CRM Consultant Chris Grant on 6 Years of Advanced HubSpot Implementations

CRM Consultant Chris Grant shares his insights and perspective after six years spent helping businesses unlock the full potential of their HubSpot CRM implementations.

With any implementation, it sure helps to have the right technology lined up when you start — but there’s much more to a successful CRM implementation than your system of choice.

“Talented”, “professional”, and “highly recommended” by his clients, Chris has spent the past six years helping hundreds of businesses to implement HubSpot in his capacity as an Academy Instructor, Certified Trainer, and CRM consultant. How has his time spent building, launching, and optimising portals impacted the way he approaches implementations today?

“The statistics are changing all the time but depending on where you look, between 40-60% of CRM implementations are still failing, and that’s not counting those that scrape a pass,” Chris explains. “When an implementation doesn’t go according to plan, it’s common for a company to blame their tools, but it’s usually down to attitude, commitment, and adoption.”

What does Chris mean by these terms, why exactly do they affect the success of your implementation, and how could looking at your next implementation project through Chris’ eyes help you to keep your project on the straight and narrow? Read on to find out more. 

Get help with the adoption piece of the puzzle and join a group of fellow HubSpot users looking to get their teams using HubSpot, from implementation and beyond. Join the HubSpot Adoption HUG.

About Chris


Chris sits in our Expert Practices team as a sales services and CRM platform consultant. If HubSpot features were Lego bricks, then he’s one of our master builders, helping clients from all industries with everything from advanced HubSpot implementations to technical projects including integrations, data configuration, and custom report building. If you’d like the support of him and the team with unlocking the full potential of HubSpot, get in touch



“...scope a successful implementation from day one” 

Scoping is critical to the success of the implementation by ensuring the functionality required of the new system is captured and documented early. Often, the board leads this, and rightfully so because successful implementation needs top down leadership. But the distance between the board and the daily activities carried out by users means that board members are ill-suited to the actual scoping out of the CRM requirements when it comes to the individual users and processes. It’s vital that you also consider the needs of the users.

“I provided consultancy to one business where only the board was involved in the scoping process,” Chris reveals. “Typically, the larger an organisation is, the further the board is from the day-to-day work. They are understandably busy and only hear about what the rank and file are doing anecdotally. Failing to involve a cross-section of the company when scoping usually means the system won’t be fit for purpose and the problems will start on launch day.”

Bringing in everyday users early in the process addresses this. Extend your respect for their needs to the planning stage to scope a successful implementation from day one.

 

“...solve for the everyday users, not the accounts department”

Even a CRM implementation that has been scoped effectively can fall at the second hurdle. In many businesses, the iron grip extended by the board is actually double-fisted. Finance often rules on CRM purchasing and related decision-making, but its vision is typically narrow.

“There’s no beating about the bush: in many companies, Finance has an iron grip over software purchasing,” Chris explains. “When the topic of the day is CRM software, this means it is often chosen for billing over functionality, and everyone else has to adapt, when in many cases the needs of the finance team could be served by integration.”

Any large software purchase is made up of multiple moving parts. Buyer behaviours are complex at the best of times, and competing directives can mean that functions such as Finance, which should not, as a general rule, be in the driver’s seat when it comes to scoping and implementing a CRM solution, are at the wheel. Destination: CRM system fail.

The CRM ecosystem is huge. In the UK alone, there were over 118 CRM providers in 2023. This can make selecting the best-fit solution for your organisation a challenge at the best of times, never mind when Finance is vetting solutions based solely on their accounting applications or ease of billing. As business systems become more sophisticated and integrated, “they have to solve for the everyday users, not just the accounts department.”

 

“...put the implementation first”

The revenue-generating machine never stops, yet an argument can be made for choosing the timing of your implementation based on known quiet periods that most businesses undergo on an annual basis.

“Everyone has the excuse to ignore an implementation during key busy periods. But if you know business dips over the summer, then that’s the perfect time to launch your new CRM and allow everyone to be properly trained and onboarded before things ramp up again.”

According to some research, “92% of businesses say CRM software plays an important role in achieving their revenue goals”. Yet day in, salespeople are subject to the “tyranny of the now”. In other words, they typically live in the moment, not necessarily out of personal preference but because their role constantly requires them to chase the next deal. Taking their eyes off the prize to consult on an implementation might not come naturally to them, even if that software is the CRM and it will directly benefit revenue generation tomorrow. 

The same can be said for many outside of sales whose roles revolve around fighting fires and logging in each morning to inboxes full of urgent matters requiring immediate attention. 

“You haven’t embraced this as the number one priority for your business. But putting the implementation first by committing the right people to it at the right time will help to future-proof its success and the value you’re able to unlock from it.” Chris Grant, Sales Services and CRM Consultant, BabelQuest

 

 

“...save where you can, but don’t scrimp”

On the subject of value, managing the costs surrounding an implementation can quickly get heated, from the direct costs of the software itself to more indirect, often less visible costs such as senior stakeholders’ time, for example, and other factors contributing to the total cost of ownership for the project, like training, support, and future maintenance. 

“Most of us are predisposed scrimpers. We’re conditioned to look for value and spot a good deal,” Chris explains. “But as implementation costs grow, those individuals or teams who see the value behind a cost, and can therefore stomach it, will find themselves at odds with those whose chief responsibility it is to keep costs down. Saving a few thousand pounds in upfront costs at the expense of the core tools or functionality you need is CRM sabotage.”

Modern CRMs aren’t digital address books. They’re organisation-spanning systems for keeping all your data safe, accurate, and accessible to the right people at the right time. So they need to be secure, for a million-and-one compliance reasons. They need to be easy to use, so your people can maintain the quality and the integrity of the data they store. And that data also needs to be accessible, adding new levels of complexity to the implementation in the form of permissions, content partitioning, pipeline visibility/access, and so much more. 

“Modern business asks a lot of the CRM, so save where you can to keep the project on budget but don’t scrimp, because there’s nowhere better to invest.” Chris Grant, Sales Services and CRM Consultant, BabelQuest

 

“...recognise that technology is only part of the puzzle” 

With any implementation, it sure helps to have the right technology lined up when you start — but there’s much more to a successful CRM implementation than your system of choice.

“With more than 20 years’ experience in sales and sales management, my approach to implementing HubSpot CRM is focused on the most critical outcomes,” Chris explains. “The way I see it, that’s user adoption, data quality and reporting, and alignment across your teams.

By helping you to understand your business processes, data flow, and reporting needs, and recommending a CRM configuration that enables your teams to do their work faster and more efficiently, Chris looks beyond the HubSpot CRM to help you unlock its full potential.

How could looking at your next implementation through Chris’ eyes help you to keep your project on the straight and narrow?

CRM Consultant Chris Grant on 6 Years of Advanced HubSpot Implementations
9:16

Get your CRM implementation off to the best start with our CRM scoping spreadsheet template, which guides you through each step of the scoping process.

CRM scoping spreadsheet (1)

Download our CRM Scoping Spreadsheet

Download now and identify the business requirements that matter when scoping your new CRM