With Over 200 HubSpot Customers We Know Something About This
I get it. You want to sell more HubSpot licenses. You want to make your CAM happier, you want to move up in the partner tiers, you want more commissions, and hopefully you want your clients on HubSpot because they get better results.
But how do you actually do this? The basic question is: Do you sell HubSpot? or Do you sell your agency services? Maybe it’s a combination of both, but does that get tricky?
Ask HubSpot and you might not be surprised to hear them recommend selling HubSpot. They even announced a competition at Partner Day in September. It was “Send us your best HubSpot pitch deck.”
But ask some of the top agencies and their answer could be different.
At Square 2, we always had a very deliberate approach to this question. We never sold HubSpot. Surprised? How does a top partner agency get to the top without selling HubSpot?
The short answer was, we positioned and differentiated Square 2 first, and when prospects were ready to hire us, we made HubSpot a required part of doing business with us. We discussed it with prospects, we showed them the software but it was a checklist item, not part of the decision making process.
Clearly this worked.
How do you make HubSpot or any marketing automation and CRM system part of doing business instead of its own sales process? Here you go.
Position The Tools As Secondary To Your Expertise and Strategy
This might sound crazy, but it’s 100% what I believe. HubSpot and the other technology solutions are all tools in your tool belt. This is your hammer, pliers, wrench and drill. They help you do your job, but they don’t help you know how to do your job.
Let me be more specific. A contractor hired to redo your kitchen has all the tools he needs to complete the job. However, the knowledge required to redo your kitchen in a way that causes you to love it, has very little to do with the tools he uses, and everything to do with the experience, process and team he brings to the project.
This is exactly how you should think about your agency. The tools mean very little. Your people, your experience, your systems, processes, methodology and approach mean everything.
When you hire a contractor, do you ask about their tools? You assume they have what they need and that they’ll bring the tools they need. Again, it should be the same with your agency.
Your clients should assume correctly that you’ll recommend the right tools for their business and you’ll help them get those tools, install those tools, train them on those tools and integrate those tools into your revenue growth strategy designed to deliver their revenue growth goals.
This means selecting your agency has almost nothing to do with HubSpot or any of the martech and sales tech tools.
Make It Mandatory
Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I’m not saying the technology is not important. I think it’s critical to success at any company. You would never run your business without QuickBooks, and you should never run a business without marketing automation, CRM and customer service software.
When I say make it mandatory, that means when you’re talking to prospects, you’re asking them;
“What marketing automation are you using?”
“What CMS are you using for your website?”
“What CRM are you using for your sales team (regardless of their size)?”
“What Customer Service technology are you using to handle client service issues?”
“What Customer Survey tools are you using to get feedback from your customers?”
If the answer to any of these questions is nothing, then that’s where you must step up and clearly explain that if they’re going to want to work with you, they have to use something. You’ll help them find the right tools, but they have to be ALL IN on investing in, learning to use, and making these new tools part of the way they do business.
If they can’t go ALL IN, you should be ALL OUT.
Let me restate: It’s not about selling software, it’s about having the tools you need (as their agency) to get them the results they need.
Remember Your Business Priorities
It’s easy to be distracted from what should be your top business priority: finding great clients who are highly profitable and highly referenceable. Do this well and you’ll grow.
Become a Diamond or Elite partner shouldn’t be part of your business priorities. If it happens because you’re finding great clients who are highly profitable and highly referenceable, that’s when it’s going to feel even better to move up in the partner tiers.
Stay focused, don’t let anyone distract you from your stated goals and priorities.
Build It Into Your Sales Process as a Non-Issue
When do you sell HubSpot? I get asked this question regularly. What people asking this really want to know is: Do we sell Square 2 first and then HubSpot or HubSpot and then Square 2? The answer is neither really.
The answer is we don’t sell anything. We help our prospects make safe and appropriate decisions around who they want to work with to help their companies grow. It might be us or it might be another agency. It might be HubSpot or it might be WordPress. It might be HubSpot or it might be Salesforce.
