We’ve heard from far too many companies that have purchased HubSpot and have yet to realize full value for their investment. This isn’t HubSpot’s fault, it’s yours.
We’ve helped many companies realize the full value, and it’s important to make sure before you purchase HubSpot that you’re ready to use it in the way that produces the desired results and business outcomes.
HubSpot’s not a magic bullet or easy button by any stretch of the imagination. But in the right hands, it transforms your marketing, sales and customer service execution.
Here are seven ways to ensure you get full value from your investment in HubSpot.
1. Don’t Skip Strategy And Planning
This might sound like we’re a broken record, but you really shouldn’t be making any decisions without ensuring HubSpot fits into your overall strategy and plan.
Why buy HubSpot if you’re not planning on using all of the features that come with the toolkit? You might not need to use them all out of the gate, but you should be planning to use them all at some point.
This means you have intentions to upgrade your entire marketing execution, you have plans to help your sales team execute your sales process in a more structured and automated way, and you want your customer service team to upgrade the experience your customers are having with your company.
HubSpot is not a website hosting tool, it’s not an email marketing campaign manager, it’s not a social media auto-poster and it’s not a dashboard design software.
It’s a platform that helps transform the entire prospect and customer experience with your company. It’s a tool that enables you to digitally transform how you go to market, how you talk to prospects, how you work with prospects when sales is engaged and how your customer service team takes care of your customers.
HubSpot delivers full transparency into every interaction, every conversation and every action your prospects and customers take so that you can better optimize those interactions.
You have to be prepared to use it in this way to get full value. When you use HubSpot to move the company ahead in such a transformative way, the investment pales in comparison to the value.
2. Get A Schematic
It’s going to be very challenging to initially try and tackle everything HubSpot does for you. We recommend creating a schematic of your rollout. In other words, create a list of priorities and start working through that list until you unlock all or most of the features.
For example, if you purchased Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, CMS Hub and Service Hub, we’d align these with your company’s top priorities.
If lead generation is at the top of the list, start working on getting Marketing Hub configured and working. This would include:
- Setting up email marketing templates and campaigns
- Designing new landing pages and aligning them with specific content and the personas who will be visiting those pages
- Taking some of your existing content or creating new content and strategically positioning that content on your website to turn visitors into leads
We’d design and roll out lead nurturing campaigns that would run after a prospect converts on the site. In addition, we’d design the chat experience and turn that on within your website.
We’ll want to look at the message and story your homepage is telling visitors. Is it emotional? Is it compelling? Is it connecting with your visitors?
We’d want to get the blog moved over and the website on the CMS so that we can keep track and follow the metrics for the entire website experience.
We’d start looking at the sources of your visitors and see if we need to improve your site’s ability to rank and drive organic search visitors.
We’d upgrade your social media pages and the content you’re posting to social media to drive more visitors to your site from social.
All of these actions work together, and HubSpot’s Marketing Hub makes it easy and efficient to do this work and track the results associated with this work.
Once this is done, we might move to a similar list in Sales Hub and then Service Hub. You should get the idea – prioritize, attack, measure and then rinse and repeat.
3. Ensure You Have The Right Expertise
Looking at that list of action items above, you might be saying to yourself, “We don’t have the people or the expertise to do all that on our own.”
That’s very common. Few companies do, especially small to mid-size companies. But that doesn’t mean the work shouldn’t get done. If you want results, someone MUST do it.
Even if you have a couple of people who can do this work, they need to have the expertise to do it right the first time instead of learning on the fly.
If you don’t have the bandwidth or the expertise, you should consider bringing in a team that has what you’re lacking.
This ensures you get HubSpot and your marketing execution up and running quickly, you start to see results quickly and you see a return on your investment in a reasonable amount of time.
The investment to bring in experts is going to allow you to start to see results in a much shorter time frame, and the results you see will be far better than the results you might end up generating on your own.
Would you rather have the world’s best chef prepare you an amazing meal, or would you want me to stumble my way through the recipe? You don’t have to answer, but it’s a valid metaphor.
You want an experienced doctor to treat your condition. You want the most experienced attorney to keep you out of jail. You want the best team of HubSpot experts to help you get started as flawlessly as possible.
4. Set Timelines
You bought HubSpot, but how long is it going to take to get it installed, get it configured, get people using it, manage your campaigns, track your deals, see dashboards and measure the performance improvements you expect?
That’s why you bought it – to see performance improvements from marketing, sales and customer service.
It’s important to understand the timing around all major changes at your company. Sometimes the timing associated with technology projects like this can be obscure.
But planning and thoughtful prioritization make the timing much easier. HubSpot is easy to install. Its software-as-a-service (SaaS) nature makes getting started with it simple. In just a few days people can be using it.
