2021: The Year HubSpot Became the #1 CRM Platform for Scaling Businesses

Marketing Technology

I’m well-known within Gate 39 Media as the HubSpot nerd… I really love the platform and the company. A lot has excited me over my almost 20-years in the digital marketing space, but nothing more so than HubSpot’s concept of aligning marketing, sales, and service teams and prioritizing helping leads vs selling to them… enter the Inbound methodology.

HubSpot CRM Evolves to Help Businesses Scale

A decade ago, “Inbound” was a new concept that was literally being tested out before our eyes on HubSpot’s website. They walked their talk and proved that relationship-nurturing buyer experiences resulted in better sales. By being a helpful resource first and foremost, your lead-to-customer rate could practically scale itself.

Since then, HubSpot has evolved from an amazing marketing automation tool to a well-known and highly competitive CRM, sales enablement, and help desk software. And Inbound is now a methodology utilized in organizations large and small, including Gate 39 Media.

HubSpot continues to evolve every year, so I thought I would share with you some of the most exciting ways my favorite platform evolved in 2021.

One of my favorite parts about HubSpot has been our consistent investment in the product, driven in large part through feedback from our customers & Solutions Partners – the folks actually using it. I am truly excited with regards to this year’s major updates – with solid advancement in making HubSpot & the base CRM product, more customizable for businesses & teams of all sizes.

John-Erik Pszenny, Lead Strategic Channel Consultant at HubSpot

A Place to Test

SandboxesHubSpot Sandbox were introduced this year, allowing enterprise customers the ability to “test, experiment, and iterate” on their marketing, sales, and service processes.

Association Say What?

HubSpot introduced new association features to all customers, allowing multiple company records to be connected to a contact, deal, or ticket. This is a huge improvement for organizations that sell to large business units. Many of our clients work with organizations that umbrella regional offices or smaller business units, so this is a much-welcomed feature.

Professional and Enterprise customers get the extra advantage of labeling associations, which helps in identifying the primary contact or company within a deal or the level of the business unit a company resides in.

The Truth of the Unit

Speaking of business units, HubSpot released a new enterprise add-on that allows customers to “manage contacts, marketing and sales assets, and settings across multiple brands.”

Unlike their new associations feature, business units focus on the HubSpot customer (not their contacts). Do you have multiple brands to manage? Do your product lines each have their own distinct market to target? Do you cross-sell or upsell across your brands? This new feature allows you to manage multiple brands, including campaigns, assets, interactions, and performance, all within one HubSpot account. You can even manage email subscriptions by brand, which is a huge lifesaver for those of us impacted by ever-increasing privacy regulations.

I Now Pronounce You a HubSpot Admin

Admins saw some major improvements to user permissions this year. As an admin, you can create permission templates by user and role. You can use HubSpot’s OKTA integration to add, remove, and edit users as needed. And you can export permissions and even impersonate users. This is huge for single sign-on accounts and organizations with strict security standards, like Gate 39 Media.

The New Kid on the Block

Contact SyncIn April of 2021, Operations Hub was born which HubSpot says “gives you a unified toolset that connects apps, cleans and curates customer data, and automates business processes under one central CRM platform.” In simpler terms, Operations Hub allows HubSpot customers to:

  • Automate data clean-up, such as formatting, to improve data quality.
  • Set up advanced and real-time two-way sync with other systems.
  • Add JavaScript or Python to workflows to automate business processes.
  • And more!

Later in the year, HubSpot launched an enterprise version of the hub, which they say, “provides an automated way to export HubSpot data into the leading data warehouse, Snowflake.” It also enables you to create curated data sets that can then be exported to third party applications.

Buyer Personas Will Never Look the Same Again

HubSpot began beta-testing Custom Behavioral Events, which gives Marketing Hub Enterprise users the ability to track specific contact behaviors and then curate communications and website interactions based on those behaviors. These events enable more personalized experiences for your customers and opens up deeper reporting for your organization.

Forecasting tool

Show Me the Data

The new Custom Report Builder expands HubSpot’s already robust reporting tools. Users can now combine data across all HubSpot objects, including contacts, companies, deals, marketing events, and sales and service data. We happen to use this tool to provide more actionable insights to sales users by building dedicated dashboards for individual reps that showcase website activity and email marketing stats related only to the contacts they own.

What Does the Future Hold?

The Forecasting tool has expanded users’ abilities to track and predict revenue at the company, team, and individual user level. The result is a centralized deal pipeline that can be used in team meetings to illustrate growth or road blocks in the sales process.

B2B, Meet Ecommerce. Ecommerce, Meet B2B.

HubSpot Payments is a HUGE advancement in the platform! For years, we’ve been able to send out quotes within deals. We now have the ability to accept payment for those quotes right inside of HubSpot! Whether you offer one-time or recurring billing, you can easily embed payment links directly into quotes, chats, emails, or your website to help streamline the buying process.

A CRM Powered CMS?

The benefits of a CRM-Powered content management system (CMS) cannot be understated. HubSpot has its very own CMS that allows companies to create personalized and engaging experiences for website visitors based on the data stored in their CRM. This takes personalization to a whole new level.

HubSpot PortalWhere Can I See All of My Tickets?

One of the most exciting updates to come out of 2021 is the new (beta) Customer Portal for Service Hub. This allows Service Hub Pro and Enterprise users the ability to provide a personalized ticket dashboard to their customers – a centralized location where a customer can see and access all of their open tickets with your organization.

HubSpot has had this feature built into their own customer support processes for years, so it’s great to finally see it debut for Service Hub users.

No More Survey Monkey

HubSpot has offered a customer survey feature for many years, but it’s been limited in its abilities as it mainly focused around capturing NPS scores. But today is a new day and the survey capabilities have expanded big time. You can now build tailored surveys built with star ratings, radio selects, and single line text fields and completely custom questions! The tool integrates beautifully with the CRM and answers are stored right in the contact record.


And there you have it… one year of exciting advancements for one of the most powerful CRMs on the market. We are really excited to begin using these new features and hope that this rundown enticed you to peek at them too!

Interested in demoing the HubSpot platform? We’re happy to help! Schedule a time that works for you, and we’ll walk you through one of the most powerful and integrated CRMs on the market.

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