The Top 6 Product Updates from INBOUND 2021 for Tech Marketers

HubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference is like Christmas (in autumn) for tech marketers…and this year was no exception! What gifts did HubSpot bring us this year? Too many new features for a single blog post, of course, but here are the top six new product announcements we’re excited about for software and tech companies.

1. Sandboxes

No, we’re not talking about the playground. We’re referring to the long-awaited developer sandbox. 

Sandboxes allow you to create a testing environment that is an exact copy of your HubSpot account with a single click. 

(Don’t need a copy of your entire portal for testing purposes? You can also select which specific pieces of your portal you want to clone into your sandbox instead.)

Gone are the days of anxiously testing out new features and marketing strategies in a live HubSpot portal, fearful of every single keystroke. 

 

Instead, you can now build and test features, workflows, integrations (and more!) in a safe environment without the risk of breaking something in your live portal. 

Then, once you’ve played to your heart’s content, you can push it into your live account, ready for action. 

Currently available in all Enterprise subscriptions.

2. Customer Portals

HubSpot’s new customer portal is a place where your customers can come to manage and track all of their open and closed support tickets on a single listing page.

Customer portals not only offer a place for customers to independently track their tickets, but attach files. They can even talk to your support reps in real-time so that they get help as soon as possible.

To make this work, the customer portal flows its activity into HubSpot’s shared conversations inbox where customer support reps can respond directly.

We ALSO love customer portals because you can build and customize them to include your company’s logo, favicon and colors without the help of a designer or a developer. Pretty cool, huh?

Currently in Beta for Service Hub Professional and Enterprise subscriptions.

3. Business Units

Next up, we have Business Units. This feature will be an absolute godsend for companies looking to manage multiple brands in a single HubSpot portal. (Let’s be honest, the old “brand domain” add-on was subpar.)

Designers and content creators will love it too, because each business unit can have its own brand kit of logos and pre-saved brand colors. 

So, what does it do? Picture this—you’re running multiple campaigns for multiple brands hosted on separate website domains and your boss wants to know which contacts have interacted with each brand.

 

Previously, this would have required you to 1) build lists or workflows using logic or hidden form fields, 2) define which brand each marketing asset belonged to and 3) to build a list of contacts who had interacted with each. Phew!

Now, with Business Units, you can categorize and filter your web pages, landing pages, emails, forms and blogs by business unit. This will save you HOURS of list building hell and make campaign performance reporting across your brands much easier—yay! 🎉

Currently available as an add-on at any subscription level.

4. Custom Surveys

Move over SurveyMonkey! To date, HubSpot surveys have been a little rigid in terms of their capabilities (e.g., you weren’t able to actually write your own survey questions). But that’s all changing with the introduction of custom surveys

Similar to other survey platforms in the market, custom feedback surveys allow you to craft your own survey questions and send them out directly from HubSpot (via email or a link that you can share on your website or social media) without the need for a third-party integration. 

This offers numerous benefits. First, as you gather answers, individual responses will show up as timeline activities in your CRM contact records. Second, you can easily build lists of contacts based on responses and use workflows to trigger follow-up actions. Finally, analysis will be a snap,  since you can use custom reports to analyze the data.

Currently available in Service Hub Professional and Enterprise.

5. Native Payment Processing

It’s no secret that buyers are increasingly seeking a seller-free sales experience. (Sorry, sales reps…) Gartner’s Future of Sales research shows that 33% of all buyers and 44% of millennials prefer avoiding face time with potential suppliers. In fact, Gartner also predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. 

With this in mind, HubSpot introduced the new payments feature powered by Stripe.

With CRM-powered payments, companies can accept digital payments through HubSpot without having to write a single line of code. Instead, you can create a secure, unique payment URL in HubSpot and insert that little sucker right into your quotes, website, emails or even into a live chat session. 

Software and technology companies will love this feature because it also supports recurring payments, perfect for those subscription-based products. 

For HubSpot admins, there’s an additional bonus—payment links work out of the box with deals, workflows, reporting, forms and analytics. 

That means you can trigger automatic workflows (e.g., when a deal closes or when your customer pays) to free up even more of your Customer Support teams’ time. This is a great first step towards implementing RevOps (a.k.a. aligning internal teams) in your business. 

Finally, like most everything in HubSpot, you can access all payment information in your reporting, AND your customers’ commerce history will live right on their customer record.

We love this for tech companies and customers alike because it allows you to reduce a friction point in the sales process, all while providing your customers with a streamlined user experience.

Currently in Beta for US customers only with Starter, Professional or Enterprise subscriptions.

6. Dynamic Content with Custom Objects

Last but not least, we have dynamic pages powered by CRM objects. This dynamic content turns the previously laborious task of updating your site into one that’s simple for marketers or admins to take over. 

How does it do this? Let’s say you have a website page with items that update frequently (e.g., an event listing page, a product catalog or an employee listing). The dynamic content update allows you to use data from custom objects to populate your website.

Once a custom object has been created (which you’ll probably need a developer’s help to set up), all you have to do is add a record in HubSpot and you’ll instantly see it appear on your website.  

Currently available in CMS Hub Professional and Enterprise.

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Are you ready to test out one of the new features we mentioned above? Or is your current HubSpot portal a bit, er, discombobulated? If so, you might want to check out how our HubSpot Assessment can get your company back on track to using the powerful software to its full potential.

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