Managing change requests is key to successful HubSpot admin. But if you're still doing this in spreadsheets, stop! There's a better way...
You might know this feeling all too well: your HubSpot portal has been around for a while, and while it was organised and functional when you set it up, over time it's started to become an unwieldy mess. You’ve had team members come and go, functionality has changed, and your portal is no longer fit for purpose.
Like a frog in water heating up to a boil, your portal slowly becomes more and more difficult to use.
The usual answer to this problem? Increasing change requests, usually in the form of excel sheets. However, as we’ll illustrate, this solution can actually lead to more problems.
In this article, we’ll show you a better way to manage change requests through HubSpot Service Hub.
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First, some background on change requests (and why they’re problematic)
During a recent HubSpot onboarding and admin training with one of our clients, we recommended that they limit super-admin(s) with overall decision-making power to one or two at most.
To prevent any knee-jerk tinkering that might negatively impact processes and other teams using the software.
If any of the other users in the portal want to change an aspect of the portal set-up, they will have to put in a change request via this one super-admin.
A simple solution for tracking and managing the who, what, why, how and when of these change requests would be to keep a simple change request log spreadsheet, such as this:
BUT spreadsheets have their downsides.
It’s a manual, time-consuming process for someone to input data into the table. And often static copies of the live document are downloaded, preventing up-to-date, clear data from being accessed.
These are just a few downsides. Google it. There are literally hundreds of blog posts on the disadvantages of spreadsheets, not to mention the memes!
And often, as this client pointed out, HubSpot champions within onboarding businesses are introducing the sophisticated full-stack software solution to their teams with a buy-in incentive of getting away from spreadsheets.
So, stated the client, we want a change request process that is not an excel spreadsheet.
The design solution
Three assets will need to be built out in your portal to manage change requests in your HubSpot portal:
Change request ticketing pipeline
The first step in the change request process build is to create a ticket pipeline to track and manage change requests.
Consider the different statuses you’ll need your tickets to have to effectively manage your change log and set up your ticketing pipeline with these.
It might look something like this:
- New request
- Further information required
- SLT to review
- Request approved (to action)
- Change request actioned
- Request denied
Now consider the additional pieces of information you’d like to capture at each of these ticket statuses:
New request: Create date, Name of requester, Name of request, Type of request, Request details, Deadline for implementation, Supporting file.
SLT to review: Reviewer name(s)
Request approved: SLT feedback, Approval date, Next steps
Change actioned: Close date, Resolution summary (Inclusive of links to changes in the portal)
Request denied: Close date, Denial reason
These can be created as custom ticket properties in your HubSpot portal and added in as status properties when configuring the ticket pipeline, as either suggested or mandatory-to-populate prompts.
The properties highlighted in the ‘New request’ status, as those needed to be known at the point of ticket creation, can be used to build out a form in your portal which will become your HubSpot portal change request form. 👇👇👇
Change request form
The next step is to create a form which the users of your HubSpot portal can use to submit a change request to your portal’s super-admin.
Something like this:
Use the ticket properties you’ve highlighted when scoping out your ticket pipeline as the pieces of information you’ll need to capture in order to build out the change request form. Important note: make sure to set the relevant properties as required.
In the options tab on the HubSpot form builder, input the text to be displayed upon submission of the form, inclusive of a hyperlink to your internal change log, where users can monitor the status of their request.
This could be:
- The ticketing pipeline URL for your HubSpot portal. Note if your portal has more than one ticketing pipeline the URL will link back to the last ticketing pipeline the user had viewed.
- HubSpot’s Customer Portal. Useful if you are part of a bigger corporation and looking for a more formal way to track and manage change requests.
- A custom dashboard which hosts your internal change request log. In our internal HubSpot portal, we have all users homepage set as ‘Dashboards’ and have built out a custom ‘Homepage’ dashboard, which hosts various reports inclusive of the change request log that is set as the default.
Add your designated HubSpot administrator as the person to receive submission notifications each time a form is submitted. If other members of your team need to have awareness of change requests, set up notifications for them, too.
As your form has been built using ticket properties, a ticket will automatically be created from form submissions. If you have more than one ticketing pipeline built out in your HubSpot portal, be sure to check that these tickets are being created on the correct pipeline, and additional pulled into the correct inbox (see below): 👇👇👇
Once built, style your form as required and embed it on your employee website!
As well as tickets, submissions of the change request form will automatically create a conversation in an inbox in your portal – we created a dedicated ‘Super-admin’ inbox.
Set SLA’s in this inbox to help your HubSpot administrator prioritise incoming tickets based on their importance and ensure they are meeting the expectations of the requester.
In HubSpot, you can set SLAs based on the time to a first reply and the time to close a ticket, and apply these rules to all tickets in the inbox, or based on ticket priority. SLAs can apply at all times or only when your HubSpot administrator is available.
HubSpot Admin dashboard
Additionally, you may choose to host your ‘change request log’ on a custom dashboard.
A reason for doing so, as we have done at BabelQuest, would be because you can build this custom dashboard out to be the default dashboard ‘homepage’ your users see when they sign in to your HubSpot portal.
Along with custom reports tracking change requests, other useful things to host on this homepage dashboard could include:
- Text modules outlining some ‘house rules’ for your HubSpot portal; naming conventions, the request process, who's who in your portal, how to use the HubSpot help button, etc.
- Links out to some internal how-to training resources
- A user’s daily tasks
- A user’s goal completion so far that quarter
- Leaderboard for Sales
With the ability to add rich text and externally hosted content modules to dashboards, the possibilities for your dashboard ‘homepage’ are far reaching.
Forms, ticketing and reporting dashboards are features available across all HubSpot subscriptions (even the free tools!) though for custom reporting you’ll need a paid subscription to the software.
Learn more about using HubSpot for change requests
HubSpot’s change request solutions aren't just the answer to complicated and disorganised spreadsheets. They can also help prevent messy portal issues from happening in the first place. They're relatively straightforward to set up, and our BabelQuest team can help get you started today.
If you'd like a hand, just get in touch. We've helped dozens of businesses like yours on our journey to becoming an Elite-tier HubSpot solutions partner — we'd love to help you, too.