Check out our open positions and apply.

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