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Building the Base of your HubSpot and CRM Strategy

podcast Mads Jorgensen


Experienced HubSpot specialist Mads Jorgensen, originally with HubSpot and now a freelance specialist, shares lessons learned helping businesses to get full value from their HubSpot investment.


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About our guest:

Former HubSpot employee and now HubSpot freelance CRM Consultant for scaling HubSpot customers and HubSpot partners.


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Direct Transcription of Podcast


Pete: Greetings everyone, a very warm welcome back to another edition of the HubDo podcast. We talk with software vendors, subject matter specialists, and end users who share real stories of how to do more on HubSpot. I'm your host, Pete Nicholls. I'm in Copenhagen in Denmark, and I'm joined today by HubSpot specialist Mads Jorgensen. Mads, very good day to you. Where are you today? 

Mads: Hi, Pete, thanks for having me. Yeah, good to be here. I'm, uh, I'm based in, uh, in Amsterdam, but actually from, uh, from Denmark. Not so far from where you're sitting at the moment. 

Pete: Not far away. And, uh, and culturally, no distance at all. So, um, we're talking HubSpot today and for our listeners, if you haven't heard of or don't know, Mads is a former HubSpot employee and is now a HubSpot freelance CRM consultant for scaling HubSpot customers and HubSpot Partners. Mads, I'm delighted that you are a specialist on the HubDo Marketplace because that means you can help more people to do more on HubSpot. So we have a topic for today Mads, which is, um, building the base of your HubSpot and CRM strategy. Let's kick off by talking about as a freelancer now Mads, what's your ideal, typical customer and what problems are they trying to solve?

Mads: Big question, Pete. Uh, but let's, uh, let's break it down. Um, my customers kind of fall into two buckets, one of two buckets. So it's either HubSpot partners who want a kind of utilize freelancers like me, to scale in a more flexible way. Without having a lot of kind of fixed overhead costs, um, and also maybe being able to take on, uh, projects, implementations, and so on may fall slightly outside of their kind of core competencies.

Um, so most of my work is actually with, uh, with HubSpot partners across the world. Uh, Typically like platinum or lead partners. Um, the other bucket is, uh, is normal HubSpot customers that are using HubSpot products, typically someone who has gotten onboarding from, uh, maybe a smaller agency or HubSpot previously, but may not have gotten the right support from the get-go and have kind of been using HubSpot for a while with, without really getting the value that they were initially kind of expecting from the quite sizable investment, that HubSpot really is. So, um, so yeah, HubSpot partners and HubSpot customers, that's kind of my, uh, my two customer types. And, um, and when we talk about the customers themselves, they typically fall into what you would consider a good fit for a HubSpot. So that will be like B2B companies with, uh, long, complex sales cycles, typically more, um, high price points when it comes to the products, and, um, often within B2B, SAS, manufacturing just because it's, uh, it's a really good fit, uh, good fit businesses.

Pete: You picked up a lot of experience being at HubSpot for the best part of two years, and I know you relocated to the Netherlands only because you couldn't stay located at the HubSpot office. So that meant then heading into freelance. I think it's a credit to you that partners are using you. You mentioned platinum Diamond, elite-level partners. So these are organizations that already have deep HubSpot expertise and they're bringing you in to strengthen their team. So you are, um, you are like the chef's chef, as I like to think of it. And, um, so therefore the skills that they know that you bring in are really solid. So the problem that you're solving for the partners is bringing those skills in.

Pete: Let's talk about the customer situations then, of where they're bringing you in, the typical problems that the customer is trying to solve that gets you involved to help figure that out. What does that look like? 

