6 Must-Know HubSpot Partner Program and Product Updates from INBOUND 2023
by Charlotte Andrade | Updated Nov 9, 2023
INBOUND, HubSpot's annual user conference in Boston, MA, was nothing short of spectacular this year. HubSpot unveiled an incredible amount of game-changing updates - including:
- Sales Prospecting,
- Campaign Assistant,
- SMS Marketing capabilities,
- Website Assistant,
- Image Generation,
- Sales Hub Reporting,
- AI Chatbot Assistant,
- and so much more.
These innovations aren't just about products; they're a testament to HubSpot's commitment to ensuring its partners stay at the forefront of the ever-evolving digital landscape.
But what are the most important takeaways for Partners from these updates? What should HubSpot Partners be focused on for the coming year?
After an insightful interview with Michelle Eatherton who leads Go-To Market Strategy for HubSpot’s Partner Operations team, we’ve put together our key findings to set next year up for success.
1. The New Focus for HubSpot’s Partner Program
This year marked a momentous occasion for the HubSpot Partner Program as it saw the revival of Partner Day. With app and solutions partners converging under one roof, sharing one stage, HubSpot has amplified its 'Big P' of partnering motion.
The goal is clear: to bring different partner types into one unified ecosystem. The resounding message is that HubSpot is heavily invested in growing and supporting its partner program.
2. Navigating Products Updates that are Parallel to Your Services or Offerings
With HubSpot's ever-evolving suite of tools and capabilities, it's only natural for partners to wonder how these groundbreaking updates might affect their role in the ecosystem. Are the AI-powered tools and other innovations poised to render some partners obsolete? What's HubSpot's strategy to ensure partners remain an integral part of the journey?
Michelle Eatherton addresses these questions head-on:
First and foremost, HubSpot's product updates are not aimed at making partners obsolete. Instead, they are meticulously designed to eliminate roadblocks.
This empowers partners to devote more of their valuable time to crafting strategies that drive exceptional results for their clients within the HubSpot ecosystem.
Here's a closer look at how HubSpot intends to integrate partners into its product update rollouts:
Partners as Strategic Enablers
HubSpot recognizes that partners bring unique value to the table. They possess the expertise, insights, and experience needed to understand clients' specific requirements and tailor HubSpot's tools to meet those needs. Rather than overshadowing partners, HubSpot's updates are designed to equip them with more powerful resources to serve clients effectively.
Streamlining the Customer Experience
The driving force behind HubSpot's product updates is the quest to provide an exceptional customer experience. By constantly improving the platform, HubSpot ensures that its customers can accomplish their goals more efficiently. This not only delights clients but also allows partners to focus on what they do best—developing strategies that leverage HubSpot's capabilities to the fullest.
The essence of HubSpot's approach is a collaborative spirit. It's a collective ecosystem where HubSpot, partners, and customers all grow together. As HubSpot evolves and introduces cutting-edge tools, partners are essential in bridging the gap between technology and its practical application for clients. This collaborative journey results in a win-win scenario, where everyone benefits from the shared success.
3. Unlocking the Potential of Commerce Hub: What Partners Need to Prepare For
Exciting times are ahead as HubSpot introduces Commerce Hub, the latest addition to its comprehensive suite of tools. Commerce Hub, a rebrand and enhancement of the Payments tool, encompasses capabilities such as Invoices, Quotes, Subscription Management, and more. The rollout of this new hub poises HubSpot to become a leader in B2B commerce.
While this new hub presents new opportunities for partners, it can be daunting to stay on top of big rollouts like this one. So, what should partners do to gear up for the Commerce Hub rollout or any future hubs?
Master the Functionality
The cornerstone of success with any HubSpot hub, including Commerce Hub, is a deep understanding of its native functionality. Partners should invest time in exploring the features, capabilities, and tools provided within Commerce Hub. This knowledge will empower you to effectively utilize the hub for your clients and also to provide informed guidance on its applications.
Consider Your Clients' Needs
It's vital to assess your client's unique needs and how Commerce Hub can address those needs. Whether it's streamlining e-commerce operations, optimizing product listings, or enhancing the buyer’s shopping experience, understanding the specific benefits Commerce Hub can bring to your clients is key.
