The Definitive Guide to using HubSpot Marketing Hub for PLG
Nov 15, 2023

The Definitive Guide to using HubSpot Marketing Hub for PLG


HubSpot is a cloud-based CRM offering various features to help businesses grow and scale. Some of the key benefits of using HubSpot for a PLG startup include:

  • Best-of-suite is a package of software or modules tailored to run multiple functions relevant to your business. Depending on the plan, Hubspot provides lead management, marketing automation, sales automation, account-based marketing, support ticketing, customer success, CMS, survey tools, and analytics.
  • All popular reverse-ETL providers and workflow automation providers support integration with Hubspot. This means that regardless of which reverse-ETL provider you choose, you can be confident that it will be able to integrate with Hubspot. So you can be sure you can sync your data between Hubspot and your DWH.
  • Integration with other tools: HubSpot can integrate with many other tools, including enrichment platforms and product analytics tools. This can help you create a more seamless customer experience and gain deeper insights into your customers' behavior.
  • HubSpot's integration with Snowflake allows you to access all your HubSpot data in Snowflake in real time.

In PLG the primary distinctions of a conservative B2B model are the number of users and the proportion of free customers. Every B2B company uses CRM can help you track and manage interactions with your customers and gain insights into their behavior and preferences.

However, for PLG SaaS, the realms of CRM, product analytics, and CDP are converging.

This blog post is divided into two sections

  1. How to use HubSpot effectively for PLG?
  2. How can we make it better?

Lets get started

Getting data into the HubSpot

There are four ways you can get the data into the HubSpot:

  1. First-class integrations can be found on the Hubspot marketplace, but they may need to be fully customizable or tailored to abovementioned use cases.
  2. Workflow automation tools such as Zapier or are simple to set up but need the engineering approaches necessary for effectively debugging sample data. Additionally, regular updates may prove costly for the end user.
  3. Reverse ETL synchronizes data from a data warehouse to a CRM. This process is facilitated by tools such as Census and Hightouch, which offer flexibility in the integration process. However, the setup of these tools can be challenging and costly.
  4. Consider opting for in-house integrations only if the previous three approaches do not meet your requirements. This approach demands additional internal resources but can be the most cost-effective solution in the long run.

Storing the event is a bit more complicated.

  1. First, major product analytics tools allow you to stream selected events to HubSpot.
  2. Secondly, you can leverage tools like PLG CRMs here. In fact, that's their core value proposition – aggregating data from different sources.

Don’t overwhelm the the CRM with the behavioral events here. The main job of a Revenue Operations team is to provide useful data to the selling team in order to keep the selling process going.

We recommend starting with the second option, here’s the nice template to start in Make.

Note: We haven’t yet found the tool to match the Stripe payment status with custom deals stages in HubSpot (more on this later). However, after many years a new Stripe integration beta product that has been launched.


There are two approaches when syncing the contact entity: syncing all application users or only qualified accounts. Both approaches are acceptable, depending on the internal operational setup.

  1. Having all necessary data in the CRM, regardless of whether the customer is free or on self-service, makes sense if you want to track down the registration and all other lifecycle marketing activities. This approach ensures that all prospects are accounted for and that the sales team is equipped with the information they need to close deals effectively. In this setup, you have to perform the product qualification with Hubspot.
  2. The second approach can help keep the CRM less cluttered and easier to navigate. Your GTM team won't be distracted by irrelevant leads that have nothing to do with deal closure. However, using an external system to qualify leads is necessary. You can also rely on A PLG CRM (Product-Led Growth Customer Relationship Management) like Humanic. [ Contacts in HubSpot map to contacts in Humanic ] Note: A PLG CRM is purpose built  on the customer's product journey rather than the sales journey. However, these platforms can't fulfill the revenue ops stack and are not meant to replace the primary CRM

For PLG products, it’s vital to enrich the static product data with product behavior, ICP (ideal customer profile) data (company size, segment, etc.), and marketing data.

Hubspot's superpower is its ability to create company entities based on contact input. Hubspot creates the Company entity for every contact with a non-public email account (such as Gmail, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex, MSN, etc.). Another advantage of using Hubspot is that it comes equipped with an enrichment engine, which allows you to create the entity using the domain, and Hubspot will take care of the rest. You can use Clearbit or Apollo to automate your workflow and increase efficiency. The minimal necessary fields include Company Name, website, and country.

