If you're looking to implement HubSpot's powerful CRM and associated marketing, sales, and service software, you may be considering working with a HubSpot partner agency vs working with HubSpot themselves or even trying to configure HubSpot CRM by yourself.
In this article, we'll explore what a HubSpot partner agency is, why you should consider working with one, and the importance of partnering with a HubSpot agency for CRM and HubSpot onboarding success.
What is a HubSpot partner agency?
A HubSpot partner is a company that has met HubSpot's rigorous criteria for demonstrating expertise in configuration and using HubSpot's marketing, sales, and service tools to help companies automate their business processes and meet their goals.
What are the HubSpot partner tiers?
In order for prospective customers to help identify the level of partner they would like to work with, HubSpot’s partner program offers four tiers: Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Elite, each with increasingly difficult requirements that need to be maintained.
The primary requirement to reach a level is based on the value of HubSpot licences that the partner has sold; when a partner sells a HubSpot licence they then need to assist their new customer to implement HubSpot effectively, and will often continually support their customer after that.
This means there is a direct correlation between the level of experience and tier, for example, Huble has sold over 400 HubSpot licences and as a result, has extensive experience working with different use cases, industries and company types.
The Gold tier is the entry-level tier for HubSpot partners. To become a Gold partner, an agency must have at least one HubSpot-certified employee amongst other program requirements.
The Elite tier is the highest level in the HubSpot Partner Program. To become an Elite partner, an agency must have a minimum of 100 certifications across its team and meet other program requirements.
Working with an Elite partner can provide numerous benefits, as they have a proven track record of success, having achieved the highest tier status based on their expertise, experience, and results.
In addition, HubSpot has several “accreditations” which are incredibly difficult to achieve. When selecting a partner you should check which accreditations they have.
An accreditation is something that is awarded to a company, while a certificate is awarded to an individual that works for a company.
Why choose a local HubSpot partner?
Choosing a HubSpot agency that is located in the same region as your company can be beneficial in several ways. First, a local agency can often offer in-person training and workshops that can provide a more immersive and interactive learning experience that can be more easily tailored to your needs.
Although we are stating the obvious, working with a local partner can provide more personalised support and easier communication, leading to faster response times to urgent requests or issues, as they will be in the same time zone and potentially able to meet in person.
At Huble, we operate in 6 countries and our speciality is to work with multi-national organisations who can benefit from having local support, for example having HubSpot support in London, as well as in Chicago and Singapore - all from the same UK HubSpot partner who follows the same methodology and frameworks.
Benefits of working with a HubSpot partner agency
While it is possible to both configure and use HubSpot on your own, working with a partner agency can provide numerous benefits that can help you get the most out of the platform.
One of the key benefits of working with a HubSpot partner is that they have extensive experience and deep system knowledge of the HubSpot platform, helping you get the most out of its powerful features and tools.
Additionally, many HubSpot partners including ourselves offer services to re-engineer and improve your business processes before implementing the HubSpot software.
There is the age-old problem that companies implement software to solve business challenges, however, they don’t see the change they were hoping for and this is often because they have not changed their processes.
HubSpot partner agencies are also often full-service agencies that offer a range of solutions to help businesses fully leverage their HubSpot implementation. Some of the services offered by HubSpot partner agencies may include:
Managed services support: Some HubSpot partners provide HubSpot managed services to support your team with operating HubSpot, growing their knowledge, troubleshooting, covering for staff on holiday or illness, and providing expert advice. At Huble we have a team of over 150+ international employees who can support your HubSpot instance across time zones.
HubSpot change management and training: HubSpot partners can assist with user adoption, getting your team up to speed through personalised training sessions and workshops that will introduce them to HubSpot, and empower them with the resources and best practices they need to get the most out of the platform.
HubSpot Change Control and Governance: Some HubSpot partners provide a service to ensure that your HubSpot portal is never poorly configured, data is never lost and documentation is never outdated. All of this while working out which is the best-suited way to configure HubSpot based on the change request.
A HubSpot partner can help you optimise your use of HubSpot to achieve your business goals, from creating a single customer view, improving your lead generation and nurturing processes to creating a repeatable sales model.
What to look for in a HubSpot partner agency
If you're considering working with a HubSpot partner agency, it's important to know what to expect from them. Here are some key areas to keep in mind:
A solution designed to solve your business challenges, not a tool setup
One of the most important things to look for is a strong strategy upfront, however, not all partners do this.
This means that the consultancy should be reviewing and improving your business processes and existing systems, and then working out how best to configure HubSpot to meet your needs.
Beware that many HubSpot onboardings provided by HubSpot partners simply set up the tool with very little consideration for your processes, needs or industry.
