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4 keys to an effective HubSpot strategy in 2021

4 keys to an effective HubSpot strategy in 2021 Blog Feature

Carina Duffy

HubSpot Trainer, Co-Host of the Hubcast, IMPACT+ Instructor, INBOUND Speaker, Retains 12 HubSpot Certifications

May 7th, 2021 min read

It seems like we just blinked and went from talking about the new year to the second quarter. (We did, didn't we?)

While new year budgeting may be behind you, you should always be evaluating the things you spend on and if it's worth your investment, especially when it comes to something as pricey as HubSpot. 

If you’re using HubSpot to execute any of your marketing, sales, or service efforts,  you’re likely investing between $10 and $50,000 a year for the tools.

But, in our experience, that doesn't necessarily mean you have invested just as much in creating strategies specific to how you actually use the platform. 

I lead a team at IMPACT that's sole purpose is to help others get the most out of their HubSpot investment, which includes developing strategies for how to use different areas of the tools effectively.

🎓 Free Related Course: Marketing Automation Mastery (with HubSpot Workflows)

Before jumping into the keys to building out your HubSpot strategy for 2021, it’s important to understand from a high level how you can make sure you’re getting the most out of the tool (spoiler alert: a big piece of that is your strategy!).

How to get the most out of the HubSpot platform

If you’ve ever heard me speak at an event, or heard me talk in any context about getting the most out of your HubSpot investment, you’ve heard me say something like these two things:

Having HubSpot does not automatically make you a great inbound marketer, salesperson, service rep, etc.

HubSpot is not a strategy. It’s a tool that helps you execute your strategies. 

I, too often, encounter disillusioned HubSpot users who purchased the platform and started setting things up only to realize that they don’t really know what they should be doing in there. 

Or they check all the boxes like setting up forms, lead nurturing automation, all the good stuff, only to realize a year later that none of it is really driving the results they were hoping for.

🎓 Free Related Lesson: How to do HubSpot lead nurturing (that isn't terrible)

So how do you make sure you’re actually getting the most out of HubSpot? 

You forget about HubSpot entirely.

Okay, maybe not entirely, but ignore that thought for a moment and develop your marketing, sales, and/or service strategies based on your business’ goals, needs, and customers. 

Then, take those strategies and use all of the HubSpot tools you have at your disposal to execute them, evaluate them, and iterate on them.

Simple, right? 

Of course, there’s a lot that goes into that last paragraph of strategy-building and executing, but if you can take this perspective on your use of HubSpot, you’ll find you’ll use the tools much more effectively, and will actually be able to use them to move the needle for your company.

When helping teams build out their HubSpot-related strategies, here are four keys our IMPACT team always makes sure are at the foundation, no matter a company’s industry, size, or customer-base.

1. Data strategy

If you’re one of many front-end HubSpot users who isn’t hyper-technical, hearing terms like data structure and organization might make your stomach turn, but when you strip back all of the things we use HubSpot for, data is its core.

From collecting website visitor and contact data on the marketing side and collecting prospect and deal data on the sales side, to collecting customer and support ticket data on the service side, using HubSpot means we’re collecting a lot of data. 

(It’s kind of the whole point, right?)

HubSpot has so many tools for collecting all kinds of data, but what many users don’t realize is that it’s up to them to organize and wrangle it in a way that they can create meaningful reports and truly assess the things that they’re doing in the tools.

Enter: Your data strategy. 

Take the time to document what data you’re currently collecting and how it’s being collected, as well as what data you would ideally like to be capturing. 

Break it out for your contacts, companies, deals, and tickets (depending on which Hubs you’re using). 

Here’s an example:

1. Contact Data (Note: you may have different priorities for contacts at different stages of their lifecycle, make sure to include that!)

  • General contact info (first name, last name, email, etc.) - collected via Forms
  • Job Title - collected via Forms, populated by Sales Rep
  • Product Interest - populated by Sales Rep
  • Should be collecting: Budget, Timeline to Purchase

2. Company Data

  • General company info - populated via HubSpot Insights
  • Industry - populated by Sales Rep

3. Deal Data

  • General deal info (deal name, deal owner amount, etc) - populated by Sales Rep creating deal
  • Should be collecting: deal type, service interest

4. Integrated Data

  • Data being pulled from other tools (i.e. Salesforce, SurveyMonkey, Drift)

🔎 Related: Best HubSpot integrations: 22 to supercharge your marketing and sales

Once you’ve documented this, take an audit of this data in your HubSpot portal and make sure you’re structuring each of these properties in a way that allows you to create reports and assess performance. 

