Implementing HubSpot CRM? Don’t Even Start Without These 4 Fundamentals

March 2021

You know what they say, learn from others’ mistakes. So instead of messing up your HubSpot implementation, check out these best practices based on our own (early) experiences. They will help you get it right the first time.

Now we can admit it - in the beginning, we got some of our HubSpot implementations wrong. We launched a few campaigns without thinking through the necessary steps. Sometimes, we overcomplicated things. Most importantly, we didn’t fully understand how to align the implementation with the sales team.

All these blunders cost us valuable time and money, but as they happened, we amassed immense knowledge. Today, these experiences allow us to create effective campaigns that bring tangible results to our clients. And we can share them here to help businesses like yours seamlessly migrate to HubSpot CRM. 

OK, so what do you need to succeed?

1. Understanding

Make sure you understand the HubSpot structure of objects (contacts, companies, and deals)

This structure seems pretty basic. But you need to ensure that every person working with HubSpot on your team understands it. Otherwise, the post-migration stage will be a mess. 

The trick is that all of the HubSpot objects can have identical property names. For instance, you can have a different source for Joe (object: contact) working for company ABC (object: Company), a different source for the company ABC, and a different source for the deal associated with this company — now explain that to a sales director who wants to see where the money’s at.

Be aware of the numerous limitations of the basic reporting

To ensure basic reports meet your requirements, determine the exact data the sales director needs to see in the reports. Establish what information you will need and make sure you include it in the reporting module from day one. And finally, enforce regular data updates from the salespeople.

Map everyday sales activities onto HubSpot features

You can’t map 100% of sales processes. And that’s okay as long as you address the main pain points. Not all activities will align with HubSpot workflows, but many of them can actually be improved with the tool. Software migration is a perfect opportunity to redesign and optimize workflows and make lives easier for the people on your team. 

If you’ve never worked with HubSpot, some flows and components may not be immediately straightforward  

And no guide will cover all of them. That’s why we recommend hiring an expert who can look at your requirements, go over the fundamentals of HubSpot CRM with you, and implement your day-to-day workflows in the system.

2. Preparation

Audit the current sales activities and talk to the sales team 

That’s your first and fundamental step before the migration. See what activities people spend most of their time on and how they report them in the current software. Gather all this information in one place to account for when setting up the HubSpot system. But remember that you cannot fine-tune every workflow to suit each person’s particular needs. It’s impossible to achieve in any system.

Structure the migration process to include as few steps as possible

Map the entire workflow outside of the CRM. Choose a proactive sales member and appoint them as the implementation consultant. At each step of the process you create, consult the proposed changes with that person. 

At this point, it’s essential to get both high-level and detailed-level insights from your team. The cooperation with sales representatives is the foundation for setting the entire framework, workflows and reporting. Failing to get feedback from the salespeople before the tool is ready to roll out is a huge waste of valuable time and resources. Trust me, you want to avoid that. 

When the process is defined, do NOT share it with the entire sales force yet

Instead of sending a brief email notifying the team about the new system, schedule a formal meeting with employees. Make your people aware that their understanding of the migration process is crucial to getting the entire rollout right. Explain that every change will require adjusting their workflows, which will probably entail some disruptions. 

Getting your sales team’s buy-in is an essential ingredient of success here. And if you’re not sure how to achieve it, drop us an email — we will send you a template you can use at this stage, together with more hints on successful HubSpot implementation. 

Customize HubSpot BEFORE you showcase it to your sales team 

This will save everyone tons of frustration and show your sales force that you are confident in the new software. Whether you like it or not, the first impression counts. So don’t pitch anything to your team unless you’re 100% ready.

Define data that people can ADD when they create a new object

Mark required fields to avoid gaps in reporting. Whenever you can, provide limited options, for instance, by using a drop-down list instead of an open field. 

Test your integrations on dummy objects

Test integrations with email providers, internal databases via API, 3rd party software, etc. 

