The most common mistakes when starting with HubSpot

By Tobias Pasma

The most common mistakes when starting with HubSpot

I gladly recommend HubSpot when B2B companies look for a modern, feature-rich, user-friendly platform for sales, service and marketing. But I am also aware that there are plenty of alternatives on the market.


Whatever platforms B2B companies try, they might not get the results they're looking for and move on to another platform - but in many of these cases, the issue is with the company's approach, not with the platform itself.

That is what I try to address in this article. Knowing the most common mistakes, people make when getting started with HubSpot, your start-up process can go a lot smoother, and you'll get a more accurate picture of what HubSpot can offer your company.

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Mistake 1 – Having the wrong expectation when starting out

The most common mistake when using HubSpot is not actually about using HubSpot: it's about the expectations around HubSpot. HubSpot and HubSpot partners are very skilled at selling HubSpot. But that comes with the consequence that sometimes the expectations are different from reality.

With HubSpot, you get a toolbox. An excellent toolbox: but a toolbox is not a house, a toolbox is not a new barn, a toolbox is useless unless you use it to create what you envision.

A shameful frustration arises when people say: "If you need to generate more leads, just get HubSpot." Because the result of such sentences is that after half a year, two blog posts, one landing page, and a handful of social media posts, the user concludes, "We cancelled. HubSpot doesn't work. We're not seeing any results".

Mistake 2 – Not willing to adapt your process

When adopting a new tool or system, it can be better to change your way of working to fit the platform rather than expect it to plug into your way of working. That might be a strange statement from a traditional IT perspective: the software should facilitate the process.

Well, that might be the case in some or even many scenarios. But rather often, it happens that the process is dysfunctional, and the (unconscious) thought is that a new platform will fix the problem. "Let's start with HubSpot; everything will be better and smooth when we have that in place". In proper Dutch, we would say: "You'll be coming home from a cold carnival".

If you carry on in the same way (but with new bells & whistles), the same experience will perpetuate itself repeatedly. So use the time to take a good hard look at your processes. Where can you improve? Where can you optimise?

Don't know where to start? Well, this is where the software helps. See, HubSpot is a tool built from a vision: inbound. Inbound isn't just a tactic, as Anders wrote back in 2016: "[inbound is a] philosophical way of thinking about people and how to show respect for who they are and what situation they are in". So HubSpot will best facilitate a process that does just that.

So please redefine your processes with this in mind: how can we align our processes to our customers. When doing this, you'll find that HubSpot will be able to facilitate your new process much better than if you would just CTRL-C CTRL-V your old process in a new tool. And I feel it's safe to say that a process that follows the inbound methodology and mindset is better for your customers and your business, especially in the long term.

Mistake 3 – No HubSpot ownership

Remember back in 2007 when you wanted "to do something with social media"? Your intern created a new Facebook page for you, invited their classmates, and did successful posts. What happened to the Facebook page when the internship ended? Nothing, because there was no ownership.

Don't make this mistake when using HubSpot. Don't just rely on your HubSpot partner. Instead, make sure you have an internal champion who understands and enjoys working with HubSpot. Research (Dutch) and personal experience indicate that your chances of success with a tool like HubSpot are significantly higher when you have an internal champion.

The internal champion will automatically become the one colleagues aim their questions at, get guidance from, and receive a load of ideas and suggestions on what to do more or improve with the tool. It will promote HubSpot internally and thus drive usage.

Mistake 4 – Run before you walk

All the features in HubSpot can feel overwhelming. You immediately fantasise about fantastic chatbots, a perfect lead scoring model, and the most elaborate lead nurturing flows if you're anything like me. But please try to control yourself.

Do not start with that fantastic chatbot or that complicated lead scoring model. In the beginning, you might be very enthusiastic, but what about the rest of the organisation? In the first weeks, make sure to prove the value of the tool and methodology, and in this way, spread your enthusiasm.

How? A fast way is to demonstrate how effective you can be. For example, maybe it used to take you two hours to create a new landing page, and you do this about 40 times a year. Now you have HubSpot in place, and it takes you only 15 minutes to create a new landing page. That's a time saving of 70 hours a year with just one tool feature.

Next to the timesaving you achieve with the tool, demonstrate the methodology's value. Now, an inbound approach can take a good 6-9 months to deliver consistent results because it takes quite some time to build up online authority and see the increase in traffic from that. However, you can use some quick wins to demonstrate the value of the methodology earlier.

For example:

  • Create a valuable content offer, and make sure that it is relevant for your potential and existing customers.
  • Create a landing page, start pushing that out through email to your existing database, and use LinkedIn Ads (especially Lead Ads) to grow your contact database.
  • Make sure there is a follow-up offer too, that could be as simple as a free 30-minute consultation on the topic.

And of course, make sure to show these results to the rest of the organisation and prove the methodology.

Additional reading materials

If you're able to avoid these four mistakes when starting with HubSpot, you're in a better place than the majority of new HubSpot users. So I genuinely hope you will take these to heart.

If you are still debating if HubSpot is the right solution for you, it might be a good idea first to run an internal HubSpot pilot, or you could get in touch with Zooma to discuss your specific situation.

If you're not in the mood for reading, you can also listen to my discussion with Doug Bolton on this very topic in a recent episode of The Onlinification Pod - 'The biggest HubSpot mistakes, and how to avoid them'.

Tobias Pasma
An experienced HubSpot specialist with many HubSpot certifications under his belt. Born in the Netherlands and moved to Sweden in 2019.
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