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Business Strategy

HubSpot Enterprise Onboarding: Self-Service vs. Agency

Steve Ambuul

HubSpot Enterprise is a powerful tool suite for marketing and sales teams.


The software ecosystem offers features like multi-touch revenue attribution, customizable chatbots, beta features for account-based marketing, and much more. It’s a scalable solution, and a wise investment for growing companies.


To maximize your HubSpot ROI, you need to understand and take advantage of the highest-impact features that you’re paying for with your license. That’s why HubSpot requires some form of onboarding, whether it’s through their standard self-service onboarding program or with one of their agency partners.


Which one is right for you? Let’s go over some key considerations that will help you decide.


Size and complexity


Very small companies may need to forgo using a Hubspot onboarding partner for budget reasons. But Enterprise tools are built for larger, more complex organizations where the higher costs of change management, training, and database conversions are more than offset by the potential revenue gains. Odds are if you’re considering HubSpot Enterprise, you should also be thinking about a partner.


Agency onboarding should be more customized and comprehensive than HubSpot's. For example, technical and business consulting are only offered in HubSpot’s advanced package, whereas they’re naturally part of the process by working with the right strategic agency partner.


Consider the complexity of your sales and marketing workflows. More complex workflows require a more complex HubSpot ecosystem, and you’ll likely need to utilize custom settings beyond the basic functions of HubSpot (e.g. Workflow Extensions to execute custom actions).


Even if your processes are relatively simple now, don’t forget to look to the future as well. How complicated are your workflows going to be in a year, or three years? You don’t want your growth to be impeded down the line by your current lack of HubSpot knowledge.


If you lay a foundation for a small house, you can't just add new floors every year until you have a skyscraper. It would collapse. Investing the extra effort upfront to build a long-term foundation can save millions of dollars in the future.




If your timeline for showing an ROI on your investment in Hubspot Enterprise tools isn’t particularly tight, you can probably get by with self-service onboarding. But an agency can definitely get you much further, much faster.


Agencies often have specialists who are well-versed in multiple platforms, which is invaluable if you’re migrating from a legacy CRM. A CRM migration is a tremendous opportunity to improve your data hygiene check your overall alignment with long-term growth objectives - don’t let it become a missed opportunity. Agency expertise will help you get up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible, with fewer hiccups along the way.


Some CRMs automatically categorize contacts by company based on email address domain (@company.com), but not all do. It’s essential to set up this automation if your CRM doesn’t offer it out of the box.


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We used HubSpot to build an intuitive and scalable CRM system for Luna Physical Therapy. Read the case study.




Taking into account all other projects and approaching deadlines, does your team have the time and capacity to learn the intricate ins and outs of a software system on their own? Even if it’s doable, it might slow down your progress.


HubSpot’s self-service onboarding program requires a significant time commitment from your team, as you’ll be responsible for implementation and building your own integrations, workflows, and reporting settings. Building them is relatively easy. The inevitable rebuilding is pretty easy too.  But ensuring that they’re fully aligned with your company’s strategic growth, operational processes, and departmental responsibilities is something that only experience can teach.


Unless you have in-house developers and marketing technologists on staff, your options are essentially 1) hiring freelancers to manage those aspects of your onboarding, 2) using an inefficient DIY approach, and 3) working with an agency to gain access to experts in those fields.


If you do have in-house experts, the main considerations are bandwidth and overall business acumen — can they take time away from other projects to focus on onboarding?  Do they clearly understand the long-term trajectory of your business well enough that they can lay the foundation to support it?


Experience working with vendors


If you’re not used to working with third-party service vendors, it’s best to have a partner who can offer structure and guidance.


An agency partner can help you determine what features you need and which of them you should adopt first, show you how to optimize your processes within HubSpot, and walk you through everything based on your specific needs and goals.




So size, complexity, timeline, bandwidth, and experience working with vendors are all key considerations. But what’s the price difference?


Well… there’s no easy answer. It all depends on your organization’s unique needs, scope, and timeline.


There are certainly circumstances where self-service onboarding would be cheaper than a partner agency, but there are also circumstances where the opposite would be true. Capital expenses and opportunity cost have to be weighed against each other to understand what’s right for your company.




Everyone can benefit from an experienced agency partner — it’s obviously better to have more personalized attention — but it’s not feasible for every organization.


Make the decision that’s right for you based on who you are, where you are, and where you want to be.

Looking for an agency to help you onboard? Contact us today!

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