Great product - but some difficulties with implementation partner
Updated February 11, 2015

Great product - but some difficulties with implementation partner

Craig Davidiuk | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Basic

Modules Used

  • CRM

Overall Satisfaction with HubSpot

I use HubSpot to market my campground and one other online business (promo products). I've been incredibly happy with my product and love how it makes it easy for a small biz owner to actually function in the world of online marketing. It helps me because i can manage all the required tasks for marketing, analytics, SEO, social and blogging under one roof. Previously I had to belong to 4-6 different services to tweet, to blog, to create landing pages. Now with hubspot you create integrated campaigns in which all the elements are tracked concurrently providing you data that business owners can actually use. Before Hubspot I really struggled to understand how to use each of these business tools. They have amazing video training, PDF guides, checklists, infographics and finally telephone and chat support to address any issue I have immediately. The other thing about the training is the product is set up in such a way that almost anyone in my organization can learn about inbound. For this product to succeed, you need everyone in your organization to adopt an in-bound culture. So its a triple threat of "best product in class", "best training in class" and "best results in class"
  • Training
  • Interface
  • Customer Service
  • Helps you understand the complexities of online marketing
  • ecommerce implementation training
  • how to sell products instead of such a huge focus on personas. ALL my personas buy ALL of my products.
  • The price is VERY HIGH for a small business like ours.
  • After a year I have noticed virtually NO RETURN ON INVESTMENT for two companies. I hired a contractor to set this up and it didn't go well. I spent nearly $20,000 on consulting services and the software and I don't think we generated one sale. So we parted ways and I took the account over myself. I'm having a bit more success and the lack of ROI was mainly due to the hubspot partner having no concept of how to sell our product or understand our customers. They came off as puppets from Hubspot repeating the same buzz words over and over again. Lots of hype and enthusiasm at our meetings but no answer on how thier activities actually created sales. So this is more of a critism of the partner than the software but again, they are a Hubspot certified partner. One would think results are important. There are a number of reasons for this. Mainly that you have to be prepared to put in about 10,000 hours of labour before you can even start to see results. Its no magic bullet thats for sure. I believe in the product but you have to understand how much freakin' work it is to succeed. As a company where I am the only person doing marketing, its really hard to suceed using hubspot and the budgets I can offer. This product is best for companies who have sales volumes of 1 mill or more an at least 3-5 people int he marketing department. I hired a three person team and it barely scratched the surface.
  • The metrics and date hubspot collects are great. Now that we are set up we have a decent foundation moving forward
  • If you do buy this product, even if you are hiring a partner, you should become inbound certified yourself so you can guide contractors. Our contractor did a poor job of showing their impact or explaining the over arching reasons for many of the activities. Using hubspot at least gave me an insight into why twitter matters.
  • We also like how we don't have to spend any time importing/exporting data between applications like mailchip or adwords. Its all under one hood and it actually shows how social, adwords, seo, blogging,etc create results. The metrics make sense to dough heads like me. I can't stand geek speak.
I can't stand Salesforce interface. It feels like 6 software packages cobbled together with duct tape. It appears that hubspot is taking the best features of CRM and integrating it into their own package. THere is no comparison between Salesforce and hubspot. Salesforce might be an older and more developed product but the interface and billing method really put me off. I actually bought a year of sales force last year and I have used it maybe 10 hours. I just didn't like the way it felt compared to hubspot. And why would I want data in two places again? I already have that with maximizer. I have also been a maximizer user for 13 years. Great product when it came out but it basically abandoned me by no longer supporting quickbooks integration and leaving me stuck at version 10. At least with a cloud product like hubspot, it will continue to evolve and change according to customer need because its built that way. Other systems were built by engineers to meet their needs first and the customers needs second and when the cloud came along, made it difficult to transition between the two worlds.
Its REALLY hard for an ecommerce business to get started on HubSpot. Everything they write for training resources is almost exclusively targeted towards soft goods such as insurance, software, consulting, etc. One of my businesses only sells product. They need a lot more resources and training on how to adapt this product to meet my needs. The templates in the marketplace are not built for e-commerce at all really. The templates they offer are kinda boring as well (from outside vendors). The conflict I run into all the time is this product is designed for persona based marketing. But we sell products so we might have ALL our personas buying from our two or three product catagories. I find I'm constantly having to "make it up as I go along" when it comes to adapting this product to my business. Its also very hard to move from a server based legacy system to Hubspot. For example we have a database with 6000 records that has customers dating back 40 years and we have 3 employees. So we just can't afford to export more than about 10% of our contacts because of the billing structure. The costs changes per 1000 emails at the lower levels. Cost certainty is important to us but that is hard to attain if you hook this thing to your web site for new leads AND try to import info from a legacy system. Its a problem with all systems but thus far Hubspot has removed all the pain points for switching except this one.

