Podcast: The biggest HubSpot mistakes, and how to avoid them

By Doug Bolton

Podcast: The biggest HubSpot mistakes, and how to avoid them

Time for another new guest! Tobias only joined us at the start of December, but I wanted to get him on the podcast as soon as possible to talk about HubSpot. Tobias has been working with HubSpot since 2013, so he was the perfect person to ask about the biggest mistakes companies typically make when adopting HubSpot - and how they can avoid them.

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We'd always recommend HubSpot to customers looking for a feature-rich, user-friendly platform for sales, service and marketing. But we also know that there are plenty of competitors on the market. Many companies try HubSpot, don't 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 tool itself.

This is the situation we tried to address in this episode. 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.

You can listen to Tobias' debut episode on most leading podcast platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, or on the app of your choice with the RSS feed. The links you'll need are below, along with a complete transcription of today's episode. 

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Doug Bolton: How are you, Tobias? Welcome to the podcast!

Tobias Pasma: Thanks, thanks. Fun to be here.

DB: I always ask when we have a new guest if this is their first podcast. Have you been on a podcast before?

TP: I had my podcast for some time.

DB: Aha. All right, OK.

TP: I did. I think it was maybe eight episodes, and then it kind of, yeah, died off. But, yeah, it was just a buddy and me. And then we invited different guests that were doing something specific in marketing or similar.

DB: OK, so it was marketing related. It wasn't something different. Well, today, we're going to talk a bit about HubSpot, but before we do that since you're a new guest, I thought maybe you could explain a bit of who you are and what you do at Zooma.

TP: Yeah. So let's see, I started working with Zooma as a freelancer about two and a half years ago, but this first of December, I became a Zoomer. So that was a super nice change. And what I do is, well, HubSpot, HubSpot, HubSpot. So my official title is HubSpot solution architect. But I like to describe it myself as, uh, solving Sudoku puzzles the entire day. So HubSpot is the puzzle, and then I try to figure out why it's best to put a seven in that specific box if that makes sense.

DB: It does. It does. That's a good explanation. Well, exactly. Well, that makes you a perfect guest. But, uh, for today's topic, because like I said, I wanted to talk about HubSpot, but specifically focus on the mistakes that companies tend to make with HubSpot. And I know you've worked with many companies you know, more experienced with HubSpot or just starting. And, you know, it's enormous, it's quite a wide-ranging platform. There are all kinds of different tools and unique aspects to it. So in your experience, having worked with HubSpot for quite a long time, what are those common mistakes that you see generally?

TP: So mistakes that happen a lot are more like in the, I would say, in the beginning, you see many errors, not so much around, like how people are using HubSpot, but more on their expectations with it. Hubspot themselves and HubSpot partners are pretty good at selling HubSpot. But that comes with the consequence that sometimes the expectations are different from what they are. And that can be that it's, well, if we implement this, we will generate more leads. Yeah, no, that's only half the story. Or, if we implement this, we're going to have higher quality leads. No, it's you get an empty toolbox. It's what you do with it that makes a difference. So I think that's of course, a widespread mistake or that it's like implemented as a project like, yeah, we have a project hopes for implementation, and so we have someone available to do this the coming two months, and after that, we'll see, and then nothing happens. Then there's maybe two e-books live and maybe three blogs published in a year, and then it's like, yeah, we're not seeing an ROI of this. Yeah, we're going to cancel. Oh, you didn't even try. I think that's around like expectations and like the amount of time invested, quite a lot of mistakes that come from there.

Another thing is that there's no actual owner of the tool. I think it significantly boosts the amount of success you can get with the tool if there's like one person who's the HubSpot hero who actually enjoys it too, who likes the tool, who understands the tool, who gets a bit hyped about the tool, and that internally people can go to and ask questions, that kind of promotes the tool and comes up with suggestions in meetings where maybe a partner is not always there and come up with suggestions like, Oh hey, but we can maybe use HubSpot for that. Or, yeah, maybe we shouldn't do that in that tool. Maybe we should move that over to HubSpot, or kind of an internal champion that's really important in the beginning.

DB: And just to go back to that thing about expectations, why do you think it is like that? And I suppose, how should people see HubSpot in that case? Because I mean, I've used HubSpot for a while as well, and part of the reason that I like it is, you know, it's a kind of a jack of all trades kind of thing, it can do quite a lot, and it's at the same time fairly easy to use. But yeah, I mean, you've worked with companies who are adopting it for the first time, is that not how they see it?

TP: Yeah. So I think there's there's a difference here in this sort of type of company that you have. So sometimes you see a company where it's like there's a sales rep that's kind of sick of excel sheets and starts a free account and then gets you to upgrade to sales starter and a sales pro. And some other colleagues, and it kind of like organically grows and then maybe later, they're like, OK, now let's add marketing hub as well. And it's more like coming from like their own resource or research solving their own, like the sales rep, just trying to solve this complex complexity in this daily in his daily work, which is a very different starting point than, say, a sales rep from an agency or HubSpot convincing the commercial manager of a company like, Oh, this will solve all the problems that you have, and your life will be so much better and greater once you're using HubSpot. So in that scenario, of course, I'm overexaggerating quite a bit here, but in that scenario, the chance of wrong expectations I think is a lot higher.

DB: Yeah, that reminded me actually, we had a webinar this week with Martin Ray and he was talking about, you know, when when you adopt a new tool or a new system or something, it's usually better to try to change your way of working to fit the tool rather than, you know, expect the tool to plug into your way of working, and maybe that's a kind of issue with HubSpot. You know, people maybe have a dysfunctional process themselves and think, Yeah, oh, we'll get HubSpot and then everything will be better. But if you just carry on in the same way with this extra layer of complexity, with this tool, you know, you don't really see much effect, I suppose.

