HubSpot Agency Partner

Building A HubSpot Partner Agency Within A Traditional Agency (Part 2)

If you haven't read Part 1 of this 2-part series, I highly recommend reading "Building A HubSpot Partner Agency Within A Traditional Agency (Part 1)" before continuing with this article.

Why should a marketing agency care about a software platform?

In 2019, marketing isn’t a separate function from other, siloed areas of the business. Marketing’s job is to fill the lead pipeline for sales to work and close. 

PR’s job is to raise brand awareness and establish credibility that marketing can leverage to attract and nurture leads. Service and operations are tasked with delivering on the promises made by PR, marketing and sales enriching the customer experience and encouraging advocacy.

All business functions have to be aligned to build a revenue generation machine that attracts and qualifies a steady stream of profitable opportunities. HubSpot provides an infrastructure that aligns marketing and sales and effectively tracks the activities of visitors, leads and qualified opportunities as they engage with your content and sales process.

As an agency, having this sort of infrastructure in place means that not only can you attract more clients but you can also serve those clients better by making a greater impact on their bottom line and producing more useful insights from the wealth of analytics data at your fingertips.

The HubSpot platform enables your agency and your clients to develop a sustainable lead pipeline. But software is only a tool and a tool is only useful in the hands of a trained professional…

Which brings us to the other great value proposition for HubSpot partner agencies; providing managed services. 

Traditionally, marketing services were only executional tasks like managing social media, sending emails, running ads, etc. With a platform like HubSpot in place, your agency has fundamentally deeper access to your clients’ business, their data and visibility into their sales process where it all comes together (or doesn’t).

With the added visibility, savvy marketers can spot issues in the sales process or receive feedback from customers about the delivery of the products they purchased and use that information to collaborate between departments to improve the entire customer lifecycle.

If your agency can impact a greater portion of the pre-and-post-sale process then you can also expand retainers, tap into new budgets and broaden your relationships across clients and partners in meaningful ways.

A traditional marketing agency might offer a collection of services like this:

  • Branding / Creative
  • Marketing Content (Blogs / Whitepapers / Infographics / etc)
  • Social Media
  • Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Web Design / Development
  • Public Relations
  • Etc

But a HubSpot partner agency has a much broader (and deeper) portfolio of services to offer:

  • Marketing Automation
  • Lead Nurturing
  • CRM / ERP Integrations
  • Lead Gen
  • Sales Automation
  • Sales Enablement
  • Customer Service Management
  • Account Based Marketing
  • Analytics / Business Intelligence
  • Webcasting
  • NPS Surveys
  • Reputation Management
  • Advocacy / Community Management
  • And more…

HubSpot isn’t just a piece of software anymore. It’s a platform that offers 300+ custom integrations which have been tested and proven in practice by other HubSpot partners. 

Bundled together for easy deployment within the HubSpot Connect library, each of these integrations all present unique opportunities to wrap software solutions with service offerings you can sell to your clients confidently.

So how do you implement HubSpot, train your staff and start offering these services quickly?

Implementing HubSpot as an agency partner is very easy and you can start the process by visiting HubSpot’s agency partner resource page.

Honestly, HubSpot will walk you through everything you need to know to get started, schedule meetings to consult with you on your launch plan and even help you attract and build your first retainer. 

The fabulous HubSpot Academy is worth special mention because the video courses, certifications and learning tracks cover dozens of marketing, sales and service topics, stay constantly updated and (my personal favorite) are extremely time-efficient.

Hooray, I passed! Now I can say I know what I'm talking about for 2 more years...

HubSpot provides an end-to-end onboarding, training and strategic planning process to help you make the most of your investment in the platform so, don’t worry, your team will be set up for success. 

But, if you’re a traditional agency looking to add HubSpot into the mix, here are a few key things to consider before reaching out to HubSpot:

  1. Who will be your internal champion for HubSpot?

    In my experience, trying to grow a HubSpot business (or any revenue stream for that matter) without an internal champion at a senior level will simply fail. Someone has to get passionate about “drinking the orange kool-aid” and look for opportunities to expand retainers, or develop new ones, that integrate HubSpot and related services.

    Your internal champion will need to remain focused on these objectives over time:
    • HubSpot Evangelism - Being passionate about the offering and getting other teams excited throughout your organization is critical.
    • Side-By-Side Training - Your champion should take HubSpot Academy courses, become your resident expert and be able to help the rest of your team learn the parts of HubSpot that are relevant to their jobs, over time.
    • Inbound Marketing Strategy - Inbound is very different from traditional marketing practices and needs to be deeply understood and practiced fully (no short cuts).
    • HubSpot Community Engagement - The best part of being a HubSpot partner agency is also being a member of the partner community, attending events, sharing tips, trends and strategies and forging referral relationships.
    • HubSpot Content Creator - Attracting leads for your HubSpot team requires creating a lot of relevant, optimized content and your champion will be the person who’s best positioned to understand and produce this content.
    • Agency Inbound Specialist - You want more leads to your overall business right? Make sure your champion is proving their expertise on your own inbound marketing campaigns first. Practice what your HubSpot team is preaching!
  2. HubSpot won’t force you to change but...are you willing to consider it?

    Food for thought… HubSpot has a unique vantage point; with visibility into the internal workings of tens of thousands of agencies worldwide.

    They also have significant market research capabilities and, since a large portion of their revenue is managed by agency partners, they’re motivated to put their resources to work helping their partners “grow better together”.

    Take advantage!

    Integrating HubSpot offerings into your agency will generate the best results if you dedicate a salesperson, an account lead and an execution (support) role to the initiative.

    With that “pod” in place, you can integrate your shared services (creative, content, development, etc) as needed; just try to remain flexible to the unique needs of the HubSpot team.

    Whenever possible, coordinate between teams to set up SLAs (service level agreements) and special pricing to give your HubSpot team room to navigate their competitive landscape.

    Competing inbound agency pricing models may differ from how you’ve traditionally done business but agility in pricing and retainer structure will go a long way to maximize the ROI on your HubSpot investment.
  3. How will you scale your HubSpot offering once it starts to work?

    Bringing the focus back to driving value to your bottom line, there’s no point in building a team to support a new offering just to carry a few more clients with (relatively) small retainers.

    You’ll only be able to take full advantage of the opportunity HubSpot provides if you can A) scale quickly with demand and, as a result, B) profit from a margin on outsourced work.

    The typical HubSpot agency model is to only staff the account / client services personnel needed to manage clients and projects (outsourcing production work) until your revenues are large enough to support 2x+ the salaries of any specialist roles you need to manage production.

    Grow account staff as you take on new accounts (a 5-to-1 ratio is a good rule of thumb).

    Hire in-house specialists when you can lower production costs (because their salary is less than the cost of outsourcing) and you have 2x+ their salary in sustainable (contracted) revenues.

The HubSpot opportunity is massive. The timing is right and inbound marketing is the future. Lead generation is the number one issue for the vast majority of sales and marketing leaders. 
Positioning your agency with expertise in these areas increases your visibility with client stakeholders and improves your ability to impact their bottom line and receive the credit for doing so.

To learn more about HubSpot partner agencies and to assess if this strategy is right for your agency, schedule a chat with me (free, no obligation). We’ll review your current agency’s structure, pricing model and offerings and I’ll help you evaluate if this opportunity is a good fit for your business.

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