What happened to Prospects?

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Regular Contributor | Platinum Partner

Why does HubSpot no longer track pages visited on a company level in the Prospects tools? That was one of the most valuable parts of the Sales platform, and without that tool I am less likely to recommend Sales to one of our clients. I will send them to Leadlander instead - as they are still offering this information.

 

HubSpot could easily work around the GDPR but it appears that they are more interested in internal ease then building a product that continues to fulfill the needs of customers. This is the second time in two years (technically the third, if you count the Events beta that never worked right) that HubSpot has stripped down the Prospects tool. Why is HubSpot so against smart prospecting? Are they trying to push sales back into the cold-calling dark ages for new customer prospecting?

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Community Manager

Hi all, 

 

Thank you both for your feedback and your patience as I followed up on this with the Product Team. 

 

Decisions like this aren't easy, so I wanted to provide some additional context on what went into the change.

 

First, a quick summary: last week, the recent activities feature, which shows pages viewed by anonymous visitors in the Prospects tool, was removed. Prospects still shows aggregated analytics about companies, and you can still view the individual pages that your known contacts have viewed from the contact record.


A lot of factors go into a decision like this, but here are a few that were high on the list:

- User feedback. Over time, the feedback on this feature has been mixed at best. While that doesn't take away from the fact that some users find it useful, it gives you some context --- when it comes to prioritizing features, we look holistically across our users, and build the features that will add the most value to the largest set of our customers.

- Usage data. In addition to anecdotal feedback, usage was very low. Less than 6% of all prospects users viewed that section of the sidebar every month --- and, in full transparency, that represents 6% of the fraction of all HubSpot users who use Prospects at all. Again, that doesn't take away from the fact that some find it valuable, but it gives you some insight into the data we take into account when making a decision like this.

- Recent regulations. The GDPR was enforced in the EU starting last week. Under the GDPR, storing IP addresses requires consent. The removed feature didn't play nicely with that requirement.

When taking all these data points into account, it comes down to this: where can we allocate our resources, to best solve for our customers? The work required to enable the feature to support GDPR compliance as well as the ability collect IP addresses without consent would have been an outsized engineering effort compared the value for the entire customer base.

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Top Advisor

HubSpot announced the sunsetting of Prospects back in February, and was not GDPR-related. There are probably a few Ideas posts asking to bring it back, but the decision is independent of what you'd asked about, and it's probably unlikely they'll bring the tool back. 


Brad Mampe, BevSpot
I'm probably wrong. I may not be right about that.
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Regular Contributor | Platinum Partner

I think you're confusing Keywords and Prospects. It was the Keywords tool in the Marketing portal that they announced they were sunsetting (and is referenced in your link). The Prospects tool in the Sales portal is what I'm referring to. I looked through my announcements and hadn't seen any advance communication.

 

Also, when you go to where you would normally have looked in the Sales portal for this information you get a link to the GDPR page from HubSpot as a reason to why they're discontinuing. But GDPR only applies to the EU, so they could just exclude those IP's. In addition, they can keep this information only at the company level for EU visitors (it was already only at the company level) and it would still be GDPR compliant.

 

But yet they're still tracking that information and letting you see what companies are on your site - just not what pages they are looking at. That's a weird line to draw and takes great value away from that tool.

Top Advisor

You're absolutely right, and I completely misread. My apologies, and I don't have an answer to your question. 


Brad Mampe, BevSpot
I'm probably wrong. I may not be right about that.
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Regular Contributor

I am blown away by this as well and have not received an answer from HubSpot on this.  To me, that is a huge value add for my sales team and they are very frustrated about not being able to find this tool since the end of last week.  It would be very unfair to just abruptly do away with this feature as we pay a lot of money for HubSpot.

New Contributor

This is another tin eared move from Hubspot.  I may not add compneies to my list of prospects directly from this list, but it is enournously useful to me to see the patterns of heavy visitors from a given domain.  The justification is classic product manager doublespeak.  Ugh.

