9 min read  | HubSpot

How Does HubSpot Onboarding Work?

The onboarding process determines how valuable HubSpot will be to your organisation. Get it right, and you’ll streamline your tech stack, improve the quality of your data and leverage automation for cohesive inter-team workflows. (Cue high fives all round.) Get it wrong, and you’ll feel like the onboarding never really ends; there’s always more to do.

There is no objective “right” or “wrong” way to transition to HubSpot; instead, it is what works for your specific business. In this blog, we discuss how to determine what type of onboarding will best fit your needs, whether through HubSpot itself or a partner agency. We’ll cover what to expect, red flags to avoid, and some bits of onboarding wisdom we’ve gleaned over the years. Essentially, this is our pre-onboarding onboarding. 

Time is of the essence

Of course, you want to start reaping the HubSpot benefits as soon as possible, but there could be some timely obstacles in your way to the finish line. While this might not sound like good news, being aware of the things that could delay the HubSpot onboarding process puts you in a position to be proactive and prepared for what’s to come.

Before flipping the onboarding switch, you’ll need to set a realistic timeframe for this project's completion. This isn’t the time to be overly optimistic about your team’s bandwidth—or your own. Being realistic about deadlines, turnaround time, systems access, and availability will help your onboarding partner develop a prioritised onboarding plan that will help you see faster time to value.  

Your onboarding timeframe should take into account:

  1. Access to data and information from the systems you plan to migrate from. Because HubSpot is so successful in streamlining fragmented tech stacks into one centralised location, it’s essential to review the platforms you use before you begin onboarding. Assess where the most up-to-date data is housed and what information you want to migrate. Many businesses want to migrate all historical data, but often, this may no longer be relevant or necessary. Consider what customer information needs to be retained and migrated. 
  2. Retirement or decommissioning of your existing tech stack. Take inventory of your current martech stack, how these systems integrate (i.e., anticipating any potential domino effects), and your subscription or payment status for each. You don’t want to pay for a redundant tool, so the longer the lead time to HubSpot onboarding, the better your team can plan for annual renewals and licensing plans.
  3. Prioritising onboarding requirements based on business goals. Planning a clear roadmap with your onboarding partner is hugely beneficial to both parties; expectations are managed, and everyone gets what they need when they need it. A typical example of this might be prioritising website migration over sales based on existing system pain points and overall strategic sales planning. 
  4. Upcoming campaigns, key events, and activities. This considers product launches, promotional campaigns, everything else under the marketing umbrella, and any timing that may impact your internal team. It could also include reorganisations of roles or responsibilities, team availability (let's be honest: How much are we all really getting done in the first week of January?), or large industry events that you’re involved in. Don’t forget about sales cycles either; earmark key dates like end of month, end of fiscal year and any other peak periods you’re aware of.

HubSpot or HubSpot Partner, it’s up to you

Now that you’ve laid out a loose timeline, your next task is to choose between onboarding with HubSpot directly or working with a HubSpot partner agency. The choice is yours, but you do have to choose one—it’s a requirement set by HubSpot for all new Professional and Enterprise accounts. But it’s for your own good. Essentially, HubSpot doesn’t want to throw you into the deep end with their products because they understand that the platform's value lies in strategic application in alignment with business goals. That takes some niche expertise.

This decision can be challenging to navigate when you’ve never gone through this process before. The most important question to ask yourself is: How much and what kind of support will my team need with our HubSpot onboarding?

Option 1: Working with HubSpot directly 

This option will allow you to work with a HubSpot employee, one of their implementation experts, over a 90-day onboarding period. The onboarding cost depends on your HubSpot plan and will include some basic set-up, demos of the features available to you and some advice on implementation. This onboarding process can be a good fit for companies with dedicated internal team members with existing HubSpot knowledge to take ownership of the implementation and change management.