Explore the Hub Ecosystem
Each hub within HubSpot operates within an ecosystem, and understanding this ecosystem is crucial. Partners should explore how Commerce Hub integrates with other hubs and tools within the HubSpot platform. Consider how the data and insights from Commerce Hub can be used in conjunction with other HubSpot tools to create comprehensive marketing and sales strategies.
Foster Collaborative Partnerships
One of the remarkable features of the HubSpot community is the potential for collaboration. Take a look at your existing partner relationships and explore opportunities to work together. Perhaps you have partners who specialize in other HubSpot hubs or offer complementary services. Get an understanding of what third-party integrations and apps could enhance Commerce Hub even more. Collaborative partnerships can amplify the value you bring to your clients and create a more holistic solution.
4. Sales Hub: a New Avenue for Partners to Drive CRM Adoption & Software Upsells
HubSpot performed significant research into where to focus its main product updates, and discovered more often than not, your clients’ biggest challenges surround sales.
A global survey of over 1,000 sales leaders conducted earlier this year revealed that their top challenges are:
- Standing out from the crowd
- Meeting quotas
Sales productivity, or lack thereof, is now a critical issue that can't be resolved with just "more." In fact, simply increasing the volume often alienates buyers and compromises the value you offer. Selling is harder than ever before.
Yamini Rangan, CEO of HubSpot, summarizes this perfectly in her LinkedIn post:
“Selling is more challenging than ever. Customers are hard to reach and budgets are under scrutiny. Sales leaders are under a ton of pressure to hit their targets. 83% of sales leaders say that rep productivity is a top challenge in hitting their goals.
Historically, the sales formula was to hire more sales reps, give them a stack of tools, and drive more activities. This “more is more strategy” does not work. Customers are overwhelmed with outreach, and reps are overworked. In fact, we found that 63% of sales reps’ time is spent on activities other than connecting with customers.
That’s why it’s time to flip the sales formula. The new formula is all about empowering reps to be more effective with the right tools and activities, all supercharged by AI.
With AI, reps can bring valuable insights to every conversation. They can leverage AI to easily summarize customer data, get context on past interactions, and identify the best actions to take. So, let’s make a bold move and flip the sales formula.
At HubSpot, we’re here to help you navigate this journey. We just relaunched Sales Hub to empower sales teams to boost productivity through deep relevance - powered by AI.”
INBOUND announced several notable updates including:
- CPQ capabilities
- Prospecting workspace
- Essential apps for Sales Hub
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration enhancements
- AI forecasting
- Integrated reporting and coaching tools
- Mobile prospecting updates
- Smarter sequences
- Deal inspection
- SMS capabilities
These tools position HubSpot Sales Hub as a powerful solution for any sales organization. No longer do clients need to decide between Salesforce and HubSpot for sales activity, there’s still plenty of tools that HubSpot’s Sales Hub offers that sales reps that work primarily out of other tools can leverage as well.
This opens up a substantial opportunity for partners to provide meaningful and valuable upsells or crossells to their clients where there may not have been previously. The lines between systems are blurring, and this integration of tools encourages partners to empower their clients, driving better CRM adoption and more efficient software upsells.
5. Advancing and Maintaining HubSpot Partner Tier Levels
Significant updates have been made to how tiering within HubSpot’s Partner Program system operates. These changes demonstrate HubSpot’s commitment to fostering partnerships that enhance the overall ecosystem, putting even more focus in adding value to HubSpot customers.
So, what's the best strategy for partners to not only maintain but also advance their partner tier?
A Shift Toward Strategic Guidance
One of the prominent changes in HubSpot’s partner tiering approach is a heightened emphasis on partners who go beyond the traditional vendor-client relationship. HubSpot highly value partners who are not just service providers but strategic advisors as well. HubSpot wants partners to focus on providing strategic guidance to customers on how to extract the maximum value from their HubSpot portal.
Michelle Eatherton mentions how important partners are to help customers navigate the complexities and nuances of HubSpot's offerings. While HubSpot provides the tools and platform, it's often the partners who bring the additional touchpoint, expertise, and resources necessary to fully unlock the potential of the HubSpot ecosystem.
