Six Common Problems With HubSpot
Are you considering buying HubSpot and concerned about potential problems? Don't worry, you're not alone.
HubSpot is an excellent all-in-one solution for businesses to manage mailing lists, inbound marketing, sales enablement, and customer service. However, like any CRM, users may encounter its limitations and issues.
Understanding and proactively addressing these problems can help your marketers and sales team spend more time generating ROI than cleaning data.
Read on because we will explore some common problems that users face when using HubSpot and provide practical solutions to fix them.
Problem 1: Making HubSpot work for you
One of the most common problems faced by new HubSpot customers is being able to make the software work for you. This issue is not unique to HubSpot since software requires time, resources, effort, and investment to tailor it for business success.
Depending on the size and scale of your business, the number of clients you need to manage, and the complexity of your sales funnel, it can take up to three months of hard work to get things working as you wish.
For instance, HubSpot comes with a default seven-stage sales pipeline that covers most of the usual lead management steps in the sales process, from the initial lead to receiving payment.
This may suffice for many business owners, but some may wish to add one or two additional steps to match their internal sales process, rendering the default plug-and-play option insufficient.
While the default version of HubSpot is user-friendly, easy to understand, and highly intuitive, it isn’t the most flexible piece of software to customise.
Fix: Develop an internal HubSpot expert to own the platform
Once you’ve understood what your company needs from HubSpot and how the default package falls short, the next challenge is understanding how to resolve the issues.
Customising HubSpot to meet your company’s needs is possible, and there is likely to be a fix for whatever issues you come up against. One of the best fixes is to invest in training for some of your most IT-savvy employees to become SMEs in using HubSpot to its full potential.
Although HubSpot Academy is free, you must account for the opportunity cost of training employees.
While expensive in the short term, this investment will pay off quickly as these individuals will know where to go within the site’s extensive list of settings to find guides on creating the funnels, custom reports, and dashboards your company needs.
Also, by using employees who understand how the software works, ideally with a grounding in coding, most required fixes and customisations can be made in-house rather than outsourcing the work to expensive sub-contractors.
2. Migrating legacy systems to HubSpot
One of HubSpot’s undoubted benefits is that it allows businesses to perform several operations in one place.
Among other things, it can
- Host your website
- Coordinate content creation and social media management
- Segment your target audience by buyer journey
- Predict revenue projections
- Integrate with Google Analytics and other analytics tools
Many companies will have different software and tools to perform other business functions, making the migration from legacy systems tricky. This becomes even more challenging if you rely on a bunch of spreadsheets to track essential KPIs.
For example, your business may have one piece of software for content marketing, another for maintaining your customer database and sales funnel, a third for invoicing and finance, and a standalone website.
With HubSpot, all these functions can be brought under a single umbrella. Sounds great. But the challenge comes in migrating all this data from disparate sources into one concise, useable format.
Fix: Measure once, cut twice. Ensure you plan, map, test and iterate
Several things need to happen to allow these data migrations to take place seamlessly and leave you with a single database that is correctly formatted, fully completed and will enable you to work smoothly.
Firstly, you must map your existing processes to the HubSpot platform. This could involve rebuilding some or all of the integrations so that your disparate workflows work as they did in your previous multi-platform setup.
Before migrating data from your legacy systems, performing data cleanups and integrity checks is essential.
Understanding the data format HubSpot needs can prevent import errors and ensure a smooth transition. Taking the time to get this right before any migration saves you so much time and energy post-import.
Once the data migration has taken place, spend time exhaustively testing HubSpot to ensure everything works as needed.
Data migrations of this scale require plenty of technical expertise, so having a team who have run HubSpot data migrations in the past is worth the short-term investment to allow longer-term operability.
3. Duplication of data
Data hygiene is a big challenge in any sales or marketing tool. The larger the company, the greater the risk of two or more employees creating new entries for the same company.
This leads to quality issues in client management, marketing, sales, and reporting capabilities. Duplicate contacts lead to huge inaccuracies and potential mismanagement.
There are several ways to pick up duplicates, from email addresses to company numbers. Some duplicate entries may be identical; others may differ due to different email addresses or contact numbers for the same contact being entered.
Duplication isn’t always down to human error. Carbon copies can be created when importing or exporting data.
The result can prove costly, though, as duplicate records builds waste in marketing efforts and sales budgets. Not to mention, reaching out to the same lead twice can cause reputational damage.
Fix: Use the data cleaning tools and automation workflows
Identifying duplicate customer entries in your CRM database is possible within HubSpot, albeit with complex workarounds.
