Hubspot CRM: A Review

Hubspot CRM a review

Hubspot CRM a review


Following on from our blog on 10 things to think about when considering a CRM, I thought it only fair to share some insight on the CRM we use, and why we think it is a pretty nifty tool.

Over the years I have had experience in a few CRM’s. Some were a horrible chore. Others just didn’t capture anything useful. And some filled me with absolute dread to have to use them. I never pictured a day where I would enjoy using a CRM system, or one where I would want to review it for that matter! But I have to say, I am rather impressed with HubSpot’s CRM system, so why not pass that joy on?

Below are the main points I would normally look at when considering a CRM: Installation, data upload, features, usability and support.

Initial Installation

Initial installation was simple. It did not require me to sit on the phone to the company. Or for them to take over my computer so I lost time at work. It was relatively quick and guided me through the process easily. The data on the free version of the CRM is open to all users listed. Though you can still assign tasks and contacts to each individual user. When the primary user sets up the account, you input the other users emails in. Which as well as adding them to the system, sends them a nice little welcome email and introductory video on what on earth is going on. Which I felt was a nice touch.


Hubspot deals


Uploading data

This will work differently for some of you. As we only needed some primary clients on first, I manually inputted them into the system. To ensure we had all the data we needed. However, when it came to inputting bigger contact lists further down the line, the import function on the contacts page is simple to use. It takes no time at all. And if there are errors, they are sent back to you in a clear report. So you can set them right almost instantly. The most annoying bit of the process was preparing the data beforehand!

The only slight problem I did find was when I was uploading our jobs (manually). Once I had uploaded around 50 of them, the system lags. And it becomes a great struggle to add anymore until a short while later. This will not be a problem 99% of the time, as we will not need to mass upload jobs once we are set up. But it did become a bit of a frustration when the rest of the system is so quick!

What can it do?

What can’t it do? Okay, that’s cliché. But really, it can do pretty much everything you need it to. It stores your contacts, and all the back history of any contact you have uploaded to the system before. The same as every other CRM really. So why do I love it?

These are what I consider the 5 best features:

The Dashboard

This is the very first page, and where the reports are. You can set your monthly target or quota, then as you add jobs, it tells you how close you are to the target. The jobs are colour coded by how completed they are, so at a quick glance you can see where you are for the month. But, if you do need a more in depth breakdown, you just click, and it breaks it all down for you. It also gives you a one glance look at your productivity and pipeline with how much you have done, and percentage of how much better or worse you have done compared to last month. With other CRM’s I have found reports tedious to create and to be honest, they don’t really cover everything you needed in one place. The dashboard covers all of that in one screen.

Sidekick email tracking

With HubSpot you get an add-on called side kick, which actually turns out to be a good sidekick! You can track your emails with it, so you can see when they are opened, and if links on the email were clicked through, you can store emails straight to the CRM, so you have a copy of your contact, and when you start a new email to someone, it will bring up a sidebar of all the last contact you had with them, so you can see when they opened the last email, and the dates you last sent it. It also links to their twitter account, so you can see their latest updates and reference them in the email if you wish.

Sidekick prospecting bar

As well as email, sidekick will help you to prospect too. If you go on to a prospects website, it brings up a tiny sidekick symbol in the right hand corner. When you click on it, it brings up a sidebar, so you can save the website, and all the contact information on it, straight to the CRM. You can also view any information stored on the CRM already about the company. It will then bring up any contacts it can find, or connections you have, and it can also do a related companies search too.

Full customisation

I have found with other CRM’s I have had to leave certain sections of it, as they are not relevant to what I am doing, there are too many options to fill, or not enough. With HubSpot, it is fully customisable, meaning I can use every inch of the CRM. Don’t need it? Remove it from the view! Not enough deal stages? Add more and rename them all. Don’t like the information you have to provide for contacts? Reset up what is needed for their file, and add in your own new field whilst you’re at it.


HubSpot integrates with so many other programmes, meaning less hassle for you. As everything talks to each other, it cuts out half the time you spend reposting updates to each program.

