HubSpot can do so much more than what most HubSpot users commonly know. And no, I'm not talking about hidden features here or lesser known HubSpot functionalities. I'm talking about integration!
For digital marketers, its common to use other software or applications to extend their own capabilities. Even for users of comprehensive marketing software such as HubSpot, using other applications is inevitable because there are lots of applications that cover other functionalities that aren't the core focus of HubSpot. This is why you'll have to consider integration eventually.
Here are some of the HubSpot integration tips users should know:
1. There are a lot of functionalities you can integrate
HubSpot has opened its various functionalities for integration. Take for example any of your contacts in HubSpot. As you've noticed, a single contact stores a lot of information from the basic details such as company, email, position to more interesting marketing details such as their company's annual revenue or their page view and your interaction history with them. You can integrate that with your ERP or CRM for example and whatever updates a contact receives in one platform is reflected on the other.
HubSpot can be integrated with many business software such as those mentioned previously or even Business Intelligence, and e-commerce platforms, just to name a few. Since HubSpot has APIs that cover almost every one of its functionalities, you can integrate it with practically any application..
When it comes to digital marketing applications and platforms, HubSpot integrates with event and webinar platforms, chat applications, email platforms and many more! (If you have HubSpot and you're interested about what integration can do for you, then you should get a deeper understanding on what you can do with HubSpot integrations. Download our FREE ebook: HubSpot Integrations: Advanced Marketing Automation now!)
2. Integrated applications make processes faster
With your HubSpot platform integrated with your other applications, you can perform tasks much faster. Let's use an example of hosting a webinar or event where you want to enroll its attendees to a follow-up email workflow. Without an integration, you have to extract all the email addresses and names of the attendees from your webinar or event management platform, verify that the file and formatting is arranged in a way that HubSpot will understand , upload them on HubSpot and then enroll them in a workflow.
Doesn't sound too bad actually. But then, what if you had an integration between the two applications? No need to extract the contact list or manually verify the contents. All you have to do is develop your workflow and in the enrollment settings, just put as a condition anyone who attended the webinar. The entire process of extracting and verifying contacts which could take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour is reduced to 3 clicks spanning a few seconds.
3. Many processes can even be automated, saving you lots of time
Having your applications integrated allows you to work faster. Lets say for example that you have a CRM where your sales team manages customers and leads alongside your HubSpot platform which also helps your marketing department manages leads through its built-in CRM. Without an integration, any change to a contact done in one platform won't be automatically reflected in the other. Most likely, you'll have to manually update both platforms.
This results in a lot of wasted time inputing the same information twice, only because your two different applications don't communicate. If you had an integration between your CRM and HubSpot, any change to a contact will automatically be reflected in the other platform. Aside from the time saved, your marketing and sales team will be in the same loop.
4. Some applications are more open to integration than others
There are applications that are easier to integrate with. This usually means their developers are in the forefront of innovation and are separated from the proprietary mindset of software houses of the past. Before, it was quite unthinkable for a software to openly make integration with other software easy for fear of losing customers. Today however, there is a bigger drive towards openness and collaboration. At the same time, it enriches the use features and functionalities of the software.
HubSpot is one of these innovative software. You can tell by their dedicated developer portal and their numerous resources on their APIs that make it easier for integration engineers or specialists to integrate their applications with HubSpot. There are also certified integration partners and they actively promote integration.
5. You can integrate HubSpot with more than one application
If you use several software solutions that cover various parts of your business and their siloed capabilities and data are starting to weigh you own, you'll need more than the one-on-one integration we discussed in the previous points. As you could probably imagine, this is more appropriate for medium to large-scale enterprises.
One example is if you want to have various software and you want them to communicate in this way: you have a Business Intelligence platform that collects all your company data generated by your ERP, e-commerce, CRM, web analytics and your HubSpot platform. Aside from that, you also have your ERP, CRM and HubSpot sharing information on leads and customers and you want your HubSpot workflows to involve data from your e-commerce platform. Finally you also have your own proprietary mobile app used by your customers and you want usage data from that to be linked with your HubSpot workflows and contact timeline.