TP: Yeah, just a new box for the same stuff. And I think adapting, adapting to the thing, the process to the tool kind of depends on which HubSpot product you're talking about and how much you would have to do that. I think if you were already doing an inbound approach in your marketing, HubSpot is great for that part. Of course, probably not going to be able to manage also your media buys and stuff in there. But then of course, for your, I think for Service Hub, if I'm completely honest for Service Hub, there's maybe more of the process that we'll need to adapt to the tool than, for example, in marketing and sales. It can depend on where are you coming from, did you already have a process in place or not? Like if you haven't worked with tickets before, if you haven't worked with a live chat before, you're going to make quite some differences in your process when moving over to Service Hub, whereas I think like with Sales Hub, the process can still then quite often stay the same. It's just enhanced with a lot of nice tools that take a lot of time away from the sales reps. That's what makes them more effective. So, yeah, I think it's always it's always good to take into consideration. Like, what's your current process? How would you process in an ideal world, what would your process be like and then see, OK, how can we translate this like redefined process into HubSpot? Are there places where we have to make a change from our desired process, either for the better or for the worse, in quotation marks?

TP: Because, you know, the thing with a tool that's built from a specific philosophy and the philosophy is also very effective, if you're then going to recreate a process, it's probably going to fit pretty well in that tool built for such an effective process. So for example, I worked with a scale-up some time ago. They had some sort of process, with like SDRs and account executives, and it wasn't really defined, they had some steps, and then like the first exercise that I did was sat down with their CCO, and I said, OK, this is like for what you guys are doing. So they were doing something with like AI, so their sales approach was maybe less than consultative selling, more like provocative selling, so kind of from coming from that approach. The best process would be this here. So sketch it out with all the steps and yada yada yada. And then it was like, Oh yeah, but like, we had a discussion like, oh yeah, but this one, we should do a little bit, make a small tweak here and make a small tweak there. And then it was approved after 15 minutes. And then, of course, when sketching that process out I already know that this is going to work in HubSpot. There's no extra complexity here, and it's the best practice process. So then it was like, OK, cool implementation could go pretty quickly, and they were super stoked.

DB: That was a good example. You mentioned before, you know, the typical, hopefully not typical for HubSpot, but you know, it happens commonly that a company will adopt HubSpot, and six months later, they haven't got to where they want it to be or, you know, for, you know, they haven't used it to its full potential and then they say, no, this isn't working. Like, what do you think a company that's at the start of that process should really focus on to build a good foundation for their continued use of HubSpot? So like, you know, maybe they shouldn't start off with like having a really good chatbot or something. You know, that's nice to have, but maybe that's not the most super important thing. But, you know, what would be a good foundation?

TP: Yeah. So if they want to like prove the investment, or prove if it was a good investment based on time saved, that can be yeah, you can show that super quickly. Like, hey, it used to take us two hours to make a landing page. Now it takes me 15 minutes to make a landing page, and I make landing pages 40 times a year. OK, well, this is the time saved. Great. And then you can do that for all the different tools and wherever you feel like you're saving time. But then when it's more like, yeah, time-saving is all good and fun, but we went like lead generation and like higher sales qualified leads, then I would say in the beginning, just focus on a couple of quick wins. Create a good e-book. And if you don't have any content available, well, you always have some content available. Just like grab five case studies, put them together in a PDF and call it like 'inspiration for how to blah blah blah', real-life examples, then you have your e-book ready. Of course, with designing and some extra writing. And then just push that out, create a quick landing page, push it out on LinkedIn lead ads. They're pretty effective, I think, still, we're now a little bit too late I think, I'm not sure, but like the sponsored messaging or the, you know, the sort of like chatbots you could build inside LinkedIn messaging, they were really effective as well. But I just got an email this morning and I think they're going to close it down at the end of the year for the EU. So maybe by the time this podcast comes out.

DB: It'll come out in a few days, so everyone listening just go straight and get as much as you can before they die.

TP: Yeah, because it was like, wow, that was effective. And then just like bump some money in to prove the concept, get the leads in, do like a simple, nurturing flow and hand the leads over to seals. Hmm. And then, in the beginning, I would definitely like, don't start with lead scoring models. Yeah, that's the one thing that people are, yeah, something that's like writing a lot about, and then people think it's fancy, and they're like, yeah, let's build a lead scoring model, and you think ugh, really?

DB: You have to kind of walk before you run.

TP: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I spoke to a company a little bit ago and they got this like AI-specialized, machine learning yada yada agency to help them with their conversion prediction model slash lead scoring model. And like long project later, big investment later. The result was, yeah, people that visit the pricing page have a higher tendency to buy. It was like, that was the most useful conclusion from the whole project. I was like, Yeah, really. OK. So, yeah, definitely don't do lead scoring, at least lead scoring in the traditional sense with like demographics and firmographics and psychographics and behaviour, don't do it before you are at like a hundred and fifty leads generated a day, and even after that, see if you really need it. Usually, a simple model that's just based on behaviour is sufficient. Not a big fan of that, the other element.

DB: No, it doesn't sound like it. And when you hear machine learning, AI or big data, just run in the opposite direction, I suppose.

TP: Yeah, quite often. Or be very sceptical.

DB: Yeah, that is a little bonus bit of good advice. Great. Well, thank you very much, Tobias, for joining today, and I hope you'll be back again for some more Hubspot episodes at some point.

TP: Yeah, yeah. Sure. Great. Absolutely.

DB: Well, thanks again, and I'll speak to you soon.

TP: Yeah. Speak soon.

DB: All right. Bye-bye.

Doug Bolton
Doug has been a Content Producer at Zooma since 2021. Originally English, he now lives in Sweden.
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