Ask Me Anything: Nancy Riley, VP of Product for HubSpot’s Integration Ecosystem [NOW CLOSED]

lalexander
HubSpot Employee

Integrations are essential to your success and growth with HubSpot, and we want to give you an insider look into the way that HubSpot thinks about our integration ecosystem and where it’s headed in the future.

 

That’s why VP of Product Nancy Riley will be hosting an AMA to discuss HubSpot as a platform on Thursday, March 19. Nancy is responsible for making HubSpot a lovable developer platform and expanding our technology partner ecosystem. Her team drives our app marketplace, our public API, and our developer experience. 

 

Nancy is also responsible for PieSync, the newest member of the HubSpot family. HubSpot recently acquired the integration platform-as-a-service company, which allows you to sync data bidirectionally across hundreds of apps.

 

Here are a few things to ask Nancy about:

  • How she thinks about growing the group of integrations available in the App Marketplace
  • What it means for you that HubSpot has acquired PieSync
  • The future of our APIs and the HubSpot developer experience

 

*Please note*: If you’re experiencing a specific issue with one of your integrations, our Support team or the support teams of our integration partners continue to be your best resource on getting that resolved as quickly as possible (rather than this discussion thread).

 

NOTE: This AMA is now closed. If you have a question about integration best practices, start a new post in the Power User Community!

 

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21 Replies 21
asmeal12
HubSpot Employee

@rtruncale@thesnappingdog, @Pagenoi@folked@Jmernst@Amy_Brierley@DanielaFonseca@DSV@cooperelias@Aaron-WC, this AMA event seemed like a good fit for you since you mentioned your company has integrations / you have work experience with APIs-integrations.

rtruncale
Top Contributor

This may not be the right location, but here goes.

 

With an integration between HubSpot and HelloSign, I set up my workflows to detect when a Contact signs a specific HelloSign agreement. We set these agreements up similar to a waiver concept since we may have up to 100-150 individuals signing this per month. The clients use the same link, but each one is blank for that user. When an agreement is signed and the contact has a deal in a stage titled "Approved/Need Agreement", my automations will move the deal to "Agreement Signed" and our onboarding team will review the information in the contract and then make an account for that specific individual. This process is very effective and efficient for us, however....

 

When a contact has multiple deals in the same stage "Approved/Need Agreement", and one of 3 agreements is signed, the automations will not know which agreement was signed for which deal and all 3 deals will move to "Agreement Signed". 

 

I used to use Eloqua and Salesforce in my previous position and we were able to move a contact and opportunity through the entire sales funnel by identifying the unique ID. This was a much more complex buildout, but I need some suggestions for HubSpot/HelloSign. 

 

I've thought about a way to plant the Deal ID in the HelloSign agreement and then HubSpot could detect the Deal ID from the HelloSign agreement, but basic workflows and the way HubSpot is designed would not really work this way. 

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nriley
HubSpot Product Team

Hi @rtruncale ,

Great question!  Our goal with integrations (like HelloSign) is to make things as seamless and easy for users as possible.  Sounds like you're running into some snags.  As this is focused around workflows, I'm going to phone-a-friend and tag in @jtremblay our product leader for Automation.

 

best,

Nancy

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jtremblay
HubSpot Product Team

Thank you, @nriley

 

Hi @rtruncale ,

Thank you for asking this question. This is the sort of use-case we would like to improve and make much more intuitive.

 

However, to work around this today, you should be able to do this with a deal workflow that enrolls when an associated contact has a “HelloSign agreement ID” that matches the deal’s agreement ID.

 

Jesse

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Aaron-WC
Contributor

Hi Nancy,

 

My favorites

First I want to mention that I love the value you bring to the Hubspot platform. I really enjoy how easy it is to integrate with Hubspot through integration tools, and PieSync. I also really enjoy how simple your API is to understand. We commonly use node functions to interract with the API in situations where we need to use a more complex workflow with lots of logic.

