New Perspective goes behind the scenes for an insider’s look at HubSpot onboarding best practices.
HubSpot CRM is an incredibly powerful platform that streamlines your sales, marketing, and service operations into one location. It enables you to track your entire customer journey from initial marketing interaction to customer service over time. To be honest, the difference between harnessing the power of HubSpot’s CRM platform and not using it can be pretty dramatic. Not one of our clients has ever regretted switching over.
While HubSpot is extremely simple and intuitive to use, the best way to maximize its benefits is to onboard the team. As a HubSpot Platinum Partner and HubSpot Onboarding Accredited firm, we’ve developed a highly effective onboarding process for our clients and their teams that entails mapping out your goals, configuring the software to fit your needs, conducting thorough data hygiene, and training on its tools and features.
We’re going to use a recent client example to show you how the best practices can make for a successful transition. A smooth onboarding process will get your team up to speed quickly and optimize your use of the platform — so you can use it to its fullest potential right away.
The client is a B2B business that helps other businesses achieve sustainability and resource efficiency. Growing fast, they needed to ramp up their sales and marketing capabilities to keep pace. We onboarded their team to HubSpot’s Sales and Marketing hubs and they’ve never looked back. Here are the 5 steps and best practices we recommend.
5 steps and best practices for HubSpot onboarding
1. Discovery and Planning
No matter the client, we’re consistent about this. We need to understand the client’s business and goals — get under the hood of their current processes to see how they will translate to HubSpot and what needs optimization and improvement. This is the foundation of any successful onboarding process.
In the case of our client, their marketing team relied on a battery of tools they were used to, but they realized HubSpot offered better ways to beef up the system. We looked at both sales’ and marketing’s various tools and workflows, what kinds of customizations might be required for better results, and what templates or assets would have to be transitioned over.
By the end of this phase everyone was comfortable with shifting to the HubSpot platform, knowing they would have everything they needed (and more) to do their jobs.
2. Portal Setup
The HubSpot portal isn’t just your front door — it’s the structure and engine as well. We use the portal setup phase to build the practical foundation of how — and who — will be using HubSpot, and what they use.
A lot of nuance goes into it, such as partitioning assets and teams, creating the right range of workflows, pipelines, records, and objects (which represent a business’ relationships and processes), and determining what’s accessed by what users.
One phenomenon we see in companies that overlook this phase is that they become overwhelmed by having too many assets and templates to effectively manage.
Given that our client’s fast pace of growth was already a lot for their eight-person sales team, we worked with them to ensure everyone had access to their own sales assets, records, and tools, but didn’t have to navigate anything unnecessary.
That’s part of our core philosophy when it comes to onboarding HubSpot: Let the team have access to the essential tools they need to effectively do their job. We found that keeping it streamlined means faster adoption and nearly instant success.
3. Data Cleaning and Migration
Consider what happens when you move to a new location: ideally, you don’t want to move what you no longer need. The same should be true for your data. You don’t just want to migrate everything into the HubSpot CRM.
Doing so wastes a lot of resources and clogs up the channels. We find this is a hard step for many organizations, and it’s certainly time-consuming, and it can seem counterintuitive to shuttle hard-won information gathered over years. But it’s important.
We ask clients and their teams what they consistently use, and what they need. Is there data you’re keeping just because? A legacy set of contacts or reports, for instance, that hasn’t been touched in years?
That was definitely a challenge for this B2B client. They had amassed quite a collection of legacy sales activities, including emails, notes, and calls that had not been referenced in their recent history. If they archived all of that data, would they lose access to it — and more importantly, would they ever need it?
After a lot of discussion we created a cutoff: anything over two years old would be left behind. The client started their new CRM with far less data clutter, which enabled them to focus on migrating the data that mattered.
We involve our clients and their teams throughout every phase of the HubSpot onboarding process, so everyone becomes acquainted with how HubSpot operates, what it offers, and can have a sense of how they’re going to leverage its tools.
Change is never easy, but the more contact people have with HubSpot the less they have to fear the unknown. By the time we get to training, many of our clients’ teams are already familiar with the HubSpot ecosystem.
Now comes the fun part: learning how it all works. If people haven’t yet given their buy-in, the chance to roll up their sleeves and get to work inspires it.
Back to our B2B client. Our approach to training is always both constructive and empathetic — if people aren’t comfortable in a new system, they’re not going to thrive.
For instance, to help the marketing team envision how HubSpot’s features would work, we set up real-world use examples. We walked the team through everything, including how they would set up one of their campaigns from contact import, to forms, to landing pages, to email follow-up.
We mapped out how they would manage all of this via workflows — and this benefit was instrumental in getting their buy-in. Being able to see how the HubSpot platform would function in their day-to-day, they recognized the potential value, from saving time to having data and information at the ready.
Before long they were almost running their training themselves, as they focused on their tasks, priorities and goals.
5. Ongoing support
We provide all the training clients need to get up and running. But our commitment to client success on HubSpot doesn't end with that. HubSpot is a dynamic platform that continually evolves and improves on itself.
Whether it’s a new iteration of an existing tool or a new feature HubSpot rolls out, we support our clients in being able to learn and optimize that capability. We also find that as clients get comfortable on the platform, they have ideas about what else they could use. Scaling up is a natural process for many of our clients.
We don’t want any team to have to spin its wheels, whether it’s a new function or a new issue that suddenly comes up. So our role is ongoing: we help clients get started, help them stay on track, and often continue to suggest ways they can use the tools to their best advantage and ROI.
As for our B2B client, after their successful onboarding we’ve continued to provide support with quarterly training and brainstorming sessions for new campaigns and lead gen pieces.
Any hiccups along the way, we stick to best practices and overcome any challenges together. It’s working smoothly, and the client says they’re seeing the results. T
hey’ve noted that the streamlined marketing, sales, and fulfillment system makes for better collaboration, more effective decision-making, and faster information retrieval. Having a standardized sales process makes expanding the sales team easier as well.
Lean on onboarding expertise
We highly recommend that any business takes the time and onboards to HubSpot right, with a well-organized, goal-driven process that paces itself according to your team’s needs. Our years of expertise and insights into the platform mean we’re skilled at getting up to speed. We love to see the spark of inspiration that happens when people get to know the platform.
But we also know that in reality, most organizations don’t have the bandwidth or the knowledge to onboard the way we do. If that strikes a chord for you — or if you’ve always wondered if HubSpot could boost your business, if only you knew how — feel free to connect with us. We’d love to support your team and propel them to HubSpot success!