HubSpot has become exponentially more complex over the past few years. This is good and not so good. It’s good in that there is almost nothing you can’t do in HubSpot these days. Marketing, sales and customer service can be handled for almost any organization, product, service or industry.
The bad news is people are running into more technical and support issues than ever before. Their portals are getting more complex to manage and maintain.
But if you need technical support, where do you go? How do you decide who to use and how often to use them? What are your options for keeping HubSpot running in an optimal state?
We’ll answer this and more in our article today.
What Kind Of Support Do You Need?
There are several types of technical support when it comes to HubSpot. We’ll talk about them all and provide some recommendations.
To-Do Lists – Sometimes, just a handful of items need to be done, and you either don’t have the time or don’t have the time to research exactly how to do them in HubSpot.
How you crack the code on this depends on how often this list gets updated.
If you’re creating this list weekly and it never ends, I’d recommend an agency with a team that can connect with your company strategically, get an idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, provide some guidance and then be the resource you need to work your to-do-list every week.
If this is a list that has taken you a year to create or you feel like once it’s done you’ll be good to go, you might want to consider a contractor to come in and knock out your list.
While an agency can do it, you probably could get it for less, and since you’re not looking for a long-term relationship, a part-time contractor might just check this box for you.
Migrations – This is a much different set of requirements. If you’re planning on moving off one technology and on to HubSpot, I’d strongly recommend working with an agency that not only has HubSpot experience but also an actual migration team or technology practice.
There are thousands of agency partners, and if you ask them, “Can you migrate us from Pipedrive to HubSpot Sales Hub?”, they’re probably going to say yes. They might even tell you they’ve done migrations before, and I’m assuming they’re telling the truth.
The reality is migrations are always complicated projects. You want more than experience. You want to look for a specific migration methodology and people who have used this methodology many times before to move clients from a variety of technologies to HubSpot.
They should be able to share that methodology with you. They should have a practice leader who works on that process and oversees these projects for clients. They should have specialists who understand the platform you’re currently on and how to move you to HubSpot in an efficient and painless way.
Every single one of these projects is a little different because no two companies are exactly alike. Look for steps in their process that identify these differences, document them and then allow the technical team to QA everything when the migration is done but before it goes live.
They should probably have people dedicated to this QA process. The last thing you want is to think you’re migrated and then when people start using the new HubSpot software it doesn’t work right, it doesn’t look right and the data isn’t where it needs to be — that is a huge problem for any migration project.
Make sure they have a proven process for preventing that from happening.
Integrations – Like migrations, don’t take any integration project lightly. However, with the rollout of HubSpot’s Operations Hub, there is now a library of available integration plug-ins that you can use to potentially make any integration project easier than before.
However, even if an out-of-the-box integration is available, that doesn’t mean your integration project is easy. Most of these projects are quite complex.
Typically, a range of additional work needs to be done even when using Operations Hub.
And back to my comment from the migrations section, every integration, every company, every technology stack and every legacy platform has its own unique set of requirements and challenges.
At Square 2, we start every integration and migration project with a workshop that helps us define the exact requirements. You can think about this as the first step in creating the instruction manual for the project.
Once we have the instruction manual, we can turn the technical work over to the revenue operations and technology team. They do the work, and then we use the instruction manual to QA the work when they’re done.
Basically, it’s a matching exercise. Does the technology work as designed in the instruction manual? This approach keeps everyone on the same page. The client agreed to the manual, the team wrote the manual, the technical team used the manual to do the build and then we tested it against the manual. It works beautifully.
It’s thoughtful processes like this that you should be looking for when engaging a HubSpot solutions partner on a highly technical project like this.
Training – A lot of people think training is straight out of the box. If that’s what you’re looking for, reconsider your approach. All training isn’t created equally.
You should be looking for training that meets your specific needs. That’s why we’d recommend a training workshop to kick off your training program.
Let’s document exactly who needs to be trained and on what. Let’s assess their educational level with the product or portals.
Let’s define the training goals. Is it to be a HubSpot Super User, or is it to understand at a high level how to do some basic everyday tasks? Depending on the goals, the training would be much different.
You should be designing your training to meet your needs, too. Do you need one half-day session or six hour-long sessions? Are they going to be in-person or virtual? Are they going to be hands-on or classroom style?
To truly get trained in HubSpot, you should be looking at a combination of class-style sessions with homework or exercises that put you in your portal doing work. Once you do something for yourself, the learning sticks and the training is much more effective.
These lessons and exercises need to be planned out and directly related to your company’s needs and the individual’s specific needs. If someone is going to be running email marketing campaigns, that’s a section of the Marketing Hub worth leaning into and working on some specific emails.
If someone is going to be supporting sales, there’s no need to go deep on marketing emails. We’d recommend spending more time on sales sequences, lead management, lead scoring, routing chats and making sure the CRM is tuned perfectly to your sales process.
