Prevailing Wisdom



by Bill Arnold

Make no mistake, the HubSpot CRM has come of age and is a powerful customer relationship management software. Prevail Marketing is agnostic, with respect to mastery of CRMs, and our team has worked with most of them. However, in about 85% of the use cases, the HubSpot CRM can be strategically set up to be the best solution for our clients. It also is strategically the best economic choice for our clients. After all, it is hard to beat “free forever.” 

Read our blog “Holy Cow Batman it’s Free” for a complete recap as to the features and advantages of the HubSpot CRM. However, this blog assumes you have already been sold on the functionality and now are perplexed with what the best practices are to setting up the CRM.

The key to our recommending the HubSpot CRM for many companies is that the set up and operation is done in a strategic manner.  Truth be told, this is our recommendation for every CRM. Determining, in advance, how to optimize it in a manner that complements your sales process, and is embraced by your sales team, is critical.

HubSpot does an exceptional job in providing guidance on the basic set up of the HubSpot CRM. For many start-ups or small businesses, HubSpot’s set up instructions are all you will need. However, if you have an ongoing business, a sales team, or a complex sales pipeline, you need to be more strategic in your CRM set up approach.

We have seen far too many companies not engage a strategic approach only to find that six months down the road they are unable to properly track, analyze, or manage their contacts. Unfortunately, this often comes to light only after sales have been negatively impacted.

It is well worth the investment of time to set up your HubSpot CRM to ensure that your team has full adoption, and you take advantage of all the functionality that makes the HubSpot CRM unique and the one we recommend.

Here at Prevail Marketing, we believe the key to Marketing/Sales Success is having a defined process that is continually tweaked for optimization and the highest caliber of people to implement.

Over the years, as HubSpot has improved their CRM, we have been modifying our Strategic HubSpot CRM setup process to ensure that it takes advantage of each new feature. This optimization process has been honed by our own use and feedback from countless clients. We know how to finesse the platform to allow you to get the most out of the platform.

HubSpot CRM is a Powerful Sales tool, but like any tool it is only as good as how it is set up and how it is operated. Fail to do either one properly, and you will pay by lost sales.

Prevail Marketing HubSpot CRM Set Up Process

The strategic process we use to set up the HubSpot CRM consists of 17 phases and over 121 tasks or process agreements. The following illustration is taken directly from our project management portal and shows the phases and the number of tasks associated in each phase. This serves as the template for ALL HubSpot CRM setup engagements.

 Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 3.32.52 AM.png

We obviously are not going to walk through each and every step, but the critical aspect that deserves your attention is that after the kick-off meeting, and before we begin ANY implementation, there are 4 phases and 72 tasks. This represents more than half of the entire setup process. Since this is the heart and soul of an effective CRM implementation program, we will briefly discuss those four sections.

Current Practices Overview

Unless you are a brand new startup, your sales team has developed standard practices to optimize the results. If you want adoption by your sales team, you must accommodate what they already know works. During this stage, we also need to map out current information fields, templates, documents, and videos in their existing CRM and make sure that information is transferred over to the HubSpot CRM.  It is at this stage that we also examine and discuss their contacts and make sure they are segmented by origination, life cycle, and persona. All the while, we are making sure that when we transfer over the contacts, the best and most relevant information is either brought over or added.

Strategic Analysis of Use Case (Team)

This is a meeting of all the stakeholders to discuss best practices and strategies they should consider for their new CRM. During this phase, there are 12 different elements that need to be discussed and have a strategy implemented. At times, that strategy may be one they are currently using, but in most cases the stakeholders opt to adopt best practices. A few of the consideration points include discussion of the sales process, roles of marketing and sales, use of third-party tools, and what information needs to be captured to allow sales to optimize their performance.

Strategic Analysis of Use Case (Individual)

Every successful sales professional I ever met believes their process is superior and responsible for their success. In the adoption of the CRM, we want to enhance their process not create obstacles that impede their success. Listening and incorporating their nuances ensures that the sales team will actually use the CRM. Often, the leadership and success of your top producers can be made part of the overall team sales methodology.

Team Guidelines Process

This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we consolidate the information we learned and intertwine them with best practices in forty-four unique aspects of the HubSpot CRM. This is the "secret sauce" to getting the setup and implementation done in a manner that will enhance and support the sales process. During this period, we work with all the stakeholders to understand the sales process and provide guidance as to best practices.

Once all the factors, processes, and best practices are discussed and agreed upon, we create two documents. The first is the CRM set up protocol, which our marketing technologists use to implement the program agreed to and adopted by the stakeholders.

The second document is a comprehensive process manual that provides both the guidance in the operation of the CRM and the rationale as to why that process was decided. It will always be a living, breathing document that ensures that when changes are warranted, they can be evaluated against the original tenets.

 How Long is the Set Up?

 While every set up and implementation is unique, we have found that the average process requires the unique skills of five team members and about 45 days (including weekends) to implement. While it is impossible to make out the details (wonder why), the following is an actual GANTT Chart of a rather complex CRM Set Up Protocol

  Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 3.49.42 AM.png

Every step in this process is part of an existing template we use for HubSpot CRM implementation. For anyone who has ever done construction, you will appreciate our measure twice\cut once mentality to make sure the process is done right and on time, every time.

Can this process be done quicker with the same results? Of course, it can. The ability of the client to reach a consensus can reduce the time allocated for the review, analysis, and guidelines process. Where it is absolutely critical that implementation be done sooner, the prevail marketing team can accommodate.

 Operating the HubSpot CRM

Getting the CRM set up and optimized properly is only half the battle. If the users do not follow the agreed upon methodology, the benefits will soon be lost. This usually occurs if 1) the stakeholders have not bought into the process or 2) new hires are not properly trained in the process or provided the rationale as to the value of following it.

Stakeholder Buy-in

Since our strategic approach to setting up the HubSpot CRM involves all the stakeholders from management to end user, buy-in Is not a problem. Every user can express their concerns, needs, and expectations. The implementation process is designed to ensure that all stakeholders have input and reduces the risk of having a process that does not work for the sales team.

Continuity of the Process

The reason most processes fail over time is simply because over time, new hires are not provided the same level of training and, subsequently, they don't gain an appreciation as to the value and merits of the process. It is really no one’s fault, just like in the game of telephone, every generation of the message is slightly more distorted than the previous. This becomes particularly problematic for a fast growing company when new hires were not a part of the stakeholders to helped established the program.

Prevail Marketing combats this problem through both its process guidelines and videoing the original training. Both provide not only the exact process, but the benefits and reason it became the standardized process.

We provide training, in both a written format and video, to accommodate the way your new employees learn best.

Contact us if you have concerns or questions whether the HubSpot CRM will work for your business, or if you want to know more about the Prevail Strategic Approach to setting up the HubSpot CRM.

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