 

My questions for you

I have a couple

 

  1. Who do you look to as great example of where you would like to head with the Hubspot integration options? I think of you as a leader in this area, but I don't see as much as you do.
  2. What's something you've done in your career that turned out amazing, but people were unsure of it when you started the project?
  3. What are your recommendations for communicating integrations to your team members? As an admin, we have integrations running between softwares, some are workflows while others sync data. Visually communicating these, and documenting them is very time consuming. I'm wondering if you have any good tricks and tips.
  4. What's your preferred way of keeping a backup of your data in the event an integration causes unintended effects? This hasn't happened yet, but as integrations grow quicker there is also more potential for error. We currently use a data warehouse to back up all our softwares, is that something that you would reccomend?

 

Thanks for your input!

Aaron Rickard

nriley
HubSpot Product Team

Hi @Aaron-WC ,

Wow, these are great questions - thanks for the opportunity to share some thoughts.  I'll start with the first:  Who do you look to as great example of where you would like to head with the Hubspot integration options? I think of you as a leader in this area, but I don't see as much as you do.

 

These are truly interesting times for platforms and ecosystems - and there are some great models out there.  I don't know that there's one integration solution that truly solves all problems for all users, but some that we look to for inspiration:

 

Zapier - they've been a great partner for HubSpot and remain one of our most popular integrations.  They have a very usable and intuitive approach to trigger-and-action workflows, and their breadth of coverage is hard to beat.  

 

Shopify - they have created an enormous amount of value for entrepreneurs who develop apps on their platform.  I look forward to a future of showcasing many success stories and earnings for our HubSpot ecosystem partners akin to the growth stories at https://developers.shopify.com/.

 

Workato - also a great partner, and a tool that we use at HubSpot.  Strong in security and governance, customizable and extensible, and great for automating internal business processes (that may cut across departments and SaaS apps).

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nriley
HubSpot Product Team

Moving to @Aaron-WC second question:  What's something you've done in your career that turned out amazing, but people were unsure of it when you started the project?

 

As we've expanded our world of App Partners and integrations, there has at times been internal pushback when integrating to apps that are directly competitive to features offered by HubSpot's own suite.  This sense of "coopetition" where we're both competing and cooperating with other vendors in our space can be difficult to navigate. 

 

But we're truly committed to an open platform, and to living up to our own Customer Code by solving for our users' needs first.  Allowing customers to integrate the tech stack of their choice, helping them to grow better, is paramount.  And we've shown that staying true to that provides so much value to our customers that it expands our business opportunity and deepens our relationships with both customers and partners.

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nriley
HubSpot Product Team

OK third question from @Aaron-WC : What are your recommendations for communicating integrations to your team members? As an admin, we have integrations running between softwares, some are workflows while others sync data. Visually communicating these, and documenting them is very time consuming. I'm wondering if you have any good tricks and tips.

 

This gets to the heart of a discussion we've been having within my team - how can we make integrations more visible and intuitive to users?  This includes integrations that are installed, and those in our Marketplace that might be useful but not yet discovered. 

 

Today, users can navigate to the Connected Apps page under Settings -> Integrations (https://app.hubspot.com/integrations-settings/[insert hubID]/installed) to see which integrations are currently authorized.  Some of these may have their own settings pages where the users can drill in to see what's configured (for example, HubSpot's Eventbrite and GoToWebinar integrations).  Most don't.  We would love to hear any ideas you may have to improve that experience - and we're working on some great ideas ourselves.

 

Do you produce internal documentation for your HubSpot users?  Is that where information like this is currently captured?  If you have a wiki or other internal go-to source for information, that can be a great place to store these types of details - as things are likely to continue to change over time.  

 

nriley
HubSpot Product Team

Circling back to hit the last question from @Aaron-WC :  What's your preferred way of keeping a backup of your data in the event an integration causes unintended effects? This hasn't happened yet, but as integrations grow quicker there is also more potential for error. We currently use a data warehouse to back up all our softwares, is that something that you would reccomend?

 

This is not my area of deep expertise.  Data warehouses are a fantastic tool, but of course you need to back them up as well.  We also have a couple of App Partners that specialize in data backup specifically for HubSpot.