For example, are you collecting Job Title on forms, but do so as an open single-line text field so contacts can type in whatever they want? 

Do you want to be able to segment by general job title/role for your email nurturing or your lead assignment? 

If so, you’ll want to consider changing this property to dropdown with options like CEO, VP, Manager, etc. so you can start to standardize this information.

Take note of any properties that currently aren’t standardized and go through each in your HubSpot portal to make sure they get updated.

The End Goal: To understand what data is coming into HubSpot and how it’s coming in, so you can organize it and report on it. (Having great data is what will drive everything else!)

2. Lead capture strategy

Documenting your data strategy will dictate how you build your lead capture strategy. 

🎓 Free Related Course: Inbound Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization

Your lead capture process includes capturing contacts via your HubSpot forms, any API connections or integrations, and any manual creation or importing of contacts. 

Per our example above, if you’ve identified when building out your data strategy that you need to be collecting a structured Job Title/Role for bottom-of-the-funnel form submissions, you’ll need to update that contact property with your dropdown options, then go to any HubSpot form you’re using that property on and make sure it’s updated with the new field options.

You’ll also want to decide if you want to make that field mandatory when users are manually creating contacts and adjust that in your settings.

Make sure for every campaign you’re putting together in HubSpot you’re thinking through what data you need to capture on leads and structuring it the same way you have for your other campaigns.

Because contacts are at the core of the HubSpot CRM, how you capture leads lays the foundation for everything else you do in HubSpot (automation, lead prioritization, lead routing, etc.). Without it, your HubSpot strategy will have no legs to stand on.

🔎 Related: Is the HubSpot CRM the best for They Ask, You Answer?

The End Goal: To translate your data strategy into HubSpot with all of your lead capture tools

3. Automation strategy

One of the big reasons we want to have a great data and lead capture strategy is so we can easily automate manual processes in HubSpot, whether it’s at the contact, company, deal, or ticket level.

🎓 Free Related Course: Marketing Automation Mastery (with HubSpot Workflows)

Once you’ve got your data and lead capture strategies down, map out the entire cycle of a single lead, from when they first visit your site until they become a customer. 

Note what needs to happen at each stage a lead goes through, and which things can be automated with a workflow or a setting in HubSpot.

To continue with our previous example — maybe when a bottom-of-the-funnel lead comes in you want to route them to different sales reps based on what their job role is and what your sales reps’ experiences are. 

Now that you’ve restructured your Job Title property with a few dropdown fields, you can create a workflow that looks at contact’s Job Title field, and assigns them based on whether they’re a CEO, a VP, a manager, or something else.

You may even take it a step further and have that same workflow create deals for your reps and then create follow-up tasks for them. 

Because automation is one of HubSpot’s most valuable and time-saving features, a strategy that lacks it means you’re wasting time doing things that HubSpot could be doing for you!

This part is like the cherry on top of your beautiful HubSpot data sundae.

The End Goal: To automate as many manual processes as possible so you can spend your time doing more valuable things!

4. Education strategy

There are certainly many different factors in having an effective HubSpot strategy in 2021, but the single best thing you can do for your strategy is to include individual and team education in it!

Part of what makes HubSpot awesome is that every organization that uses it will use it uniquely, even if many aspects will overlap. 

This means that there is always an opportunity to learn about how others are using the tools, and well as to stay sharp on what’s new in the platform on an ongoing basis.

A few things we highly recommend including in your education strategy are:

New HubSpot Certifications. Take a peek through HubSpot Academy’s courses and lessons and decide which ones you want to prioritize based on your overall goals. Set due dates for each one you want to do complete so you can plan time to take them.

Engaging in the HubSpot User community. There are lots of ways to do this, but here are a few ideas - find a HubSpot User Group in your area (and if there isn’t one, think about starting one!), spend time on learning about top feature requests and how other users get around feature limitations, join the HubSpot User Slack (user-run).

Consider bringing in an outside perspective. Have a HubSpot portal audit done to identify areas of opportunity for learning or using the platform better, or bring in a consultant to work with your team on a regular basis to push you to learn and keep you accountable for the long haul.

The End Goal: Continue to grow your knowledge of both the HubSpot tools and higher-level strategies!

Make 2021 the year of HubSpot awesomeness!

Even if you’ve struggled in the past to get the most out of your HubSpot portal, all hope is not lost! Follow these four keys, and you’ll be on your way to HubSpot awesomeness in no time.

Looking for help with your HubSpot strategy? We've got plenty of amazing courses and resources in IMPACT+ to help:


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