You could have staff exhaustively go through each entry and identify duplicates manually. You can also use Operations Hub or Workflows to monitor your CRM regularly – say once a month – to identify duplicates and merge the entries into a single contact.
Of course, if an employee comes across duplicate CRM entries during their everyday routine, merging these two entries into a single contact is a simple exercise by using the “Merge” option on the Actions dropdown on any contact page.
4. Incomplete data
Any marketing platform is only as effective as the data contained within. Insufficient data causes severe issues to the effectiveness of outreach and email marketing campaigns as delivery rates will suffer.
Common issues include phone numbers without area or country codes, incomplete addresses, missing postal codes, missing or incomplete email addresses, and even incomplete names. It’s impossible to effectively promote your company and services unless you’re reaching the right people with your marketing initiatives or know how and where to find them.
Incomplete data leads to fragmented customer relationships and wastes your marketing budget by sending information into a cyber black hole. Meanwhile, potential leads can quickly go cold without the correct contact details being lodged in the system.
Fix: List management and workflows
Finding customer records with incomplete or missing data is one of the more straightforward fixes in HubSpot that doesn’t require additional coding. Instead, you can build a report query that returns a dashboard showing companies' missing details such as full name, email, or telephone numbers.
Using the Active Lists section on HubSpot, create a query called “Incomplete Contacts”. Select the following four fields.
- Contact Property – Email is unknown
- Contact Property – Phone number is unknown
- Contact Property – Mobile phone number is unknown
- Contact Property – Last name is unknown
HubSpot will review your contacts list and return any missing one of the above fields.
You can then bulk update, build a workflow or manually review each entry to update your records and ensure your future marketing campaigns reap greater benefits.
5. Creating custom HubSpot revenue tracking
Many HubSpot customers struggle to get the revenue reporting tools working as they wish. HubSpot’s default options require you to put a weightage on all revenue at each stage of the sales pipeline to allow HubSpot to give you a revenue estimate.
This is complicated where you wish to drill into parent/child company revenue in a report and look at revenue gained from recurring income such as monthly retainer fees or other revenue streams.
Many users resort to exporting data into Excel and letting data wizards loose to create custom revenue reports that break everything down in a user-friendly way.
Although a flexible workaround, moving back to clunky spreadsheets instead is inefficient and costly in the long run.
Fix: Upgrade to Professional
Resolving this potential issue requires plenty of foresight, planning, and a willingness to invest in the Professional HubSpot plan rather than relying on the Basic HubSpot option.
By understanding your company’s revenue reporting requirements from the outset, it is possible to make the additional options available with the Professional plan pay dividends.
However, customised reporting is best implemented during the system set-up rather than trying to bolt on other reports once the system goes live.
When transitioning to HubSpot, it is important to communicate if your current revenue reporting processes meet your business needs. This will help in creating custom revenue tracking reports from the beginning.
Before signing off on the installation, ensure these reports undergo rigorous testing to deliver your requirements.
6. It’s difficult to leave
As businesses mature and grow, their needs shift.
Where CRM tools like HubSpot once performed the required functions, a time may come when the company decides these needs would be better met with a different supplier.
You may need to move to a new supplier that offers greater scalability or more agile reporting functionalities.
This creates a range of issues.
- Data held within HubSpot will need to be migrated to a new system.
- If your website and blog are built in HubSpot CMS, moving it to a different hosting domain isn’t the most straightforward task.
- When you cancel your HubSpot subscription, your customer data, sales leads, and notes may remain accessible but not easily transferred.
As a result, many companies that could flourish with alternative software stick with legacy systems rather than going through the rigmarole of migrating data into new CRM tools.
Fix: Delegate and recreate
This is where your IT-savvy employees (or an external agency) come into their own. They can create an HTML file of your website and blog posts alongside all coded files and use them as the basis for the new hosting domain.
Although plenty of data will need to be recreated, such as plugins and CTAs, this gives you a good head start on recreating your company’s online presence.
Meanwhile, your HubSpot account's enormous amount of data can be retrieved. Although time-consuming, HubSpot’s helpful Knowledge Base is filled with how-to guides that enable you to find the data you need to migrate to new systems. Likewise, existing workflows can be exported to be recreated in the new platform.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle is not being able to export customer notes easily. This is where developer help is required to work with the API to export this data into a usable format for new platforms.
While many businesses find sticking with HubSpot worthwhile in the long run, it’s not accurate to say that once you buy HubSpot, you’re locked in for life.