 Hubspot tasks


It’s exceptionally easy to use, and to link everything to everything else, so contacts to clients, clients to deals, tasks to contacts and so on and so on. It is all customisable, meaning we have a unique CRM really, with every section being used, rather than ignoring parts as they are not needed. Everyone can view and access everything, but in a company our size, and the way work, this is perfect for us, though I understand with bigger companies this may not be practical. Though I believe for bigger companies there is an option to pay for user accounts. The best bit for usability I find, is that it doesn’t add extra work to my day like other CRM’s, as it does a lot of the work for you, such as providing relevant information.


This was one of my worries as a UK user, not being able to get support when I need it, and I have to admit, I panicked when there was no obvious number for me to call when I first had a problem. But the integrated help feature in the CRM means you can type in your questions, which get sent to the right person, who then email you back a relevant answer. Not only that, but you can suggest features for the system too, which I know from past experience are actually considered and implemented.

Overall Conclusion

This is the best CRM I have used, so far. Its simplicity and easy customisation make it the perfect tool, and even better, it’s free! Are there still hiccups with it? Yes of course there are, but they are constantly updating it so the system only gets better. Overall, for a marketing company, it is more than we could ever ask for, but don’t forget you need to find what is right for you and your goals from a CRM, and there certainly are enough to choose from!

If you would like to see for yourself, why not visit Hubspot’s CRM Page?

CRM’s are all about being able to give your customer the best service possible. Why not have a read of how you can use social media in customer support.

10 things to think about when considering a CRM

10 things to think about when considering a CRM

10 things to think about when considering a CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can be a huge asset to a business. They can be your phone book, track your emails, help with your marketing strategy, be your to do list, and even your productivity report.

There are a huge number of CRMs available, all of which have different strengths and limitations. We, at The Marketing People use Hubspot CRM, which we have reviewed.

Setting up and using a CRM requires a huge commitment in terms of time, effort, training, and money, so you need to think carefully before you make your decision.

So where do you even begin? Here are 10 questions you need to ask when considering a CRM.


Why are you considering a CRM system?

Why do you need it? What is going wrong at the moment? It is a really big investment, both in effort and in money; what are your reasons for this change?

What do you want from your CRM?

What do you want to achieve? Do you just want to use it as a record of calls and contact? Do you want to have reports available to managers of productivity? Do you want to grow your prospect list? You need clear goals to pick the right system

Who will be using it?

Will only one person be using it? Will there be 300 people on it? Some systems charge by user, so you need to have an idea of who you want on it.

Who needs to view what? Do you need different access levels?

Following on from who will be using it, you need to know who can view what. Some CRMs have open accounts so all users can see all information. In a bigger company you may need to give certain access to certain people, in which case you will need to look at buying user accounts.

Is it easy to use?

Some CRMs can have every report and action under the sun, but that can make them very awkward to use. CRMs become an extra limb once you have one, and you rely on it constantly, so you need to make sure its user friendly. The last thing you want is for you and your employees to get frustrated with it and want to throw your computer out the window every day.

Is it easy to customise?

CRMs are brilliant, and usually include most things you will need. However, each company is unique, and you are bound to need to re-label things, or add extra elements, to make the system work well for you. How easy is it customise? Will you need to go through the CRM hosting company, or can you change it yourself?

Will it add extra work to your day?

The CRM system is meant to make your life easier, but if your CRM doesn’t meet your needs, or you don’t have the processes in place for it to work correctly, it can quickly become a time suck. Will people be doing jobs twice? If telesales workers have to type notes after the call, it will add time to each call, meaning you have to reconsider targets etc., as you are giving an extra job to do.

What is the CRM’s support team like?

If you have a large team, you are more than likely going to need a strong support base. You are going to need someone to call upon all hours of the day to answer the problems of the many people.If you have a smaller team, you will still require support, but possibly might be able to have one connection who’s available, or have an internal support system before you escalate it to an external support team.

Will you require training?

