Many systems limit what you’re able to do using their API, or Application Programming Interface. Why? Well, some may be worried your integrations will render certain—perhaps high-value—functions of their platform obsolete. By imposing strict limits, they believe their customers will use more of their system and become more loyal.
But HubSpot has found the opposite to be true.
As HubSpot continues making more API endpoints available, they’re creating a growing community of extremely loyal customers. These existing customers get more value than ever from HubSpot. Also, this availability attracts a new breed of customer, one who signs up to use the platform in interesting, creative ways—especially because of the freedom it provides.
Mpull, a marketing technology agency, is no stranger to creative uses of HubSpot’s APIs. And I'm excited to share some of our tips and tricks.
First, let's cover some background on the HubSpot CRM. Then we’ll walk through some of these API use cases that we've implemented here at Mpull.
Out With the ERP, in With the CRM
With customer delight and customer experience (CX) being an increasingly hot topic for companies, a rigid system such as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or accounting platform is no longer cutting it.
ERPs are purposely rigid, with financial controls and regulations to ensure the success of a company. However, this can be limiting when it comes to customer experience.
More and more companies are building their business with CRM as the heart and with software like HubSpot that covers sales, marketing, and service. This sets a great CX foundation.
Here are just some of the ways HubSpot’s liberal attitude to integrations can be put to good use creatively:
1. Getting around systems that don’t have APIs
When other systems are unable to connect directly with the HubSpot API, a solution would be to harvest daily exports (such as from an email address inbox or from a file-sharing platform) and push them directly into HubSpot using the Contacts API. There’s even a way to ensure cookie and source data comes through from website bookings by using the Forms API at the point of booking.
2. Setting up HubSpot for a particular market or segment
You may be an agency working within a particular segment—for example, in the real estate sector. Theoretically you’d have to configure HubSpot in the same way, with the same custom fields, pipeline stages, and lists for each client. This could result in hours of repetitive and mundane work.
With the HubSpot API, not only can you populate your fields with data, but you can also extract data from within HubSpot. This means that you can automate this configuration process with scripts that configure a HubSpot account within seconds for a particular industry, saving you time and money. You could use any number of Properties APIs for this, including Company, Contact, Deal, or CRM Object Properties APIs.
3. Engaging with third-party tools and custom apps using the CRM Extensions API
With a CRM extension, your team never has to leave HubSpot in the process of delighting customers. The extension lives as one of the cards found on the left of a contact or company record, and the HubSpot API gives you the power to create custom feature cards.
For example, you could use a CRM extension to give medical staff real-time access to digital health records so that they can see both the contact and their medical history in one view. Or, you could use it to integrate into travel booking systems. In this way, hotels, transfers, and tours can be reserved for customers without your team having to log in to a series of different systems (and then back into HubSpot once the deal moves to “Won”).
4. Upselling and cross-selling to different business units using the eCommerce Bridge API
If you or a client are at the helm of a business with several different business units, each of your units may use a different point-of-sale software, booking system, or eCommerce platform. This could turn into a nightmare, with none of your business units knowing whether a customer has spent money with another unit or what the true lifetime value (CLV) of the customer is for the group.
With a combination of the eCommerce Bridge API and the Contacts, Products, and Pipelines API, you can push data from all the different transactional software into HubSpot. Each purchase is represented by a deal in a pipeline dedicated to that business unit. Working with this information, you can then roll out a series of workflows to upsell and cross-sell to customers based on what they’ve purchased from different business units.
5. Using HubSpot for gaming communication
One of the most creative uses of HubSpot has been in an online educational game. Prior to rolling out HubSpot, this particular business had to have all communication hard-coded within the game itself. This necessitated using expensive developers to set up emailers, text messages, and remarketing pixels — not the best use of budget and resources.
The solution for this one using HubSpot involved rolling out a pipeline in which each deal stage represented a level in the game. Workflows were then built to communicate to players based on their level and points they accumulated. This left the power in the hands of the business to edit workflows, emails, and content from within HubSpot without needing the help of developers each time.
APIs = Success
HubSpot APIs are powerful and mature. While you don’t have to be a developer to understand what an API can do, it pays to get the basics right so that you know how to best use APIs for a given project.
And you’re not alone as you navigate the world of HubSpot APIs. As mentioned earlier, Mpull has successfully implemented all these creative API cases. Our team works closely together to maximize the potential of the HubSpot platform for clients. So, if you have questions on how we came up with these solutions and ways to think out of the box with your next integration, reach out. We'd love to hear from you.
Regardless of what industry you’re in—marketing, sales, service, etc.— understanding the capabilities of the API gives you the freedom to conceive of and apply the most creative, scalable, and robust uses for it.
Want to connect with others on HubSpot tips, tricks, and updates? Head over to the HubSpot Community to join a conversation or start one of your own.
Originally published Mar 18, 2019 10:00:00 AM, updated March 18 2019