My thoughts about inbound marketing pioneer HubSpot had to be broken into two installments when I realized that my head was full of too many observations to stuff into one entry. In part 1 I talked mostly about HubSpot’s people and what makes them unconventional. In part 2 I’ll look at some of the remarkable and bold things they are doing that makes them crazy (crazy in a good way, not ‘eating an airplane' crazy).
Traditional businesses might act tough and believe passionately in their goods or services, but how many of them are TRULY unafraid of their competitors? Know many who have the guts to re-tweet their competitors if they see something that would be helpful to their customers? HubSpot will. Every company keeps tabs on the other guys. Most will convince themselves that the other guys aren’t doing anything good. It makes selling this idea to customers easier. But when HubSpot sees an idea from a competitor that they think their customers would benefit from, they’ll share it.
This confidence reminds me of another Boston superstar…Larry Bird. Larry Legend was perhaps the best trash-talker in the game and there is a famous story of Bird telling his opponents exactly where he was going to take the game winning shot from at the end of a close game. Then, moments later he came down the court, got the ball exactly where he said he would and proceeded to knock down the game winning shot in the defender’s face. When you know you’ve got the goods you don’t have to keep secrets. You can throw the other guys a bone and then still wipe the floor with them.
This leads into product confidence. When you believe in your product as strongly as HubSpot does, you can stand behind a simple and firm pricing model without going through round after round of heated negotiations which usually result in relatively meaningless concessions on each side. It generally accomplishes little, other than satisfying an egotistical need to ‘win’ a pricing battle. By putting out products which have the capability to make an amazing impact on customers’ businesses, HubSpot can offer possibly the simplest and most straightforward pricing model I’ve ever seen. And in my opinion the prices are cheap! Combining a top shelf product with a simple and reasonable pricing model means less time squabbling over money and a quicker transition from lead to customer.
Another example of HubSpot’s confidence is their transparency. Not only is the kimono wide open…its laying on the floor around their ankles. I guess a simple example is this blog. Everything I’m writing about is stuff that I saw while walking around at HubSpot and from chatting with HubSpotters. A more tangible example is their content-rich website and the efforts they make to give away content. HubSpot creates and gives away more content than most companies sell. Because they are a software company and not a social media consultancy, they tell you exactly how to do everything it takes to be successful in the new arena. Once you’ve digested all the free content you’ll see that their software tools will help you put your new ideas into action.
In a world where people say, ‘Not my job’ far too often and people get slapped for not driving in their own lanes, HubSpot encourages people to develop new ideas and give them a try. Their VAR program is a perfect example of this, but it isn’t the only one. Employees are constantly thinking like innovators rather than merely punching in each day to do the tasks that are clearly defined in a job description. While traditional companies drive change and innovation from the top down (if at all), Hubspot has a culture of innovation which leads to new ideas all the time. Not every new idea will be a winner, but by encouraging people to be creative and granting them the freedom and tools to test their ideas, HubSpot has greatly accelerated the rate of innovation.
So, from what I can see, Hubspot is complimenting the competition, giving away tons of stuff, telling everyone exactly what they are doing, and constantly trying new things when they already have something that works great. See why I called them crazy?