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Lessons from #INBOUND15 for a Drupal Shop

The INBOUND 2015 conference rocked downtown Boston last week with a lineup of insightful speakers, hilarious headliners like Amy Schumer and an overall electric atmosphere that was further amped up by exciting product announcements for the HubSpot marketing automation platform.

We use HubSpot to fuel our inbound marketing efforts, and many of the upcoming products and add-ons to the platform will have great import to our team. But for the wider world of Drupal, here are a few key takeaways from this year's gathering of HubSpot customers and partners:

1. New Reporting Dashboard

The new product features were unveiled during the conference to pretty heavy fanfare but once the hype subsides, what's the real value to users? 

hubspot_reporting

The Reporting add-on gives users the opportunity to build customized dashboards that report on a wide range of success metrics, such as leads-to-customers conversion rates, traffic sources, and visualizations of your marketing or sales funnel. There is drag and drop functionality that makes it a very malleable layout, quite pleasing to the eye if it's the first thing you land on when you sign in to HubSpot. That said, beyond some prettier visualizations these reports were all available in HubSpot for more intrepid users to discover, the new add-on just brings them to the fore and heightens their customization.

Score: 7.5/10

 

2. Predictive Lead Scoring

A little bit of algorithmic magic (JK there's no such thing -- sorry Harry Potter diehards!) goes into delivering this new feature for HubSpot users.

hubspot_leads

The predictive analytics behind the feature will compare any new leads that you collect via HubSpot forms with existing leads in your HubSpot CRM. It will analyze things such as location, company size, past success or close rates with similar leads, and so on. It's useful for taking out much of the legwork in assessing or "scoring" your leads from inbound marketing activities.

Using a real-world example, let's say you run a Drupal development shop and you receive a fair amount of inquiries about projects in the higher education industry. Using predictive lead scoring, you can "automagically" assess the inquiries based on your shop's past performance record delivering higher ed Drupal sites and cross reference things such as the school's size to see if it's in scope with similar projects you've won in the past. Not too shabby!

Related blog post: Why Drupal is the Smartest CMS for Universities

Look for this one to be a big implementation for many HubSpot users in the coming months.

Score: 9/10

 

3. Third Party Integrations

hubspot_connect

This has always been an evolving facet of HubSpot's software, and it has really matured in the last few months. One of the basic integrations that most HubSpot users would set up is the connection to Salesforce so that a sales and marketing team can share intelligence. Now marketers who are using HubSpot can tie it to apps they use for event organizing, billing, web- or teleconferencing, and more.

We host a few events at Drupal camps across the country so there's a huge upside for us to sync our Eventbrite account with our marketing platform so we can keep in touch with folks who attend our events. We're also trying our Slideshare content to HubSpot to have a more unified view of all the branded content we publish across the web. The system works.

If you put much credence in the notion that the web is moving toward a broad ecosystem of apps, there is going to be a management issue when it comes to saving time and streamlining workflow between all your common apps. HubSpot Connect is a decent attempt to address this issue head-on and get moving with the tide of apps that are increasingly central to a marketer's day-to-day responsibilities.

It's a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done to smoothly integrate all of the apps with HubSpot's user interface and the setup processes range from super slick to unnecessarily clunky with a few of the apps. Give it time and it should be even more user-friendly; at least HubSpot is thinking about this issue, which can't be said of all marketing automation platforms.

Score: 6.5/10 

 

This is just a brief recap of the event and its highlights for marketers and Drupal shops. Check back here for more updates on the event and our thoughts about using HubSpot to enable the adoption of Drupal and create solutions that combine open source power with inbound marketing philosophy.

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