Lists in HubSpot

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Within HubSpot there are two types of list:

  • Active List (Users are added and removed when they meet and do not remove a set criteria respectively)

          Limits: 5 lists (Free), 50 lists (Starter), 1200 lists (Professional), and 2000 lists (Enterprise) Add-on: $200/month for 100 active lists

  • Static List (Users once added based on a certain criteria do not change)

          Limits: 25 lists (Free), 1000 lists (Starter), 1200 lists (Professional), and 2000 lists (Enterprise) Add-on: $200/month for 100 static lists

These lists can be created based on Contacts Database (mentioned above), Companies Database, and Deals Database.

The next step after you have created lists is to filter these lists.

List Filtering In HubSpot

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1. Contacts Filters:

  • Filter Item: Contact properties
  • Example: Filtering contacts who have a job title of "Marketing Manager."
  • How to Use: Select "Job Title" as the property and set the condition to "is equal to" and value to "Marketing Manager."

2. Companies Filters:

  • Filter Item: Company properties
  • Example: Filtering companies that are in the "Technology" industry.
  • How to Use: Select "Industry" as the property, set the condition to "is equal to," and value to "Technology."

3. Deals Filters:

  • Filter Item: Deal properties
  • Example: Filtering deals that are in the "Closed-Won" stage.
  • How to Use: Select "Deal Stage" as the property, set the condition to "is equal to," and value to "Closed-Won."

4. Associated Objects Filters:

  • Filter Item: Associated objects
  • Example: Filtering contacts that are associated with companies in New York.
  • How to Use: Select "Associated Company" as the object, then choose the "City" property, set the condition to "is equal to," and value to "New York."
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5. List Membership Filters:

  • Filter Item: List memberships
  • Example: Filtering contacts who are members of the "Newsletter Subscribers" list.
  • How to Use: Select "List Memberships" as the filter item, set the condition to "is a member of," and choose the "Newsletter Subscribers" list.

6. Marketing Interaction Filters:

  • Filter Item: Email engagement
  • Example: Filtering contacts who have opened any marketing email in the last 30 days.
  • How to Use: Select "Marketing Email" as the filter item, set the condition to "was opened," and set the date range to the last 30 days.
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7. Integration Filters: (Using our current Hunter integration as example)

  • Filter Item: Email Bounced
  • Example: Filtering contacts who have “bounced” in their Hunter: Email bounced properties .
  • How to Use: Select "Hunter: Email bounced properties" > "is equal to" > “bounced”.

Filter Groups in HubSpot

Filter groups in HubSpot allows users to segment their contacts, companies, or deals, more granularly using a combination of filters. Each filter group can contain multiple filters, and you can have multiple filter groups in a single list or view. Works similar to Humanic, following the AND/OR ruling.

List View In HubSpot

Lists dashboard has a flat view, with different column of records. No concept of hierarchy.

With the “Used In” column, you can view where a list has been used. But the challenge over here is that you can only view the current running assets to which that list is part of. No historical record is directly available.

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To configure

Merging behavioral event data within HubSpot

To define the meaning of a contract lifecycle stage, essential to define the trigger or signal (taking action on a particular page, requesting a demo, or starting a trial and taking specific product actions). Each condition likely touches product data, so the GTM team aligns with the data team to ensure the signals are present.

In such cases, the GTM team should focus on the Product-Qualified Accounts and try to nurture the person responsible for purchasing the product (read as Head of Department in the graph above). And with that definition, we can better define Product-Qualified Leads (PQLs) as individual users/workspaces within an ICP account that signal buying intent and authority. You can have a PQA with no identified PQLs but you’ll need to join the dots by leaning on exploratory sales exploration to find a buyer within the account. It’s a good practice to classify the accounts and leads based on which goal they qualify for, so you can have the Expansion PQA, Churned PQA, Enterprise PQA or Mid-market PQA clients.

Some possible combinations have been plotted, but you may only need to select a few. The triggers should support your plans and experiments, transitioning users to more advanced use cases over time — from team to enterprise.

