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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Sidekick by HubSpot: An Inside Look

    Posted by Jessica Bowers Hopson

    HubSpot's New Tool Makes Your CRM a Super Hero

    Introducing Sidekick from HubSpotAt its annual user conference last week, INBOUND 2014, HubSpot announced the release of several new tools to make your job as inbound marketers easier and more streamlined. In addition to a sales tool billed as HubSpot CRM, the company has released several new marketing tools.

    Today, we’ll take a look at one of those new marketing tools, known as Sidekick.

    You may be familiar with Signals, HubSpot’s previously-released website plugin that allowed you to track the online activities of your customers. With Signals, you were able to measure email opens and click through rates, along with the number of website revisits, and then combine this information directly into your CRM tool.

    Signals has been upgraded and enhanced and has been reborn as Sidekick.

    Sidekick: Your CRM’s Best Friend

    Released at INBOUND 2014 last week, Sidekick is a more robust tool that gives you insight into your customers’ activities and makes your email and CRM tools work for you. Because it lives in your browser and works continuously in the background, Sidekick updates information in real time.

    With Sidekick, you not only get access to the tools Signals provided, but you also will automatically see a popup window in Gmail to compose your emails and a sidebar on websites you visit that provides company data, email connections and company contacts that exist within your CRM tool.

    How to Access Sidekick

    If you are already a Signals customer, you don’t have to do anything to access Sidekick. The features were automatically turned on after last week’s product announcement. All you have to do is turn on the extension in Google Chrome.

    Sidekick from HubSpot Enhances Your Emails

    To turn on Sidekick:

    • Visit www.getsidekick.com
    • Click the blue “Add to Chrome” button
    • Then click “Add” in the popup box that follows
    • Create a username and password
    • Set your preferred email service provider
    • Send a test email

    Voila! Google Chrome is now your marketing sidekick.

    Once you have installed the extension, Sidekick allows you to automatically log your emails into your CRM tool. You can see all of the data of the company you are addressing in the sidebar, including the company contact and email connections. You can measure the email opens and click through rates, so you know if and when your email was read.

    So, how does Sidekick work?

    View Detailed Profiles

    Sidekick is designed to reduce the time to spend clicking back and forth from your CRM tool to your email platform. By populating a sidebar window with all of the details about the person you are emailing, Sidekick gives you all the relevant information you need to send a well-informed email. The idea is to keep you from spending valuable time refreshing your memory on the specifics of the company or the details of the last conversation you may have had. It’s all right there, easily accessible for you while you craft your next email message.

    See contact info in a sidebar with Sidekick

    Thanks, Alec from HubSpot for serving as my example!

    Track Email Statistics

    How many times do you send an email and then wait for days, hoping to receive a reply. Some email programs allow you to request read receipts, but that’s not always an option with other email service providers. Sidekick powers your Gmail, Apple Mail or Outlook to provide more than read receipts. You can receive real-time notifications of when your email was opened, which links within you email were clicked and even which device was used to open the email. You can toggle this feature on or off as you compose your email, in case you don’t want to track every single email you send.

    Receive a notification when someone opens your email

    No, I didn't actually email POTUS. Sadly, this is just a clever example from HubSpot!

    Send Emails on Your Schedule

    Do you ever wish you could compose an email but send it at a later date? Maybe you want to type minutes from a meeting while everything is still fresh but not distribute them until several days from now. Sure, you can draft an email and save it for later. But what if you forget to go back in and press send? With Sidekick, you can create an email on your time and schedule to send at a later date or adjust for the time zone you are sending to. By emailing on your schedule, Sidekick helps you become more productive and efficient during your workday. 

    Schedule emails in Sidekick

    Though not yet enabled, this feature is scheduled for production soon.

    Stream Your Statistics

    All of your data and metrics are housed on the Sidekick Stream, which provides you with a News Feed-esque view of email opens and clicks. From the stream, you can also track your contacts directly to your Salesforce or HubSpot CRM accounts. All of your data is housed in one place, minimizing the number of different windows you must toggle between and saving you time throughout your workday.

    Initial User Feedback

    After HubSpot rolled out Sidekick at INBOUND 2014, I began testing it here at IMA. As mentioned, the product is free for those already using HubSpot.

    So, I created my account and started testing the features. Like any new technology introduced to the market, there are things that work great right out of the gate and things that need a few updates post-launch.

    Upsides to Sidekick:

    • Initially, the tool seems like it will be helpful in making emailing more streamlined and efficient if for no other reason than I won’t have to keep searching through “Sent Mail” to find email communications or perform a separate search to connect with colleagues on Twitter.

    • The built-in reporting features will offer clear insight into the success of emails sent outside of any email marketing campaigns or programs (like those you send to coworkers or board members. You know, those emails that everyone swears they read?)

    • Signing up and getting started is easy! Registration took about 1 minute. 

    Downsides to Sidekick:

    • I am most excited about the scheduling feature, because I often want to send emails at a later time. Unfortunately, this feature has not been rolled out yet, so we have to keep waiting. I think the wait will be worth it, though!

    • Once connected to Gmail, Sidekick is available on all of your Gmail accounts. We use Gmail as the platform for our office mail here at IMA, but I also have a personal Gmail account. Sidekick appears on both accounts, which means when my mom read an email I had sent her last night, it showed up in my Stream. While you can turn off email tracking when you compose an email, you have to remember to uncheck the box with every email you send.

    Because I am the content manager here at IMA, not a salesperson, this Gmail tracking feature is a little frustrating to me. I don’t necessarily want to combine my personal and professional email accounts. However, IMA’s CEO Bill was excited about the opportunity to see all of his contacts within Sidekick. For someone like Bill, having insight into his personal and professional relationships in one place is a great feature. All of his contacts’ information populates in our HubSpot CRM account, so he can immediately see the connections between his personal and professional contacts.

    What do you think about the new Sidekick tool? Are you planning to use it? Let us know in the comments below.

    Full disclosure: Inbound Marketing Agents is proud to be a HubSpot Platinum Partner. We are not being paid to endorse or discredit HubSpot or Sidekick. I am just a HubSpot user boldly providing my opinion on a new product!


    New HubSpot CRM Dashboard Information

    Topics: HubSpot