Welcome to the Inbound Reporting podcast, HubSpot Academy's new miniseries covering the ins and outs of good reporting behaviors.

Here, your hosts, Jorie Munroe and Nakul Kadaba will talk to the experts about how to set yourself up for success when it comes to the flywheel, goals, reporting and everything in between.

In this episode, join us as we chat with Al Biedrzycki, a Senior Marketing Manager on the HubSpot Platform Marketing team. Together, we'll unpack what it means to integrate with HubSpot as well as new developments in the HubSpot App Marketplace

Check out the entire episode below:

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Each episode will be uploaded to this SoundCloud playlist, so make sure to bookmark and like so that you can stay up to date:

 

That was a lot of content to cover! Let's talk next steps:

  • Looking to audit how your company is currently managing its data? Check out this worksheet to get started!
  • Email us at inboundreporting@hubspot.com if you are looking for feedback on how your company is currently collecting, connecting, and managing your data.
  • Let's discuss! Stay up-to-date on all areas of inbound reporting and engage with other listeners of the series in the HubSpot Community.

Prefer to read? We've got you covered. 

Access Your Reports in HubSpot

Podcast Transcript

- And we're back. Welcome to episode six of the Inbound Reporting podcast. I'm Jorie Munroe and I'm joined by my co-host...

- Hi guys. I'm Nakul Kadaba...

- Yes?

- From HubSpot services and we're also joined by Al Bedricke.

- Woohoo!

- I said the last name right, right?

- Correct.

- Okay, great.

- Nailed it.

- He's senior manager on the platform marketing team.

- So can you tell us, Al, what that means?

- I sure can.

- What do you do, Al?

- I dunno.

- What do you do here?

- I just showed up.

- Do you work here?

- So, uh, yeah. So what does platform marketing do? So it's interesting. Platform marketing has evolved a lot over the past, let's say, three years. I joined the, it was called Partnerships Marketing back in 2016, just as we launched the HubSpot Connect program, which many folks are familiar with. It's our integrations ecosystem. It's how we advertise our platform play. I joined with the intent of building a partnerships program around it. So, like, co-marketing with our integration partners. We had about 20 that were originally part of HubSpot Connect. And since then, HubSpot has put a conscious effort on becoming a platform company and our team has grown and has evolved into more of a platform marketing, where we market the platform to our customers and prospects, letting them know what's available. But then we also have sort of like a partner marketing sort of lens on it as well because we market to the partners that are building on our platform. That's why it's called Connect Partners, right? So very soon we're going to be focusing more on the developer audience as well.

- Right, right, right.

- Right now, it's been particularly ISVs, independent software vendors. So you see Wistia, Zendesk, SurveyMonkey as, like, our big partners. But soon we're going to be opening up so more of the developers can build and get listed within our marketplace.

- Sounds great.

- That's awesome.

- That's a good answer.

- Awesome. So one of the things that we've covered so far is kind of this beast of data collection and management. So we had talked in our last episode about really what can go wrong when it comes to collecting and maintaining your data and as HubSpot, as many of us know that work with HubSpot customers, normally it's very rare that a HubSpot customer keeps their information all on one system.

- Yep.

- Like, businesses today use so many different tools to get the different types of services they offer but also to just track their data. So this is actually where you come in, Al, as like the expert, the in-house expert, on integrations. So talk to me a little bit more. Something that you mentioned that I don't want to overlook is HubSpot as a platform company. So I know that there is sometimes words that get thrown around, like, is it a suite? Is it a platform? Where are we going? Let's unpack that.

- Yeah. So HubSpot is a platform company. What's interesting is like you're right. I think the word platform gets thrown around a lot and I think the general audience of people leveraging and consuming software probably couldn't tell you definitively what a platform is. If you pulled somebody aside on the street, like, maybe a HubSpot customer. What's a platform? I think a lot of--

- Do you do that normally? Do you pull people off the side of the street?

- We should do that.

- I'm like--

- Let's get b-roll.

- What's a platform?

- Normally do that?

- What's a platform?

- Like wow.

- It's a thing I do on weekends.

- That's random.

- But anyway, I think the word is thrown around a lot where even HubSpot, when we first started, we were like an all-in-one marketing platform. But we really didn't have open APIs or any programmatic way to let outside constituencies build on top of HubSpot and actually grow with us.

- Sure, sure.

- And I think like the word platform, as the broader world talks about it, is a little fuzzy. I think there's a great opportunity for us to actually be thought leaders there and help show what an actual platform is. You look at Amazon. You look at Shopify. You look at Slack. They've done it because they've empowered hundreds and thousands of developers to build and grow on top of the software suite that they've built. And I think a lot of folks look at platform as a single piece of software.

- Right, right.

- And it's like, No, no, no. There's so much more that you have to unpack here to actually become a platform company. And right now, I think we're getting there but I wouldn't say we're a fully platform company.

- Okay. That's the vision?

- Yeah, I think. Exactly. I think there's a lot that we need to do. We're a suite company for sure.

- Yep. We've got marketing hub. We've got sales hub. We've got service hub. For sure. We have open APIs. We have over 300 Connect partners that have built on top of HubSpot. But I think there's still a long way to go before we can say we're a true platform ecosystem that is empowering thousands of developers to grow on top of our actual platform.

- Yeah, and I mean so we had talked about apart from just what is a platform company versus what a suite company versus, you know, what is that actual definition. Last episode we talked about just data collection here at HubSpot, right? And what are the challenges associated with it and towards the end of it, obviously, we got to the realization, which we had known, I'm sure all of our customers know this 'cause they're doing it, not everybody's in the same system, right? So apart from the obvious of just connecting systems together, what's the value of integrating?

