There is a big difference when considering a website build as a scale-up company than during your start-up days.
Back then, it was all about positioning the company to investors and early-stage customers, getting the essence of your product across and making a big push towards selling in features and benefits.
Now, with bigger teams and the need to increase marketing activity to meet new sales demands or wider business targets, the website needs to change and adapt to meet the new requirements of your company.
When planning a new website, it’s easy to just jump straight into the design. Normally the main driver of a website build is updating the look and feel of the website to reflect the new direction of the brand, so design is often the first thing to be considered with a scale-up website.
CMS requirements are often pushed to the back of the list, and it can be a case of “which CMS will support this design?” rather than considering how the best CMS that will provide an adaptable platform to help your business grow over time.
Getting the CMS right is absolutely fundamental for a fast growth company. Your website and content will need to grow at the same rate as the company. It will need to be secure, fast and compliant while allowing the right levels of access to the right people to enable changes to be made quickly and easily. Your IT teams will have enough on their plate sticking to the product roadmap without marketing making demands on website changes.
So if the CMS is your best starting point, which is the best choice for a scale-up?
There is no end of choice on the market, but as HubSpot Partners we’re going to take a look at the latest version of the HubSpot CMS, a newly revamped platform that boasts control for the marketer, flexibility for the developer and security for the IT team.
So what can it do?
First, a confession. Prior to the new CMS going live, we would normally recommend using an alternative CMS such as WordPress or Umbraco for the main website and only using HubSpot’s CMS for landing pages and blogs where we were building out a content strategy.
I once read an article (I have no idea where) that discussed why people didn’t trust the old television sets that had VCRs and DVDs built into them (it was more interesting than it sounds). The theory went that if you had a blend of two products in one, there would be quality compromises to be made somewhere and that rather than getting one great product, you were getting a weird hybrid of two different products.
Now I’m not making a direct comparison here, and there were other considerations (the open source nature of WordPress and large developer networks associated with other products made a really appealing argument), but HubSpot does marketing automation and CRM for growing companies brilliantly, can it really do CMS to an effective level too?
Well the answer with the new CMS is a resounding yes.
So many of the major considerations for fast growing SaaS companies have been considered in this latest iteration. The full CRM capability instantly combines two major tools into one and enables you to keep track of your website visitor’s engagement with the website and create tailored messaging based on their persona.
So much control has been handed to the marketer in a safe and secure way. Drag and drop page creation and management means that great looking content can be created quickly and easily. No more managing the content process then waiting an age to get your website pages live, you can finally get stuff done.
And there’s telephone support. It sounds like a small thing, but when you’ve been used to working on WordPress websites, something goes wrong and you have no idea whether to call the hosting guys, your developer, whoever it was that built the website in the first place, it is a hugely significant addition, especially when you have an overstretched development team that just doesn’t have time to spend hours investigating every glitch.
There is also an extensive developer community, which overcomes some of the drawbacks we had when deciding not to recommend HubSpot as a CMS previously. WordPress can be clunky and glitchy, but there is a huge community of WordPress developers out there that can help when stuff goes wrong. Plus, it’s open source, so if you need something, chances are it can be built. Having an extensive developer community around HubSpot overcomes these challenges.
There’s a ton of new features and you will need to seriously consider the requirements that are specific to your organisation when making a decision on your CMS. But the takeaways from this post should be:
If you’re a scale-up, consider your CMS before anything else when planning a new website
Choose a CMS that grows at the pace of your company and you won’t outgrow in 1-2 years time
Your developers will be crazy busy. Choose a CMS that means marketing can make the changes they need without disturbing the development of your product
Your website is your main marketing tool. Your CMS needs to do more than just manage the website, it needs to facilitate a powerful CRM, automation, tracking and personalization. The marketers’ toolkit is now large and ever evolving, your CMS needs to support this
Most importantly, HubSpot has now unveiled a powerful product that can be genuinely be considered alongside other providers. Its CMS has caught-up with the powerful features of the rest of its product stack and if your website is going to be used for lead generation as part of a fast-growth company, it demands serious consideration.