Will the people who need to use the CRM system be able to use it? If this is the first time using a CRM system, even the most computer savvy can get overwhelmed.Take the time to book training at the beginning, whether this is a group training session, or webinars sent out to individuals.

How much do you want to spend on a CRM?

The big question. How much do you want to spend? This depends on all the above elements. There are some free systems you can use, but that really depends on what you need it for. Extra costs can be found in needing more user accounts, customisation, extra support and extra training.


Once you have established your expectations, you can narrow down the huge list of CRM options available.

You should be able to arrange a free ‘tour’ around the CRM. This can be quite exciting as you see all the new possibilities, but remember to keep coming back to your list. Does it do what you actually need it to do? And, does it do it efficiently?

It is usually best to ensure an actual team member who will use it is on this virtual tour too. Though management are the decision makers, if your top biller can’t make head or tales of the system, it’s going to affect their mood, their attitude and consequently the money they bring in. Having honest feedback from the actual users will save you time and money in the future.


Transferring data to your new CRM

Once you have decided on a CRM, and installed it, the next big task is the set up and transfer of data.

Unless you are a brand new company, you will have to transfer existing data over to the CRM. This takes time. Lots of time. You will need to prepare the data you have so that it is suitable to be uploaded, then depending on the system, and the amount of data transferred, it will take its time to upload too. Though annoying, it is much more preferential than the alternative of manually inputting all of your data.


Set expectations about how you want your employees to use the CRM

Once your data is up and running, you need to allow time to adjust. Though you may have great ideas of how the process will work, they may not be practical when you actual use it day to day. Have an initial plan and trial it, if it takes more time than you expect, or you realise you can capture extra data that would be really beneficial, review the plan and reset the standards for all users.

The worst things about CRMs is when everyone uses them differently, and you have half a collection of data on one contact’s page and an essay on another contact’s page. Set out the essential information that needs to be captured every day or every call.


Then that’s it, the organisation begins. But remember, if it really isn’t doing what you need it to do, change it! There are plenty of CRM’s out there, and they are not one size fits all, keep looking until you get the right one.

You can find more useful articles on customer service throughout our blog, to make sure your customers are receiving the best experience possible.

If you want to utilise the data you have, and create a profitable marketing plan give us a call today on 01543 495752 or take a look at the marketing services we offer.

Why Customer Reviews Are Important & How To Get Them.

why customer reviews are important and how to get them

Customer reviews are important, think about the last few products you brought; did you review them online first? For many people, reading product reviews has become an integral part of the buying process.

Why are product reviews so important?

Whether you have a website or an ecommerce website, having reviews or testimonials on your website can help to make your business more credible, trustworthy and will hopefully convince people to buy from you instead of your competitors.

The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey carried out during 2011 found that 70% of people trust opinions posted online. Online reviews were the second most trusted form of advertising, with ‘recommendations from people I know’ beating it to first place, this shows just how important consumers consider reviews to be.

As well as showing people that your products and services are great it will also help your SEO. People will generally use the kind of keywords and keyterms in their reviews that your target audience will be searching for when trying to find your products.

How do I get customer reviews?


Amazon has a brilliant model for gaining product reviews. If you’ve ever ordered from Amazon you’ll have noticed that a few days after you receive your product you receive an email asking you to review the product. This ensures that the majority of products sold through Amazon have reviews.

If you have an ecommerce website this can be replicated by setting up automated emails to go out to customers a few days after you estimate their order should have arrived.


Leaflets with orders

When you send your orders out, you should always include details of how to get in touch with customer service if the customer is unhappy. Along with your customer service information, encourage happy customers to leave you a review and make sure you tell them how to do it.

If you sent out leaflets or flyers with your orders showing customers what other products you sell or alerting them to offers, make sure you include a call to action to review their product on there as well.


Social Media

Many consumers take to social media, Twitter especially, to vent their frustrations or sing a business or products praise.

Monitoring social media using tools, such as Social Mention, Twitter Advanced Search and Google Alerts can help you get a good idea of how people are feeling about your brand.