- I mean, shared data is one thing. There's a lot of different layers to it. Early on, like a couple of years ago, we did an analysis because we're not, like, HubSpot isn't monetizing on platform right now. You look at Salesforce, with their app exchange.

- Yep, yep.

- They can sell through the marketplace. They take a revenue, a cut of it. We don't do that. So what we wanted to do is quantify the value of platform. So we did a retention analysis a couple of years ago and we found that there's a positive correlation between the amounts of app you had installed and a customer's retention numbers. So I think back to your point about how do you quantify this? How do you make this an actual thing? I think one of the important parts of the platform is actually the ancillary benefit of connecting these things together and providing customer value on top of it. Sometimes it's not easy to quantify, especially if you're not doing REVShare--

- Right, right.

- But a way to do that is to look at some of the other ancillary benefits, from a customer's perspective, though. Like, data in one central source as a hub. To centralize it and to have everybody have the relevant, contextual information. That's probably the customer-facing benefit, for sure, of connecting all these things together.

- Yeah.

- So that like somebody on service, somebody in marketing and someone in sales has the interconnected data and they share it so that it's all contextually relevant.

- Now I remember this, like, going through, 'cause I'm a bit of a techie.

- A nerd.

- I like APIs. I like coding, you know. But I do know in terms of HubSpot, right now, with the current connect program soon to be a platform play that we're all doing, there's different types of level of integrations, different levels. Could you go through those and what's the nuances between the three or four?

- Yeah, so there's a few ways we look at it. I think traditionally we've had the integrations, as we've called them, between HubSpot and another piece of software that you could use independently. So like Wistia, you can use on your own. It's a video, piece of software. You can host videos, et cetera and HubSpot can connect to it. You can use them interdependently. So that's one type. There's another type that we're starting to see and I think this is where the true value of platform comes into play. It's the individuals or the developers building apps that are exclusive to HubSpot. So think WordPress plug-ins that you can only use with WordPress because somebody has built it explicitly for that. There's this huge opportunity for developers to build their own businesses by going to market with us and augmenting our product and innovating. And that's just another example. And we started to see this pop up more and more as people see this opportunity. Say, like, here's a specific use case. Nobody has built this.

- Go for it.

- Go for it. Especially in the agency world, where there's agencies that are working with this particular type of client and sometimes somebody in the manufacturing space. Maybe they have 20 clients in the manufacturing space and manufacturing clients use this one other piece of software that's not particularly relevant because it's manufacturing software but they build an app that integrates between it. And they're like, Hey, you know what? Maybe I could monetize on this by productizing it and selling it to new clients. And they've done that and they start to find ways to innovate within this ecosystem by making specialized, maybe vertical specific, use cases and apps for their client base.

- I love the focus on a particular industry example. So, like manufacturing. I've seen, at least in my conversation with customers, education. That's another one where if they have a developer resource, oh, man.

- If they're like--

- Potential.

- Connecting to classes and stuff--

- Sure.

- They can innovate. Like, our APIs are open and then can do what they want with it. So that's the added benefit. So that's number two. So the first one is integration between two independent pieces of software. Primarily that's what HubSpot Connect was and has been but now we're starting to see this real opportunity for people to build interesting thing on top of HubSpot that's exclusive to it. And then the third one I'd say is sort of, we call them iPaaS. So it's like Zapier, Pedasing, the ones that connect HubSpot. They're sort of like the intermediary. They're almost like a piece of software that is the integration that connects it to many other things. And those are interesting because for the most part, if we haven't built or a partner hasn't built an integration between us and another piece of software, sometimes these particular types of integration partners, iPaaS partners, will have hundreds of connections that makes it easier. So if like a customer's like, Do you have a connection to xyz? And we're like, No, we don't but you can use one of our iPaaS partners and chances are they have a connection. That usually works well as the next best thing.

- And that, again, from a personal point of view, I've used that. With those three options, it's like, Well, here's your options. If there's a, we would call it, I guess like a native integration, the first type. It's like, Oh, we have it. Here it is. Wistia, again, a good example. If not, it's like, Oh, looks like there's something with an iPaaS system, right? And third, you can actually build your own, which I'm sure, I kind of just went through, like, the in order the simplicity or the amount of time that it would take on an adverse level. Something native, probably a few minutes, right, Al?

- Yep.

- Versus a custom, it could be ...

- Who knows?

- Weeks, months.

- Weeks, months. Yeah, it could take time, right? It could take time.

- That's also kind of, so when I was in support, that was almost our trouble-shooting technique as well. Where it's like, Is there a native integration or a direct integration? Okay, no. Okay, let's move on to more indirect, or like the, um, the iPaaS--

- Yep, iPaaS, yep.

- Like can we connect this with something like Zapier or then it was like, Uh-oh. Okay, so not one, not two. Do you have a developer? And those conversations would go a little bit differently--

- Sure

- Yep.

- But yeah, interesting. So, Al, is there such a thing as too many integrations?

- Yeah. I think from a customer's standpoint, there could be a lot of like, what's the word I'm looking for? Not like death by a thousand cuts but like ...

- Wooo.

- That's very morbid.

- There's our weird topic for this episode.

- Love it.

- There it is. Thank you, Al.

- We always get like a cool phrase.

- Some weird thing, every episode.

- A thousand cuts? Yes.

- Wrong, wrong phrase for what I'm trying to describe. It's like information overload.

- Sure, yeah.

- It's like too many options. You know what I mean?

- Too many cooks in the kitchen almost.

- Yeah, yeah. Like so, if a customer's like, Okay, so I need to hookup HubSpot to a video solution. And we've got 30.