Regular Contributor

@bradmin, you mentioned there were already posts in the ideas forum for HubSpot to bring this feature back?  I can't find one in ideas.  I'll make it, just don't want to miss one that already has votes.  

In full agreement with other users that this needs to be brought back.  

Top Advisor

Apologies, @LizO, I can't find anything either, and I'm not sure what I was referring to. If you're not seeing a match on the ideas board, please don't let me stop you from creating one. 


Brad Mampe, BevSpot
I'm probably wrong. I may not be right about that.
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Regular Contributor

I posted this as an idea on the ideas forum.  Here is the link so please upvote!

 

I know HubSpot values the ideas there and their development team prioritizes ideas with lots of votes. I'm thinking of this a petition to reconsider.  

 

My company decided to use HubSpot back in 2010, we patiently waited for them to grow and develop new features. I'm shocked to see a useful feature removed. Like some others mentioned, my company is not in a position to shell out another $200-$350/month for what they provided us only months back.  Plus, we don't need another web based portal to log into.  If HubSpot is looking to be a "Sales Hub" for our team this is not helping.    

Regular Contributor | Platinum Partner

@roisinkirby or anyone else on the HubSpot team - any thoughts to add?

 

I was hoping that we could at least get a response.

Occasional Contributor
 
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New Contributor

I agree on all points.

 

1. This is a huge loss in product functionality.

2. This isn't a GDRP that can't be solved.

 

Community Manager

Hi all, 

 

Thank you both for your feedback and your patience as I followed up on this with the Product Team. 

 

Decisions like this aren't easy, so I wanted to provide some additional context on what went into the change.

 

First, a quick summary: last week, the recent activities feature, which shows pages viewed by anonymous visitors in the Prospects tool, was removed. Prospects still shows aggregated analytics about companies, and you can still view the individual pages that your known contacts have viewed from the contact record.


A lot of factors go into a decision like this, but here are a few that were high on the list:

- User feedback. Over time, the feedback on this feature has been mixed at best. While that doesn't take away from the fact that some users find it useful, it gives you some context --- when it comes to prioritizing features, we look holistically across our users, and build the features that will add the most value to the largest set of our customers.

- Usage data. In addition to anecdotal feedback, usage was very low. Less than 6% of all prospects users viewed that section of the sidebar every month --- and, in full transparency, that represents 6% of the fraction of all HubSpot users who use Prospects at all. Again, that doesn't take away from the fact that some find it valuable, but it gives you some insight into the data we take into account when making a decision like this.

- Recent regulations. The GDPR was enforced in the EU starting last week. Under the GDPR, storing IP addresses requires consent. The removed feature didn't play nicely with that requirement.

When taking all these data points into account, it comes down to this: where can we allocate our resources, to best solve for our customers? The work required to enable the feature to support GDPR compliance as well as the ability collect IP addresses without consent would have been an outsized engineering effort compared the value for the entire customer base.

Occasional Contributor

I've read @roisinkirby's reply and just got off the phone with our account rep who reiterated the same message. While I understand how and why the decision might've been made, here's another bit of information: being able to see what companies hit our paid ad landing pages but didn't convert was one of the selling points for HubSpot as a whole, let alone sold us on the Sales portion. Now you've taken away our ability to see which page the company viewed, making it much harder for our sales team to reach out to the companies. Yes, it was cold-calling. Yes, it was already difficult. Now you've made it even harder because they're going in blind. We're seriously considering downgrading to remove the Sales features.

Regular Contributor | Platinum Partner

We were sent the exact same copy and paste message that @roisinkirby posted in the channel. Apparently, HubSpot is getting enough complaints to work up a formal response for all employees to use.

 

I would love to see how HubSpot defines users. Is it anyone with a HubSpot Sales account? If so, that explains the low percentage. The people who do use that tool use it often and act as a driving force for the rest of the sales team. Also, it's really funny that they mention the complaints about the platform because they have been stripping away functionality over the last two years.