The HubSpot onboarding usually starts with a phase to determine the governance of the project such as defining project goals and a steering committee and then moves into a discovery phase.
The next step is the architecture & strategy phase, which involves designing your HubSpot configuration and data model based on your unique business needs.
This may include identifying other technology that is needed, identifying the right integrations into your existing or new systems, and building custom applications for your unique needs.
A trick to reduce the cost of a HubSpot onboarding is to not spend any time or effort on discovery, architecture and strategy. But this is likely to lead to a solution that is not useful.
Ability to augment your team with part-time or full-time employee HubSpot resources
When you partner with a HubSpot partner agency, one of the most significant benefits is that you do not need to find employees to configure and manage your HubSpot instance.
Some HubSpot partners only offer temporary short-term engagements, while others can provide you with full-time resources for several months or even years. Based on your requirements you should evaluate whether or not the HubSpot partners you are assessing can assist.
There are HubSpot “generalists” that can do a lot of more basic work in HubSpot, and then T-Shaped Specialists that can do complex and specialised work in HubSpot. Once again, based on your budget and requirements you will need to assess what type of resource you need.
Here are some examples of things HubSpot T-Shaped Specialists can do on a part-time or full-time basis:
HubSpot Configuration: The HubSpot partner will set up your HubSpot account, including creating your portal, setting up user roles and permissions, and integrating with other tools you use.
Data migration: If you're switching to HubSpot from another CRM or marketing automation platform, the partner can help you migrate your data to HubSpot, ensuring that it is clean and accurate. This includes contacts, deals, and any other relevant data.
Integrations build: A HubSpot Software Architect and Software Engineer can build integrations between HubSpot and the other business systems that you use.
Manage UAT: Whenever making changes to HubSpot user acceptance testing (UAT) should take place a HubSpot partner can manage the process of UAT and the iteration process thereafter.
Moving from sandbox to live environment: Once UAT is complete, the partner will move from a sandbox environment to a live environment.
Training and change management
Training and change management are critical components of any successful software implementation. When it comes to onboarding and using HubSpot, a partner agency should provide thorough training and support to ensure a smooth transition.
Ongoing training support is also critical to success because your company and associated processes are constantly evolving, and your HubSpot configuration should keep in time with those changes.
In addition, most companies have an employee attrition rate of 18% which means there are new staff members constantly joining that will need to be trained. A HubSpot partner consultancy should provide ongoing support and resources to help troubleshoot issues, provide guidance on best practices, and answer any questions.
This may include regular check-ins, access to a dedicated support team, and a library of resources such as knowledge bases, video tutorials, and webinars.
Provide ongoing managed services support
Once a company has successfully implemented HubSpot with the help of a partner agency, the journey is far from over.
To maximise the benefits of the platform, you will need ongoing support and assistance from experts who understand the intricacies of HubSpot and can help you leverage it to its full potential. You can either hire full-time employees or continue to work through a HubSpot partner that provides managed services.
HubSpot managed services involve the ongoing maintenance, optimisation, and management of your HubSpot instance to ensure it continues to meet your business needs.
This can include tasks such as HubSpot configuration, campaign creation, data analysis and reporting, troubleshooting, and ongoing education and training.
By partnering with a HubSpot consultancy for managed services support, you can benefit from the combined expertise of the partner and their focus on keeping abreast of HubSpot advancements and new features.
In addition to technical support, managed services can also assist with content creation and marketing efforts. Your partner agency can help you create and execute content marketing campaigns, develop email marketing campaigns, and produce videos that showcase your brand.
If you need to know how quickly you’ll receive a response to your requests and how long it will take for the agency to find a solution to your problems, ensure the agency can provide a HubSpot support SLA that outlines their standard response and resolution times for support tickets.
Finally, if you have a global presence, it’s critical that you ensure that the HubSpot agency can provide you with 24/7 support across all regions.
A large, global team that ensures redundancy
It’s vital that your HubSpot partner always has someone available to provide support and assistance to you. One way that a HubSpot partner can ensure this redundancy is by having a large, global team of employees.
This ensures that if one employee is unavailable for any reason, others can step in and take over their responsibilities.
Additionally, with a global team, the agency can ensure redundancy across different time zones and locations, further minimising any potential disruption to operations.
Finally, a large team means that there are individuals with different areas of expertise, which allows for more comprehensive and diverse solutions for you.
At Huble, we have over 150 employees spread across 6 different countries, meaning we can support you no matter where you are located and at any time of day.
Composed of full-time employees
A HubSpot partner agency needs to be composed of full-time employees because it ensures that it is committed to providing high-quality work and services to its clients.
Full-time employees are dedicated to the company's goals and mission and are invested in the success of the projects they are working on.
They also have the necessary expertise and skills to provide effective solutions to clients.