- Yeah, yeah.

- Where do you start?

- That's a lot.

- Yeah. Where do you start? So I think it's a great question 'cause you could get to a point where the best value for the customer would potentially be something native that HubSpot built. Because they're already using HubSpot, it wouldn't be an added cost.

- Sure.

- If they had to buy something independent. But then again, we want to empower developers to innovate and thrive in our ecosystem.

- Right.

- So it's an interesting balance that I don't think we've mastered and we still need to strike in determining what is the right amount in any particular category that solves for the customer without creating too much noise. And I don't think we're quite there yet. I have thoughts on how you can balance that by introducing reviews and stuff but then again, if something has really low reviews, should it be in your marketplace anyways? So there's a lot of this balancing dynamics that you need to think about in terms of solving for the customer. And I don't know the right answer. So, yeah.

- Well except for that customer, right? Rightfully so. You can't speak for them but I think the central point is if you have something like 30 systems, for example--

- Yeah.

- And you're only using six

- Two.

- Six. Yeah, six of them. I was going to say six but yeah, two.

- Generous.

- Yeah, right. It's a good, fair conclusion to say--

- Do we need these?

- That potential of information overload--

- Yeah.

- Far exceeds your ability to later visualize your data that you are collecting.

- I think there's something to be said about creating a means for a layman customer to be able to self-select a very good group of solutions that is finite. So here are the top five in this category, like, are vetted by HubSpot and there's also a means that if your particular piece of software that you want to connect is not part of this, we can hire a developer or if you have an in-house developer, kind of like we were talking about before, just so that no matter what you want to do, we're going to enable you in a way that you can. And if you don't want to go ahead and build something because you don't have the expertise, we'll provide the five best solutions in that category that have been certified by us to help you with that decision. And I think there's something to be said about striking that balance of, like, you have options. Choose your own adventure.

- Yeah, yeah.

- And supporting them for whichever route they want to take.

- That's great.

- I love that.

- That's great.

- Very cool. So in terms of just kind of doubling down on the recommended ones, for example. Do you see that as you're working through the Connect Partner program, are there specific types of integrations that are really common for HubSpot users to use?

- I think the free ones are pretty easy, in terms of adoption.

- Yeah.

- I think the ones that work the best are the ones that align very closely with the way HubSpot goes to market with their products.

- Okay.

- To be a model. And I think those partners that have a very similar sort of like, Hey, you can connect the very baseline instance of our software for free to HubSpot to try it out and then upgrade alongside us as you grow. I think those are the ones that have seen the best growth within the ecosystem because customers understand how HubSpot works. They understand what the upsell process looks like and the app partners are kind of piggybacking on and along for the ride. I think that's sort of clicked the best.

- Yeah. And ultimately they're making it easier to collect this information because somebody may use, I don't want to keep on picking on Wistia, but somebody may use like a SurveyMonkey, for example, to collect survey data because their business goal is, one of their key metrics is NPS.

- NPS, yeah.

- Right? Yeah and we know it's gonna add to their flywheel by saying, Yep, if we just know who our customers are who like us, great. We can push them to portion of the flywheel faster.

- Totally.

- To make that easier.

- Yep.

- That makes sense. So in terms of, so, you have a customer. They want to integrate some kind of software. Do you have like any guardrails that, or, like, questions for vetting an integration that someone could kind of go through?

- If they're in the marketplace

- Yeah, exactly.

- And they're trying to find something? Um, yeah, I think right now what information is on a listing page helps guide in a relatively good way. We're making some improvements very soon to make the listing pages much more robust, to help them guide through that decision. 'cause I think a lot are like, How much does it cost? What are the reviews? What parts of HubSpot does it connect to? Does it connect to the hubs that I leverage as a customer? I think some of the outstanding questions that we needed to answer. We collaborated with the HubSpot's sales and services teams earlier this year to understand where the gaps were.

- Yep.

- They're talking directly to the customers and they want to understand what information can we have on those pages. So they provided that feedback and now we're triaging it to make it part of--

- I think I remember that survey. I think I remember taking that survey.

- What did you answer?

- It was like Q1. It's been a ways back.

- Yeah, I remember that survey.

- Um, it will definitely be helpful for not just like sales and services but ultimately for the customer.

- Right.

- As they're trying to make this guided decision. I think there's going to be a world someday where you can weigh two pieces of apps next to each other and compare, so like Amazon, when you scroll down to the bottom and it's like, customers like this also looked at these four ones and there's like a table that says, like, this is how much this one weighs, this is what the average customer review of this one is by stars. Like I think that sort of marketplace dynamic is what helps the customer make the right decision and I think we have a long ways to go to get there but I think that's our mentality. It's the more context and information you can provide, the easier it's gonna be for customers to find the right apps that they need and for our app partners to grow because--

- Right.

- the customers are actually finding the right things.

- And so we were talking about, you know, this came about because of a need that was seen by our customers to just be able to manage their data better. At the very base level, they needed to manage their data better. They're not just using HubSpot today. They are using x number of systems in addition to HubSpot, hopefully, right? Could you go through, let's, for example, what was the key pieces of feedback that they gave to kind of drive your process right now towards the platform marketplace?

- Yeah.

- Like what was their main complaints? What were the things that they liked so far about the integrations program?

- Sales and services or customers?

- For customers.

- For customers?

- Customers primarily.

- Um, yeah, so right now it's just like, it's probably like if you go to Amazon. You realize all the user interface things that they have, like throughout the pages and how you can sort and filter. Those things we don't have.

- Okay.