Baked into our sales process is a subroutine that helps us make a helpful recommendation to prospects around their technology. Some of this process includes questions like;
“Do you have a CMS for your website and do you like your current CMS?”
“What percentage of reps use your current CRM and is your current CRM helping you close business faster?”
“Do you have a marketing automation platform and do you like it?”
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, we’re going to help them optimize and even get more value out of their current tools. We are going to recommend additional tools to wrap around those tools that they like.
If the answer is no to any of these questions, we’re able to recommend the right technology and to help them select, pay for, implement, configure and optimize these tools over time.
In my opinion, this is a skill set any growth agency needs to have. You simply can’t tell every client they need the same solution.
Once you have a tech stack recommended, part of helping them make a safe purchase decision is to show them the software, not from a feature perspective, but from a value perspective. How is the software going to help them get more leads, improve the quality of those leads, close more new customers and close them faster?
This is a much different demo than one that simply shows features. This also typically comes AFTER they’ve selected you. It’s part of our rationalization stage in the Cyclonic Buyer Journey. They want to work with you, but they also want to see the software you’re recommending, planning on using for them, training them on and integrating into their program.
It’s a reasonable request but it should be an easy gate to get through. It should not hold up your agreement, nor should it be a deciding factor in whether you get the business or not. If it is currently, you’re not handling your sales process properly.
Use The HubSpot Team In A Supporting NOT Leading Role
This part of the process is where the HubSpot team or any technology team can be extremely helpful. Your CAMs want to be helpful. But left to their own devices, they can be hurt you as much as help you. I’ve had CAMS oversell Square 2, oversell HubSpot and scare the prospects away.
They have to be part of your process in a designed and thoughtful way.
At Square 2, when clients are ready to move forward with us, but still want to see HubSpot, we set up a demo with our CAM. He’s been directed to show high level features that are aligned with the prospect’s goals. Here’s how you automate distribution of content. Here’s how you use the CMS to make changing your website easy. Here’s how you set up and manage workflows. Here’s how you set up your new sales process in the CRM. Here’s how you get data on the performance of your program. That’s it.
Highly functional. Very specific. Very little talk about Square 2. Very directed. Sometimes we’re on the call, sometimes we’re not, but we’ve dedicated a significant amount of time to set up the process for our CAM, discuss our needs with him and make sure he’s using our playbook on those calls.
Even though we’ve had our share of CAM changes, we’re all on the same page. This can work for you too.
I think it’s been established that no one wants to be sold. Old terminology like pitch decks, sales presentations, even the term sales itself leads people to old school, pushy tactics that are much less effective today than ever before.
If you are guiding someone through their buyer journey, then you have to guide them, advise them, and consult with them around finding the right technology tool(s) for their business. This leaves very little room for a HubSpot pitch.
What this does leave plenty of room for is a discussion about their marketing, sales and service needs, their desires and their future goals. Once this is clear, the right tech stack easily presents itself. With a short demo and a conversation about how the technology fits in their overall strategy, it’s all you need to align their technology with their overall revenue growth strategy. The rest is just paperwork.
The more you guide and advise, the more value you deliver and the less software you’re pitching. This should be the business relationship you're working towards with your prospects and your clients.
Start Today Tip – Look at your sales process and if you have a specific HubSpot sales process as part of how you attract and on-board new clients, I’d seriously consider giving it a second look. Every prospect is NOT going to be a candidate for HubSpot. When they’re not, do you have other options to recommend? When they’re not are you telling them you can’t help them? These are two important questions for you to ask and answer. If you’re a HubSpot ONLY shop, tell everyone upfront. Then let misaligned prospects out of your sales process early. But if you’re open to helping companies find the right technology, then create the right set of options and work them through a process that helps you understand their needs and allows you to recommend the right tech stack. You’ll have a happier client and you’ll be setting yourself up for a better client experience which means more referenceable clients and an agency that is growing.
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