Customer experience and management has been an integral part of the success of businesses.10 years ago, businesses won by selling products that were 10 times better than the competition. Today, businesses win because their customer experience is 10 times better than the competition.
The HubSpot growth platform lets your entire company work together — from marketing, to sales, to customer service. Each Hub is powerful alone, but better together. The inbound movement empowers businesses around the world to stop interrupting, start helping, and return their focus to the customer.
Here, Adarsh Noronha, Director, Indian Sub-continent,HubSpot, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: Why have traditional CMSs become ineffective in scaling up businesses, website management, and site evolution?
Adarsh Noronha: In most cases, technology becomes easier to manage as it advances. CMS’ seem to be an exception – as their level of technical sophistication has increased, so has the level of difficulty – and required technical know-how – to manage a CMS. And so we find that websites are a constant source of frustration for many marketers.
Many of the problems marketers have with their website can be traced back to the CMS they use. But it doesn’t always start out this way – one challenge marketers have, especially for growing businesses, with their CMS’ is that they’re often selecting and building for their needs now – and this makes sense at the time. But down the track, when you’ve grown and need your website to keep pace, the problems start to surface.
For small businesses and startups, managing websites is not that complicated, and there are plenty of CMS’s designed for their needs. But as an organization grows, the needs of your customer, and therefore your business, change. You launch new products, grow into new markets and ask more from your website.
According to research from HubSpot, 82% of consumers expect an “immediate” response when looking for marketing or sales help — that number rises to 90 percent when the question is related to customer service. What does “immediate” mean? 10 minutes. In addition to that, one-third of buyers expect to be able to self-serve in the purchase process. As your business grows, your team won’t be able to get back to all prospects within 10 minutes. It’s just not possible! Your website needs to be there, when you can’t be!
So often, businesses, and marketers, are making a trade-off. A CMS that’s easy to use, but lacks the technological capabilities that a growing business needs. Or one that possesses all the functionality, yet requires custom development that your average marketer isn’t equipped to deliver. Traditional CMSes often force you to cobble together 20 plugins, or more, just to build the functionality you need. More plugins, more problems – over time, your website is slow, clunky and you’re often wrestling with conflicts between plugins. This is not what you pictured.
To keep pace in a post-Covid-19 world, you need a CMS that’s usable and flexible enough to make changes to your websites in real-time, powerful enough to support the wide array of functions our websites need to deliver a seamless end-to-end customer experience and, of course, secure.
DQ: What are the current trends in CMS and website management?
Adarsh Noronha: There are a huge number of trends that come into play when we talk about customer experience and how this translates to a business’ website – from accessibility, to chatbots and conversations, to personalisation and delivering timely, relevant and individualised experiences to users. We can take a step back at look at three core areas where your CMS has to hit the mark – these are around flexibility, scalability and security:
Websites, perhaps now more than ever, are an integral part of business and how companies operate – your website is your shopfront. We’ve seen this ring very true following the social distancing measures put in place and traditional businesses who previously didn’t have an online presence have needed to pivot rapidly and move their business online.
We describe the integration of a website to your business as your CMS being your system of content, and your CRM your system of record – both are integral for any growing business. Do they need to be connected? Absolutely. It helps hugely if they’re integrated at a deeper level – having an all-on-one play or using a tech suite means that your systems interact in a very natural way, because they’re designed to do so, and your internal users are having to move between different systems.
Research by Acquia shared that a majority of marketers surveyed said they felt technology made offering customers personalised experiences harder, not easier, due to customer data living in silos – this really shows us how the connection between your CMS and CRM, and all of your martech, really comes into play.
DQ: How is HubSpot trying to simplify upskilling, and lead the conversation on frictionless CMS and website management?
Adarsh Noronha: Our mission at HubSpot is to help companies grow better. Ten years ago, companies used to win based on a superior product. This is no longer the case – today, it’s all about how you sell and companies now win, and lose, based on their customer experience. Your website is your business’ digital shop front – it’s where your products or services are on display, where you win buyers over with your USP, and it’s always there, 24/7. It has to be an extension of your business and deliver the exact same experience as a customer receives via another channel, seamlessly.
So many businesses are presented with an impossible either-or choice when it comes to CMSes. The systems that are built for marketers tend to lack the technological advancement that growth businesses need. The ones that have the functionality your business needs require a level of coding and complex plug-ins that your typical marketer isn’t equipped to do. Not everyone, especially not businesses at the start of their growth journey, has an in-house development team. Either way, everyone’s job is made harder and marketers are taken away from what they were hired to do – marketing.
We have to make difficult decisions every day about the best ways to engage with customers. We’re able to adapt to customers on almost every channel – email and social have come a long way in enabling marketers to deliver personalised and meaningful experiences. A social post could be underperforming? You can do it differently tomorrow.
An email send has lower-than-average open rates? Change your strategy next week. But for many of us, this flexibility doesn’t exist when it comes to our websites, our single biggest interface with our customers, it’s as though they’ve been left behind.
Marketers need to be able to take control of the customer experience without feeling like they’re battling with their systems every day, and they need to be adapting their assets to customers’ expectations, not the other way around.
DQ: How is HubSpot’s CMS Hub effective and essential for customer management processes? Which features make it different from the already available CMS?
Adarsh Noronha: We built the CMS Hub to solve a problem we saw growing companies experiencing. People are using Adobe, or a similar CMS or DXP at the very high end of the market, or WordPress, which is a good product but needs a lot of customisation, development work, and also needs ongoing resources committed to maintenance and security. We could see that there was a gap in the market for a great SaaS CMS that worked for both marketers and developers alike, without the trade-off of powerful versus easy to use.
HubSpot did offer a CMS before the launch of CMS Hub earlier this year. The new product offers distinct experiences for marketers and developers – we’ve built different tools specifically for these two groups to use. Developers can build sites with local development and GitHub integration, while marketers are supported to own the customer experience and be fairly autonomous in managing the site and content – starting with themes, drag-and-drop editing and seamless integrations with all the tools marketers love, like Canva.
HubSpot’s CMS Hub has two product tiers – enterprise and professional. Both offer:
The enterprise tier of CMS Hub adds:
DQ: Security is a growing concern for content management. What security measures would HubSpot recommend?
Adarsh Noronha: Traditional CMSes force you to focus on security and maintenance, rather than the customer experience. When it comes to vulnerabilities in traditional CMSes, often it’s a plugin or a third–party integration with your CMS, not the CMS itself, that compromises your site’s security, and more than 30,000 websites are hacked every day, so with a traditional CMS it’s not a matter of IF you’ll get attacked, but when.
According to NTT’s 2020 Global Threat Intelligence Report, some of the most dominant activity during the past year was related to attacks against popular content management systems (CMS). Platforms such as Joomla!, Drupal, and noneCMS were identified as the target of approximately 20% of all observed cyber-attacks globally. HubSpot’s CMS Hub is a SaaS CMS, so we take care of security for you. It’s all baked in – from SSL, a Web Application Firewall, and a security team that monitors the system for threats – meaning that your marketing team can focus on, well, marketing.
While we believe that your CMS should be laser focused on the experience it enables you to deliver, the customer experience and trust they put in your business is fractured, sometimes beyond repair, when your security is compromised. And today’s marketer recognises this. In a recent study conducted by HubSpot, site security ranked number 1 when considering the most important factors for choosing a CMS.
HubSpot recommends four must-haves for website security:
Keeping your business and customers safe is critical. Security, monitoring and compliance cannot be a luxury or an afterthought. They’re at the top of the list and are non-negotiables for any CMS.