In this new series, we dig deeper into the stories of our expert contributors. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Jen Bergren has been breaking down HubSpot releases for us since May 2022. As head of operations at a HubSpot RevOps and WebOps agency and a teacher at the HubSpot Academy, she’s the ideal person to explain HubSpot innovations in a language everyone can understand.
We spoke to her about her martech journey.
Q: Your starting point was some distance from marketing technology, correct?
A: Yes, my first career was graphic design. It was print graphic design — like a daily newspaper, a weekly magazine, a catalog. It was really fast-paced, high-value work, so a lot of tight deadlines, a lot of content management, use of templates, approval processes. Looking back on it, that’s a lot of ops for someone with an arts degree, but I really thrive in those areas. Getting things done, on time and on budget.
Q: Why the move into photography?
A: While working in those design jobs, I worked with photographers and that got me interested in photography, so my second career was starting a photography business. I really loved learning about business and marketing, because that was a whole new world for me, coming from an arts background. After a few years, I was thinking about my next career move and thought that going back to school for an MBA would be a good choice for me personally, just to help me move faster in the next steps of my career. Also, I really love learning.
Q: An MBA with a specialization in marketing.
A: Yes. I really liked marketing, especially content creation. After grad school, I started working at an agency which was then called Chief Martech Officer and is now called Remotish. My job was building the operational foundation of the business. I had client-facing roles to start with, so helping clients with their marketing operations and marketing tech. Eventually, we pivoted into RevOps. It was what we were already doing, but we learned there was a word for it — because we were helping marketing teams, sales teams, service teams, all across the customer journey.
Q: Looking back, does this transition from art to marketing and business feel organic?
A: It felt organic because I was still creating graphics for websites, doing things with photos for blog posts, for example. It was a pretty natural shift.
Q: How would you describe RevOps?
A: It’s a team that ties all the revenue-facing teams together. We made the move to RevOps in about 2020 and I really dug into the research for that. I couldn’t find much good research online in 2020 — conflicting information everywhere — so I started interviewing people and I decided to turn that research into a book which I am really trying to finish this year!
A lot of the information about RevOps was coming from tool companies — we’re going to make it all about tools — and I was, like, no, it’s about people and processes, then maybe tools to help those things.
Q: How did HubSpot come into your life?
A: I had an internship at another agency while I was in grad school. One of their clients, a PR company that also did some marketing, used HubSpot for blogs and social media, so I started learning HubSpot, getting into HubSpot Academy and going to local HubSpot user groups. That’s how I met my future boss and ended up at a HubSpot agency.
Dig deeper: HubSpot pairs community with a connected platform
Q: Do you work with other solutions at Remotish or just HubSpot?
A: That’s all we do. All HubSpot, all the time. For competing solutions, I set up a referral partner.
Q: Is there an alternative universe where you became a Marketo champion or a Pardot person?
A: I suppose if my first introduction into a CRM or marketing automation platform had been Marketo or Pardot I would have gotten involved in that world and those groups…yes, it’s possible.
Q: You’re not a HubSpot employee, so what’s your connection with the HubSpot Academy?
A: It’s actually a volunteer opportunity. I co-created and co-teach the HubSpot Academy boot camp, a six-week course — we’re in the middle of one right now. The boot camps are set up to have two instructors, so that divides up the work.
Q: Are you entirely self-employed?
A: I do have a part-time job grading graduate marketing papers at Western Governors University.
Q: What trends are you watching in the world of marketing automation and CRM.
A: Well, I’m really deep in the HubSpot world, so this might be a HubSpot thing, but consolidating more things into one platform instead of having 10,000 point solutions. Also, downsizing and optimizing what you have instead of buying a bunch of new things.
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