Part-time or freelance resources may not have the same level of commitment or expertise, which can lead to inconsistent work quality and delays in project timelines.
Having a team of full-time employees also allows for better collaboration and communication within the agency, which can result in more efficient and effective project management.
A structured approach to data security
A HubSpot partner needs to have a comprehensive security strategy in place to prevent unauthorised access to your sensitive data.
One way to ensure the partner you are considering has such a strategy in place is to check if they are ISO 27001-certified.
ISO 27001 is an internationally recognised standard for information security management. It provides a systematic approach to managing sensitive company and customer information, ensuring that it remains confidential, available, and has integrity.
HubSpot is an ISO 27001-certified company, and it's crucial for a HubSpot Partner to have this accreditation as well.
It shows that the partner agency takes information security seriously and has put in place appropriate controls to manage and protect data.
Having this accreditation demonstrates that the partner agency is committed to maintaining the highest levels of information security and is willing to invest in the necessary processes and technology to ensure this.
Working with an ISO 27001 accredited HubSpot Partner can provide peace of mind that sensitive data is handled securely and confidentially.
An in-house development team
Hiring a HubSpot partner agency with an in-house development team has several benefits.
One of the main advantages is the ability to have a custom-built solution that perfectly fits your needs. With an in-house development team, the agency can create a tailored solution that is unique to your business and can help you achieve your goals more effectively.
In addition, it can also mean faster turnaround times for projects and a more streamlined development process as the team is fully dedicated to your project and can work closely with your team to ensure that everything is aligned with your goals and requirements.
Their number of HubSpot implementations
The number of implementations a HubSpot partner has done is an important consideration when choosing your agency partner.
This is because the more implementations a partner has completed, the more experience and expertise they have in delivering successful projects.
A partner with a proven track record of successful implementations demonstrates their ability to understand their clients' needs and effectively execute solutions.
When evaluating a potential partner, it is important to ask about the number of implementations they have completed, what industries and company sizes they have worked with, and what results they have achieved.
This information can help you determine if the partner has the necessary experience and knowledge to meet your specific needs and goals.
At Huble, we have completed over 400 HubSpot implementations across a variety of applications, industries and company types.
How to get the most out of a HubSpot partner agency
When working with a HubSpot partner, it's important to know how to get the most out of the partnership. Here are some tips for maximising the benefits of working with a partner agency:
Tap into expertise
It's essential to recognise that your agency partner is more than just a team of skilled individuals who can execute your CRM goals. They are a valuable resource for strategy and architecture guidance.
If you leverage their expertise rather than simply relying on them for execution, they’ll be able to identify processes that can be streamlined and automated based on your overarching business goals alongside your various team needs.
This involves engaging the key stakeholders involved in the CRM programme - which should include someone from almost every team in your business.
After understanding each team’s specific CRM requirements, they can then design a CRM and CX blueprint that covers everything from the acquisition to the post-sale stages of the customer journey.
Analysis and recommendations
One of the benefits of working with a HubSpot partner is their ability to provide analysis and recommendations based on the data gathered in the platform.
As an external partner, they can provide unbiased opinions and insights that may not have been considered before.
By leveraging the data gathered in HubSpot, the partner can make informed recommendations on how to improve sales processes or marketing strategies. Additionally, the agency can provide ongoing analysis and recommendations as data is gathered over time, ensuring that strategies and processes continue to evolve and improve.
Build a wishlist
The wishlist approach is an excellent way for you to communicate your ideas and aspirations with your HubSpot partner.
It allows for a collaborative and creative approach to strategy development, where you can prioritise your needs and goals. By working with you to determine what items on your wishlist are the most urgent or important, the agency can then focus its efforts and resources on delivering those results.
The wishlist approach also encourages the exploration of new ideas and strategies, ensures that you are getting the most out of your partnership with their agency and that all ideas are given consideration, regardless of their priority level.
Examples of Successful HubSpot Partnerships
There are numerous examples of successful partnerships between businesses and HubSpot partners. Here are a few notable case studies:
Huble helped Avison Young move its teams from four siloed CRMs, including Salesforce, to one, easy-to-use but very powerful CRM — HubSpot.
Huble helped a global leader in smart affordable housing unify their multinational offices under HubSpot — creating a single source of truth for their sales and marketing departments.
Why work with a HubSpot agency partner?
Partnering with a HubSpot agency can provide a wide range of services to support your marketing, sales, and service needs. When selecting a HubSpot partner agency, it is important to find one that aligns with your business goals and needs.
As a triple elite HubSpot partner, here at Huble, we’ve helped hundreds of companies leverage HubSpot to its full potential. To find out how we can do the same for you, speak with our team.
The benefits of working with a HubSpot partner in Cape Town