 

Another thought, aside from back up up the data.  When exploring the potential impact of installing specific integrations (especially when building custom integrations), some of our customers use developer portals and test accounts.

 

Hope this helps!  

Nancy

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pzarcone
Member

Hi Nancy, thank you for coming in to answer our questions today.

 

Our team is using Zapier for any apps that we don't have integrated with HubSpot. I know HubSpot recently acquired PieSync, can you speak to the differences between Zapier and PieSync and what the advantages of each one are?

 

Thanks!

Pete Zarcone

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nriley
HubSpot Product Team

Hi @pzarcone ,

Thanks for your question!  HubSpot's customers are big users of both PieSync and Zapier, and in many cases they use them side by side.  The biggest difference is that PieSync provides a continuous bi-directional sync between objects (contacts and companies), while Zapier is focused on trigger-and-action workflows that react to a specific update and take further steps.   So depending on your goals, you may choose one or both of these tools to meet your needs.

 

Our PieSync team has published this great guide that goes into further detail:  https://help.piesync.com/faq/what-s-the-difference-between-piesync-and-zapier

 

If you have further questions after checking out the guide, feel free to post a reply and we'll keep digging in.

 

best,

Nancy

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Lenz_Sarah
Member

Hi Nancy,

Thank you for being with us today - especially during this time in the world, when everything is so up-in-the-air. Hope you are doing well.

My questions are about how Piesync and Hubspot fit together. Can you talk about what's on the Piesync roadmap? Do the Piesync and Hubspot teams work together now, and how do they decide on what to build? When will Hubspot build an integration and when will Piesync build one?

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nriley
HubSpot Product Team

Hi @Lenz_Sarah ,

Thanks for your question!  I am so excited to have the PieSync team as part of our HubSpot family, and they are now part of my product group so we're working very closely together.  In fact, I should be working from Ghent right now (former PieSync office, now HubSpot Ghent) having planned to collocate with them for a few months, but had to return to the US due to the pandemic.  I intend to be back there as soon as I can.

 

That aside, my team and I are learning a ton from how PieSync has approached the very difficult problem of bi-directional data sync, and we're getting them ramped up on our product infrastructure and processes.  This is definitely a case of better together.  

 

The PieSync team continues to release a new connector each week, and we are now able to use HubSpot customer feedback and requests to inform those priorities.  In the medium term, our largest priority is to expand the scope of the PieSync platform - syncing data beyond Contacts and Companies. 

 

Also in the medium term, we are working to make things more seamless - so it's not a question of whether HubSpot builds or PieSync builds, but that the bidirectional sync may be a part of a HubSpot-built integration, but there are other features like Timeline events, CRM Extensions (cards), workflow actions, etc. that are built on top of that sync.  For now, you may see some overlap (where there's a PieSync connector and a HubSpot or externally built integration) that can be used side by side.

 

Feel free to follow up with further questions!

 

best,

Nancy

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kbeckstedt
Member

 

Hi Nancy,

 

What does it mean for Hubspot customers now that you've acquired PieSync? And how do you envision Hubspot customers with more advanced workflows and triggers using a tool like this one and how does it complement existing processes?

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you've seen or reasons why customers have not been successful in implementing this tool?

 

We use TIBCO Scribe Online to integrate Hubspot with our CRM systems and we find Zapier is helpful when it comes to connecting data from all of our marketing tools but we also use it as an extension of Hubspot workflows to help with more advanced processing and automation.

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Kelly

 

 

0 Upvotes
nriley
HubSpot Product Team

Hi @kbeckstedt - thanks for the question!  PieSync is a continuous, bidirectional sync of Contacts and Companies (and we'll look to expand that over time).  Keeping data in sync across systems can be a key component to complex workflows and triggers - enabling the workflows to have the latest and greatest info for enrollment, personalization, etc.

