We hear it all the time and it always makes us shake our heads. Companies believe that once they invest in HubSpot, their digital marketing challenges will vanish.
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While HubSpot offers incredible marketing automation features, analytics, and more, it is not a magic wand. It is, quite simply, a tool. A hammer can be used well or poorly, depending on who wields it. The tool, after all, is only as good as the person who’s using it.
(A hammer can also sit on a bench and never drive a nail. So, make sure you’re actually going to need and use the tool you’re buying.)
When it comes to HubSpot, a juncture of particular challenge is just after the onboarding wraps up. At this point, you have a pretty good working knowledge of the platform, but knowing how to put it to use in your organization requires strategy, broad adoption, and a realistic set of expectations.
If you’re looking to really put the tool to use, here’s how to do so that puts you on the path to long-term growth.
What HubSpot isn’t
Jess Palmeri is a certified HubSpot trainer at IMPACT. She works with clients from around the world getting them onboarded into the HubSpot ecosystem and helps them set up their portal, establish lead conversion paths, build workflows, and properly get accustomed to the HubSpot platform.
She believes that getting started with HubSpot needs to happen with the right mindset.
Too often, she sees companies who suddenly expect their inbound marketing goals to be mapped out, their leads to be well organized, and previously hidden business opportunities to be suddenly revealed. On a daily basis, she has to fight against this misconception with clients, who adopt the software with lofty expectations.
“HubSpot is not going to instantly generate you revenue,” she advises. “You need a strategy.”
HubSpot will help you implement that strategy and then evaluate its efficacy, but it is not a strategy in and of itself.
A digital marketing strategy is a multi-faceted, complex plan that involves content creation, traffic analysis, lead nurturing, email campaigns, website design, and more.
HubSpot can help you with all of these, but the impetus and strategy has to come from you.
However, there is a sometimes-overlooked feature that can help you get on your way: HubSpot Projects.
According to Jess, “the HubSpot Projects tool is a great way for marketing professional and enterprise customers to take a look at recipes for success that have worked for other marketers that also use HubSpot.”
HubSpot has determined the combinations of tools and processes that have worked to accomplish certain objectives with other users. That's where the Projects tool comes in.
If you’re looking to drive more traffic, say, you can follow a templated approach that can help you assign tasks to your team to accomplish that goal. You’ll see the technical steps that move you forward, along with the strategic elements that govern the objective.
Beyond Projects, make use of training resources (more on that below) to help you develop the steps that can move you toward your goals.
For more in-depth training, you can speak to our HubSpot consultants — or learn how our Digital Sales & Marketing Mastery program can have you operating with complete autonomy in 12-24 months.
Plan for long term growth, not short term wins
If you’re serious about using HubSpot to implement your marketing strategy, it’s important to keep in mind the long term nature of true growth.
HubSpot is not going to swoop in and fix your company in the next few weeks — and it’s important that the bosses at your company know this as well.
Jess says, “Sure, maybe HubSpot will give you some quick wins, but it’s really about building processes and strategies that are going to give you sustained, long-term growth and insight.”
Before it can help you grow, HubSpot has to be integrated into your team’s processes and tasks. For many users, just bringing HubSpot into their tech stack is a sizable goal in and of itself. Make sure your expectations account for this onboarding period. You shouldn’t expect to also generate more leads than ever before while you’re just learning the software.
Think about it this way: Buying HubSpot is an acknowledgement that your current marketing processes are flawed. Nothing gets fixed overnight.
“One of the great benefits HubSpot offers,” says Jess, “is the ability to take a magnifying glass to all your existing marketing strategies and procedures so you can gain the insights that allow you to improve.”
Be patient with yourself as you learn the platform.
As you become more and more comfortable in the platform, you will begin to see the results. As each new business challenge presents itself, there are levers you can pull in HubSpot to meet them head on.
If you struggle with attracting leads, doubling down on content creation in a new blog or newsletter might be a good fix. If you have a ton of unqualified leads, adjusting your lead conversion strategy to ask for more information up front can help you identify your best targets.
For each pain point, you can look within the platform for solutions.
Even in the absence of a specific challenge, you can always learn more about what HubSpot offers your business. HubSpot Academy features a wide range of free courses, from beginner to advanced. As does IMPACT+, our digital learning community. Jess also recommends podcasts like Sprocket Talk or IMPACT’s The Hubcast.
After all, HubSpot should be a platform that’s used across departments — and continued learning is crucial.
If you’re not all-in on HubSpot, you’re likely wasting your money.
For IMPACT’s clients, we typically recommend starting with HubSpot’s Marketing Hub Professional or higher. That’s an $800 per month investment.
The reason HubSpot can be so transformative for businesses is because it is used across departments: marketing, sales, service, content writing, and more. That’s how you can make this investment worth it.
When everyone is onboarded onto HubSpot, when teams can share data, track deals, and measure performance, HubSpot becomes an integral part of your success. This comes by way of steady growth and improvement, constant collaboration, and continued learning.
HubSpot offers amazing functionality and a very low barrier for entry — and therefore is an exceptional option for SMBs looking to take control of their digital marketing.
Additionally, there are myriad resources available, from HubSpot Academy and IMPACT+ courses to online communities, podcasts, events, and more that can help you grow your expertise.
To keep developing your skill set, Jess recommends looking closely at your data to see where you can improve. “Once you identify one area of improvement — say it’s deal creation — start asking questions about how you can use HubSpot to improve on that.”
But before you can truly wield the tool with confidence and expertise, you need to build a strong foundation of knowledge to guarantee that your investment in HubSpot is one that will bear fruit long into the future.
Whether you explore training options on your own or partner with experts at IMPACT or another agency, make sure you have a plan for post-onboarding success that prepares you for the future.