HubSpot Marketing Hub Feature Ratings

WYSIWYG email editor
9
Landing pages
8
Mobile optimization
9
Email deliverability reporting
8
List management
9
Lead nurturing
9
Lead scoring and grading
9
Data quality management
Not Rated
Automated sales alerts and tasks
9
Calendaring
9
Event/webinar marketing
8
Social sharing and campaigns
10
Social profile integration
10
Dashboards
10
Standard reports
9
Custom reports
Not Rated
API
Not Rated
Role-based workflow & approvals
Not Rated
Customizability
Not Rated
Integration with Salesforce.com
7
Integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Not Rated
Integration with SugarCRM
Not Rated

Using HubSpot

3 - Sales: Our sales team tells us about issues customer are facing, events they are attending, associations they belong to. We then plug that data into hubspot and watch them.
Management: As the owners, we have used this front-line info to develop content to solve our customers needs. We use this data to target emails, product offering and monitor trends in product choices. If you can combine the data in hubspot with google analytics you can do some very powerful things.
3 - Skill levels vary but I feel that every person in our organization from the graphic designer to the receptionist to the sales to the finance people can use this product. In fact we expect them to. If we don't then we are not working as a team. Hubspot enables teamwork like no other and addresses different learning styles and needs. THe training is in plain language.
  • rganizing marketing efforts into one package the owners can use and understand
  • business intelligence: learning about industry and customer trends using social monitoriing
  • email marketing and blogging
  • linking landing pages to imprinted logo products we sell. Ie- imprint landing page on a pen and track results of our customers campaigns
  • it created an environment where my employees became interested in inbound marketing and being a part of what the marketing team is trying to accomplish
  • We are going to create an entire web site on hubspot CMS so we can personalize our visits for our customers
  • moving all of our CRM to hubspot within the year
For us its taking so long to get it to a point where it actually creates results. Its probably going to be a two year project before we really start seeing an impact.

Evaluating HubSpot and Competitors

Yes - Maximizer CRM: server based and didn't work with needs of our workforce in multiple locations
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
Ease of use was the most important factor. Its the interface that really grabbed my attention. Clean, simple, organized and intuitive.
I had the product pitched to me by a partner who implemented the program. It was a good way to do it. The partner was very convincing that this would change our business and he was right.

HubSpot Implementation

Make sure the vendor understands your needs and you have VERY focused goals that align with your budget. Spend time breaking down those goals into really small pieces.
You may have to tackle smaller portions of those goals and revisit them. The creation of a hubspot account is very time consuming and complex. And parachuting an outsider into your business and expecting them to "get it' just isn't realistic unless you can afford a year or more of their time. But as a business owner its always hard to swallow the fact that you are going to spend several thousand dollars before you see even a hint of a result.