- And I think customers are kind of expecting that as they come here. You just have a listing page and it has information on how to connect and what it does but I'm in the market for a video solution and there's no easy way for me to, like, unless I open 10 tabs in my browser and scroll through each of them and take notes or hire an intern and do it, like, that has been the biggest piece of friction.

- Like the partner pages.

- Yeah, especially as we scale because the more we add, the more difficult it is to pick between those and I think we need to offer that sort of, like, here's the curated way to navigate this thing--

- Right.

- So that you can make the right decision based on your business needs. And whatever elements are lacking right now, we're working on getting them in there so it makes it a better experience but I think a lot of the customer feedback that we've gotten is, like, It's great that you're growing this thing but it's making it much more harder to navigate and understand what the right solution is for me.

- There's a great image. Al, I'm sure you're sick of this image of basically every integration.

- [Al] Oh, the logos?

- The logos, all of the logos together. I would love to just fade that in for the video portion because it is, it really encapsulates your point where it is massive.

- [Jorie] It's a lot.

- [Nakul] And I can understand a customer looking at this and just saying, I'm not gonna choose because there's literally a thousand options.

- [Jorie] There's literally a paralysis of choice.

- That was the word I was looking for. Analysis paralysis.

- Yeah, all right.

- Not death by a thousand cuts. Thank you. That's been bugging me all day. I'm so glad you said that.

- Awesome. So when it comes to the marketplace, so you mentioned there was gonna be something like a recommendation?

- So there's things we're working on--

- Okay, cool.

- That will definitely help evolve the marketplace. Can't disclose what they are right now.

- That's fair.

- Sure.

- Caveat.

- But there are improvements that we are making to make it more Amazon-ified, more Netflix-ified so that customers can navigate it in a meaningful way. And even just discover things that they didn't know they needed because we can make those recommendations and a lot of it just comes from product data and customer data that we can leverage to understand. It's like, Hey, you know what? You're a nonprofit who's using marketing hub and sales hub. We've seen other people in your industry using these three apps that we recommend. And I think that's a place that we want to get to so we can actually proactively, rather than reactively, 'cause I think a lot of people in sales and service get on calls and like, Does it integrate with this? And like, to your point, you go through the checklist of like, Maybe, maybe no. And I think in our ideal world, it's less about, you know, Oh, I need HubSpot to integrate with this and more like, Oh, that's really cool it can integrate with that. I want to try that and get to more that proactive versus reactive standpoint.

- So say I'm in the marketplace and I see an integration and that sounds like it might fit my business. Where do you recommend in terms of, besides that listing page, going for more information on that specific integration? Is that something that the Connect partner tees up on that listing page or is it something that necessarily because their Connect partner is gonna live in HubSpot content, like what's that next step to do that next level of research on that integration?

- So when you're referring to the integration, do you mean the piece of software itself? Like, if it was Wistia independently, or the integration between-

- What's gonna be shared?

- Yeah, so, we're getting to a place where there'll be much more explicit data--

- Perfect.

- on how the integration operates, which hubs it connects to, what data is passed back and forth. Is it bidirectional? Is it one directional? Stuff like that.

- Cool. Which I think is such an important piece because as we talk about data management, understanding exactly what's gonna live where.

- Yeah.

- And I mean we're talking about this like narrative switch with HubSpot itself, that's like, instead of all in one, it's all on one. So if you can't really get that information directly in HubSpot, how are you mitigating that for specific integration so that your reporting doesn't fall to the wayside because if it's, if you're working primarily in HubSpot and there are key areas of data that you might be forgetting that aren't being collected on your integration, your reporting strategy isn't going to be as effective as it otherwise could be because you're missing data points.

- This is, yeah, this is that second part of the challenge that Adi was starting to go into. Native data collection can go wrong in a couple of ways. You know-

- Yeah, there's human error.

- Human error. There's the actual organization of the property or the field

- Totally.

- Depending on what system you're in.

- Operational errors.

- But the third challenge that, Al, you're getting at is there's no integration being connected and Jorie, you were saying if there's no connection between the system that you're using to collect surveys or watch videos or actually record revenue for those--

- Your e-commerce.

- Very industry specific, yeah, systems. There's no integration available or you just haven't integrated it, oh boy. How are you actually going to collect information wherever, right, to report it later?

- Yeah.

- And so I love the emphasis that your team is making on the developers in particular because, obviously, it seems like the number of integrations, native or through iPaaS, is gonna just keep growing over time and that's great. We should keep doing that. It sounds like the rating system or the way that the new UI is going to look is going to amplify which ones work, which ones don't, what are the advantages, disadvantage, whatever. But for those custom ones, that's usually where, at least from my vantage point, a lot of customers stop because they say, Well, I don't have a developer.

- Right.

- Right? You would love in that situation, I think I mentioned education as an example industry, for there to be a developer. Sometimes there is and when that does happen, great. There's a custom-made PI documentation.

- Have at it.

- Yeah, let's talk through maybe a couple of the endpoints or if you need to know what you do, have at it, right?

- Right.

- And a lot of times, though, you get, "We don't have a developer" and it's followed by five seconds of silence. You know?

- Because then you don't have the value added of that diversity of data.

- Exactly.

- Yeah.

- You know, what are we doing, I guess, on that end? Or what are we hoping to do on that end, from your team's perspective, Al, that's gonna hopefully give them more resources to say, Hey guys, if you don't have this, or you don't have the knowledge, here's what we're gonna provide you.

- Yeah, I can't speak for the grander scheme but my intuition here says I think there's a really cool, like, if we look at platform and even service or agency partners as part of the equation, I think there's an interesting ecosystem overlap between them where there's some technical agencies that could be part of this equation as well, especially if a customer's looking for custom developer work and they don't have the in-house resources but, Hey, we have agency partners who can help specialize this to connect the dots. So I think there's some really interesting ways that platforms should be looked at. Obviously as integration with apps that you can connect but also as an ecosystem of things, um--

- Of people.

