A finely-tuned CRM is one of the best assets your business can have. Delivering a great customer experience is dependent on your marketing, sales and customer success teams’ ability to generate and maintain accurate data. A CRM like HubSpot is an exceptionally powerful tool that can help tremendously in this regard - but to get the kind of performance you’re after, it needs to be implemented correctly.
Also bear in mind that retrofitting best practice or fixing a CRM after it has been in use can be a nightmare. Not only is it time-consuming and expensive to parachute someone in to fix things later, you’re also throwing away value for every day your HubSpot sits on crooked foundations.
Therefore you want to implement your CRM the right way from the outset.
Having worked on dozens of complex HubSpot implementations across a broad range of businesses, these are the commons mistakes I think you should avoid:
1. Don’t underestimate how much of your time and resources it will take
This is probably the most common mistake I see. Whether going down the route of DIY onboarding or hiring an implementation consultant or agency partner, businesses often underestimate the time, focus and resource it can take to get a CRM properly customised and implemented.
A consultant or agency will need plenty of face-time and a regular communication cadence with a dedicated point of contact, who in turn may need to bring in multiple internal stakeholders, to gain the depth of knowledge needed about your business, processes and goals to set things up correctly.
In my earlier days as a consultant I made the mistake of not driving this point home enough and had some very constructive feedback from a client who when asked for feedback frankly responded “You should have warned me how much of my time you needed!”
2. Diving straight in with little to no planning
Getting your hands on a piece of shiny tech like HubSpot is exciting and so the temptation to dive right in can be hard to resist. This can be exacerbated by leadership expecting immediate returns or underestimating how much proper groundwork is required (see point 1).
But it is always better to measure the cloth many times and cut once! If you want a successful implementation, the best thing you can do is take the time to plan first. This project is a great opportunity to revisit and map out your full customer journey, target audience definitions, buying personas, sales cycle, lead sources and more.
A consultant or agency partner will be able assist with careful planning and a clear structured approach.
3. Not getting full leadership buy-in
I once worked with a head of marketing who was super excited about implementing HubSpot Marketing Hub to build out great persona-based inbound marketing and demand generation campaigns that integrated neatly into their existing sales CRM.
Having got the go ahead we set about our HubSpot implementation project with enthusiasm and focus. About 4 weeks in, the Commercial Director, who had previously kept out of arm’s length, decided to get involved and in a single awkward meeting scuppered the majority of plans and progress in favour of the status quo..
The above is an extreme example and probably internal politics at play but the point is that leadership buy-in is crucial when implementing a system that has knock-on effects with other departments - even if those knock-on effects are mainly positive.
It is worth noting that as a consultant I was also to blame for not having picked up on the issue sooner. A tough lesson learned indeed.
Before proceeding with HubSpot implementation ensure that all department heads are aware of the project and are enthused for the positive impact it will have.
4. Not using this opportunity to bring clarity, structure and accuracy to your data
A CRM is only as good as the quality of data contained within, so ensuring all your data is correct, detailed and relevant from the outset is vital.
There is in my opinion no better time to make sweeping improvements to processes and data quality than when implementing a new CRM.
It’s the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button and get everyone enthused with “the new way” of doing things. If the sales team were previously lackadaisical with data input and quality control then implementing HubSpot can be the opportunity to change that.
And a top tip if you’re migrating from another CRM to HubSpot - don’t just bring historical data across as is! Use this opportunity to map out how you want your data to look, which custom properties you want, and agree to minimum data requirements. Then enrich all data as part of the project. Start your HubSpot journey on the right track and ensure that data quality is maintained.
5. Not customising HubSpot to your unique business requirements
You can pretty much run HubSpot straight out of the box, but if you don’t take the time to tweak its default properties to match your unique requirements then you’re not getting the full benefit. Before too long you’ll realise things aren’t exactly as you need, and then you’re back to retroactively adjusting what could have been an exact fit from the get go.
Customising HubSpot is about truly understanding what makes your target audience and customer journey unique. Map out your ICPs, buying personas, marketing processes, sales cycle stages and so on – and build that into the platform so that your data is in the format you need from day one.
6. Not onboarding your team properly
Whilst HubSpot has the advantage of being the most user-friendly and intuitive of the CRM and marketing platforms that I know of, it still takes some learning. Real effort and commitment is required to ensure everyone who uses the CRM knows how.
Carve out the time to ensure everyone who needs to use HubSpot is properly onboarded. All the certification and learning tools you need are included with your HubSpot purchase so take advantage of those resources. In addition to the many learning resources already available, help your people to see that understanding the system isn’t a chore or something for the wider company’s benefit only – learning how to use a CRM to its fullest is a valuable skill set for their career going forward, so it’s a personal investment too.
Your CRM consultant or Agency partner can also do a lot to assist with onboarding. The long term success of this project depends on it!
I hope you found these pointers useful. Implementing HubSpot only makes sense when everyone is committed to understanding how to get the most out of it. If you’ve assessed the potential pitfalls and prepared accordingly, your new CRM will enable your teams to achieve new heights.
If you need a sounding board before you pull the trigger on implementing HubSpot, don’t hesitate to get in touch.