This works well for your business in two ways. The first is that you can address any unhappy customers and try to sort their issue out; this also shows your business is proactive in ensuring your customers are happy.

The second is that if you see anyone singing your praises, you can thank them and ask them if they’d like to share their thoughts on your website and send them a link to a review page.


Customer Service & Suggestion Cards

If you offer a service which requires your customers to visit your shop, office or business, you could ask customers to leave their thoughts and any suggestions on a card.

These can then be typed out and posted on your website. It’s important to make sure you type them out instead of scanning them, as a scan won’t benefit your websites SEO.



What if I get a bad review?

If you get a bad review, do what you can to contact the customer and rectify the problem but whatever you do don’t delete it, unless it’s offensive of course.

People will be suspicious if they see pages and pages of five star positive reviews. The odd average or poor review shows consumers that you’re being truthful and posting all reviews and not just deleting the poor ones, which will make your business look honest.


What do I do with customer reviews?

If you have an ecommerce website ideally you want reviews for each product or service.

If you haven’t got an actual product for sale on your website, showcase your testimonials and reviews on a ‘testimonials’ or ‘reviews’ page.

You may also want to do this if you’re an ecommerce website and a customer emails you or provides you with a general review about your business as a whole. For example, one of our clients, Gardening Delights, has individual reviews on each product but they also have a Testimonial page for general feedback.

Don’t think you need reviews as you’re a small business?  Here’s a post on how they help you grow as a business.

If you’re a small business based in Burntwood, Lichfield, Cannock or the West Midlands and need help with any aspect of your marketing, print or web design get in touch with us to find out how we can offer your business real benefit.

You can call us on 01543 387 047 or fill in the contact form on our website. 

LEGO’s Excellent Example of Customer Service


We all know how important it is to provide your customers with the best possible customer service you can. The results are well worth it and will earn you loyal customers who are more than happy to sing your praises.

LEGOWe wanted to share this brilliant example of customer service from LEGO.

LEGO received an email

From 7 year old Luka who lost one of his Ninjago Ultrasonic LEGO figurines while in a supermarket.

“Hello. My name is Luka Apps and I am seven years old.With all my money I got for Christmas I bought the Ninjago kit of the Ultrasonic Raider. The number is 9449. It is really good. My Daddy just took me to Sainsburys and told me to leave the people at home but I took them and I lost Jay ZX at the shop as it fell out of my coat. I am really upset I have lost him. Daddy said to send you a email to see if you will send me another one. I promise I won’t take him to the shop again if you can.”

Luka received a reply from Richard in LEGO’s customer service department, saying that he had spoken to Ninjago master Sensei Wu, who had told him that it was an accident and that he wouldn’t take his figurines to the supermarket again.

As a result, LEGO were going to send him a new figurine and some extras. Not only did they offer to replace his figurines, they also decided to help his Dad out by telling Luka that he should always listen to his Dad.

You can read LEGO’s lovely heart-warming reply below:

Thanks for sending us an email!

We are very sorry to hear about you losing your Jay minifigure but it sounds like your dad might have been right about leaving it at home. It sounds like you a very sad about it too.

Normally we would ask that you pay for a new one if you lose one of your minifigures and need to have it replaced.

My bosses told me I could not send you one out for free because you lost it but, I decided that I would put a call into Sensei Wu to see if he could help me.

Luka, I told Sensei Wu that losing your Jay minifigure was purely an accident and that you would never ever ever let it happen ever again.

He told me to tell you, “Luka, your father seems like a very wise man. You must always protect your Ninjago minifigures like the dragons protect the Weapons of Spinjitzu!”

Sensei Wu also told me it was okay if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan.

So, I hope you enjoy your Jay minifigure with all his weapons. You will actually have the only Jay minifigure that combines 3 different Jays into one! I am also going to send you a bad guy for him to fight!

Just remember, what Sensei Wu said: keep your minifigures protected like the Weapons of Spinjitzu! And of course, always listen to your dad.