- People.

- People. Freelancers.

- Yeah.

- Instead of just the one person.

- It's not just a product. It's also services too, right, as part of this whole thing to provide customer value.

- Right.

- So I don't know if we would have a directory of developers for hire or something.

- Like giga company.

- Yeah, exactly. Like something like that. But, I mean, eventually we could and that could be a great solution for somebody saying, like, HubSpot doesn't have the native. iPaaS doesn't work. I don't have the in-house developer. Oh, let me go to ...

- That guy.

- Yeah, that guy and hire him and, you know, make that happen.

- On a project-related basis.

- Definitely. So, and I think that's interesting because I think it would change also the way people think about data and the implications of having more different types of data if you had more of those kind of quick-hit, short-term relationships between the different parties that are on HubSpot versus I feel like when you go to an agency now, it's kind of implied that that might be a longer-term relationship versus something like--

- Yeah, it's like a routine.

- Yeah, exactly. I need a developer now to do this one thing. Then we're good.

- And what's funny is the agency program is sort of the antithesis of that, where it was like, Hey, you're an agency that's just doing project work and you can't grow our scale so adopt inbound marketing at the time, you know, that's where we pushing HubSpot, to build these retainers that could be ongoing revenue and you grow and scale higher. That next person get the next client and now I think there's this cool opportunity to flip that model on its head for people who are like, You know what? I just need that quick fix.

- Yeah.

- Yep.

- Because it's a one-time

- There's one page.

- A one-time piece of work. Connect that thing for me. Make it happen and that's great. And I think there is a big appetite for that, especially as we grow and scale platform and customers want to connect more and more things but we might not have the native solution for them so.

- Let's talk more about I guess those APIs in general. So we've obviously heard about the custom API documentation, just because I mentioned it like 10 minutes ago.

- API, API, API.

- Yeah, right. Can you talk us through what the capabilities of that are? If you're connecting a native system that doesn't have, again, a native integration or an iPaaS with HubSpot?

- So we have documentation on APIs. I can't speak incredibly technical to it.

- Sure.

- Okay.

- I am hiring a developer marketing manager on my team. Free plug so if you're interested.

- I was waiting for him to do it because we've talked about it before.

- So you're just teeing him up.

- I kind of did tee him up.

- The link is right down here so apply. No. So I anticipate that person, like, I'll know enough to be dangerous on API and documentation. I expect this person to dig deeper and be the subject matter expert on such and not as fully in-depth as, say, one of our developer, Adam, because it would be like who's actually doing the thing but enough to speak to it cohesively. But from what I know, our team has been cranking out more documentation and APIs. We have developers.hubspot.com, where you can go and you can dig in to all the APIs that we offer across all our products and it's organized in such a way that, it's by hub and all that good stuff. So that's always publicly available and it creates a nice resource if you're going and spinning up a HubSpot developer portal, you can just leverage those resources as you're going in and building an app within that portal itself, so.

- Right and I think the key thing to take from it is apart from the documentation itself, Al, as you mentioned, we have a whole site for it, a sub-domain for it, right? Developers.hubspot.com, which I always refer to as our developers forum. There's a forum section in there which has gotten way, way more structured over time where now I think it is monitored, at least by HubSpot employees on different issues relating to, sorry.

- Do you need water?

- I'm okay.

- Where it's monitored by different technical issues. I think I do, actually.

- I gotta get water.

- I know, it's very emotional but.

- It is very emotional.

- He's getting choked up like, We have a whole sub-domain and it's for developers and it's great.

- Hey, you know, I'm very emotional.

- Like I said, I really care a lot about this.

- You know, and bug us about empathy.

- Yeah, right. But yeah, no, I mean and apart from that, there's a community section. There's a lot of docs on it. Why are you laughing at me?

- I can't stop.

- Yeah, within that division, I think I can agree with Al. The division between not just the hubs themselves but also the individual products. So pun intended, if you actually wanted to build an API with our products from Sales Professional, there is an API for that. There's a bunch of endpoints that you can use.

- Right.

- There's data that you can pull or push back into the product's API, for example. If you wanted to do something a lot simpler, you could probably use our contact property's API. At least from my exposure, lot of our customers who are building something with a native system, they end up using that because they say, Well, I want everything to live on the contact record or this particular object. So you have the contacts, the companies, the deals, or with service hub, you have our tickets now, right? If you want them by object.

- Right.

- Go ahead.

- I'm just, I don't know if I have an articulate question about it yet but it struck me as you were saying that there are spaces between our products almost. And it made me think of the flywheel and the chevrons, right? Those handoffs. Al, have you seen how often are integrations popping up that kind of act as the connectors between marketing hub and sales hub? Or like sales hub to service hub? To really enable, well, enablement, right? Like those handoffs between the teams. Is that a common type of integration?

- Yeah, it's a great question. I almost see it like there's the flywheel and there's just like things outside of it as opposed to alongside the chevron.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally.

- But I think there are, especially with, like, other pieces of software that integrate directly. I think there are use cases for different personas, whether it be sales, services or marketing that you could tie some of those things together. I think there's something to be said about doing more of that, though, especially as we as a company think about what's the interconnectivity between marketing, sales and service?

- Yeah.

- And thinking it through of, okay, Like, Okay, so Wistia integrates, we'll keep using Wistia. Wistia integrates with HubSpot. You can host marketing videos. Oh, by the way, they have Soapbox, which also integrates with HubSpot, where it engages salespeople as well. And I think there's something to be said about the individual use case of bringing those two things together. I don't think we've dug in too much but I think we, as a company, think about that and the use cases for aligning with the chevrons, there's a huge opportunity for us to do that. Same thing with our connect partners as well.

