There are many contributing factors to less-than-desirable results when it comes to CRM implementations. Whether you’re on HubSpot like us, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Zoho, or any of the countless industry-vertical CRMs out there, we feel your pain if it’s not going the way you planned.
So here’s a tough question: how did you get here?
The Big Picture problem is that your business didn’t start with a good implementation plan which caused your team not to use the CRM. They said the CRM was too clunky, too complicated, or just not intuitive enough to be effective.
It’s okay if this is the result of your first implementation effort. Not everybody’s first try is successful. It’s pretty normal to have CRM reimplementation or optimization effort.
We just wanted to say that instead of feeling discouraged, know that the contributing factors — training, transition time, and lack of an implementation partner in the implementation process — can be alleviated to make way for success next time.
If this describes you, you’re not alone. We’re here with you to help you make sense of things and give you some great tips to help you out moving forward.
A Challenging HubSpot Implementation
When you get a great software product like HubSpot, deploying and implementing it is just as key as the software itself.
Chances are you were attracted to advances in inbound marketing, the success of HubSpot users and the assurances offered from other HubSpot solutions partners. All of this appealed to you in the sales process but, for some reason, didn’t translate to your implementation.
As a HubSpot Platinum Solution Partner, as much as it pains us to say, sometimes this happens in HubSpot implementations. Many of our clients come to us to have us make sense of their HubSpot portal after a second or third implementation attempt.
So before resigning to a lackluster portal setup, realize that HubSpot was an investment. You found that HubSpot offers the best tool to reach your business goals.
A fresh implementation will acknowledge the deficiencies in your current setup and will build your HubSpot in a way that addresses those. If you only treat a foundational problem on the surface, it’s bound to rear its ugly head again.
Here are a few reasons your HubSpot implementation might not have gone as planned.
1. You changed your platform but didn’t change your processes.
Changing the one sales or business process that was a squeaky wheel as you get into your HubSpot portal may not be enough when your day-to-day processes are business as usual. You may change a platform, but did you change the processes that support it?
Without an overhaul in how your team manages their data, sales interactions, or KPIs, our human nature will naturally revert us to our comfort zone.
So how can you keep them on the right track?
Your first step is accessibility. Make HubSpot their one a source of truth. Discourage usage of disparate systems. When you get the team to use HubSpot, you will render the old ways obsolete and be well on your way to an efficient and streamlined team.
Transparency and accountability are key assets in a business owner and a team. Set up reports, check-ins, or dashboards to monitor their progress. Recognize when they do something outside their comfort zone, like utilizing HubSpot to optimize their marketing and sales processes.
By doing this, you’ll demonstrate that you recognize new things are difficult for everyone and acknowledge their efforts to improve.
2. You make exceptions to the rules that result in silos.
Ages ago, HubSpot only had Marketing Hub. Back in the early days of HubSpot, you had to cobble together a system to do what you needed from multiple tech platforms.
Today, that’s not the case. HubSpot as a CRM is right in the middle of a Venn diagram that overlaps with tools for marketing, sales, customer service, operations, and more. Everything you need to do your job in a modern corporate organization can be managed through HubSpot or linked to it via an integration.
That means some of those tools you may have used to cobble together an effective system need to go away. You need to get your team into HubSpot — and stop making exceptions for them not to use it.
Here are some examples of those cobbled-together systems that we have seen in action:
Clients who have a marketing team of two in HubSpot and a sales team of 20 in Dynamics
Customer service calls are in one system, and customer service chat support is in another
Sales emails are only managed out of Salesforce, which is not synced to the company record in HubSpot
HubSpot Sales pipelines are built off the preferences of one salesperson, who leaves without documenting why they made the choices they did
More often than not, these system silos aren’t necessary. So why does it happen?
Management doesn’t want to upset their team. They don’t want to risk losing a team member over a software change.
Leadership doesn’t want to go through the hassle and the risk of a failed implementation. They think, “why break it if it works?”
So look past the inconvenience and see what adhering to outdated processes can get you: negative growth and stagnation.
If you implement a platform that shares customer information across the entirety of the customer journey, your team will be able to meet these challenges head-on and overcome them.
You need to trust the team you’ve built to make necessary adaptations instead of coddling them. As revenues continue to grow, they’ll thank you for it.
3. You entrusted implementation with the person with the most to lose instead of the most to gain.
If you have a company with a 50+ year history, chances are your top-tier managers have been either present or managing for quite some time. Even if you’re a younger company, your sales team and sales pipeline generally rely on people who have been in a comfortable position rather than an innovative position.
Tasking these big process changes with senior-level figures who are more skilled at sustaining is often a disservice to the progress of your implementation. Time and time again, we’ve seen software implementation given to a top-level manager without a vested interest in seeing it through diligently. A HubSpot implementation could threaten the status quo, and they’ve thrived in the status quo. There’s rarely anything malicious in their action (or inaction); they don’t exert optimal effort to achieve desired results.
So instead of rewarding those that prosper in the old system, find yourself someone with enthusiasm and vigor to advocate your implementation.
You’ll know them when you see them — they’re animated when discussing the platform, go out of their way to investigate its features and benefits, and engage others in a way that makes their enthusiasm contagious.
You may have to look outside management for this HubSpot onboarding champion, but they’ll be your best asset to successfully making your HubSpot implementation.
Involve them in the implementation plan. Identify aspects they’re already aware of and get them in touch with other onboarding team members. Hopefully, their eagerness for their project will prove to be infectious.
Their enthusiastic performance will likely spread, causing the team around them to investigate all the bells and whistles of the new tools.
It’s not tutorials, powerpoints, and seminars that excite the real sales and marketing teams — it’s seeing it in action and noting the differences in performance and results.
4. You let perfect be the enemy of good.
Whenever you're trying to jump into a new software system, one of the pitfalls we see constantly is that people look at it like a one-time permanent investment that has to be set up perfectly, with every portion of it established exactly as it needs to.
You try to get every custom field, status, and everything to be "perfect" for every iteration of your organization's need and do for the next 100 years.
This will guarantee your HubSpot implementation will sink instead of swim.
Most of the clients we see who have the greatest success with HubSpot are individuals who look at their HubSpot portal as evolution and a reflection of their modern evolving organization. They realize it will morph over time, and will change if necessary.
HubSpot is designed to grow and change with you and your organization. And if you're beholden to the idea that there's only one perfect way to set something up, you'll never get out of the starting gate or use the system to its full potential.
Never fear if you've fallen into one of these common HubSpot implementation missteps. The first step to growing and changing your organization is admitting you have a problem and researching and implementing a solution. We've given us some great ideas for straightforward solutions to your HubSpot implementation woes.
But we know there is a limit to the amount of do-it-yourself you can do for some complex portal challenges. There is value in having an expert's guidance and opinion in your HubSpot implementation portal.
Ashley Quintana is a co-founder of Bridges. In her role, she develops, leads, and executes digital marketing strategies for the company’s growing client base, including a Fortune 500 subsidiary and an NBA basketball team. Ashley’s work can be found in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, and she is an OKC.biz 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership in business and community. She frequently speaks at universities, churches, and conferences on marketing, diversity, and business.