“If you can dream it, you can automate it,” HubSpot states in their Operations Hub product video. But with the sky being the limit for what you can do with Operations Hub, it can be difficult to grasp how the platform can be used at the tactical level.
I sat down with HubSpot Principal Product Marketing Manager Ari Plaut to discuss some examples of different use cases for Operations Hub.
HubSpot Operations Hub has three core features: data sync, data quality automation and programmable automation. Each of these can be leveraged in multiple ways.
Data sync is a native way to integrate other pieces of your tech stack with HubSpot. It doesn’t require an API or middleware, and the exchange of information between platforms is more robust and more efficient than what you’d be able to accomplish with a traditional integration.
There are four main differentiators between data sync and traditional integrations:
Two-way data exchange
“A traditional integration is one-way,” Ari says. “For example, you’d have your HubSpot contacts go to Google Contacts, but not the other way around.”
Data sync allows for a two-way exchange of data between apps.
“Traditional integrations are only forward-looking. To continue with the Google Contacts example, a traditional integration might only sync people added after the integration's been set up,” Ari says. “Data sync looks into the past, too. It's historical.”
This means that when a user is first getting started on HubSpot, they don’t have to export all of the data from their old tool via a CSV and then import it into HubSpot. They can pass all the necessary information over via data sync.
“It’s real-time,” Ari says. “Oftentimes integrations only pick up once a day or they only pick up when a certain trigger is hit. Data sync is capable of just keeping two applications completely in sync.”
“It’s customizable,” Ari says. “You can add custom mappings, you can delete default mappings. You can set up filters, so if you only want certain data to sync from Microsoft Dynamics to HubSpot and back, you can do that.”
When it first launched, data sync included integrations with 25 popular SaaS apps. But that number has been steadily increasing.
“We’ve built this layer of integration that’s like a new engine into HubSpot,” Ari says. “We initially launched with 25, but because we now have this repeatable process, expect to see dozens more in the coming months. Less than two months after launch, we're already past 40.”
Some of the currently supported platforms include Stripe, Intercom, Zoho, iCloud, Outlook and Google Contacts.
Use case example: Google Contacts
A field sales rep who primarily works from their Android phone when they’re on the road might have the majority of their contacts’ information stored in Google Contacts because it’s native to their phone’s operating system. However, the rest of their team who works in the office uses HubSpot and needs up-to-date information to be able to send appropriate follow-up information.
Data sync allows that rep to easily set up an integration between the two apps so that all information stays in sync between the two platforms in real-time. This will prevent them from having to do manual data transfers or dealing with duplicate data and outdated information in either platform.
When you receive data about a contact, it’s not always typed exactly the way you need it in your CRM. Data quality automation uses workflows to adjust property formatting.
For example, you can use data quality automation to capitalize first names.
Sometimes contacts type their names in all capitalized or all lowercase letters when submitting forms, but if you use that property as is in personalization tokens, it can make your communications look sloppy.
With data quality automation, that’s no longer a concern. HubSpot will automatically adjust the capitalization for you, and you don’t need to make manual adjustments.
Programmable automation is the most flexible of the Operations Hub features. It allows you to add custom code actions into HubSpot workflows, so if your team has the technical capabilities to code something, you can now execute it through HubSpot.
“It's a blank canvas for you and your team to automate any process,” Ari says.
Flexibility is great, but it can feel intimidating, too. Here are five use cases to get started with programmable automation:
When leads and tickets come into HubSpot, they typically need to be distributed amongst team members to ensure they’re given the proper attention.
Currently in HubSpot, you can evenly distribute these objects amongst your team as a whole or route to just specific individuals. With programmable automation, you can now code more complex distribution rules.
For example, if you route leads to sales reps based on territory, you could create a workflow that pulls up a lead’s zip code, determines which region they’re associated with based on that zip code and then sends them to the sales reps working that region with the most availability.
Say you use a third-party database to enrich information on your contact records after they initially fill out a form. Your form only asks for contacts to provide their company website, but you source additional data on that company’s employee count, annual revenue and geographical location through an external database in order to inform your follow-up. In the past, someone would have needed to manually look up that information in an intelligence tool and then add it to the contact record.
With programmable automation, you can create custom code that automates the process.
You can create a workflow triggered by the form submission that includes a custom code step. That code can look up the company in your intelligence tool and pull data back into HubSpot.
“You can use code to run any calculation that you want,” Ari says.
With programmable automation, you can create a workflow that would calculate sales spiffs or partner commissions on each deal for you.
When a deal closes, you could trigger a workflow that runs a calculation based on data like deal value, close date, touchpoints, source channel and anything else that’s relevant. Then, you can add that value into a property on the deal, like a custom partner commission property for example. That property can then be used in reports to calculate how much commission you would pay to a partner in a given period.
Plan for renewals
Subscription companies that adjust their contracts with customers for each renewal can use programmable automation to kick start the updates to each iteration of the contract.
When a deal closes, you can create a workflow that’ll automatically create a new deal for that account at the specified time and adjust deal properties like discount amount and owner.
“The workflow,” Ari says, “would be: ‘Deal closes. Create a new deal in 12 months that’s owned by the renewal management team or the CSM with a discount that is 5% less than the discount for the original deal.'”
Prior to the launch of Operations Hub, it was possible to automate all of these use cases, but doing so required APIs, middleware and extra pieces of technology.
Operations Hub brought all of that functionality into the core HubSpot platform.
“We want HubSpot to be the CRM, the source of truth, for every business. In order to be able to have HubSpot be your system of record, you need the data to be connected to all your systems. You need it to be clean. You need your processes to be automated and flexible,” Ari says.
Operations Hub is available now for free for all HubSpot users, and 14-day trials are available for the Starter and Enterprise versions.
Quinn is a writer and copyeditor whose work ranges from journalism to travel writing to inbound marketing content. She’s super passionate about grammar and punctuation and loves learning new things that she can share with readers. Her favorite punctuation mark is the em dash.