I love working for a HubSpot partner agency, because I get to work with companies in a multitude of industries, from SaaS to healthcare an d even construction.
This experience has taught me that the problems and challenges these companies face when it comes to marketing are actually more similar than they are different.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to a desire to increase revenue through digital marketing and online lead generation.
The best way to do this is to establish your company as the most trustworthy source of information in your industry by educating your audience and in doing so, helping them to solve their own problems and challenges.
That’s at the heart of what inbound marketing is all about - and HubSpot was built specifically for inbound marketers.
The number of companies using HubSpot has grown dramatically and the company now has over 56,000 customers in more than 100 countries.
Many of these organizations choose to work with HubSpot partner agencies, either because they don’t have the bandwidth internally to execute their marketing work or because they lack the deep level of platform-specific expertise needed to get the most from their investment in HubSpot.
Just as there are many types of organizations that choose to hire HubSpot partner agencies, there are also many types of HubSpot partner agencies offering a wide range of services including:
Marketing strategy & implementation
Web design & development
...and the list goes on.
With all of these different services, and thousands of HubSpot agencies from which to choose, where do you even start when it comes time to decide which partner agency you’re going to work with?
For many companies, the main concern is the cost.
Before you dive into “how much is it going to cost me to work with a HubSpot partner agency?” (and yes, we’ll get there shortly), you need to understand what your needs are first.
Establishing Your Marketing Goals
Before you spend money with a HubSpot partner agency, you need to define what you’re hoping to get out of that relationship. What will success look like? How will you measure it?
When it comes to digital marketing, the most common objectives tend to be to increase web traffic, decrease bounce rates, and increase lead conversions (and the list goes on).
But, marketers need to take a deeper dive into that.
Our main job is to impact sales in the organization. CEOs and leadership don’t really care how much traffic you got last month, unless, of course, you’re working at a marketing agency. Instead, they’re focused on cash flow and revenue.
As a marketer who is thinking of hiring an agency, start with the end in mind when defining your goals.
You can do this by having real conversations with the sales leaders in your company and your CFO. What revenue goals is the company wanting to hit year over year?
Use this information to work backwards and determine the marketing metrics you’ll need to hit to support those revenue goals.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your company wants to make $10M in sales this year. Great! They want 65% of that revenue to come from marketing efforts. Sweet!
Your Goal: $6.5 M in marketing-influenced revenue.
What is the average close rate of your sales reps? Let’s say 50%.
If one new customer equals $100K, on average, then your reps need to close about 65 clients per month.
If they are closing 50% of the sales leads marketing sends them, they need 130 QUALIFIED leads per month. They aren’t going to have a 50% close rate if the leads aren’t educated about your product or service and they aren’t qualified.
If you are converting 20% of your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to sales qualified leads (SQLs), you need to be producing 650 MQLs per month.
This means that your website needs to have a conversion rate of 5%, which would yield 13,000 new contacts to nurture down the funnel.
So how many total website visits do you need to make that happen? 260,000 visits per month!
That’s a lot of work for a small marketing team to accomplish, right?
Now that you have this data, it’s important to break this down into measurable objectives, and what we recommend is doing this every 90-days.
Understanding Your Marketing Needs
Starting with the end in mind, you can now compare that to what your data is currently telling you.
Perhaps you are close to hitting your target for website visits, but your conversion rate is less than 1%. Maybe you’re struggling on converting contacts into MQLs and SQLs.
Where are your gaps? How far away from your goals are you? How many resources do you have internally to help you close the gap and reach the company’s goals?
If you are a one-person show and your gap is substantial, you’ll need to spend more than if you are close to hitting your targets and just need a little bit of extra help to get you that last mile..
THIS is the basis of understanding what your needs are, so that you can be prepared to have meaningful conversations about pricing when you talk with potential HubSpot agency partners.
How Is Agency Pricing Determined?
