HubSpot Users: Don’t Miss Out on These 5 ROI Boosters

Platforms like HubSpot offer a powerful way to turn plain old content into turbocharged content marketing that serves as the engine of the entire marketing and sales function. But too often, startups fall into one of two critical traps: 

  1. They try to save money by relying only on low-function “free” versions of various platforms; or 
  2. They invest in the paid version but don’t have the time or expertise to set it up to drive sufficient ROI.

If you find yourself in either situation, this blog post is for you. To write it, I spoke to Jill Golden, President at Simple Machines, a Chicago-based agency that (among other things) helps startups squeeze the most ROI from their HubSpot instances. Read on to make sure you’re not missing out on any of these five commonly missed ROI boosters that can make HubSpot pay for itself over and over.

1. Share Data Between Marketing and Sales

One scenario Jill sees a lot: the marketing team is using HubSpot for lead gen campaigns, email, and everything related to publishing. The sales team is using HubSpot for its CRM, deals, and reporting. But the two teams aren’t coordinating.

For example: marketing may supply sales with qualified leads, which turn into quotes and closes, but there's no feedback loop about which channels and which lead gen vehicles perform best.

This is a huge missed opportunity, according to Jill, in part because HubSpot has great tools for getting sales and marketing in alignment. Set up right, HubSpot reports can show which sources or channels…

  • Deliver leads with the most pipeline velocity
  • Close fastest
  • Convert at the best (and worst) rates

… and so on.

When organizations set up their HubSpot instance to align sales and marketing, it’s much easier to see much more clearly how investments into various channels perform – and therefore to maximize ROI.

Hot tip: Once you have connections set up, tap into HubSpot’s ability to create automated dashboards. As you track performance, know that you’ll have to wait longer for some channels (like organic) to reveal valuable insights than others. Build dashboard review time into your weekly or monthly practice; actually looking at these insights and making adjustments accordingly is essential to increasing your HubSpot ROI.

More on coordinating marketing and sales.

2. Stop Overspending on “Free” Tools

In the startup world, it’s common to piece together a marketing operation with the many excellent free tools available. But over time, as marketing needs to do more and more, the person or people in charge of managing all these “free” tools ends up with an ever-increasing workload, juggling HubSpot’s CRM plus Mailchimp for email plus Wix for landing pages plus nine Zapier integrations.

When you get to that point, the time, labor, and technical debt of managing your “free” marketing suite will almost always cost more than whatever you would pay for a professional instance of HubSpot. And you’ll be able to achieve a lot less.

As Jill said, the all-free approach is a bit like trying to win the Indy 500 in an off-the-lot Camry. If your startup is aiming to grow quickly – say, while you have runway to pay your current staff – you need to have the tools that enable fast growth. Cobbled-together free versions rarely make the grade.

“Think crafted, not cobbled,” said Jill. What the paid instance of HubSpot lets teams do is automate a lot of day-to-day sales and marketing functions so a team can achieve results more quickly and with less lift. “Plus,” she said, “You can get more complex data integrations than what a dozen Zapiers can fire off for you.”

Essentially, if your current system doesn’t clearly show you how fast leads from various sources move through the pipeline or which leads quote and close fastest, it’s not facilitating your growth in the way it should. You need tools that do two things:

  1. Make it easy for marketing to prioritize campaigns.
  2. Make it easy for sales to prioritize leads.

Hot tip: I asked Jill where an agency like Simple Machines fits into the race car metaphor. “We’re part of the marketing pit crew,” she said. “We’re in the technical seat. We’re at the helm of the HubSpot instance that drives the organization forward.”

3. Go Beyond the Right Setup

One common behavior Jill sees among HubSpot users is only scratching the surface of the platform’s functionalities – and that costs them a lot of potential momentum.

So much of the work at the start of a HubSpot engagement, explained Jill, is getting your instance set up right: building good behaviors, habits, and processes; making sure people are inputting data in the right ways; building the first round of automations to address your day-one needs.

But once you have all that up and running, where do you go next?

Jill put it this way: a lot of startups manage to get from A to B, but once they’re at B, they’re not sure how to get to C. In other words, they stop too soon on their HubSpot journey. They neer take the racecar out of second gear.

That’s a big missed opportunity, according to Jill. 

For example, one client she worked with had their HubSpot instance set up for publishing and sending some generic top-of-funnel drip and nurture campaigns – classic A to B.

When they came to Simple Machines, they wanted to lower the cost of acquisition for leads from paid channels.

Jill and her team were able to cut lead cost in half, thanks to more customized workflows from paid channels. In fact, this helped the client not only stay in touch with prospects and move them through deal stages but also get prospects to demo faster.

Then Jill’s team suggested text integrations for demo reminders. With that integration in place, the likelihood of someone requesting and holding a demo increased by 200 percent, which increased their likelihood to purchase the software.

Hot tip: If you’re not deeply familiar with HubSpot, there's almost certainly a lot you don’t know you don’t know. Working with a knowledgeable partner is a great way to discover settings, features, and integrations that turbo-charge your lead gen and conversion rates in ways you didn’t know were possible.

4. Integrate HubSpot Data with Other Data Sources

If you’re struggling to evaluate how various “hard-to-track” marketing efforts are performing (blogging, organic social, email, etc.), integrating your HubSpot data with other sources (Google Analytics, tagging, paid channels) may bring you clarity.

HubSpot’s campaigns tool lets you track assets that support various opportunities, whether time-bound or tied to an event. Set up correctly, campaigns let you track visitor behavior across a variety of channels: trade show assets, emails, landing pages, social posts.

Ultimately, Jill said, the visibility you get with campaigns lets you rightsize your investment into various channels.

Hot tip: Jill characterized this one as “not even low-hanging fruit; it’s on the ground.” In other words: data integration takes very little time to set up and the insights it can provide are incredibly valuable. If you don’t know how to do this, check out HubSpot’s tutorials on integrating data. If you don’t have time for self-teaching, talk to Jill.

5. Clean Your Database

Often, when startups start using HubSpot, both marketing and sales users focus on getting leads in.

But in many cases, Jill noted, you get to a point where you’ve got 25,000 leads in the system but nobody’s sure where they are in the sales cycle.

To start the database clean-out process, Jill recommends establishing better habits around inputting data: every contact should include a title, persona, and where they might be in the buyer journey. When your database is growing quickly, this information makes it easier to segment, build lists, nurture, and build out drips and workflows.

Then, in some cases, you can do a rewash campaign – i.e., try to reengage leads who might have gone dormant. Some of this you can do through data forensics, but some will require direct outreach.

Hot tip: HubSpot pricing is based in part on the number of contacts you actively market to (aka marketing contacts). Filtering your list correctly is important to make sure you’re not overpaying for the number of people in your database.

Don’t (Just) Drive Your Racecar to the Grocery Store

It’s a bad use of money to pay someone to do a bunch of work manually that you could automate with a tool like HubSpot – i.e., trying to win a drag race in a Camry. But it’s also a bad decision to get a racecar and only use it to run ordinary errands. In other words: don’t pay for a professional HubSpot instance if you don’t have the time or budget to set it up correctly.

The magic of HubSpot (and it can feel like magic if you’ve been doing a lot of manual marketing) is how much it lets you achieve and how much better it can make your marketing and sales performance. But to make that magic happen, you have to understand enough about the software to set it up in a way that makes sense for your organization and what you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the kinds of things a solid HubSpot setup can help you achieve, get in touch with Jill. She’s super helpful and super knowledgeable, and she can give you a sense of what you’ll be able to achieve when your HubSpot is firing on all cylinders.