  • New free plan user: This is the first stage of the customer journey. Users who sign up for the app are considered a new users.
  • Activated user: An activated user/workspace has completed the onboarding process and experienced the core value proposition for the first time. The user has performed the necessary actions to set up the core value proposition.
  • Passed aha-moment: The user/workspace has experienced the core value proposition for the first time.
  • Passed the habit moment: The habit metric measures how frequently a user engages with the app and how long they stay engaged. This metric determines whether a user has reached the habit moment. The user has established habits around the core value proposition.
  • User with active trial . The self-service customer has initiated the trial.
  • Self-service customer: A self-service customer has purchased the product on a self-service basis without room for the high-touch sales motion.
  • Product-qualified account: A product-qualified account indicated the workspace that has reached a certain level of engagement with the app and has demonstrated a need for the paid version of the product.
  • Product-qualified lead: A product-qualified account within an ICP account that signal buying intent and authority.
  • Churned customer: A churned user has stopped using the app and is no longer active.

These stages can be reflected at the Contact Lead Stage level along with sales-led lifecycle stages.

  • Sales-qualified lead
  • Marketing qualified lead
  • Nurture
  • Negotiations
  • Quote signed
  • Customer
However when creating sales and marketing communications, we still need to address the individual user. I


Since the product is sold via subscription, syncing CRM with Stripe is essential. HubSpot suggests analyzing and tracking the projected value of a deal amount over time with the revenue analytics report. However, the Deals Hubspot is designed with a sales-led approach in mind, while for the self-service business, you're likely dealing with a recurring payments.

There are two current approaches:

  1. Create a new Deal entity for every subscription lifecycle update. So for the new payment, you can create the deal with the stage "First Payment". You can create the "Updated" deals for every further recurrent one. Ultimately, you will see the following disadvantage of the approach: it doesn't allow you to navigate easily through the subscriber status.

2. Create the Deal entity for the subscription and update the deal properties based on the subscription lifecycle updates. This includes adjusting the deal stages, amount, the parameters such as team size and retention, etc. The downside is that it may be more challenging to determine the MRR for a specific month, as the closure date for each subscription update may need to be adjusted.

Note: You can add the additional entity Subscription in Hubspot and associate with Contact. Source


PQA is ultimately about timing and knowing when sales should reach out based on a combination of product signals, including

  • Usage volume
  • The breadth of feature usage
  • The velocity of usage
  • Sales intents (i.e. visiting ToS pages, asked sales-driven questions during the public demo)
  • Integrations
  • Firmo-graphics

Starting with a regression analysis of past monetization events is a common practice. Still, it requires a lot of iteration to reach a point of high confidence and repeatability, which can be time-consuming. I feel that at the beginning, you can rely on heuristics derived from customer research interviews.

HubSpot provides a convenient post to create the scorings for the leads, but it can be utilized to change the user life cycle based on the product behavior data we have piped into HubSpot. Check this article for the details.



Joseph Boston, VP Product, EatApp emphasized the significance of understanding user needs through "product-usage data" or "real-time funnel events" in today's competitive business landscape.

While tools like Mixpanel and Intercom are commonly used to create user cohorts and integrate them into CRMs, the resulting convoluted workflow with numerous outcomes doesn't make sense. A streamlined approach to visualization is necessary to gain actionable insights efficiently.

Instead of relying solely on analysts, Joseph stressed the importance of equipping product, sales, and customer success teams with the necessary tools to access and analyze data independently. Breaking down silos and fostering collaboration among teams not only improves communication but also expedites decision-making processes.

Joseph proposed a novel idea of granting sales teams direct access to product-usage data, enabling them to create personalized dashboards and sequences. By becoming "Sales Marketers," sales professionals can gain a deeper understanding of customer problems, collect feedback, and identify pain points. This empowers them to act as "spies" for the product team, collaborating closely and alleviating the burden on product managers to gather all customer feedback. Consequently, product managers can focus on strategic planning and development.

While Product-Led Growth (PLG) companies integrate product-usage data into CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce, they often face a challenge in lacking historical data about a user's transition from one stage to another. Bridging this data gap is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of user behavior and effective decision-making.