 

Earlier this year, HubSpot stripped away other significant enterprise functionality out of the Design editor - claiming low usage. But the only people who needed to use that feature was small because it was only HubSpot designers. So of course usage was low because only 1 person out of 30 (in our company) used the feature. But it was a function that we used for ourselves and every client's website. HubSpot can claim low usage but I think those numbers can be misconstrued.

 

Regardless of the validity of usage numbers, the bigger issue here is communication. HubSpot was touting their ticketing platform since before Inbound of last year. Any new updates get heralded with trumpet sounds. However, when they remove functionality they don't communicate and basically try to get rid of it in the middle of the night hoping no one will care. Communication for significant functional changes has to be improved by HubSpot - that's the "Inbound" methodology all of their branding materials tout. Why can't they follow their own guidelines and communicate with customers?

Occasional Contributor

It just doesn't stack up,

 

Points 1 and 2 touting low usage on a tool they don't seem to maintain and that uses data they collect anyways is very weird... Surely the cost of support/leaving it was next to null? 

Point 3 about GDPR really isn't clear, and if used as an excuse needs to be elaborated more thoroughly, because using that simple explanation and logic they should just give up providing any analytics...

 

Beginning to feel jaded about a tool we haven't even finished setting up!

 

C.

Regular Contributor

Yeah, we're pretty confused by that as well.  It's almost as if they didn't want to put any effort into GDPR support so they just put some blanket features in to cover everything, even though the result is eliminating features people used (I don't buy that only a small percentage of people used it, especially since at some companies one person is responsible for analyzing the data and/or distributing "leads" but it benefits multiple people).

 

We're starting to look at other tools that provide more detailed data on web visits since it was a key reason we renewed with HubSpot.  Not sure what this will mean for our use of HubSpot long term.

Occasional Contributor

@DebbieF can you share what tools you're looking into for web analytics? Thanks.

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Regular Contributor

@MissyBeynon  I have demos setup this week with LeadLander, Lead Forensics and Netfactor (their VisitorTrack product).  One of those companies in particular was very surprised (and I think happy) to hear that HubSpot doesn't support this any longer.  Said it doesn't make sense. 

 

Of course, until we fully evaluate we won't know if these will be a fit and/or affordable, but they appear to all still track page views, which is great.

Occasional Contributor

@DebbieF thanks for sharing!

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Regular Contributor

Just as an update, we are now using NetFactor's VisitorTrack.  In addition to page views, they provide additional details about companies that visit your site, such as where they are located, how many times they've visited your site, etc. and they also have an option to search for possible contacts via their integration with Zoom.  They have a lot of flexibility with reporting, too, so for example you could run a report on all companies that have viewed a particular page on your website and when.  So far we are thrilled with the data we are receiving and our future with HubSpot remains to be seen.

Regular Contributor | Platinum Partner

Hi @DebbieF, what is the pricing for Netfactor's VisitorTrack tool? I can't seem to find it on their site.

Regular Contributor | Platinum Partner

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Regular Contributor

Our Corporate office uses Act-on and they have been pushing us to get on their account.  I have pushed back for about a year.  I have a call with Corp tomorrow to review it again.  We have too many websites - we are consolidating, but that takes time.  I have loved Hubspot, but I am very tired of the constant changes, and the are not always positive changes.    

Occasional Contributor

@dan_sitton I had to click on the trial button to get to a pricing page, but here it is: https://app.visitor-track.com/PricePlan (And I know their service works because someone called us about an hour later.)

Regular Contributor

To HubSpot:  I don't have the budget to add yet another tool.  I appreciate your response and input.  Thank you! 

Occasional Contributor

@DebbieF was wondering if you have Netfactor integrated with your hubspot. Also, does it show who visited each page on a daily basis like hubspot used to? Thanks!

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Regular Contributor

We do not have it integrated with HubSpot.  It does show us which pages are visited by companies on a daily basis, but not contacts since we don't have any "forms" tied into it.

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Regular Contributor

Maybe Hubspot should lower their price to accommodate this loss...and the fact that we have to FIND another solution.  Still very aggravated by this removal and their 'don't care' attitude.