 

We have definitely seen that a tool like Zapier coupled with a sync like PieSync can be really powerful.  Check out some of the ideas captured here by the PieSync team:  https://help.piesync.com/faq/what-s-the-difference-between-piesync-and-zapier

 

Challenges can arise when customers need to sync data beyond Contacts and Companies (as noted, we're working on that and can sometimes create workaronds in the meantime using automation).  Syncing across multiple systems and having many workflows active, such that records and properties are being updated in a variety of ways, can also create some chaos and confusion.  Having clear ownership within your organization and carefully constructing sync rules and workflows that update records/properties can be crucial.  HubSpot has made strides to help with this (for example, folders for Workflows and organizing users into teams) and will continue to evolve functionality like more granular permissions.

 

As we continue to integrate PieSync into HubSpot, our teams are learning a ton from each other.  Bidirectional sync is complex and also critical to businesses.  Look forward to continued innovation in this space, and deeper connection to the HubSpot UI and other related features.

 

best,

Nancy

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jmgrand
Contributor

Thanks for doing this, Nancy!

 

We have a pretty complex tech stack, and it seems we're always running into integration issues.

 

1) Any thought or advice for doing if/then syncing on a field-by-field basis? For instance, we use Lead Source/Lead Source Detail as the initial entry point for capturing someone's data and don't want that overridden (from any system). On a form-by-form basis, we can do this using progressive profiling, but run into issues when other systems are in the mix. Thoughts?

 

2)  Campaign member status fields in Salesforce - we'd like to be able to either trigger a HubSpot workflow or populate a list when a member status is either added or changed. Any reason this is not something we can map to? For instance, somebody that's marked as attended an event would be populated in a different list than someone who's just registered (or just invited).

 

Thanks again!

 

0 Upvotes
nriley
HubSpot Product Team

Hi @jmgrand - thanks for your questions!  I'm going to tag in a couple of other folks from our Product team to help out here.

 

For question 1, are you looking to "lock" certain fields on Contact records so they can't be overwritten?  Or am I misunderstanding?  Tagging in @Dylan as the Product lead on field-level permissioning and CRM objects.

 

For question 2, @brandy_asplundh owns all things Salesforce Sync and can help clarify.

 

thanks!

Nancy

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jmgrand
Contributor

@nriley @Dylan 

Thanks for getting back to me so quckly! 

 

For Q1: the answer is "mostly." Smiley Happy 

 

In the majority of cases, HubSpot populates the Lead Source/Lead Source Detail from form fills on our website upon contact creation, syncing it to Salesforce. After that point, we want to lock that field from being overwritten (AtEvent, for instance, is particularly troublesome in this regard, even though we're pushing the data to a HubSpot form).  On the Salesforce side, the reps might be adding a Lead, and will need to populate the Lead Source if there is none from within Salesforce.  Hope that makes sense.

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Dylan
HubSpot Product Team

Hey @jmgrand  - thanks for the detail. To clarify, you want to lock the field from being overwritten in an automated way, not by a user? 

We're currently working on a solution to prevent fields from being edited by certain users, however that does not include the abilitty to restrict 3rd parties or APIs from editing it. This is a potential "v2" of our first solution, I'll cicrcle back if we do end up developing something closer to that in the near future.

rtruncale
Top Contributor

Really hope this becomes a thing. I want some fields to be visible, but not editable for specific users and not team wide. In addition, it would be AMAZING to hide fields from specific users. 

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brandy_asplundh
HubSpot Product Team

Thanks @nriley 

Hi @jmgrand - We have heard this from other customers as well. Currently, we only sync contacts associated campaign to the contact record. We don't sync any additional campaign fields in HubSpot. The reason why we don't sync more campaign information is because we do not have a campaign object that would be able to store this data right now. If you wanted to sync the status for each campaign you could use a roll-up field for the campaign status that shows on the lead/ contact in Salesforce. Then you could map the roll-up field from the lead/ contact to contacts in HubSpot. The only problem here is then you could end up having a lot of contact properties storing campaign status, for example; Campaign 1 status, campaign 2 status, campaign 3 status, etc.  

This is something we are thinking about for the future and are currently working with our campaign team to see if there is a better way to store this data in HubSpot. 

 

Best, 

 

Brandy 

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