The Ongoing Support and Management
HubSpot understands the value of a partner extends far beyond the initial implementation or deployment phase. Partners who offer ongoing support, management, and guidance to customers are the ones who truly stand out. HubSpot looks for partners who are not just there for the launch but for the entire journey.
Partners who commit to long-term partnerships are the ones who are not only recognized but rewarded within HubSpot’s tiering system.
The pathway to attaining and maintaining the next tier in the HubSpot partner ecosystem has evolved to encompass more than just delivering a product or service. It's about being a strategic guide, a constant support, and an additional touchpoint for customers on their journey with HubSpot. Partners who embrace this shift and provide holistic value are not only integral to the ecosystem but also positioned to thrive in HubSpot’s new partner initiatives.
6. Unlocking Opportunities: Where Partners Should Focus in the Upcoming Year
As we step into a new year, it's crucial for HubSpot partners to focus on the most promising opportunities. To help guide your strategies, we've gathered insights from HubSpot Partner Day reports to highlight the key areas where partners should focus their efforts.
- Sales Hub: The Powerhouse for Net New Business
We touched on this previously, but Sales Hub came out on top for areas with the most partner opportunities. It emerged as the primary driver of net new business, larger deals, and increased Enterprise adoption. This growth is attributed to the hub’s continuous improvement in sales functionality over the past year. In fact, HubSpot so strongly believes in this opportunity for partners that they released a Solutions Partner exclusive training course on addressing and taking advantage of the open opportunity of Sales Hub.
- Marketing Hub Demand: A Steady Performer
Marketing Hub demand, comprising roughly 63% of last year’s HubSpot customers, has remained consistent and in line with expectations. However, there have been signs of improvement in net new deal volume since July, suggesting a potential area for growth. Partners can focus on refining their marketing strategies to tap into this opportunity.
- Service Hub: A Rising Star
Service Hub, accounting for about 5% of customers, has witnessed incremental growth over the past six months. This growth has been driven by cross-sell opportunities and share gains, especially against competitors like Zendesk and point solutions.
- CMS Hub: Gaining Ground
CMS Hub, making up approximately 4% of the mix, has gained traction by winning share against competitors like WordPress. Customers are increasingly consolidating vendors to reduce Total Cost of Ownership. Additionally, the availability of CMS at no cost provides HubSpot customers with a valuable starting point.
- Operations Hub: Facilitating Integration
Operations Hub has seen favorable adoption from customers, serving as the connection layer across Hubs. It has positively impacted partners' service revenues.
R&D and Strategy Opportunities
- Industry-Specific Solutions
Developing pre-packaged HubSpot offerings for specific industries (e.g., manufacturing, financial services, technology, healthcare, and consumer packaged goods) can set partners apart and create revenue streams. HubSpot Partner Supered is a great resource for quick, seamless deployment of pre-packaged offerings.
- RevOps Practices
Building out Revenue Operations (RevOps) practices to help customers optimize their operations, aligning sales, marketing, and service functions for automation, improved retention, and enhanced operational effectiveness.
- AI Services: AI was a big part of the HubSpot updates at INBOUND 2023. Partners can offer services in data cleansing, identifying AI use cases and ROI, and training customers on AI usage.
- Building IP: As the app ecosystem evolves, partners can create Intellectual Property (IP) to list on the HubSpot marketplace, creating a recurring revenue stream.
INBOUND 2023 delivered an impressive array of game-changing updates, solidifying HubSpot's commitment to its Partner Program and staying at the forefront of the ever-evolving digital landscape. As a HubSpot partner, it's essential to embrace these innovations to drive success in the coming year.
As we look ahead to the upcoming year, it's vital for partners to focus on promising opportunities. Big updates in Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, and Commerce Hub all offer growth avenues. Additionally, exploring industry-specific solutions, RevOps practices, AI services, and building intellectual property can set you apart and create new revenue streams.
To dive deeper into these insights and ensure your success in the HubSpot ecosystem, download the complete 2023 HubSpot Product Update guide.