Mads: Yeah, good question. Um, so when we talk about the partners, um, the role I typically kind of, uh, fill here is the role of a CRM consultant or like a project manager. So, um, I have experience both with managing projects, CRM implementations, but I also have a lot of experience with actually setting up, uh, portals myself. So my role in these, uh, these typical projects would be, uh, often kind of overseeing that everything goes well. Connecting the different stakeholders, aligning goals, challenges, and so on. And then might, uh, maybe communicating some of these goals or requirements to a team of, of developers or implementation specialists. So kind of making sure that, you know, uh, everything is, glued together in the right way. Um, and then some, sometimes I might also be involved in training or actual implementations, depending on the size of the project and, you know who's actually involved in projects. 

Pete: So are these customers Mads, who didn't have HubSpot and now they do? What would be the proportion of how many customers are, um, brand new to HubSpot versus those who already have it and then you are being brought in to rescue? 

Mads: Um, I'd say around 50/50. Uh, when I work with partners, it's mainly, uh, like in, uh, net new HubSpot implementations, but in some cases we also, uh, see existing HubSpot customers who just, they're not getting the value that they want. And in such a case, we would typically go into a kind of, uh, you know, understand like what is working, what isn't working, where would they like to be, you know, six to 12 months with HubSpot specifically. And then we would go in and do like an in-depth HubSpot audit. So kind of, uh, connecting those goals and challenges with how the HubSpot portal is, is looking like um, so that might be if they say like, okay, we are actually struggling with generating some revenue on the back of HubSpot, then we might go in and see, okay, so how are your marketing campaigns actually performing? How are your KPIs within the HubSpot portal compared to industry standards and benchmarks? And we can kind of see, okay, where should we be, and what should we address within your HubSpot environment to actually start to solve some of these business challenges? Because that's really what we wanna focus on, right? The business challenges. And nobody cares too much about, you know, if a property is a dropdown or something else, a care kind of, you know, how can this impact the business in a meaningful way?

Mads: So yeah, 50/50 when it comes to net new implementations, and then also kind of going and cleaning up, uh, what has been done or maybe even what, what hasn't been done in, in many cases. 

Pete: That's great. Well, we'll look at both of those today then of customers who have HubSpot and are not getting the value that they expected or wanted, and then those who are not new to HubSpot that are just beginning, they're in the, uh, they're in the honeymoon period of just getting started. So, uh, where should we start? Mads, if you can think of a real-world example of a situation. Either, um, an end user who already had HubSpot and wasn't getting the value out of it, or one who was starting their journey, which is the first one that comes to mind that we can explore. 

Mads: Um, let's, let's do the first one. Uh, have a couple of good, good examples there. Um, a client of mine, uh, a European, um, software company, b2b, they've had been using HubSpot for a couple of years really. Um, and they're paying HubSpot for about 10,000 euros, a quarter. Um, and, and yeah, so a pretty, pretty decent HubSpot, HubSpot customer, right? But I'd say the value that they're really getting out of HubSpot is, is not much more than they would get out of Google Sheets and, you know, a good old fashioned one-to-one, uh, Google email.

So there was really a lot to kind of, uh, improve here. Um, so I've been working with those for a better part of one year now to kind of identify what was the initial goals with HubSpot and then kind of break those goals, um, break those goals into kind of bite-size and more manageable tasks, and at the same time also going in and addressing okay, how was HubSpot initially set up and what needs to be improved.

Um, and this is quite a common use case of a company using HubSpot for a lot of time. Initially onboarded by HubSpot, maybe just on, you know, professional onboarding. So a couple of calls with maybe a more junior onboarding specialist from HubSpot, and then they'll kind of, you know, left to their own demise. Um, and it's a bit, you know, like, uh, like, like getting a car, you need the driving license first, and not just the driving license. You also need, you know, the proper training otherwise the chances of you kind of crashing and burning is uh, it's just very high and I think HubSpot is a great example of this.

It's because HubSpot kind of employs like a free, um, strategy is still right. So that means the barrier of entry or the, to become a HubSpot customer, it's really, you know, it's very easy. You can even come in and use the free software where no onboarding is required and then you can scale with the platform. But that doesn't necessarily mean that your competencies scale with your needs. So that's what we often see, um, that customers may have got, you know, some light touch onboarding and no onboarding at all. Been using HubSpot for a couple of years, and then this kind of technical debt has just been building up. And then you kind of need someone to go in and really, really kind of, you know, clean up what's going on and, uh, get things back on track again. 

