You just came out of a meeting with your CMO and CEO. The marketing results for the company are consistently mediocre. You’ve managed to generate a certain amount of leads but you just can’t seem to improve the numbers.
Is it you? Is it your tactics? Is it the company’s strategy? Maybe, but it might also be your technology, and specifically, your HubSpot portal.
If you don’t have a clean instance of HubSpot, it's going to be hard to spot those areas that need improvement. You’re going to be wasting time picking through stuff that is out of date and some of your automation might not even be working correctly.
Here are 10 signals that your HubSpot portal might actually be holding you back from improved performance.
Signal 1: You’ve Had Some Marketing Turnover Over The Past Year Or Switched Agencies
If you’re new to your position and the company has had some recent turnover in your role, it's very possible that this has contributed to a messy HubSpot portal.
Everyone does things a little bit differently and if your company doesn’t have any standard protocols or standard operating procedures for using HubSpot, then you might be looking at a mess.
If you recently switched agencies or if you have the habit of using a new agency every six to 12 months, this too could be a signal that you have a messy HubSpot portal.
Again, each agency does things a little bit differently and without a central guide (you) to set them down a similar path, they might have inadvertently messed up your portal.
Signal 2: You’ve Changed Your Technology Strategy With Regard To Tools That Connect With HubSpot
Every company has a variety of technology tools they use in and around sales and marketing. If over the past 12 to 18 months you changed some of that tech stack, it's possible the data is not flowing correctly from that new tool into HubSpot.
Integrations with HubSpot are common, but those integrations need care and feeding. Some are managed by HubSpot integration tools, and others are managed by third-party middle-ware, like Zapier.
All these integrations need a regular review to make sure they’re working correctly. HubSpot and other software tools are updated weekly and often these updates require updated connections.
If you changed anything associated with HubSpot or if you made changes to any of your associated software, it's worth looking into. The results you’re reporting could be incorrect.
Signal 3: No One Owns The HubSpot Portals
This is a big and very common issue. Many organizations fail to assign a single owner to their HubSpot instance. This means many people, or at least a few people, are going in and making changes, sometimes without telling others.
What might seem like a small change could actually be major. For example, people need to be notified via email when a lead converts on your website. Someone in sales might add a new rep to the notification string, but if they don’t tell someone else and that rep leaves, that notification might not get updated.
Best practices should be to assign a single owner of your HubSpot instance. All changes, all updates, all modifications and all adjustments should go through that person. That person should also be responsible for documenting your best practices and standard operating documents.
Over the past year or so, that role has been defined as Marketing Operations, Sales Operations, or Revenue Operations. Regardless of title, assign this to someone and make it mandatory that all HubSpot-related work runs through them.
Signal 4: You’ve Had Changes In Sales Leadership
The sales team changes frequently. People leave, people are let go and new people are hired. This is common for sales leadership, too. But if this happened recently or it happens frequently at your company, this is a signal that your CRM might need a closer look.
Sales leaders almost always have a very specific way of working and they want the CRM to support that. Sales process, sales emails, sales tools, lead management, lead scoring, and other elements of the CRM might not be working as expected if there has been a change at the top.
It might be worth a sit down with the current sales leaders and getting the specifics on how they want the CRM to support their sales reps, and then auditing your CRM to see how far off the current operation is working.
Signal 5: The Sales Rep Ranks Have Grown Quickly
This is another potential signal when it comes to HubSpot and the sales team. If your company has been aggressively hiring sales reps, this is a major signal that it's time to review the HubSpot CRM. Why? It’s very likely that these new reps are not using the CRM exactly as its designed.
Even if you’ve personally trained them and they’ve all been onboarded in a similar way, they’re bringing old habits into your system.
The more new people, the more old habits might be messing up your data, your workflows, your email templates and more.
You should audit the new reps’ usage of the CRM to see if they are using it correctly. Then identify the reps who need extra training or clearer instructions around your processes.
There should be no wiggle room here. Everyone should be using the CRM the same way. The bigger the sales team, the more likely this is to be an issue.
Signal 6: You’ve Been Creating A Ton Of New Content
Content likely applies to everyone in your organization. Who’s not creating a ton of new content these days? In fact, if you’re not, you should be looking at upgrading your content marketing game.
But the more content you create, the more assets you need in HubSpot. Every piece of new content requires a new CTA, a new landing page, a new form, a new confirmation page, a new delivery page and new lead nurturing emails.
As you create new content, you should probably be shuttering old, outdated and underperforming content. This is a best practice and if you’re not doing this, you will quickly have an asset database filled with tons of unusable and potentially confusing content assets.
Signal 7: You’ve Been Importing Or Adding A Ton Of New Contacts
A recent trend in marketing is to buy lists. Hardly anyone is relying completely on inbound leads today. Whether you buy the list, source the list or get the list because you attended a trade show, if you’re importing a lot of lists, there is the potential for a very messy contact database.
I’ve seen many databases and many of them are managed incorrectly. I’ve seen lists tagged based on the date they were imported, based on the source or even based on the targeting criteria. I’ve seen lists that are organized so poorly, it's impossible to figure out what is in them.
You’ll want to delete any lists that are over a certain age. You’ll want to regularly go in and remove these lists, and you should consider setting up a list import protocol including a naming convention that is clear and easy for anyone to understand.
Signal 8: You Never Built Your Portals With Any Naming Conventions
No one ever tells new HubSpot clients to create naming conventions, but it’s probably the best advice I would give someone with a new portal.
There are so many new assets you’ll be creating including CTAs, forms, landing pages, website pages, campaigns, email templates, blog templates and more.
These all need to be named in a way that makes searching and finding these assets easy. Everyone in the company should be aware of these naming conventions.
Creating this first is going to make your life so much easier as your portal gets bigger and bigger. If you haven’t done this, then I recommend starting from a point in time and moving forward. This will prevent you from having to go back and redo assets. Eventually, those old assets should be removed as they age out of your effort.
If there are assets that will remain in perpetuity, those can be renamed along with your new conventions.
Signal 9: You Don’t Have Any Process Documents For HubSpot
Again, most new HubSpot users don’t get guidance to create documentation. While HubSpot has a ton of documentation on the internet, it takes a long time to work through it. Instead, we advise our clients to create their own usage documentation.
If you’re using a HubSpot Solutions Partner to help you with implementation, they should be providing you documentation on your portal instance.
If not, consider documenting as much as possible. This isn’t too hard when you get started, but can be horribly hard once you’re into your portal for a year. In the beginning, record everything you’re doing, including all processes, locations of files, naming convention and steps you go through to set up everything in HubSpot.
You'll want documentation on how to create an email template, the template to use for each type of email, how to set up a landing page, what template to use for each type of landing page use case and so on.
By documenting this all upfront, you are going to ensure you always keep your HubSpot instance clean and highly optimized.
Signal 10: There Is No Regular QA Process For Ongoing HubSpot Automation
One of the advantages of using HubSpot is its automation features. There are so many ways to automate tasks that might have taken 10 minutes to an hour. These can now be done instantly.
But you need to QA these processes regularly.
Are notifications sent out to the right people? Are trigger emails launched at the right time? Is lead scoring calculating properly? Are sales sequences running correctly? Are blogs posted to all our social platform accounts at the right time? The list is long and tedious.
You should create a practice for regularly reviewing these automated processes and make sure they work right. There is a misconception that "set it and forget it" works when you have software like HubSpot.
I can’t tell you how many times (for any number of reasons) these automated processes stop working, get changed and no one knows it or simply don’t work as originally designed.
It’s critical that someone continually check these to make sure they are working as designed.
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