HubSpot Pros:
  • Set pricing structure and onboarding checklist
  • Expedited onboarding timeline 
  • Task and set up autonomy 
HubSpot Cons:
  • Time and know-how requirements of the in-house team for implementation
  • Little flexibility around scope and client-specific needs

Option 2: Working with a HubSpot Partner 

With this option, you can select an agency from HubSpot’s list of accredited onboarding providers. However, every one of these agencies does things differently and will have multiple service tiers available. It’s crucial to choose the appropriate level of service your team requires and align with your agency on workflow and communication expectations. 

Basic onboarding will be the lowest price point option an agency offers and often aligns closely with the onboarding process that HubSpot offers. This could be a good fit if you have time and resources to invest and a lengthy timeframe. Basic onboarding might include:

  • Loading basic information like company details and favicons 
  • Guidance on how to import data, set up modules, etc. (your team does the actual implementation)
  • Phone support and a basic level of customer service

More-than-basic onboarding (let’s call it premium) will be a more comprehensive package, varying from agency to agency. A larger scope, more customised approach offers expedited time to value and a white-glove customer service experience. Not to mention most of the actual hands-on set-up is done for you, resulting in faster ROI. Based on your needs, premium onboarding might include:

  • Set up of custom properties and user profiles
  • Supported data cleaning and imports
  • Set up of key lists, automation, sales and service pipelines, and workflows
  • Design and set up of email templates and landing pages
  • Managed integrations of third-party platforms
  • Tailored training designed for your teams based on how they will use HubSpot, delivered using your business language

Partner Pros:
  • Flexibility
  • Choice of a variety of agency partners
    Various price points
  • Option for tailored solutions that suit your
    business needs and goals
Partner Cons:
  • Less standardisation between agency offerings
    The task of finding the right agency fit


Align with your agency

We’re (obviously) big-time believers in the added benefit of a premium HubSpot onboarding experience, but it’s crucial to select an agency partner you gel with. Be skeptical, pose the tough questions and ask around your network for recommendations. These are some common workflow pitfalls to get ahead of, so ask your prospective HubSpot partner agency about:

  • Capacity. Does the agency have the bandwidth to deliver your project within the necessary timelines?
  • Allocation. Who in the agency will own your project? How experienced are they? Will you have an account manager to walk you through the process?
  • Availability. How flexible is the agency team regarding training sessions? What if you need to contact their project team? How long will they take to get back to you?

On the technical side, you also want to select an agency that will do a bang-up job of setting you up for HubSpot success. Don’t be fooled by ratings or vanity client metrics; just because they’ve onboarded hundreds of customers doesn’t necessarily mean much. A basic onboarding is pretty straightforward, but the real value lies in an agency partner taking the time to understand how you want to use HubSpot and then build out your CRM to fit the business—rather than you having to change business processes to fit the CRM. 

All aboard

Last but not least, change management cannot be overlooked when considering how HubSpot will work for your business. It’s necessary to get all the right stakeholders on the same page.

Change can be challenging, and introducing a new technology platform to a business requires teams to learn and adapt how they’ve worked previously. It’s important to get all the team leaders and stakeholders clear from the start on how this change will be supported. An experienced partner agency will include a change order roll-out plan in their premium onboarding options, which can lift a massive weight from your shoulders, knowing that this pivotal component will run smoothly.

Regardless of whether you’re managing this internally or working with a HubSpot partner, you’ll need to answer the following:

  • Will there be an internal HubSpot owner?
  • What other stakeholders should be involved throughout the onboarding?
  • Learning a new platform requires time to upskill and become familiar with it. How much training and development time will be allocated for this?
  • Will there be a gradual migration (i.e., team by team) or a hard switchover?
  • How might processes be put in place for sales and service teams to streamline the recording of customer activity? (A focus on consistency will make this systems transition smoother.)

Just by reading this blog, you’re starting your onboarding journey off on the right foot, and we’re always just an email away if you need support along the way. 

Questions about our hyper-customised HubSpot onboarding services? 

Get in touch with an Aamplify expert here.