Make sure you have standardized the process for naming deals

Avoid using the words new, old or next. They are only going to complicate things for you.

Get the hang of HubSpot’s sources

Every company wants to track down sales sources, which is probably one reason you want to use HubSpot. Mind you that the CRM uses buckets for organization. By default, if you have numerous outbound activities, they all will be stored under “Offline buckets” in HubSpot sources. 

As a more efficient solution, we usually create a custom source property for manual use by salespeople and then set automated mapping from default sources. Doing so allows you to store everything in one place

[Case Study] HubSpot Sales Enterprise Implementation

For helped the Infermedica company to set up sales processes and reporting in HubSpot.

3. Migration

Import only the data you know without fail that will be needed later.

Analyze the current database closely. Be realistic. Don’t copy any nonessential or outdated information ‘in case it comes in handy one day.’ Check with your team what’s useful and save it in the HubSpot File Manager. Inform everyone on the team when the migration will happen, what will be imported to the new system, and where they will find the data they need.

Again, make sure you understand the HubSpot data structure

Before you import any databases to HubSpot, ensure you are familiar with how the system automatically structures and saves data. Find out how HubSpot automatically connects people and companies via domains only, aligns lifecycle stages, deduplicates data based on email or company domain, etc.

Perform a dry run

Before you move thousands of entries to a brand new system, it’s a good idea to check things out first. To avoid nasty surprises, import a batch of test contacts (a dozen or so), analyze the process, and verify if the migration went according to the plan.

Set day zero for migrating all data and stick to it

Finally, perform the entire migration and move all teams to HubSpot in a single run. You don’t want to break down the import into multiple stages just because some people on your team still use the old software. Once you’re ready, press the button and execute. This will save you time and hassle.

4. Working with salespeople

Salespeople are overloaded. We know that. With quotas to meet, prospects to capture, and deals to negotiate, they always have their hands full. A CRM system is supposed to support them, make them more efficient, and never slow them down. To achieve it, it needs to be simple and focused on only the information sales professionals need and use.

Most salespeople initially object to any changes. But once we help them understand the immediate and long-term positive impact of the new system on their work, they make the transition easy for us. Getting the sales team on board with the new tools is in your best interest. The person in charge of the implementation should commit themselves to gaining salespeople’s support and building their trust in the tool. How?

Prepare onboarding materials

Prepare a brief manual explaining how to use the tool and share it with the team. This can be an audio/video tutorial or a written guide. The format doesn’t matter as long as you keep it ultra-relevant and to the point. Your people are busy. They need clear instruction and a specific list of do's and don'ts not to waste time learning about features they won't use.

Set deadlines for training and transition

Train people in the new tool after setting up the entire account but before you require them to work with the new software. And set up a deadline for transition. The truth is most people will delay training and migration until the very last moment. To avoid project bottlenecks, you need to be exacting and clearly communicate that the dates established are non-negotiable.

Be supportive. And demanding

Assure your employees that they can count on your support with the migration. But make it explicit that you expect them to be proactive in addressing basic questions and issues. HubSpot provides tons of resources that help users get familiar with the platform. And most user questions regarding the tool can be answered by a simple Google search.

Establish who’s accountable for what

Inform your sales team that you will measure their activity ONLY based on what you can see in HubSpot. They must log every call and meeting, and you will get notified about them via email to your HubSpot account.

If a salesperson makes hundreds of calls but doesn't log them in HubSpot, their manager won't see any of these activities in the productivity report. Salespeople must understand that only the objects they own in HubSpot count towards their quota. To claim ownership, they need to have everything documented in the system.

Closing thoughts

As you can see, there are many steps before the actual migration essential to get the entire HubSpot transition right. Our experience confirms that. Usually, we can perform the migration in ONE day provided that all information is in place and the data is well-organized.

I hope these short lessons will make the migration to HubSpot easier for you. But if you still have questions regarding the process, feel free to get in touch with me!

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