Again no hard feelings about the vendors efforts but I feel like we were destined to fail. Had I obtained hubspot inbound certification as a condition of working with the vendor, I feel that we would have saved thousands of hours and dollars. I'm asking for data that was at my fingertips. And my vendors burning time trying to justify his existence when he could be making my hubpsot better. This experience was better than most that I've had like this. Its just plain hard to succeed in online business no matter what product you use to market it.
  • Vendor implemented
  • Professional services company
Marketing Stream
Yes - The intake process was very detailed. They spent a lot of time at the front end trying to understand our business and kept the info flowing when building out our hubspot. Once it was built they integrated hubspot into our existing database marketing projects.
Change management was a minor issue with the implementation - The major challenge we faced is our company is too small. We were paying the equivalent of one employees monthly salary to this company and yet the time-burn required to get us going was pretty huge. For us its a fortune. For the implementation partner its about half of what they needed to do the job properly. I feel that implementation partners should require customers like me to attend the Inbound Certification program and get certified. Otherwise we can't really understand all the work going on behind the scenes and it looks like nothing is happening. I discovered this when I had to part ways with partner and take over account myself. There is no way an outsider can ever succeed unless someone is working at a very high level with the implementation partner AND understands ALL of the functions of hubspot. Once I took over and was able to connect the blog to the web site to our product marketing strategy, we saw results. But the partner was not successful in generating any revenue for our company during the 6 months we tried working with them. Thats a huge problem for an ecommerce company. The lesson: Your expectations, your desire to dive in and learn and your ability to pay a contractor have to be balanced carefully.
  • clash over budget required to get project to a revenue neutral or positive. I'm not even sure the vendor had an idea of what budget would be required to create results. In fact, very little attention paid to creating results as far as we were concerned.
  • implementation partner just doesn't get subtleties of our business so they built a lot of content that the wrong people read....or nobody read at all.
  • we hired the owner to develop, implement and manage the project due to his experience with ecommerce and business process. After a very short while the project was handed over to very junior (ie first project ever in hubspot) , inexperienced and at times unprofessional employees ( libelous images used, poor spelling and writing) . Very little oversight by owner in mid project despite numerous requests for his attention.
  • We hired a brand new hubspot partner. As an ecommerce business its very hard to succeed using this product or any product for that mater. Despite best efforts, this vendors lack of experienced and knowledgeable personnel was the reason we pulled the plug after a few months and took it over ourselves. We shouldn't have to proof read emails for mistakes and libelous statements or instruct their designer not to use copyrighted images that can land us in court. The partner should not have taken on such a complex project as ours. I"m thankful they did and appreciate the ongoing support they provide and still have a friendly and amicable relationship. But we were definitely not a good fit for them at that time in their company history. Nice folks who tried damn hard to help us. But in the end they fell short. So like all business decisions ask for references and past experience. IN their defence we knew they were new and tried to create a "test case" for them. However the stakes were too high for us to afford experiment with them.
  • Implementation partner was contracted to advise on ecommerce strategy and some SEO on our existing product based web site. They focused almost 100% on building out a hubspot blog. We sell products so if people can't find our products online, a blog isn't going to do much good. A better balance needed to be struck. However as a hubspot partner they were doing what they were hired to do and the other stuff was perhaps a bit too lofty to expect. But again, if your service doesn't create revenue, how can you justify an ongoing commitment to the company providing the service?
  • The partner never provided an account of time burn or even how many hours a month we were getting for our monthly contracted amount. Had they done that early on we may have had a better understanding of where to focus our budget and what reporting we needed. At the end of the day neither of us had a clue how much time it would take to see results with this product.

HubSpot Support

Any time I've had a question or issue they tackle it with a sense of purpose and professionalism. Some companies are totally hung up on policy and process at the expense of the customers needs. Hubspot has always been exceptional to deal with. Every question or issue I have asked gets addressed. If the person I"m dealing with doesn't know the answer or can't fix it, I'm referred to someone immediately who can help me. I have never had to call and ask "hey what are you guys doing about my issue..." NEVER. Thats rare.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
Not Available - no
I started off on the basic entry level package. I worked with it for a few months and realized some features on the premium level were necessary to do what I wanted in my ecommerce business. I called my product rep and she collaborated with me and was able to get a price reduction on the upgraded membership. Its still a bit beyond what I can afford but I have never had a rep go to bat for me like that and come back with a better price on software. (never happened in 20 years in biz).

Using HubSpot

I've demo's about 10 different CMS, marketing systems, marketing tools this past 5 years and I didn't let one of the demos get past a demo. I signed up for hubspot without a demo. When I found hubspot I just knew I had found "my solution". The langauge is simple. The help balloons are where they should be. The help content is solid and easy to find. The tools are incredibly powerful and finally gave me context to what a lot of SEO pro's were trying to help me with. Its the first time since Twitter was invented that The other thing that REALLY sold me on hubspot was the CRM. If they can do to CRM what they have done to marketing, watch out world. I love the CRM package even though its brand new and needs improvement.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
  • social monitoring
  • campaign development
  • reports that provide data that I can action as a biz owner,
  • tailoring blogs and content for search engines. The inline tools tell you how your SEO is doing as you write.
  • setting up html templates and using design manager is a bit beyond me. But again I don't code so I'd have to hire someone anyways
  • they have recently retired the most cumbersome part of the interface - the dashboard
  • the calendar they use to show publishing schedule is a visual nightmare