- Yeah.

- But we haven't done much. I think there's an opportunity but, yeah.

- Yeah.

- Gotta be creative 'cause I think that that's a thing that's come up again and again and again is these handoffs.

- Yeah.

- So it's interesting as you talk about those types of integrations that kind of build like WordPress-specific plug-ins for the HubSpot ecosystem, like, how, if this is the new kind of mental model we're shifting to, how we can continue to kind of support users by filling in those specific gaps. 'Cause we know there's gaps there. We know those teams need to be aligned but that's a consistent source of pain.

- Yeah, right.

- So how can, what's the opportunity? Yeah?

- I think it's on us to kind of enlighten our app partners to what the opportunities are there as well because I don't think they're thinking in the same way, necessarily. So say for instance, like, if you look at, let's see of another example, there's an app partner, or connect partner, called OrgChartHub, where basically what it is is it just can map the organizational chart of basically a company that you're prospecting within your HubSpot CRM.

- Oh cool.

- And that's helpful for one, for sales.

- I've seen that before.

- Yeah, it's for sales. Somebody reports in. That's a decision-maker. You're like, I know who I need to get to bought in and on the phone and stuff. But like from a service standpoint, it's also important too.

- Yeah.

- Very.

- If you start consulting them as a customer, Who's on marketing? Who's on that? Who do I need to loop in? Who do I tag? So I think that there are specific use cases that go across but I don't think we've explicitly chatted with our app partners about that's how you position it, that's how you think about it. I think when we do start improving the existing directory to say, Hey, this app connects to these three hubs and here's what it does, then we can start to educate customers and saying like, Here are the use cases for why you use it for these particular hubs. Like a sales rep can do this in here or a services person and I think that can be on us a little bit, to like kind of educate and help our partners understand where the opportunities are.

- For sure.

- Yeah, 'cause just to dig into that example, right, it'd be interesting for a service person to know that because then that can reflect on your buyer personas and, like--

- That helps marketing.

- Right, exactly. So it's like an entire feedback loop.

- And then you can start reporting it 'cause you'd have to data then to actually show here's how many DMs I've talked to in the last ...

- And there will be apps that are just specific to one use.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure.

- But I think some of the broader ones, you could build off of that, right? You could think through. It's like, maybe you started, or ChartHub started as a way for sales reps to map who's reporting to who but then they're like, Oh wait. You know what? We can build on our app a little bit more to make it more relevant to people who are working at a service hub. And here's how we can connect to those APIs and maybe it's like with the tickets--

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- Tickets like tags on them like who's, you know what I mean?

- Oh yeah, yeah.

- So I think it could be on us. Like that's another part of platform marketing's role as I was talking about at the beginning. It's like how do we enable our partners to know where the opportunities are a little bit better so that we can guide them on this and they can build the best products available for our customers and I think that's on us a little bit to do that education and that sort of enablement.

- That makes sense.

- Yeah.

- I have seen, that's a good example to go into, you know, the types of data or any data that come from these native integrations. Some produce them. Some don't. So for example, someone like OrgChartHub is something that natively just remains in your HubSpot instance and you can use it to just basically map out a company that you're trying to prospect or you're working with already. Is it, I guess, platform marketing's intention to, or your team's intention, try to get all of them to say, or most of them to say, Hey, here's one type of data point that will come into HubSpot and vice versa?

- That's a good question. I don't know. I think whatever provides the most customer value, I think that's what we're trying to get at.

- Sure.

- I don't think it's connect with all the things and make it all connect with HubSpot.

- Sure, yeah.

- I think it's just, like, it kind of goes back to almost like product enablement in a way, where we can help consult, advise and give them ideas on where the most impactful way for them to build would be. And we're still a ways off from that but I think we could get to a world where we know which API endpoints we're opening up based on a product release. If we can get ahead of that by holding a webinar for app partners and say, like, Here's what's coming in the next quarter.

- Yeah.

- Here's what it can help you do. Here's some ways to get inspired on what to build and then maybe run a promotion that's like whoever builds the coolest app or augments the existing app and is graded by us, we'll feature it in the directory or something.

- Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

- I think there's something to be said about enabling, educating, and then helping promote, in a way, that we can really pull the lever on but we are just not there yet.

- I was gonna say, is that something down the line? The webinar piece, at least?

- That's something I definitely think--

- That you're thinking about? Yeah.

- It's like especially as we scale, when we get hundreds more of connect partners in our ecosystem, you know it's gonna be hard to talk to them on a one-to-one basis so we gotta figure out a means and a mechanism to let them know what's coming, where the opportunities are. 'Cause HubSpot's not gonna build all the things. It's another reason why we want to do this platform play. We're gonna specialize in what we specialize in and we see this tremendous opportunity to innovate our product by inviting hundreds of thousands of independent developers to build interesting things on top of HubSpot. But it's on us to figure out the right balance of where we aren't gonna build, where the opportunities lie and when those opportunities are going to be available so that they can get the most out of it and solve for our customers in the best way possible.

- Yeah and I think one of the big takeaways that we haven't explicitly said, so I'm gonna explicitly say it, is prioritizing where your processes live, in terms of the system. So HubSpot may be doing, out of the five things, three out of the five things and then you may have two other or three other integrations--

- That do them really well.

