5 min read

INBOUND 2021: HubSpot Updates and Highlights

HubSpot just completed its second fully virtual conference and delivered a flood of product announcements, advice from industry influencers, and celebrity appearances. Several members of the TREW Crew attended the sessions, and as a Platinum Partner, we were able to obtain deep insights into the future of the platform. Keep reading for an overview of INBOUND 2021 and the most exciting updates and trends!

INBOUND 2021 Blog Image

In 2020, HubSpot was abruptly forced to digitize their annual conference in Boston. This year, the online conference felt intentional and much more immersive. To attract attendees, HubSpot pulled out all the stops with a free ticket option and presentations from Oprah, Hasan Minaj, Spike Lee, and other famous faces. 

Screenshot of INBOUND

HubSpot tried to bring a physical dimension to the virtual conference.


Key Themes

HubSpot as a CRM Platform

HubSpot's primary theme for INBOUND this year was "A More Customizable CRM Platform." This focus on CRM (Contact Relationship Management) demonstrates the evolution of their messaging. Over a decade ago, HubSpot earned a reputation as a solution for marketers seeking email automation, landing pages, and other advanced marketing tools. Over time, HubSpot developed toolsets or "Hubs" for sales, service, and operations teams as well as a robust website builder. With so many features within one platform, it makes sense that HubSpot would seek to clarify its identity. 

HubSpot now defines itself as the leading CRM platform for scaling businesses. With this positioning, HubSpot is clearly targeting Salesforce and other legacy CRMs. In the first presentation, executives highlighted new enterprise-level features and contrasted HubSpot with "Frankensystems" that consist of disparate, clunky software combinations. Meanwhile, each HubSpot "Hub" was carefully built by the same development team which leads to a more user friendly experience. 

Remember the Flywheel

Throughout the presentations, HubSpot leaned into its flywheel model of sales, marketing, and service. CTO and Co-founder Dharmesh Shah pointed out that too many companies have "Funnel Vision" which represents an outdated, transactional method of doing business. HubSpot's inbound methodology claims that businesses benefit from embracing their flywheel model of reducing friction and building momentum throughout the customer lifecycles. 


HubSpot introduced the flywheel at INBOUND 2018. 


Multiple presentations and discussions centered around Revenue Operations (RevOps), a business function that seeks to maximize revenue potential. In recent years, numerous large companies have created RevOps teams to optimize internal processes and encourage collaboration across marketing, sales, and service teams. 

To serve these needs, HubSpot recently launched the Operations Hub which helps businesses sync customer data and automate vital processes. At INBOUND, attendees learned about the Enterprise Level of Operations Hub and attended sessions on RevOps strategies.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) 

Another popular theme at INBOUND was ABM, the strategy of aligning marketing and sales to target a narrow group of high-value accounts. For B2B companies selling high-cost products to enterprise clients, ABM has long been a popular growth strategy. HubSpot has enhanced their own ABM tools in recent years, and at INBOUND, they taught attendees about their built-in tools and invited ABM experts to provide best practices.

ABM Target Accounts

Target Accounts is a key aspect of HubSpot's ABM toolset.


B2B Buyers are Mirroring B2C Buyers

Another theme presented first by former CEO Brian Halligan was that B2B buyers are becoming more like B2C buyers in their purchasing preferences. The most successful direct-to-consumer companies have been those that enable digital autonomy and focus on buyer empowerment. Consumers want to be able to easily order online, consult with a sales rep in multiple ways, and engage on their own terms. Halligan pointed out that B2B buyers are demonstrating the same preferences. B2B companies who want to successfully scale in the coming years should aim to enable frictionless, friendly, online buying experiences for their customers.


Product Updates

As always, HubSpot announced numerous product updates at INBOUND. We will highlight a few that will be most relevant to our technical audiences, but you can learn about each update on HubSpot's website

  • Payments - HubSpot teamed up with Stripe to create a payment process within the CRM. Now, companies can place payment buttons directly on their website or receive payments via email or chat for services or digital goods.
    • Applies to: Any U.S.-based company that sells digital goods or recurring subscriptions. 
  • Sandboxes - Enterprise customers can now set up testing environments to experiment with integrations, pipelines, and processes before deploying them to the main production environment. 
    • Applies to: HubSpot users with any Enterprise package. 
  • Business Units - If you have multiple brands within one umbrella organization, you know how frustrating it can be to manage your various SaaS tools. With Business Units, you can easily manage multiple brands within the same HubSpot portal.
    • Applies to: Marketing Hub Enterprise users are eligible to purchase the Business Units Add-On. 
  • Customer Portal - With this advancement, HubSpot's Service Hub becomes even more powerful. Companies can create a branded Customer Portal where customer can log in and access helpful articles or review the status of their service tickets.
    • Applies to: Service Hub Professional and Enterprise users.
  • CMS Hub Starter - In August HubSpot announced a Starter version of their popular content management system (CMS). For just $25 per month, marketers can create up to 15 website pages on a fast, secure platform using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

HubSpot faced a great deal of pressure to deliver a superior digital conference, and they delivered. With these product updates, enterprise-level enhancements, and a CRM-focus, HubSpot is poised to continue its aggressive growth. As a Platinum Partner supporting several HubSpot clients, we will follow each development. Stay tuned!

To learn more about HubSpot and determine if it could be a good fit for your business,  watch our on-demand HubSpot demo for technical companies. 

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Andre Leonard

About TREW Marketing

TREW Marketing is a strategy-first content marketing agency serving B2B companies that target highly technical buyers. With deep experience in the design, embedded, measurement and automation, and software industries, TREW Marketing provides branding, marketing strategy, content development, and digital marketing services to help customers efficiently and effectively achieve business goals.