There are many different ways that agencies work with clients, as well as different pricing models, that will impact how much you spend with a HubSpot partner agency.
Marketing Consulting vs. Marketing Implementation
Some companies that work with HubSpot partner agencies rely on them solely for consulting (think of this as the agency looking over your shoulder to make sure that what you’re doing is going to get you the results you want), whereas others depend upon their agency to do some - or all - of their marketing work for them.
Choosing whether you will enter into an agency agreement focused on consulting versus marketing implementation is a decision that can drive costs up or down.
So what’s the difference and how do you know if you need consulting/training or marketing strategy and implementation?
Marketing consultants, by definition, are paid to share their expertise and knowledge to help businesses attain goals and solve problems. They evaluate your issues, look for gaps in your strategies and data and work with you to develop solutions.
Marketing consultants do not do the marketing work for you, but instead train and consult you on how to do it on your own. Companies typically choose to work with consultants when they have the internal team to execute the work, but lack the strategic insight needed to build the overarching strategy or campaign and/or sufficient knowledge of HubSpot.
Marketing strategy and implementation, on the other hand, is a little bit of consulting combined with the development and implementation of marketing strategies. Agencies that provide marketing strategy and implementation support have multi-disciplinary teams that focus on co-creating your marketing strategy, consulting on which tactics work, and actually executing the work.
In regards to pricing, consulting engagements with HubSpot partner agencies typically start at $2,500/month and can go as high as $10,000/month depending upon the volume of marketing campaigns, their complexity and/or the size of your organization.
When it comes to marketing strategy and implementation, pricing varies widely, but typically starts at $5,000/month, with the majority of retainers falling somewhere in the $5,000 to $20,000 per month range. There are many factors that will influence where you fall in that range, from how far you are from achieving your goals to how fast you want to see results and the type of support you need.
Cost-Based vs. Value-Based Pricing
Not all HubSpot partner agencies calculate their prices in the same way, making it difficult to compare apples to apples if you’re shopping around a specific project or scope of work. Two of the more common pricing models that we’ve seen are cost-based pricing and value-based pricing.
Cost-based pricing is calculated by determining what it costs to produce the product (or service), setting desired margins and adding those margins to the costs. This approach is fairly straightforward and often translated into a simple hourly rate.
HubSpot has thousands of agency partners, and those in the lower tiers (top partners are ranked from Silver to Elite) generally charge anywhere between $100 to $130 per hour, whereas higher tiered partners charge anywhere between $150 and $180 per hour.
Cost-based pricing is easy to understand, but can set you up for an adversarial relationship with your agency partner right from the very beginning. Why? Because it encourages you as the client to focus on every dollar spent on “doing” rather than the value an agency brings to your organization.
By contrast, value-based pricing is a method that quantifies an agency’s value in ways that relate directly to your profitability.
Value-based pricing doesn’t focus on the agency’s cost by the hour. Instead, it’s based more on client goals, desires, and capabilities, as well as the specific added value that the agency brings to the table. For example, with value-based pricing, you might pay more for a meeting with the agency’s top strategist than you would for email copywriting. Both of these things might take the agency an hour of time to complete, but they fundamentally hold different value to you as a client..
How do agencies charge using the value-based pricing strategy? Most do so by using a point-pricing system. That means that each marketing project or task is assigned a fixed-point total based simply on the value of delivery rather than an hourly estimate. Every single point has a purpose. The value-based point strategy ensures that every client an agency works with gets the full value of every dollar they are spending.
What you spend with a HubSpot partner agency can vary greatly, but regardless of what you spend, one thing remains consistent across all agency-client relationships and that is that the money you spend on an agency should generate a return on your investment (ROI).
Tackle the above before you speak to a HubSpot Partner Agency sales rep and you’ll be armed with the right information to have meaningful conversations that will lead to the right price that fits your needs, addresses how to meet your goals and provides you with the right amount of resources to help you achieve success!
Published on February 21, 2019
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