Pete: So the situation with this European client, they had been through that buildup of technical debt, by the sound of that, but you said that they weren't getting the value that they expected from the platform. So wave a magic wand. If they were getting the value from HubSpot, what would HubSpot be doing for them? That it wasn't? 

Mads: Well, as a specific example, have a really, really big database of a lot of really, uh, good fit accounts. Um, but the way that they're managing these accounts is, um, probably not in the most ideal way. Um, Again, they have a very big database, but the way they're tapping into this database is, is basically just using kind of, you know, one off sales emails where they would be able to extract a lot of value, for example, out of the account-based marketing tools to really identify their ideal, uh, customer type or ideal target account type, and then kind of identify which companies within our database of approximately 40,000 contacts would actually be, you know, someone we wanna chase. So here they might, you know, start deploying HubSpot tools, but also account-based marketing as a methodology to kind of target those, those, uh, those companies. And, uh, and secondly, um, because they are, you know, making use of professional enterprise products they also have a lot of power, uh, kind of at hand when it comes to email marketing or automation, which would also allow them to kind of tap into this very big database in an efficient way. Um, so on one hand have this kind of, you know, like sniper approach with the account-based marketing. On the other hand, kind of maybe, uh, utilize some of the automation and email marketing is kind of a little bit more, you know, spray and pray approach.

Pete: I think that's a great example cuz you do see customers quite often will say, look, I feel like I should be getting more value from the platform. And often it's that situation where they know there's more value in their existing customers than they already have on file. They don't need to go and find strangers. They know who these customers are and it's about "how do I use these powerful tools". So if they started trying to solve that themselves, and they made some mistakes, what mistakes did they make that you think are pretty typical of the sort of thing that customers often make with HubSpot? 

Mads: Um, yeah, I think one of the biggest ones is that you know, once a customer has decided to invest in HubSpot, they often see it as kind of like a monthly investment in the software alone. I think they kind of under-commit when it comes to the necessary training or they don't quite realize, you know, how much it actually takes to successfully manage a big enterprise portal. And unfortunately, you know, I see a lot of companies, you know, paying HubSpot, but a lot of money every month. But then kind of, you know, maybe not valuing the product or the capabilities that much. So they start to maybe give the responsibility of the HubSpot portal to an intern or like a student assistant, who may be on a technical level is, you know, skilled enough to kind of, you know, send out an email and understand how to set up a workflow.

But I think on a more strategic level, they just don't have the experience or the exposure necessary to understand how a platform like HubSpot can really kind of enable growth within a business and really support reaching some of these, you know, uh, big business goals or solving some of the bigger business challenges. Um, so that's where I. That's, that's what I see quite often. And also, uh, something I hate to kind of point out, but I think it's, it's very important to acknowledge that, um, you need someone who knows what they're doing and who has the kind of the skills and exposure to understand how can they leverage a platform like HubSpot for growing the business.

Pete: And deriving value from it. It sounds like this customer made that common mistake that the toolset was coming in and it was very powerful and should allow them to do a lot of things, but then without the investment in the training and also the delegating of tasks to people who were then just trying to figure out tactical steps that they didn't map out the strategy, didn't map out the platform. And that's become the title of our episode today. So you've been helping that customer to put their HubSpot and CRM strategy together. So what have you actually specifically done then? Mads is, uh, how, how have you tackled that and how's it working out? 

Mads: Um, yeah, so how I've tackled this specific client is, is how I often tackle these kinds of, uh, um, cases is to kind of take a few steps back. Again, understand the business, you know, who are the customers, what are they selling, understand how the sales process looks like, how they're generating leads, and so on. And basically use all of this information to kind of map out the entire customer journey within like a CRM blueprint. So how's the current customer journey? What are the potential bottlenecks, opportunities, pain points? So on to kind of understand, okay. What's working, what isn't working, so that we later know, you know, what should we actually focus on when it comes to the implementation? Which tools? What kind of approach would actually make sense for this specific customer?

