The Challenges of Finding the Right HubSpot Partner
ByConnor Skelly |
5 min read |
21 Aug, 2023
I've spent the better part of a decade working B2B marketing and sales enablement. I've used HubSpot for most of that time and dealt with my share of agencies - both HubSpot partners and other businesses. I've now been running my own HubSpot partner agency and have learned even more on what it takes to be a good partner. I've seen the spectrum from the good to the not-so-pleasant.
So I'm going to break down the five most common challenges that businesses encounter when working with HubSpot Solutions Partners.
First, Why Choose a HubSpot Solutions Partner?
If your company operates within the HubSpot realm, engaging with a certified Solutions Partner can be a game-changer. The benefits are plentiful, from effective tool utilization to maximizing your investment. HubSpot's official partners are not only certified but also experienced users of the software. Once they're in, they gain access to a dedicated customer success manager, specialized training, and insights into upcoming product releases.
They are (or should be) experts in the technology meant to drive your business forward.
However, like any journey, there are potential obstacles to be mindful of.
The Top 5 Challenges Businesses Face with HubSpot Solutions Partners
1. Navigating Agency Pricing Complexities
Every agency has a business model that ultimately comes through in their pricing.
Some agencies will position themselves as "full service", while others focus on specialized areas: web design, social media, or operations.
Some focus on implementation while others focus on training.
A significant majority of HubSpot partners work on monthly retainer models, which often results in budget complexities when priorities change.
To tackle this, many agencies have embraced agile frameworks. They focus on a predetermined volume of work per month, allowing scope adjustments to accommodate shifting priorities.
When choosing a partner, it's important to start by understanding your goals and objectives, how you prefer to work, and what kind of company culture is the best fit for you.
In my experience, even when you feel you’ve picked the perfect partner, problems still inevitably occur.
It's kind of like a marriage. Just because you’ve found the “perfect” partner and you’ve gotten married doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps in the road. And just like a healthy marriage, it takes two committed partners to work through those problems and build a strong and positive agency-client relationship.
So, as the one deciding on which partner to choose, what do you do? Or what should you expect?
In a typical retainer, where there is a fixed scope of work, shifting priorities (as all growing business experience) normally mean a change of scope and/or price increase.
All of these little increases add up and because most companies budget in advance for the amount they plan to spend on agency services, they can be very difficult to swallow (and are therefore an unnecessary source of friction in the agency-client relationship).
The way many of HubSpot’s top agency partners have dealt with this challenge is to move to an agile framework wherein the client signs an agreement committing to a certain volume of work per month (expressed as either hours or points), but with a flexible scope of work that is updated continuously throughout the relationship.
This approach accommodates clients’ shifting priorities while protecting agencies from scope creep and offering both parties a greater degree of transparency regarding what work is getting done and how much the client is paying for it.
Because the reality is, every growing business has new needs and challenges to face everyday. Their HubSpot partner should understand that and be built to accomodate.
2. Getting Results Takes Forever
While patience is a virtue, fast results are entirely possible.
When it comes to making operational changes in how your Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success teams work, quick wins are always there.
It could be as simple as automating a task to a sales rep to stay on top of leads, or updating your lead form so the most qualified can get pushed to the team right away.
You don't need to fundamentally restructure your entire team operations just to reduce friction in your organization.
3. There is too much turnover in agencies
Staff turnover is a reality in any industry. When choosing an agency, consider those with a robust team to mitigate disruptions.
Smaller agencies can establish multi-tiered client interactions, ensuring a seamless transition amid changes.
Odds are, you will experience turnover in the agency team with which you work at least once (if not more) during the life of your engagement.
Sometimes this turnover is the result of that person leaving the agency for another job, while in other cases it is due to a promotion. Either way, turnover - when handled poorly - can be very disruptive to the agency-client relationship.
You can’t prevent turnover from happening, but you can mitigate the impact it has on the agency-client relationship and prevent it from disrupting the flow of work. There are a few ways to do this.
From the client’s perspective, some companies protect themselves from issues relating to turnover by working with larger agencies that have a deep bench of experts. In this case, when one account manager leaves, there are other equally, if not more, qualified team members available to take their place.
But bigger isn’t always better and smaller agencies can solve for turnover by ensuring each client works with a team. That might mean you meet with an account manager on a weekly basis, and then also have access to a higher level strategist who meets with you monthly to review progress and develop project roadmaps.
This kind of structure ensures that there is more than one person within the agency who understands your business and is familiar with your account.
4. You're Trapped in a Dysfunctional Relationship
Agency-client relationships come in many shapes and sizes. It's vital to have flexible arrangements in place that reflect mutual confidence in value delivery. Transparent communication and clarity in expectations help maintain a productive partnership.
The terms and conditions of HubSpot agency partner contracts vary widely, from month-to-month agreements that can be canceled at any time (generally with 30 days notice) to 12 month contracts with early cancellation penalties and auto-renew clauses (what I like to call the “Gold’s Gym” approach).
There is nothing worse - for the agency and the client - than being stuck in a relationship that clearly isn’t working. Things are bound to turn ugly and it will only get harder to work together in a productive way.
You need to make sure your HubSpot partner provides you the flexibility to end the engagement whenever it makes sense.
5. You're not holding up your end
Agency-client relationships are a two way street. Just like marriages, it takes two committed partners to make things work.
In the four sections above, I've outlined a number of problems you might encounter when working with a HubSpot Solutions Partner, and most of these are agency-related.
I would be remiss if I didn't add that sometimes you as the client might be contributing to the problems.
I've learned a lot about what makes for a successful agency-client partnership. It starts with a thorough discovery process on the front end to ensure your agreement and scope are focused on the things that will deliver results. It requires clear, honest and respectful communication between both parties, along with a commitment to following through.
Every agency is different and will have different expectations of their clients. If the agency you are working with hasn't clearly outlined what they expect of you, that is a red flag.
As you embark on the journey of working with a HubSpot Solutions Partner, remember that perfection isn't the goal. Challenges will arise, but they can be managed effectively with adaptability, open communication, and a growth mindset. Just like any successful partnership, it's the ability to navigate problems together that defines its strength.
Are you ready to take the next step? When evaluating potential partners, inquire about their experiences and how they've tackled hurdles. Their responses will provide insights into the trust and collaboration that underlie their partnerships.
Get your free strategy call here to see if Fission is the right HubSpot partner for you.