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Selecting a HubSpot Certified Partner Agency: A Step-by-Step Guide

Written by
Luke Marthinusen

As the CEO of a successful HubSpot Solution Partner with a team of 35 full-time staff, I have navigated the world of HubSpot implementation, inbound marketing, and CRM implementation for over 7 years now. This journey has enriched my understanding of what constitutes a truly effective HubSpot partnership.

In this article, I aim to distil my personal experiences and professional insights into a practical guide for selecting the ideal HubSpot Certified Partner Agency. This decision can profoundly influence your ROI on HubSpot platform.

The Importance of Selecting the Right HubSpot Partner Agency

Choosing a HubSpot Partner Agency is not just about outsourcing your HubSpot needs; it's about forming a partnership that aligns with your business goals, understands your market, and can effectively utilise HubSpot's powerful tools to drive growth. The right agency acts as an extension of your team, bringing expertise, efficiency, and innovation.

The Cost of a Poor Selection

Our pricing is probably in the middle of the global HubSpot partner pricing, but we make a point of spec'ing projects accurately, and we would rather over-quote and credit at the end of the project than underquote to get the deal.

I share the above anecdote because HubSpot customers come back to us every year after their chosen partner (who beat us to the deal on price) has messed up their HubSpot project or onboarding. I get first-hand descriptions of the mess made, costing the client massive time and money.  

8 Steps to Select Your Ideal HubSpot Certified Partner Agency

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Needs

Before diving into the sea of solutions partners, it's crucial to clearly understand what you want to achieve with HubSpot. Are you looking to improve lead generation, enhance customer service, or streamline your sales process? Your goals will guide you towards finding an agency with the specific expertise you need.

For your first sprint with your HubSpot Partner Agency, I highly recommend focusing on one Hub (or area of your business). The sprint can last one to two months, but limiting it to your sales process, for example, will allow your team to better understand HubSpot and its potential for change and growth in your company.

It also helps your HubSpot solutions partner gain more insight into you and your company. This means that they will be completely aligned with you and your company when they launch the next Hub, say, Marketing Hub. Team alignment means a quicker return on your HubSpot platform investment. 

Step 2: Research and Shortlist Agencies

Start by researching potential agencies. Look for those with a track record in your industry and the services you require. Life is much easier for you if your Partner Agency understands your industry and you don't have to spend the time educating them.

The HubSpot Partner Directory is a great place to start. Pay attention to their tier status – Gold, Platinum, Diamond, or Elite – at a broad level; this indicates their expertise and success with HubSpot. Some exceptional Diamond and even Platinum HubSpot agencies are not Elite due to their smaller size of 10 - 20 people. Don't overlook these gems. 

Step 3: Evaluate Their Expertise and Experience

Once you have a shortlist, delve deeper into each agency's expertise. How long have they been a HubSpot partner? But go further into the reviews, awards and accreditations. What HubSpot certifications do they hold? Look at case studies on their websites to gauge their experience and success in similar projects or industries.

Returning to the HubSpot solutions directory listing (see image below), you'll find a list of awards and accreditations on the right-hand side of each profile.

hubspot_directory_listing

HubSpot Impact Awards are challenging to obtain. They only give out 32 awards a year, and there are 1000s of HubSpot Certified Partner Agencies globally.

HubSport accreditations are very stringent, as are the qualification criteria. Hubspot Elite and Diamond Partners and the occasional Hubspot Platinum Partner mainly hold these awards and accreditations. Similarly, some HubSpot Elite partners are missing them! If you are doing onboarding with a partner, make sure they have the HubSpot Onboarding accreditation.

Step 4: Assess Their Approach and Culture

The compatibility of an agency's approach and culture with your own is often overlooked but is crucial for a successful partnership. Do they understand your business values? How do they communicate and collaborate with clients? An initial meeting in the sales process or a discovery call can be very telling.

I believe that a HubSpot agency with structured and transparent sales processes will have structured and straightforward processes for delivering its services after the sale.

Step 5: Understand Their Service Scope and Specialisation

Each HubSpot agency has its own unique strengths and HubSpot expertise around the HubSpot platform. Some might excel in inbound marketing, while others might be experts in CRM implementation or sales enablement. Ensure their strengths align with your primary needs.

At a broad level, these are the areas of HubSpot services you might want to consider:

  1. HubSpot onboarding
    1. CRM Suite
    2. Marketing Hub
    3. Sales Hub
    4. Service Hub
    5. CMS Hub
  2. Inbound marketing, marketing automation and nurture
  3. HubSpot CRM and Sales Hub strategy and configuration
  4. Customer Service and Service Hub strategy and configuration
  5. Website Development and CMS Hub
  6. CRM Migrations with significant data (large volumes and/or complex data sets)
  7. Integrations of HubSpot CRM with third-party systems (ERP, CRM, datalake, etc)

Step 6: Discuss and Understand Pricing

Transparency in pricing is key. Ensure you understand what you are paying for and how it aligns with your budget. Remember, the most expensive agency is not necessarily the best for your needs, and vice versa.

Step 7: Consider Their Client Support and Engagement

A good HubSpot agency should not just be a service provider but a proactive partner in your growth. How do they plan to support you post-implementation? What kind of ongoing engagement and optimisation do they offer? Do they lock you into long-term contracts? Are they flexible with the services they provide? For example, if the marketing team no longer needs support, can they pivot to support the sales or service teams?

Step 8: Make the Decision

After thorough research and consideration, it's time to make a decision. Trust your analysis and instincts about which agency feels the right fit.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right HubSpot experts from the solutions partner program is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of the HubSpot platform at your business. By following these steps, you can find a partner with the expertise to maximise your investment in HubSpot and align with your business goals and culture. Remember, a good partnership involves collaboration, mutual understanding, and a shared commitment to achieving your business objectives.

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