HubSpot, a leading CRM provider, recently announced the acquisition of Clearbit, a top-tier B2B data provider. This strategic move has the potential to redefine HubSpot customer's CRM experience by integrating rich, third-party company data into HubSpot's system. As Brian Halligan, HubSpot Chairman, aptly tweeted, "Imagine opening your CRM box and having it full already? Yup."

The Synergy of HubSpot and Clearbit

Clearbit specialises in collecting and updating rich data about millions of companies worldwide. Their expertise in demographic and technographic data and HubSpot's robust platform create a very interesting and synergistic relationship. Yamini Rangan, CEO of HubSpot, said of the acquisition, "HubSpot’s platform combined with Clearbit’s data creates a powerful, winning combination. It takes our customer platform to an unparalleled level." This integration ushers in a new era for HubSpot customers, offering them unprecedented insights into their B2B customers and prospects.

Clearbit: A Brief Overview

For readers unfamiliar with Clearbit, it's a comprehensive B2B database offering over 100 attributes on companies, including key decision-makers and technology usage. Their data, sourced from over 250 public and private sources, includes social profiles, company websites, and legal filings. This richness of data positions Clearbit as a valuable asset in HubSpot's arsenal.

Key features of Clearbit

Enrichment of Every Record: Offering global coverage in any language, Clearbit starts with the most precise data sources and incorporates additional sources for optimal accuracy and coverage, vital for leads, contacts, and accounts​​.

Instant Scoring and Routing: The tool enables real-time scoring and routing of leads, focusing efforts on high-fit leads. It boasts the best-in-class industry information, including detailed industry categorisation and understanding of corporate hierarchies and normalised roles and seniorities​​.

Revealing Buying Intent: Clearbit transforms anonymous website traffic into real buying intent signals with its IP intelligence data. This feature can trigger alerts for marketing and sales, identifying new leads with intent and assigning them to appropriate campaigns or sales reps​​.

Connecting with Decision Makers: Clearbit accesses up-to-date B2B contact data, allowing for intent conversion into a pipeline. It covers over 500 million decision-makers globally and provides real-time job change updates​​.

Integration with CRM and MAP: Clearbit is designed for seamless integration into entire stacks, including CRM and MAP, supported by lightning-fast APIs and numerous partners​​.

An enthusiastic but cautionary response

The announcement has elicited a varied response from the community and industry observers. On platforms like Y Combinator and social media, professionals from the tech and marketing sectors are voicing their opinions, ranging from optimistic anticipation to cautious scepticism.

A key theme in the discussions about HubSpot's acquisition of Clearbit is the company's commitment to a 'crafted, not cobbled' approach. This philosophy reflects HubSpot's preference for internally developing products rather than merely integrating acquired companies. A notable voice on HubSpot's partner forum anticipates this approach to continue, noting that HubSpot traditionally rebuilds acquired functionalities natively within its platform, as was done with PieSync, now part of the Ops Hub. This sentiment was echoed by Luke Summerfield, HubSpot's Director of Product, who reaffirmed, "Crafted, not cobbled is a core part of our product strategy/philosophy." This integration method starkly contrasts other industry practices, such as Salesforce's acquisition of Pardot or Adobe's acquisition of Marketo, where integrations often seemed more superficial and less integrated into the core platform.

While the acquisition has been well-received, some reservations have surfaced within the community, particularly on platforms like Y Combinator. Concerns are primarily centred around data privacy, especially considering the stringent regulations set forth by the European Union. How will HubSpot integrate Clearbit's extensive data resources while adhering to these regulatory standards?

Looking at HubSpot's previous acquisition of PieSync offers valuable insights into their likely approach. The PieSync integration was meticulously executed, reflecting HubSpot's careful and considerate methodology. Recent developments in Sales Hub, particularly in the prospecting tool, suggest that HubSpot is well-prepared to successfully incorporate Clearbit into its ecosystem. Regarding GDPR compliance, it's reasonable to anticipate that HubSpot will maintain its strong commitment to respecting and upholding data privacy laws, as it has demonstrated consistently in its product development strategies.

What's Next?

The acquisition of Clearbit by HubSpot is set to bring welcome enhancements to HubSpot’s CRM capabilities. Here’s a more grounded look at what this could mean:

Data Enrichment for Informed Decision Making: Integrating Clearbit's extensive global data could significantly improve the richness of customer information within HubSpot, way beyond the existing capabilities of HubSpot Insights. This means more accurate customer profiles and behavioural insights, aiding in better-informed business decisions.

Streamlining Lead Management: Clearbit’s real-time scoring and routing capabilities could refine HubSpot’s lead management. This practical enhancement aims to improve the allocation of sales resources, focusing on leads with a higher likelihood of conversion.

Identifying Buying Signals: The ability to identify buying intent from web interactions can significantly enhance targeting efforts in HubSpot.This functionality is about getting actionable insights that enable users to reach out to potential customers at the right moment, potentially improving conversion rates.

Access to a Wider B2B Network: The acquisition opens up access to Clearbit’s database of decision-makers. For HubSpot users, this means an expanded network for outreach, potentially unlocking new leads and opportunities within the B2B space.

Focus on Integration and User Experience: Adhering to HubSpot's philosophy of a cohesive user experience, the integration aims to be smooth and intuitive. This focus is on enhancing existing functionalities without over-complicating the user interface.

As a Clearbit user (albeit of their free tier), I am excited to see where this goes. We can already see HubSpot becoming more integrated into Clearbit, as seen by the new option to log in to Clearbit using your HubSpot account. There also seems to be a new credit-based tier  (with free users getting 500 credits per month), offering more functionality than just the free visitor report of old. Clearbit already has integrations with HubSpot, enabling data from Clearbit to be used within automation workflows, and we'll no doubt see even more functionality like this when the product is fully integrated.