You will see an envelope from LEGO within the next two weeks with your new minifigures. Please take good care of them, Luka. Remember that you promised to always leave them at home.

Happy building!

LEGO Consumer Service”

What you can take from this

Some people have raised doubts over its authenticity; whether it’s real or not this is the kind of standout customer service you need to be providing.

You don’t need to be giving things away to provide your customers with excellent customer service; just provide them with solutions to their problems and answers to their queries.

Show that you care and you want to help them however you can. If someone who is not yet a customer gets in touch with you, you’ve got an excellent opportunity to turn that enquiry into a customer.

If you do this well, you will create loyal customers who give your business, service or products glowing reviews and refer you to their friends and family.

Perhaps if your customers are as social media savvy as Luka’s Dad, your response may even go viral!

You can read more about what social media means for customer service in another of our posts.

If you business needs a hand to delight your customers, why not speak to us about a marketing strategy? Call us on 01543 495752, or go to our approach page for more details.

How To Use Social Media For Customer Support.

How to use social media for customer support

How to use social media for customer support

As more and more companies take to social networking sites. More and more customers are realising that they’ll receive a faster response by reporting an issue on a social network rather than calling or emailing them.

Complaints are much more common on Twitter than Facebook. Possibly because the fast moving nature of Twitter means you’ll get a swift response and the ease of typing out a quick complaint and just tagging a company in it.

Some companies understand this and have realised that they can utilise Twitter for customer support. Some even have a separate customer support Twitter profile; such as Twitter themselves, Microsoft , Netflix and UPS.

If your customers are complaining or reporting problems to you via social networking sites, you need to be able to handle them. And respond in the correct way to avoid a PR disaster.

So how do you deal with customer complaints on a social network?

Look for them.

This probably sounds daft, why would you go out of your way to look for a complaint? If you care about your customers, you’ll want to help them as much as possible and you won’t want to leave a complaint unresolved.

Monitor your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social networks you’re on for complaints. You can also search for your brand on social networks to see if there are any negative comments mentioning your brand.

If you work for a hospitality business, you’ll also want to keep an eye on websites like Trip Advisor or Yelp.

Create a policy.

You should create a policy which details. How you will deal with a complaint, what you will do to try and rectify the problem and who will deal with the customers problem.

This is really important and will help you handle any issues in a way that maintains your brand image and tone of voice correctly. If it’s dealt with an inappropriate way, it will be remembered and could do your brand some damage.

Don’t delete it or ignore it.

Unless it’s abusive or offensive, don’t delete the comment, even if you fully intend on dealing with the complaint.

Deleting a complaint makes you look as if you’re shying away from a problem and not willing to listen to or support customers after they’ve made a purchase.
It will only anger the person who complained and make them post further complaints.

If a person has taken the time to calmly explain their problem or why they’re unhappy. You should have the courtesy to reply.

Dealing with it.

Reply to a complaint quickly. The chances are a customer has complained on a social network because they think it will be faster than calling or emailing you. The more you make them wait, the more annoyed they will become.

Keep your response professional and be as helpful as possible. At the same time though, remember to come across as human, so show some emotion. You probably know yourself how frustrating it is when you speak to someone from customer service. Especially if their responses sound automated and like they’re being read off a sheet.

You may choose to deal with the complaint openly or in private. In the case of the latter, respond to the complaint publicly and tell them that you’ve acknowledged their problem. That you’ll be in contact with them or give them a number or email address to contact you on. This shows everyone who sees the complaint that you aren’t ignoring the comment and you are dealing with it.

Remember that a customer who has complained is not automatically a lost customer. You can still win them over if you deal with an issue correctly.


So many questions pop up when it comes to social media, but don’t get stuck, just head over to our social blogs for all the answers you need.

Remember you can find us on facebook, twitter, pinterest and google+ for all our latest social media updates. Or if you feel you may need a little advice with your own social media, whether that’s getting started, or refreshing your knowledge, give us a call on 01543 495752 for a no obligation chat.