- That do those other remaining things really, really well. You have a central data piece. You know, hopefully for us it's HubSpot. You know, maybe it's not but at least a software system that is consolidating all of this in one place because at least in the context of the amount of reporting framework, 'cause that's what this podcast is about, the next step, which is visualizing your data, is all about saying, Great. Let's take all the data that was consolidated and all these systems in your tech stack and put it in the system where that is holding all of it.

- And I think something that can be said in terms of the customer side of this is when you have, whether you're trying to connect a new integration or you have an existing one, maybe you came on to an existing company, that happens. Being really critical about what data is being populated in HubSpot and try to get into that mindset, whether you're an individual contributor or on the executive level of, like, Who could action this type of data? Like in the case of the OrgChart, it's very easy to kind of look at data from a very specific lens but think about all of the capability of the data that integration is bringing in and how the different teams could benefit from having that kind of transparently woven into their process. So it's, like, also be really critical about the types of data your integration is bringing in. Maybe prioritize some over the other. For example, if you have a services integration with HubSpot, clearly your services team might be able to use that but really start to think about as we're trying to shift into this flywheel model, how different teams could benefit from that data too, whether that's just on a dashboard that they look at once a month or if it's actually changing their process at all. Because, again, it's all about the continuous relationship with our customer and not just the pieces. Don't think about your data in terms of just the pieces anymore.

- Yep, yep.

- Right. And the progress against that goal.

- Right, exactly.

- I know, again, from a personal standpoint, when I was doing that survey, for example, that your team had sent out, you know, I was always thinking, Well, a lot of those situations are, for example, when I'm talking to a customer and they say, Oh, we don't have a developer resource available. Now normally, or in a traditional point of view, I may say, Well, we do have agency partners that can help build this for you. Ahh, it may be a little bit too expensive for them as, Al, you were saying. Now it could be the case of, like, Here's some free land sites that you know of one person or two people that can do this for you on a project basis or an ongoing basis. Again, totally up to you. The options are there but not too many that will paralyze you or that will leave you, you know, just kind of like not doing anything as a result.

- And when you hit that roadblock, I think it's also important to really classify the types of information you're going after. Like, do you need it in HubSpot? Is it mission critical that your teams have access to it? Is it nice to know and is it okay if it lives separately? If an integration is absolutely not possible, or would you just like to know? You can prioritize where that data lives but, like, really going after those integrations. It's like, if you have to have it in HubSpot, find a way to make it happen, absolutely.

- Right. So what's, I guess, Al, what's the growth of integration partners in general, taking out the API guys for just a minute?

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- What's the growth of that looking like for you?

- By a partner by partner count or installs of said integrations?

- Actually both.

- What can you share?

- Yeah, what can you share?

- Probably nothing. I mean, we're at--

- It's going up.

- Yeah, it's going up.

- It's going up, yeah.

- It's going up to the right. You have to redact a lot of what I'm saying but so I think we're at on the integrations directory now over, I think we just passed 330--

- That's awesome.

- connect partners in the ecosystem. So that's really exciting. I think as we focus more on developers and as we open more APIs and make it easier for people to build and deploy, that number will definitely go up and to the right more. I think a lot remains to be said about how we do quality control and how we ensure we solve for the customer 'cause, you know, more isn't always better in this case.

- Yep.

- There's a point where, like, if you look at the iPhone, there is this point, 'cause you look at the iPhone as a platform. You know, you can download apps and everything lives in one place. It's all connected. That's a very good analogy to what we're trying to do. You go to their app store and before Apple built their own native flashlight app.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- There was like 30 on there that were all comparable, right, and it's such a saturated type of thing. And I think what Apple actually did was they built their own. A lot of developers were kind of pissed off by it but it's like, Okay, here you're pushing us out of the market because--

- You just built your own.

- They're offering this one. You're offering it for less than what we are and now nobody's gonna use what we want and that's sort of one of the risks you run with the platform plan. How do you strike that balance between providing customer value without pissing off dozens of partners that have already built something?

- And your own innovation as HubSpot or the company building the platform?

- Yeah, it's like the way I look at is by opening up a platform, it's just a giant extension of your product team and with it comes all those implications but now with third parties that are actually building us that thing. So now the product team, if they want to build something that new, no longer is it like, Oh, I'm going to go build it and do it now. It's like, Oh, has a partner already built that? What does that look like? If I build something, what are the implications on that partner or relationship with them? And how's that gonna implicate things? So I think there's just a lot of considerations to put in place as you're making those decisions. But back to your original question about growth-

- Right.

- We're about 330 connect partners.

- That's awesome.

- We have a lot of installs across all of them. I can't share the hard number or else I will come in and like I won't be at work anymore.

- Yeah right.

- Goodbye, Al.

- Right, right. But we're working on means to share those things publicly.

- Okay. That's great.

- Especially as more of these metrics become part of our core business model and so it can showcase the growth on those things but being a public company and all the stuff that comes alongside it, we just have to be careful with the numbers that we share.

- Of course.

- So I have a bit of a fluffy question.

- Okay.

- But how does your team, like, when you're looking at people joining the connect partner program, how does it also maintain that HubSpot wants companies to grow better and that means something. So when we kind of build out this ecosystem, like, how are we making sure that our partner is also aligned with our message?

- Yeah, that's a great question and I think there's a couple of factors. Like, one we have an app certification.

- Right.

- So we hold it to the same standards of a HubSpot product.

- Very cool.

- Because if they're an extension of our product team, we want to say we're gonna do right by the customer. Like--

- Standards

- Yeah, if they're using an app that's on our marketplace, we want to be, like, hey, we uphold the standards of what this app is.

- Yeah.