Um, so based on this blueprint, which is like a visual blueprint, like a, you know, like the good old fashioned like roadmap or like, uh, if you've seen those, you know, spy movies, you'll see like a big blueprint with, you know, white lines all over world place. And, uh, that, that's kind of how it looks like. Um, and, and the value of this, this approach, I think is, first of all, everybody kind of gets on the same page. It's very clear visually also what is working and what isn't working. Where in the process might there be some friction points we can address? And then after the implementation, the value of this blueprint also makes it much easier to align the team as a whole, uh, onboard new team members because you have something to actually show them.

Um, so I think, as for our implementation or our cleanup, it's crucial, but even for, you know, future onboardings of new employees, it's great. Um, so that would be kind of step one, understanding the current processes and maybe also adding to that, which technologies are they using and what are they using them for to potentially explore if HubSpot could replace some of these. And if not, do we need to have an integration? If so, how does this integration need to look? How do we wanna sync the data? What's the role of integration and so on. Um, and this would typically also be where I would maybe like, uh, contract a developer or have a developer in my team who could then facilitate any integrations that would need to be, uh, be set up.

So that's kind of the strategic phase where we map out the processes and integration needs. Then next, we would then be able to move into the actual implementation or clean-up of an existing portal. Um, Depending on the size of the company and kind of their goals and also the timeline this might either be kind of, you know, like a rip off the bandage and get, you know, everything done in a couple of months. Or it might be faced where we do, you know, one hub per quarter or something like that. Um, ideally like to do everything at once so that we kind of have, you know, what we have to work with and who is involved. Um, and then we would typically start with like, yeah, the marketing hub, just because that's typically where the buying journey will start. Some kind of engagement with, you know, the website or ads or whatnot. And then we would do the implementation, break down the implementation into, you know, concrete tasks using like project management tools like Asana or click up to make sure that ownership is clear and what needs to be done is also clear and, the timeline and, due date for those tasks is, clear to everyone.

And then we kind of, you know, have like a very, like a military approach to this. Just, you know, go through the goals, the sub-task one by one, and then typically by the end of an implementation, there would be training of the end users, but also kind of the power users. So that would be like a, you know, like a marketing manager or like a CRM admin so that everybody kind of has a base level understanding for how HubSpot works and how they can utilize it in their day-to-day work. But then we also have a couple of, you know, power users who can take on the role as a qualified HubSpot admin going forward. So, that they, in a couple of years, won't end up with this technical debt that we spoke a bit about. And, um, that most importantly, that they will also be self-sufficient so they don't have to rely on outsourcing to agencies or freelancers, but they can actually build this and manage it, uh, themselves within the business.

I think that model works, uh, works really well and also where I see, you know, customers being really happy because we don't just do it for them. We also teach them how to do it. 

Pete: That's a great timeline then of how you approach working with this customer, which is pretty typical of most situations where they already have HubSpot and you're coming in to solve the technical debt. Uh, we like getting into a bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly on this show, Mads, with the real stories. So in this customer situation, what has happened that has hindered your progress? What is it about the engagement with the customer that has made it a little harder to move as fast on certain things as you would've liked?

Mads: Yeah. Great. Great question. I think, uh, it's always an issue kind of, you know, balancing like short-term goals with long-term aspirations. Um, this is kind of a big project for this client and for myself as well. Um, and it's not something you're gonna get done in a couple of months. It might be like a six months project that's gonna be ongoing. But at the same time, there are a lot of, you know, like day-to-day activities, something very basic as just sending out a newsletter that still needs to be managed. Um, and they might, you know, wanna do, let's take the newsletter for example. They might wanna do it the way that they've been doing it previously, but in this specific case, that was just not the right way to do it. So it's kind of, you know, Kind of, you know, problem-solving and, you know, putting out fires immediately, while still kind of having the, uh, or maintaining kind of the long-term vision for, for where they actually wanna be. So, kind of, you know, balancing the time and the focus. Um, I think that's, that's a little bit of a challenge.

