If you've bought a HubSpot package, onboarding is sold as a separate service. You can complete this with HubSpot itself or use one of its 'solutions partners'. You could also consider a solutions partner for scoping (the investigation stage that delves into what you need from your CRM, so that it can be set up and calibrated effectively).
For some businesses, a new CRM system can quickly become a white elephant as they discover unexpected issues like complexity, usability, not understanding which metrics to track, etc. That's why getting the right advice in the early stages can be crucial.
Read on to find out why external specialists could be the best choice to guide you through the scoping process and your HubSpot onboarding phase. Here are seven ways you could benefit.
Specialist experience in CRM scoping and onboarding
First off, an agency or 'solutions partner' will know how to run these activities. They may well have designed and honed their method according to best practice. That means they can save the time it would take a non-specialist to design their own approach. BabelQuest, for example, uses a phased approach with five key steps.
It's important to recognise that implementation isn't just about 'switching on' your CRM: there's a lot more at stake. You want to use this crucial part of your infrastructure effectively, but it won't happen if you haven't considered your value proposition, buyer personas and other factors that define your business. 'One size fits all' won't be the right approach.
Based on their level and length of experience, your solutions partner will know which questions to ask to identify your needs (including the questions you haven't thought of). You'll find a quality of thinking about how to set up and use the CRM (as well as dealing with any complications) that won't be present in non-experts.
A solutions partner is outside internal debates and politics. Not only can they ask the right questions but they're also more likely to get the right answers, taking an unbiased view without preconceptions.
An outside view also stops CRM design from becoming 'siloed' or overly influenced by specific stakeholders. It's sometimes the case that one department takes charge of CRM scoping (e.g. Finance, because they handle the budget). If they don't take a 360-degree view, you could end up with a system that isn't suitable for its actual users. An outside contractor will know how to get a proper overview, covering the needs of all stakeholders.
As above, an unbiased, external consultant can address touchy subjects and difficulties that internal stakeholders might avoid. They can also look into the future: they'll know the likely problems and possible scenarios faced by other organisations in your position.
Think of it like a trip to a calm, reassuring doctor. Even if the patient's feeling squeamish or embarrassed, a professional can tell them, "It's nothing I haven't seen before!"
Expertise with HubSpot
A good agency won't take you on if they don't have experience with your chosen CRM. You're looking to them for their expertise, so it has to be right. There's a lot to be gained, however, from hiring a team that’s committed to becoming experts on your chosen platform.
Meanwhile, a solutions partner is committed to working with HubSpot products and learning about their potential on a daily basis. If they are like BabelQuest, they will have worked with HubSpot's product teams. We're even on HubSpot's Partner Advisory Council, gaining a unique insight and access to new developments and features.
Agencies also offer the benefits of a range of individual skill sets. Our own Expert Practices team has members who specialise in the CMS, sales, marketing and the CRM, as well as complex workflows and automation. They have gained all of the HubSpot certifications across software use and strategy. (When choosing your onboarding provider, bear in mind that some will only work on one Hub, limiting their ability to deliver an aligned, integrated infrastructure).
One of the great benefits of using a Solutions Partner (rather than going direct to HubSpot, say) is that they can take a wider view of your needs. They should investigate the different applications you use, and plan how they should be integrated with your CRM.
Not every partner offers a tailored approach, and it sometimes means paying a premium. The saying goes that "you get what you pay for", but it's worth checking if that price really does include what you had in mind.
Some partners keep the scoping phase brief and high-level. We believe a thorough scoping (or 'discovery phase') is vital to delivering your requirements. We also follow up with another key stage: training and testing. Lack of user adoption is a common factor in failed CRM projects; instead we help get your team trained and confident with the system you've put in place, helping you protect your investment.
How much you commit to an agency after implementation will depend on the package you purchase. You may want to sign up for ongoing support to help you solve any new queries quickly. The right set-up — properly scoped, with effective onboarding and training — will also do a lot to avoid future issues.
A well-constructed CRM and data trail can make a massive difference. Putting in the right data points and knowing which targets to aim for gives a more accurate view of sales and marketing effectiveness. Inaccurate data could be telling you one of your salespeople isn't pulling their weight, when all they really need is further training on the CRM. Don’t wait until later to make use of your data — knowing what metrics to put in place and how to use them can make all the difference to forecasting, scheduling and reporting, as well as accuracy and visibility.
Helping you get the CRM in place fast without needing lots of internal resource
You might be surprised how quickly things happen when you outsource! You get the benefits of a dedicated, experienced resource, but they can also drive the project, keeping it on track and making stakeholders answerable to externally set deadlines.
For the education network Globeducate, our Expert Practices team took on a complex implementation. This involved migrating over 30,000 contacts and building a new CRM for use by 50+ schools. We started in December 2019 with a due date of the new academic year, September 2020. Instead, we completed the project in April 2020 (including delays and plan changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic).
Is a Solutions Partner the answer to your prayers?
Your internal team will have other responsibilities and pressures to deal with, but an external HubSpot Solutions Partner offers time, resources, project management and technical expertise. You can also look to the right partner for a professional and committed approach.
BabelQuest is one of only 20 holders of HubSpot's Advanced Implementation Certification for our skills in implementing HubSpot CRMs for complex organisations. By complex, we mean those with multiple, often conflicting demands, rather than a large headcount; we've worked with both large, corporate organisations and small start-ups. We also have experience across a range of industries, from software as a service (SaaS) to education.
When all's said and done, your onboarding experience should be geared towards making your life easier, not landing you with an unmanageable system that isn't fit for purpose.
We can't say we've seen it all when it comes to CRM projects, but we've definitely seen a lot! Our reason for being is to help organisations unlock potential, grow and thrive, but better, wiser and more effectively. And so, if you need us, get in touch!