HubSpot agency onboarding

3 Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting HubSpot Onboarding

Patrick Dodge


The day our agency signed up for HubSpot onboarding, our business changed forever.

For the first time, we had the ability to manage all aspects of digital marketing and analytics in one portal. as well as show proven ROI to our clients. 

We built our business since then using HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs, but it wasn't easy. Inbound marketing takes effort, patience, and focus. There are no short cuts.

But we can share a few things that would've been helpful to know at the starting line.

As your organization prepares for the journey ahead, you will want to pay special attention to three key areas of your business: internal stakeholders, marketing contacts, and the buyers themselves.

Your Entire Organization Needs to Adopt HubSpot.sparklers

If your HubSpot implementation is going to be a success, it needs to become a part of your company culture.

From the CEO down to the parking lot attendant – your employees need to understand what it is and what their role will be in making it a success.

We were a team of one when we started with HubSpot’s guided client onboarding, so buy-in wasn’t much of an issue here. But after helping other businesses get started, we’ve seen what can happen when stakeholders see HubSpot only as a “marketing thing.”

People who work in Operations, Sales, IT, and even Finance may play a part in the set up of your portal.

IT will assist in updating DNS records and other hosting tasks. Sales will work with Marketing to define processes and set lead qualification criteria. If you are planning to use HubSpot for eCommerce, you will also need people from Finance to assist with payment apps and revenue reporting.

These departments outside of Marketing can also contribute to your ongoing content strategy as well. Even if "content creation" is not in their job description, they can still add value to potential customers that are looking for answers.

Your experienced colleagues have valuable insights to share, and they should participate in blog interviews, recording videos.

No matter what role each person plays in your HubSpot onboarding, they all need to make time for it and follow through with assigned tasks.

When people start adopting an “I’ll get around to it” mindset it will slow your progress and hurt results.

I’ve seen this happen many times.

Save time and improve efficiency with HubSpot Onboarding. Check out our  checklist template >>

Segment Your Marketing Contacts.


Your implementation costs will be directly impacted by the size of your marketing contact list.

Starting in 2020, HubSpot stopped billing new customers for the total contacts in their portal, shifting instead to a model where only "marketing contacts" will count towards your billable total.

So, it’s a good idea to get your contact database in order before embarking on partner onboarding with HubSpot.

Here is a short list of steps that will help:

1. Start with an overall cleanup.

Purge contacts that haven’t engaged your brand in a long time, as well as contacts that are no longer relevant to your current service offerings.

2. Remove contacts that hard bounce.

Both hard and global bounces indicate a permanent error that will keep your email from reaching your contact’s inbox.

HubSpot will exclude these from any emails you send in hopes of protecting your reputation on email servers, but it’s best to wipe the slate clean before your implementation begins.

Tools like Neverbounce are great for isolating and purging addresses that are no longer valid.

"No matter what role each person plays in your HubSpot onboarding, they all need to make time for it and follow through with assigned tasks.

When people start adopting an “I’ll get around to it” mindset, it will slow progress and hurt results."

3. Separate your marketing and non-marketing contacts.

Not every contact in your database may be appropriate for marketing messages. You might have several contacts at the companies you work with, and maybe only one or two that should receive marketing messages.

By separating your contacts into these two buckets, it will save money as you finalize your HubSpot contract.

4. Sort your leads from customers.

When your marketing campaign kicks off, you will want to adjust the messaging you use with your contacts according to where they are in the buyer’s journey.

Leads have different goals than your customers, and it makes sense to communicate with them differently. The sooner you can sort out who’s who in your sales funnel, the better off you will be.

Related Content: How to Prepare Your Contact Database for HubSpot Onboarding

Don't Assume You Know How Your Buyers Make Decisions.


As much as we love HubSpot, their onboarding process falls short when the subject of buyer personas comes up.

A buyer persona is a reflection of how your buyers think and behave during the decision making process, based on confirmed insights from actual buyers.

The second half of that sentence is very important.

A buyer persona is profile built from the experiences of real buyers, not assumptions your team makes about them.

No matter how well Marketing and Sales think they know your buyers, they are not getting the whole story about what's important to them as they make decisions.

Time and again, our research shows price is never the top consideration in a B2B purchase. But if you talk to your sales people why they lost a sale, they will tell you it’s the cost every time.

Why is this?

Because buyers don’t share the real criteria behind their decision making. They talk about price because they are trying to negotiate the best deal possible.

But other important aspects of your solution weigh heavily on their mind. Cost is important, but other criteria usually determines whether they choose your brand or another.

When faced with the step of developing a buyer persona profile during HubSpot onboarding, many companies make one of three mistakes:

  • Confusing persona insights with demographic data – Age, income, and other demographic information tells you nothing useful about how your buyers make decisions.
  • Talking to established customers or salespeople for insights – this approach leads to biased and inaccurate information every time.
  • Making assumptions about your customers and calling it good

The most reliable way to get fresh, reliable insights is by interviewing buyers who have never heard of your brand and have evaluated and purchased a solution like yours in the last 12 months. We use a specific approach for nailing down key insights that will help inform your content strategy.

Having been through our own HubSpot onboarding, as well as helping many other businesses with theirs, I can tell you the most important thing is to take it seriously.

Implementing HubSpot Marketing Hub or any of the other hubs is not something you are going to do well by dedicating a half hour a day to it. There is a lot of work involved, but you can cut down on the load considerably by using a HubSpot agency partner.

Most companies find they have less work to do and get better service by working with a team that knows the tools inside and out, and has a vested interest in seeing your company succeed.

Regardless of the approach you choose, I wish you the best of luck on your HubSpot implementation!

Need help implementing HubSpot for your organization? We'll get you set up quickly and efficiently.  

Learn More >>


Nov 2, 2021 11:11:11 AM