It’s this level of attention and detail you should expect from the partner providing the training.
There are generally two ways to get access to the technical support we’re talking about here. One is hiring a contractor and the other is hiring an agency. Let’s dig into both options so you’re clear on the plusses and minuses for both options.
Hiring A Contractor
HubSpot has spurred a cottage industry of people with technical knowledge around the HubSpot product ecosystem. Some of them are ex-HubSpot employees, while others are ex-HubSpot Partner Agency employees.
When it comes to finding and hiring a contractor, there are some general best practices to consider.
First, ask around. It’s best to find someone who has had positive experiences with someone you know. Just like when you look for a roofing contractor, knowing they did a good job for your neighbor helps.
Next, look for places where these people look for work. Upwork is an example of a contractor site. They actually have a decent amount of people who say they know HubSpot.
My guidance is to treat these contractors like you would if they were applying for a full-time job. Conduct an interview, ask them a lot of questions, explain the project in detail and ask them for a proposal. You may even want to have a few people at your company interview them.
It’s not unheard of to take contractors through a process like this. We do it regularly at Square 2. The best people are happy to invest their time to get to know us and let us get to know them.
Once you have someone you like and who you think can do the work, negotiate the price. I’d recommend a fixed fee instead of hourly. Not every contractor will go along with that, but I think the best and most confident ones are happy to scope your work, give you a price and then work to that number.
Next, agree on the timing. Consider a bonus if they get done early and a penalty if they take too long. The schedule is also important for payment. You should probably pay them something up front, something at the 50% mark and the remaining money upon completion and your full satisfaction.
Again, the best people will agree to those terms and work with you to document what full satisfaction means.
When deciding who to hire, we like to lean into their past experiences. Have they done exactly what you want them to do? How many times? For what clients? Can you talk to those clients? Are they referenceable? Have they done reviews? If not, why not?
I like to ask about their successful projects, which everyone is happy to talk about, but I also ask about their failures. Everyone has failures, and they’re nothing to be ashamed of or to hide from you. Ask them why it failed and what they would have done differently. How did they recover, and what was the outcome with the client?
Having these types of conversations with contractors does set the table for a more productive working relationship.
In full transparency, you might have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince or princess charming. This is one of the challenges of using contractors. Be prepared by having the right schedule and giving yourself enough time to work through the candidates.
Hiring An Agency
Another option is hiring an agency, a HubSpot Solutions Partner or a company to do this work.
I’d consider a similar process, except that the questions and the getting-to-know-you steps might be a little different.
Most agencies have a specific sales process that they’ll want to take you through. This is good news. In fact, if they don’t, I’d pass on using them.
You want an agency that is going to take the time to get to know you, your company, your project, your expectations and your current technology. They might even want to look under the hood at your HubSpot instance, and you should let them.
A key advantage of using an agency compared to a contractor is simply resources. If someone gets sick, takes a vacation or gets reassigned, it’s up to them to step in and keep your project moving. The contractor has no choice but to delay your work.
The agency also has systems and processes that work as checks and balances for your work. They have QA processes, they have specific documentation they use and they have people who have done this many times for many different clients. They typically bring a more extensive set of experiences to your project.
The downside is you typically pay for that. You have to decide if using an agency, which might reduce the risk of a project failure, is worth the extra investment. In most cases, I think it is, but you’ll have to decide for yourself.
HubSpot agencies also have a different relationship with HubSpot. As a partner, they have resources and contacts they can leverage for you and your project. Some contractors might not have the same access or the same resources.
One of the best places to look is the HubSpot Partner Directory. It’s not easy to work through this listing, but if you read the profiles you can find agencies with the technical capabilities you need. Keep in mind that just because they are higher in the directory doesn’t mean they’re better, more successful, bigger or more experienced. Do your own due diligence.
When you’re looking at a few agencies, there are some excellent questions to consider asking them, specifically about the team who does this work. What processes do they use? How many projects like yours did they do last year? Who specifically would be working on your project?
I’d also be looking for how responsive they are and how long they think it will take to complete your project. If it takes them two weeks to get you a proposal, that might be a red flag that they’re too busy to actually do your work.
If they estimate your project is going to take three or four months when your expectations are just a few weeks, that might mean they lack the necessary resources.
Many agencies are having a hard time finding talented HubSpot people, and these cues could inform you and your decision on hiring.
Going To HubSpot
Finally, there is always HubSpot. They have resources who can answer your questions, but they don’t really provide services like the ones we're talking about here.
They’re more about telling you how to do it than doing it for you. Again, not bad. This might work if you have people or resources to follow their direction, but hiring them to do work in your portal isn’t something they do.
When it comes to technical support, instead of thinking about it as a one-and-done project, I think you should look for a long-term solution – a person or partner agency to provide you with the support you need today and in the future.
The better they get to know you, your company and your HubSpot portals, the better and the more efficiently they’ll be able to help you.
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