However, you’re coming to the game with a set of requirements. You need it to connect with your back-end ERP system. You might be connecting Marketing Hub to Salesforce. You may be working on cleaning your database before you load it up into HubSpot.
You might have other software that needs to talk with HubSpot. You have a sales process you need HubSpot to mirror. You have forecasting processes and dashboards you need to see. The list goes on and on and on.
The larger the scale, the longer it’s going to take and the more detailed timeline you’ll need to establish.
If you’re working with a partner, they should be helping you establish that timeline. Some partners can move faster than others. You should be prepared to share your timing expectations in advance of hiring any HubSpot Solutions Partner.
This ensures that your expectations are clear and the partner is committing to your timeline or helping you reset your timeline to be more realistic. Either way, there is agreement.
Make sure there are milestones along the way that allow you to see progress. Knowing that everything will be done in three months is fine, but you need to see and they need to be held accountable for mid-term progress that works toward a three-month project.
If a partner commits to an aggressive timetable, check with a few of their clients and ensure that their ability to promise is aligned with their ability to deliver.
5. Establish Performance Expectations
Once the technical work is done, now it’s time to have some fun. Just like you established expectations around timing, you should also establish expectations around your business goals and business outcomes.
Do you want to see more leads? How many more leads this month vs. last month? Do you want to see more sales opportunities? How many and what monthly gains are you expecting? What about monthly revenue?
The goal should be month-over-month revenue growth. What level of growth are you expecting? Many business-related goals should be discussed with your internal team or your agency partner.
Here are a handful of other metrics to consider:
- The number of days you shorten your average sales cycle
- The close rate on new customers
- The average revenue per new customer
- The percentage of marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) that turn into sales opportunities
- The percentage of sales opportunities that turn into new customers
These are the major metrics that you should be expecting to see moving in the right direction once HubSpot is used across your organization. Of course, these goals are also predicated on you having a great story, plenty of educational content, a killer website, a remarkable sales process, dynamic storytelling sales reps and much, much more.
If everything is aligned, you’ll be ready for major revenue growth.
6. Get People Using It
Honestly, this is a change management project, not a technology project. HubSpot is easy to use, but your people have to use it. It’s designed to make it simple for marketers, salespeople and customer service people to use it, but leadership has to make it clear that it’s not optional.
When Hernán Cortés landed in the new world, he burned his boats, so that his men would not be tempted to want to return to Spain.
Take a similar approach. There is no going back, just forward.
Consider starting with a small and manageable pilot program that includes a handful of people. This makes the initial rollout much easier for everyone. Once the pilot program is up and running, they can help get everyone else on board.
Make sure you have the right training and materials available. Technology training and rollouts are complex projects that need project management and leadership.
Just like you thought out the technology rollout, now you need to think through the training rollout. There should be no wiggle room. Everyone from sales support up to and through senior leadership should be using the tools.
Want to know the status of a deal? Check the CRM.
Want to know how a campaign is doing? Check the campaign dashboard.
Want to know the back story of a customer? Check the chronology of the interactions in HubSpot.
Want to know how a sales rep is doing? Check the sales rep performance report.
Any questions you can come up with, the answer is going to be somewhere in HubSpot. By focusing on the tools, you’ll get everyone using them, speaking the same language, looking at the same data and making much more informed and intelligent decisions.
This is how your company will grow.
7. Create A Plan To Grow Into It
Finally, you don’t have to do everything at once. HubSpot is designed to help you grow and grow into the tools. Start with Marketing Hub, then move your website on to the CMS for full visibility into the marketing performance.
Next, move to Sales Hub and connect the marketing experience with the sales experience.
Finally, make Service Hub the tools that customer service uses to take care of your customers. If there are complexities to your deployment, Operations Hub makes it easier to keep everything running smoothly and your data clean and accurate.
Even if you’ve purchased all of the Hubs available, that doesn’t mean you have to tackle them all from a configuration, rollout and training perspective.
In many cases, prioritization and a planned rollout is the best bet.
HubSpot, like many technologies, rarely solves your challenges if you don’t marry the technology with the right people and the right processes. For example, if you continue to put poor quality data into HubSpot, I guarantee your reporting, dashboards, automated follow-up, lead scoring and visibility into deals for forecasting will all be worthless.
Instead, you need a process for adding new contact information as well as for cleaning and checking your data regularly. Also, the people using the system have to understand why the data needs to be accurate.
This is just one use case where a great product like HubSpot can be a major failure upon installation. There are over 50 other use cases that can also contribute to a failure when it comes to HubSpot.
Don’t ever think technology alone is going to fix any of your business conditions. It always has to be married with the right NEW processes, and you have to consider the people using the tools as part of the solution.
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