- I think two, we also take a critical look at what is the added value that this particular app will add to the ecosystem? And there's a couple of layers to that. One is if it an integration to an independent piece of software, like an integration with Wistia, we take a look at what's our shared customer overlap. 'Cause if it's negligible, maybe it's less than 50, it's like this isn't really serving the best amounts. Do we really invest in actually getting them in and listing them and all of that stuff. Maybe if it provides a net new value to those 50 customers and maybe even more in the HubSpot, you know, customer base, but for the most part, if it's another video integration, we want to make sure that we have a pretty generous customer overlap so that a lot of our customers get the value out of it.

- Otherwise--

- Sure.

- It's like nobody's gonna use it and it's probably not gonna see a lot of success.

- Okay.

- The third thing that we look at is sort of like inbound philosophies. Like, if they're selling lists, no, I'm not gonna be part of their program.

- It goes against our terms of service.

- Yeah, it goes against our terms of service. So and there's other things we're looking at too, like especially as we evolve what the program is and what it means to be a part of HubSpot Connect. You know, before we were looking strictly at installs to determine what your success looks like in our ecosystem and gave you special placement because you had the most installs. But I think as we change gears and move into 2020, we're taking a critical eye. It's like, what actually solves for the customer? The customer is the end user of these said things. What makes them successful? Well, a very stable app. Something that has very favorable reviews, like, social proof that it actually works. Something that's like GDPR compliant.

- Yep.

- And I think we're gonna start looking at some more of this sort of criteria that solves for the customer and make that sort of like the merit base system for how app partners grow with us.

- And I'm guessing you're also looking at this across geographies. So, what may not be applicable here in the U.S. could be applicable, let's say, in Asia Pacific region versus Europe versus--

- Globalization adds a whole new can of worms--

- Sure.

- To a platform especially because right now, say, we wanted to localize the integrations directory. It's not localized right now but if we did, if a customer's using that and it is localized, what if that software independently, like, what if Wistia's not in French? It's just there's so many permutations and so many layers to it that it's very hard to figure out how we actually localize this. We're thinking through what that means but it's just such a big challenge right now to think through where to even start.

- Could you, and you might not be able to share this, but what percentage of connect partners are U.S.-based versus non-U.S.-based?

- Um, I think, I'd say the majority, like over 75%, are U.S.-based right now.

- Okay. Is that something you're considering moving forward? Like how to build that international integration base?

- Yeah, I mean HubSpot is a global piece of software. We want to look at what it means to make platform, obviously, globalized as well--

- Yeah.

- Absolutely.

- But a lot of challenges come alongside it and it's definitely something we want to do but like the thing is it's like the added layer of having all these partners build on top of it just adds so many more factors to how you go and globalize something. Like if you want to globalize a new HubSpot product, you have to soup to nuts, globalize the whole thing. It's like you have to have a sales team that can support that language. You have to have a services team that can do it. You have to have marketing collateral. The website needs to be localized. Like it's all that and multiply that by however many partners you have--

- Correct.

- In the ecosystem and--

- And however many languages.

- Yeah, exactly, that you want to 'cause they might not support several languages and, man, and then it creates another whole thing, where like, who supports the integration? Like right now, we have connect partners support the integration if something goes awry. That's usually the protocol unless HubSpot's built the integration. We'll support that but otherwise it goes to the app partner. But what if they say the app is in French and it is but they don't have support in French?

- Right.

- And then our customer's mad. What do you do? You know what I mean? Like, it creates mad customers.

- Mad at HubSpot.

- Exactly, right?

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- So there's just so many little layers and nuances to it.

- And that's part of your QA. I mean, getting back to the original question here is, like, that's part of your QA of what you take into account when adding somebody else in--

- Exactly.

- To the team.

- That's a very good point too. It's like how well do they actually support our shared customers? 'Cause at the end of the day, we want our customers to be successful so we want to make sure that it all ties back to that talk.

- Yeah.

- Makes sense.

- A lot of takeaways coming in for this but most importantly, I've just, what is, you know, HubSpot doing to become a platform company? You know, the types of integrations that are available to HubSpot customers, right? The growth of it? Thank you, Al. But also like how are you gonna be doing this to manage the data in one central spot, right, across your tech stock, right? To later visualize, which is gonna be the last two episodes after this--

- When you get to the nitty gritty widget report?

- Yes, when you actually start to say, Great. I've got my data in one place and it's all managed correctly and these systems are working for me and I don't have anything too extra. I have just the right amount of systems that I need.

- Because your integrations data is like such a key piece to the system because it's like if you cannot trust the data, then the reports are literally meaningless-

- Yep.

- And I feel like this is where a common breakdown of data integrity can happen is if you're, with your integration, you're not getting the right type of data or the whole picture with their data but you have two platforms or more that share key parts of that story, your reporting can become meaningless because it's not accurate to what's actually happening with your customers.

- Right. Yeah, good segue into the follow up. So generally, we'll have a couple of the resources that Al mentioned in the blog post and the, or, should I say, show notes rather--

- Show notes.

- Show notes, um, but the asset will be a diagram asking you to share your most important integrations, what they are.

- What are you using?

- What are you using? What data is stored in them and in what form and how you're bringing it into HubSpot.

- And what you're storing in HubSpot?

- Yep. And what are you storing in HubSpot? We also want to see what your business goal is with those key metrics so we can kind of compare that. If you'd like to give that along with your portal ID to us for feedback, just email us. Inboundreporting@hubspot.com. We'd love you to give us some feedback and love to see that. Otherwise, I don't have anything else to add. Jorie?

- No. Thank you, Al, for joining us.

- Yeah, yeah, of course.

- Al, thanks a lot.

- Thank you for having me.

- All right.

- Of course.

- Thanks guys. Take care.

- Thanks.

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Originally published Oct 22, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated October 23 2019