To achieve such a large scale integration, you'll need something called a middleware which we will explained further in the points ahead. Basically, The middleware allows HubSpot to be integrated with any number of software that are also connected to the middleware thereby allowing HubSpot's data to be used by other applications and vice versa.
6. APIs, connectors and middleware: 3 integration terms to know
Let me put these in a nutshell to help you understand it better. But given the techy nature of this topic make sure you consult with an expert when it comes to more details.
First of all let's use a simple everyday metaphor for what APIs and connectors are. Let's say you have a laptop and a phone attached to a USB cord. The free end of the USB cord has a USB pin and your laptop has several ports, and about 2 or 3 of them are USB ports. You can think of the USB pin as your connector for your phone and the laptop's USB ports as the laptop's API. The USB pin (connector) can be inserted into the laptop's USB port (API) which will allow your phone to interact with the laptop and vice versa.
APIs and connectors are as simple as that. They're basically the plug and socket for software that will allow two different software to interact with each other. The problem though is there can't be more than one USB pin going into one USB port. For that, you'll need a middleware.
You can imaging middleware as a box with multiple connectors. This means it can interact with multiple software APIs at the same time. As an added bonus, the middleware converts the "language" of each software to allow the other applications with different "languages" to understand and interact with it.
7. Integrations can be as simple or as complex as you need
Depending on what you want your system to look like, your integration can be very simple or very complex. One simple integration mentioned earlier was integrating HubSpot with your event management platform. If both have the appropriate connector and API, its as simple as plug and play.
Even between just two applications, things can get more complicated than the event platform integration example. What if the platform you want to integrate HubSpot with doesn't have a connector? That means a connector will have to be built to fit HubSpot's API.
And then finally there are the complicated integrations which involve multiple applications, a middleware and connectors, as you've seen above.
8. You need integrators to implement complex integrations
Sometimes, simple integrations can be done by your in-house developers if they know the basics of workin with APIs. But exposing your sensitive information through APIs requires a lot of attention and care. Therefore, for more complex integrations that involve building connectors or when middleware is needed, then you'll need an experienced system integrator.
System integrators specialize in making different software communicate with each other. They are familiar with the various technological solutions such as an Enterprise Service Bus and are armed with knowledge in system integration. However, when choosing a system integrator, you need an organization that's familiar with HubSpot and how it works. This is where HubSpot's Integration Partners come in.
Unlike HubSpot Partner Agencies which number in the hundreds, HubSpot Integration Partners are fewer. In the entire US, there are only 50 HubSpot Integration Partners. In the EMEA region, HubSpot has only two integration partners and one of them is Extra Magnet.
9. Integration can be a differentiating factor
It might seem sometimes that nearly everyone is doing digital marketing nowadays. Previously it was easy to get an advantage over competitors that don't undertake digital marketing activities. Even inbound marketing has become more mainstream and more companies are adopting the same inbound marketing methodology.
One way to differentiate yourself is through integration. Even if there are many who use HubSpot today, integrating the marketing platform with your other applications makes HubSpot "your own", almost as if it fits perfectly in your system. Your processes will be faster, you will have more accurate data, you can have a better understanding of your position and you can perform more complicated tasks easily compared to your competitors. This is because integration gives you all these advantages that just isn't possible without it.
10. Automating your business, starting with marketing
HubSpot has made it easier to integrate its platform with both business applications such as CRM, ERP, e-commerce and more as well as other supplementary digital marketing tools such as webinar platforms, blogging and content productions tools and social media. Even popular sales tools such as Salesforce can be linked with HubSpot to allow a smooth flow from one process to another from lead generation to cash.
Integrations don't just serve to connect your applications and help flow the data, they also extend your automation capabilities not only limiting to marketing department but covering many routine business processes. Imagine a marketing action such as sending an email or scoring a lead or a client which is done by the data coming from your ERP or CRM. Or a back up marketing campaign to drive traffic to the website which is on reserve in case you see a KPI drop on your Business Intelligence software.
HubSpot Integration = Endless Possibilities
If you have HubSpot and you're interested about what integration can do for you, then you should get a deeper understanding on what you can do with HubSpot integrations. Download our FREE ebook: HubSpot Integrations: Advanced Marketing Automation now!