HubSpot is a truly remarkable platform which can bring all aspects of your digital marketing, sales, and customer service together in one convenient dashboard. Despite its size and scope, HubSpot is remarkably easy to use -once you understand it.
Still, it would be misleading to say that there isn't a significant learning curve; to use HubSpot to its fullest potential requires mastering not only the software, but also the practices of inbound marketing and inbound sales.
Unlike outbound sales and marketing strategies, inbound strategies rely on attracting customers to you, rather than reaching out and trying to convince them to do business with you.
In a nutshell, it's a pull -not a push- strategy. If your sales and marketing teams are accustomed to outreach and advertising, it's not an easy transition to make quickly. In most cases you'll need to bring in outside expertise to guide your team through the transition.
Many companies choose to work with HubSpot agencies -and this is a great option if you can afford the cost. But there are disadvantages to working with agencies; losing the expertise if you drop the agency, for example.
In the end, if you're investing into HubSpot, it's a very good idea to bring expert talent on to your team, or bring in someone who can set your HubSpot account up correctly and then teach your team how to operate it to achieve your business goals.
If this sounds like your situation, read on to learn more about how to hire a HubSpot consultant to help you create an effective inbound sales and marketing engine.
How To Find An Expert HubSpot Consultant
The obvious answer is that you should be able to find them by looking for answers to your questions online, right? That is the inbound marketing approach after all.
But a personal recommendation trumps a lot of searching around on the Internet and it can be difficult to qualify the the experience of consultants whose skillset you don't personally possess.
So the best two ways to find expertise in inbound marketing tend to be searching the web for consultants with their own compelling marketing funnels and being given recommendations through your network.
Alternatively, you might also want to attend your local HubSpot users group, as many of those people are well connected with the local subject matter experts.
Evaluating Their HubSpot Experience
When it comes to testing a prospective consultant's skillset, the challenge is that anyone worth their salt will be far more knowledgeable than you in the subject. The trick is to be able to tell confidence from experience.
Certifications are useful in this regard and HubSpot provides a number of them, so you can get a feel for how committed someone is to the platform by how many HubSpot certifications they've passed.
Personally, I keep up-to-date certifications in the subjects of inbound marketing, inbound sales, content marketing, email marketing, and various "hub-specific" tools within the platform
Certifications are a good place to start but they don't guarantee that your candidate has any real, verifiable on-the-job experience.
Referrals and references are the only qualifications you can trust 100%. Successful HubSpot consultants will have plenty of both.
Unlike with graphic designers or copywriters, you can't rely on someone's portfolio; there's nothing to look at most of the time. Instead they should provide case studies, including data which demonstrates the results they helped generate.
What Inbound Services Do You Need?
HubSpot is an increasingly complex platform with many interlocking parts; from components like the CRM, which blur the lines between sales and marketing, to integrations which extend your beyond your website (advertising, for example).
The types of inbound services you'll need will depend on your goals and your situation. If you want to increase the amount of traffic to your website, or grow your lead pipeline, then inbound marketing will need to be a focus.
If your sales teams are struggling to get in front of the right people, consider shifting to an inbound sales approach.
Want to turn happy customers into lead generation engines? HubSpot's Service Hub provides a support ticket system, knowledge base, NPS surveys, and other tools.
Each one of HubSpot's "hubs" focus a phase of their conjoined marketing, sales, and service system (the full HubSpot platform): Marketing Hub (Attract), Sales Hub (Engage), and Service Hub (Delight).
The goal of this practice is to replace the pursuit of new business (outbound) with a more sustainable dynamic where the business comes to you, prequalified, and ready to convert.
Viewing your business through the lens of HubSpot's inbound methodology will reveal the areas where you need the most support, and therefore, the specific skills your HubSpot consultant will need to possess.
How To Get The Most From Your HubSpot Consultant
Like with any consulting relationship, you'll get the best value return if your arrangement is structured to incentivize the consultant to deliver results (rather than hours of work).
As a HubSpot certified consultant, I sometimes find myself working in situations that are too tightly controlled; dictating the specific actions that I'm supposed to take without room for interpretation. This approach may ensure that you enjoy a certain dollar-per-hour efficiency, but doesn't leave the expert any room to share their expertise with you.
I recommend taking a hybrid approach, establishing parameters and goals for your relationship that incentivize resourcefulness, efficiency, and growth-oriented thinking.
For example, let's say you need to set up a lead nurturing campaign for a particular type of buyer (buyer persona) from scratch. Your HubSpot expert should recommend a strategy designed to achieve a set of SMART goals and then also help implement the various landing pages, workflows, emails, and other technical aspects required to execute the campaign.
To ensure your consultant's efforts are aligned with your best interests, structure your agreement around successfully achieving the SMART goals by particular dates. It's important that the consultant recommends the goals (so that they're achievable), but you can make future work contingent upon success or build in financial incentives to ensure alignment.
The structure of your relationship is important, but bilateral trust is even more critical. You need to be able to expose sensitive parts of your business model to your consultant to reap the fruits of their labors.
HubSpot expertise isn't much use to you if you don't give your expert visibility into your entire revenue generation process. A "30,000 foot view" of how you make money is essential to presenting crafting an inbound strategy for your business.
And remember, you're hiring someone with expertise you don't possess, so give them all the information they need, and take their advice.
Hiring a certified HubSpot consultant is a great way to integrate the radical new skills and strategies required to utilize the platform's full potential. Your team may be very good at what they do, but it's unlikely those skills will transfer to an inbound methodology easily without the support of a trained professional.
Finding a qualified professional with the experience you need means first understanding your needs, from an inbound marketing perspective, and then sourcing an expert with relevant experience from the web -or, ideally, from a personal recommendation.
To achieve the most satisfying results, structure your relationship around the business outcomes you're trying to achieve (SMART goals) and encourage transparency between your team and your consultant. Tying their success to yours in goal-oriented campaigns ensures mutual success, keeping everyone honest and motivated.
If this information has been helpful, please consider reaching out to me for a free HubSpot and inbound strategy consultation. I've helped dozens of brands develop successful inbound marketing strategies, in both B2B and B2C industries, and I'm always interested in new opportunities to help companies make the game-changing transition from outbound to inbound.