Is it worth it to hire an agency to help with HubSpot?
It's a question all of our clients have asked themselves at one point or another, and of course our default answer is an emphatic yes!
But as an Elite Tier HubSpot partner, we're obviously biased.
In this post, we're going to attempt to set aside that bias and break down the actual costs and benefits of hiring a HubSpot partner agency compared to the alternatives. This isn't a sales pitch (if you want one, we're more than happy to oblige!). Instead, we're going to try to be as transparent as possible in our assessment, and let you decide for yourself.
First, the basics:
What is a HubSpot partner agency?
HubSpot partner agencies (officially referred to as "HubSpot Solutions Partners") are service providers that are certified to sell and support HubSpot products. Partners get paid a percentage of their clients' HubSpot subscription costs, as well as whatever they may earn for their own services.
Partners might specialize in marketing, sales, web design, CRM implementation, technical integrations, or (as in our case) all of the above.
There are over 6000 solutions providers in the HubSpot Solutions Directory, but most have only met the minimum requirements. About 1200 have enough experience to earn a HubSpot Partner tier designation, meaning they sell and manage a certain value of HubSpot subscriptions annually. There are four tier designations: Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Elite. In general, higher-tier agencies will have larger client rosters and more experience.
Elite-tier partners (such as Salted Stone) are very likely to have deep expertise with HubSpot strategy and implementation, be 100% dialed into the latest updates and capabilities of the platform, and collaborate directly with HubSpot's own internal teams. They may even have experience contributing to HubSpot products or supporting the HubSpot team directly.
What do HubSpot Partner Agencies do?
A HubSpot partner agency can help you...
- Decide whether HubSpot is right for your business
- Select which HubSpot products and plans you need
- Get you onboarded onto HubSpot
- Configure your platform
- Migrate your data or content
- Build or set up integrations with the rest of your tech stack
- Develop a long-term roadmap for using HubSpot
While selling and servicing HubSpot is all that's required to land a spot in the directory, many agency partners are also full-service digital agencies who go beyond HubSpot capabilities to support other technologies (e.g., Salesforce, WordPress, Intercom), as well as offering strategy and production support for marketing, sales, operations, and other functions.
What are the alternatives to hiring a HubSpot Solutions Partner?
Hiring an agency isn't your only option for making the most of your HubSpot investment. Here are some other viable strategies:
The most obvious alternative is hiring a HubSpot expert for your internal team. While qualified HubSpot-certified talent can be pretty hard to find, you might get lucky and land a former agency employee or someone else with direct platform experience.
Upskilling your current team
HubSpot offers a really solid online academy where your employees can learn to use features and tools and solve common problems. If you have extra capacity on your in-house team, you might consider having them train up on the platform rather than hiring an agency.
Fixed-rate HubSpot services
HubSpot recently started offering fixed-rate onboarding and consulting services at prices ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. These services may be provided by internal team members or external solutions partners, but they're officially designed and sanctioned by HubSpot.
When is it worth it to hire a HubSpot partner agency?
Hiring a HubSpot partner agency doesn't make sense for everyone. However, it's the best choice for certain organizations under certain circumstances.
If all you need is HubSpot help, and your needs are relatively simple, then it's likely you can use HubSpot's fixed-rate services or learn the necessary skills in-house.
If all you need is HubSpot help, and your needs are more complex, then it makes sense to reach out to an experienced partner agency. You can ask if they have experience dealing with projects similar to yours, and if so, you can rely on their expertise to get the job done right.
If your HubSpot needs are highly variable, then it makes sense to start a relationship with a partner agency rather than hiring an in-house employee or using fixed-rate services. Unlike a salaried employee, you can set up flexible contracts with an agency that will enable you to scale your work up or down as needed.
If you need help connecting HubSpot strategy with the rest of your business, then it makes sense to either hire a full-service agency or ensure your internal teams are all trained up on HubSpot's products using HubSpot Academy.
The hidden value of a good agency
While it's totally possible — and encouraged! — to run a cost-benefit analysis of an agency's quote compared to your other options, we'd like to bring up a few unquantifiable variables you may not be considering.
When you hire a good HubSpot partner agency, you're getting access to an entire team and their combined experience, rather than one or two people. Salted Stone has 80+ team members with hundreds and hundreds of projects under their belts, and every day we're asking each other for help solving problems or developing innovative strategies for our clients. While a dedicated team member has their advantages, they won't have access to that brain trust.
Process is another key variable. When you hire an internal team member or try to upskill your team to meet HubSpot challenges, most of your energy (at least initially) will be going toward developing processes, not actually achieving results. When you hire an experienced agency, you get the value of pre-established processes, both on the micro and macro level.
The bottom line
In full transparency, hiring a HubSpot partner agency isn't worth it for all organizations all of the time. There are other options that might suit your needs better.
But if you want the benefit of experience and process, the flexibility of an agency relationship, or help with work beyond the edges of the HubSpot platform, an agency is usually the right play.
Salted Stone is an Elite Tier HubSpot partner, and the only one with global offices in North America, EMEA, and APAC.
Read our reviews on the Solutions Directory and contact us if you're interested in working together!