Shot overlooking the floor of HubSpot's INBOUND 2019 at the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center.
PHOTO: Dom Nicastro

BOSTON — More than 26,000 descended upon the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center this week for HubSpot's annual INBOUND conference. The annual conference has nearly doubled in growth since 2015. We were on hand to catch the latest news from the marketing automation and CRM company. Here are some of our top takeaways from the event.

HubSpot Updates App Marketplace

HubSpot announced the launch of a new app marketplace. It includes access to third-party tools that HubSpot users can integrate with their accounts. 

"One of the things we've really tried to do with the next iteration of the marketplace is just to help SMBs (small to medium businesses) get deeper information on these integrations," Scott Brinker, VP of platform ecosystem at HubSpot, said in an interview with CMSWire. "So you're not just like, 'Oh, here's another company, go off and figure it out.' It's like, 'OK, here's exactly how this interfaces into HubSpot. Here's a video of how it works. ... We're really excited about trying to make this whole platform ecosystem world accessible to the SMB markets." 

HubSpot officials said the platform ecosystem includes obligations for partners to provide pricing information, data flow structure and demo videos. It also features improved filtering and better app search functions and listing management for the app developers that integrate with HubSpot. More than 300 are listed on the marketplace.

Related Article: Takeaways from HubSpot INBOUND 2018

HubSpot Expands Functionality of its Growth Platform

HubSpot released updates to its Growth Platform, a cloud-based marketing, sales and customer service software platform. HubSpot created a new duplicate management tool that uses machine learning to find and merge duplicate contact or company data; it's available to professional and enterprise customers across all three hubs. HubSpot also added dozens of drag-and-drop templates to improve the editor experience for email and knowledge base. It also announced plans to add new functionality to its Sales Hub Professional and Marketing Hub Starter tiers.

Embracing Diversity in Employees

HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan (CEO) and Dharmesh Shah (CTO) took the stage Wednesday to discuss inspirational strategies when it comes to pulling off better customer experiences. 

Shah stressed the need for companies to embrace diversity because "being different is not just OK," he said, "it's better." Shah believes that "magic happens when different but complementary people intersect." He also touched on hiring people who don't just "fit in" but add to a company's culture. "You shouldn’t just hire people who fit your culture," Shah said. "You should hire people who add to your culture. But to do that, you need to know what your culture is.” 

Shah's other big message to the marketers and customer experience professionals in the crowd was to face common fears by "growing bolder." Too many professionals fear disappointing the very few, but it's not delighting the many they really should fear, Shah added.

The Era of 'Experience Disruptors'

Halligan used the phrase "experience disruptors," which summarizes his keynote. The CEO talked about commitment to customer experience being a No. 1 priority for businesses. Data can power many of those experiences through personalization, but Halligan cautioned that with "great data comes great power and great responsibility." Halligan also emphasized that "friction-free" experiences will make companies winners.

Related Article: HubSpot INBOUND Attendees Share Marketing Challenges and Strategies

HubSpot Financial Growth Tempered by Losses

HubSpot's last financial quarterly report included a year-over-year gain in revenue from the three months ended June 30. It reported a revenue of $163.2 million vs. $122.5 million last year at this time. The company reported nearly $513 million in revenue in 2018, growth of more than $137 million in revenue. But it also reported it generated net losses of $28.5 million and $33.7 million for the six months ended June 30, in 2019 and 2018 respectively. This year, as of June 30, HubSpot had an accumulated deficit of $372.8 million. 

Thank You, Zoom, for Employee Growth

HubSpot had around 1,000 employees in 2015. As of June 30, it's up to 2,924 full-time employees. 

Kipp Bodnar, HubSpot CMO, told CMSWire in an interview at INBOUND he attributes the growth in employees partly to HubSpot's commitment to be open to remote employees. "Let's give credit where credit is due — Eric and Zoom changed our life," Bodnar said, giving a nod to Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, which provides video conferencing. "We are able to have a remote team where you can actually work and operate together. We have hundreds of HubSpotters that are now remote, and that has opened us up to people and talent and to ways of working that we just never had before. And that has been a big boon for us."