Successful implementation and management of a tool as powerful as HubSpot goes beyond the simple act of purchasing a subscription and plugging it in.
In fact, the quality of results you see from HubSpot are largely predicated upon what you do BEFORE integrating it into your sales & marketing operations.
Below are 6 internal tasks I recommend all businesses complete prior to implementing Hubspot for the first time, whether with their own in-house marketing personnel or with the assistance of a Certified Hubspot Partner.
1. Know what success looks like.
While HubSpot is certainly one of the more affordable marketing automation solutions out there, it's still a considerable investment for most businesses - both in money and time. With that said, you're here with me...thinking about HubSpot services (much respect to your inquisitive nature)!
So, why HubSpot? What do you want to achieve? What role do you imagine it playing in your business? These are just a few overarching questions that can help you and those involved in the implementation determine what success might look like.
If you take any one thing from this article, this should be it: the more granular you can get in defining what successful HubSpot implementation looks like, the easier it will be to determine how to implement it, what to focus on first and even when/if you should integrate your CRM with HubSpot.
How to start defining success...
Here's a quick overview of some of the things you'll want to cover in order to create your own vision of what success might look like.
Make sure you're being realistic in your definition and not expecting 50 new leads next month with a $12 budget.
- Compile your top 3 marketing goals and organize them in order of importance.
- Compile your current and historical data. Weigh your metrics against against your goals and craft a reasonable definition of success. Here are a few items to consider...
- Number of website visits (and/or sessions)
- Number of leads
- Total sales generated from current digital marketing efforts
- Marketing cost per customer acquisition (COCA)
Just remember, nothing bad ever comes from having a clear vision and knowing what your goals are - especially when you want to ensure your investment in HubSpot is worth it.
2. Obtain complete company buy-in.
Just like anything else in life, if you don't believe in what you do, it will never live up to it's full potential. HubSpot implementation is no different.
If you don't have complete buy-in from your leadership team, the effort is much less likely to be successful (and perhaps even fail). Given the amount of time and effort it takes to implement HubSpot, it's best not to head down that path until buy-in is achieved across the board. In fact, our agency requires this before we even craft a proposal (and you should too).
How to get company buy-in
You've got this great idea that HubSpot can take your business to the next level but the leadership team is too busy to hear your reasoning. Or perhaps they just want you to tell them how much it costs and how long it will take to see results (always valid questions). In order to experience true success with HubSpot, you have to first get buy-in on the inbound methodology.
Use real world statistics on the business impact of inbound marketing and tie it into the enablement tool (AKA HubSpot) that helps make it all happen. There are tons of them out there, but HubSpot's State of Inbound reports are an excellent place to start.
For Business Leaders
Your enthusiasm and commitment to inbound marketing and HubSpot will dictate how successful your implementation will be. After all, your team looks up to you for direction, strategy and ideally, inspiration.
Fortunately, you're here reading this, educating yourself on how to make this thing go smoothly and deliver killer results! Given that you're already doing your due diligence, you're already on the path to success.
Once you've found the info you need, you're next challenge will be communicating your ideas clearly to your team and to the agency you may be working with.
3. Dedicate an internal "go-to" person.
Whether you work with HubSpot directly or hire a Certified Hubspot Partner agency, you cannot shirk the need for an internal "go-to" person.
HubSpot will NOT be a simple plug-and-play solution and it requires frequent cooperation with someone inside your organization.
Why have a go-to person?
While HubSpot is a comprehensive, all-in-one marketing and sales product, how it's set up and used can vary from company to company.
The mechanics of implementation may be similar across the board, but the fine details are where a more tailored approach is required (i.e. creating smart list segments, forms, etc.).
Having someone on your staff that can consistently articulate your business needs to the HubSpot team or agency will ensure you start off on the right foot.
Who makes an ideal "go-to" person?
It should be someone who meets two basic criteria.
- Has intimate and working knowledge of your current marketing (and ideally sales) operations
- Has the authority and trust of leadership to sign off on marketing initiatives
Depending on the size of the company, this could be an owner, Partner, CMO, Marketing Manager or sometimes even an Office Manager.
Knowledge of core marketing technologies in addition to marketing and sales operations is an added bonus.
4. Define current & future marketing operations.
Regardless of the size and complexity of your company, being able to simply and articulately explain your marketing operations is critical. This will help speed up your HubSpot implementation and plug in all the right resources to manage it moving forward.
You can start by creating two answers (current & future) for each of the questions below.
- Who manages/will manage your website (hosting, development, design)?
- Who manages/will manage your content?
- Who manages/will manage your IT?
- Who manages/will manage your social media?
- Who manages/will manage your marketing strategy?
- Who manages/will manage your marketing budget?
- Who manages/will manage your sales pipeline & team? (see more below)
Knowing these answers will allow you to craft useful workflows in HubSpot, resulting in better and faster results.
5. Define current & future sales operations.
Much like you define your marketing operations, the same applies to sales.
While HubSpot does not automatically generate sales, it will have a direct impact on the way Sales Reps do their job (especially with the recent release of the native Hubspot CRM).
Most companies have two basic types of sales reps: Hunters & Farmers.
Hunters are the cold calling, direct mailing, street beating types who aggressively seek out new business. Farmers, on the other hand, cultivate the closing and up-selling opportunities you have with existing leads. Both types will be impacted by the implementation of HubSpot and its vast capabilities.
Here are more questions you'll want both current & future answers to...
- Who follows up/will follow up with web leads?
- Who manages/will manage new accounts?
- Who oversees/will oversee your sales team?
- Who manages/will manage your sales strategy?
- Who manages/will manage proposals and quotes?
- Who manages/will manage any telemarketing?
- Who manages/will manage the customer experience?
Again, like your marketing operations, defining your sales operations into a concise workflow will greatly impact the quality and speed of results you'll see with HubSpot.
6. Create a method of accountability.
Once you implement HubSpot, what happens next?
More specifically, who makes that happen and how will you monitor/measure their effectiveness?
What we're talking about here is accountability.
As I've mentioned earlier, HubSpot is not a -plug-and-play product and will involve a lot of players either within your organization or within the agency you hire to do the work. You want to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be doing (i.e. building and using the software to help you reach your goals)!
To do this, you'll want two basic, yet very important things:
- Consistent and frequent reporting
- Admin access to your HubSpot portal
I recommend requesting that your team/agency send you reports from both your HubSpot portal (there's an entire section dedicated to custom reports) and some type of project management software. The HubSpot reports will help you measure your progress toward your goals and the project management reports will allow you to monitor the responsible party's activities.
Results are most important, of course, but having personally run sales programs before, I also like to see that the activity level is meeting expectations.
To accomplish this, just ask HubSpot or your agency to make sure you're an administrator in your HubSpot portal (you likely already are if you were in charge of purchasing the platform).
This will give you the transparency you need to validate your performance and the work of others.
If you want your results from your HubSpot implementation to be a smash hit, you've got to knock out the tasks we've covered here.
If you're struggling with some of them, enlist the help of a Certified HubSpot Partner to get you on track BEFORE you fork over the cash for the product.
Your staff and your budget will be glad you did.