Pete: So needing a balance then, to have both the lights on low beam and on high beam. So you can look at the immediate things that are causing problems today, but also make sure that there's a healthy mix of, um, the, the big long-term things. So in that engagement, what would you say has gone best so far, and why has it gone best? What are the things that are gonna have the maximum upside impact on them getting much more value out of their HubSpot? 

Mads: Yeah. Um, good question. So, this actually just came up a couple of weeks ago, and this is even after talking to the client for months, but we, we identified some potential opportunities within their onboarding process.

So they're today only using HubSpot for marketing and sales, and then anything kind of a post-sales. So with onboarding of success and so on, that happens in other tools. Um, and initially they were quite happy with this, but then we kind of, you know, explored or probed a bit. Like, would it be possible to actually kind of replicate this process within HubSpot? And then over the last week or so, we've basically been kind of piloting the onboarding process within HubSpot. Um, and so far it seems like that's actually gonna be working really well, which means that they will be able to extract a lot more value out of HubSpot to get some, uh, return on their investment, but also be able to cut cost on the tools likes Asana, which they're paying. Uh, also, uh, I think like 600 euros a month for. So, that's the kind of like, uh, the success stories or the wins that I like to pursue where we get something that's very concrete and quantifiable, uh, in terms of, you know, saving costs or adding efficiency. Um, so I think that's a pretty good use case or kind of success case.

Pete: I think that's a good example of technical debt. As well as that they've become reliant on the Asana tool for the onboarding, which in itself is a great tool, but now they have this HubSpot, so consolidating, from that tool into HubSpot, have you needed to solve that with any integrations as well then Mads of adding to HubSpot?

Mads: Yeah, absolutely. I think the power of HubSpot is that, you know, it's, uh, it can do a lot of things, but it's, in some cases it's also a weakness because it can do a lot of things, but it can't do everything really well. So I think there's, there's often a need to, uh, to integrate with HubSpot. Especially when we are talking, maybe like calling or quoting or reporting. So these may maybe, uh, less advanced features in HubSpot whenever those are utilized. For example, if you have like a big sales team or big service team, there's a lot of outbound and also inbound calling. That's typically where HubSpot would fall short and where we would need to explore solutions like AirCall or Kixie, to kind of understand, okay, is there a better alternative for, in this case, inbound calling? And likewise, also, when we talk about reporting, I think the reporting side in HubSpot still has a, you know, long, quite a, quite a bit of room for improvement. Um, so there we might explore tools like, uh, DearLucy, who is kind of like a software company, focusing only on building these very advanced and, and beautiful, uh, sales dashboards and has a nice integration with HubSpot.

So as you get into, you know, conversations with, you know, bigger teams with more advanced needs, that's, uh, you know, integrations will always come in into play there. 

Pete: So that's some of the favorites that you've mentioned. So we might do another episode because I know calling and messaging is a key area of expertise for you Mads, as it is also on the proposal and bidding and quoting side and uh, and then reporting as well.

So each of those is probably an episode in its own right. Um, what would you, as a, I guess, as a final piece of advice then, because I think the example that you've explored there of a customer who already has HubSpot is good advice for the ones who are about to put HubSpot in. Don't fall into that trap of lacking the training and just delegating the tool out thinking it's going to do the job, make sure there's a plan in place. So the final tip, what would be your main advice to someone who's about to begin their HubSpot journey? What's the most important thing that they probably aren't going to do, but you really want them to? 

Mads: I really like the term measure twice cut once. And I think that really applies well to CRM implementations. Um, you know, you might just be, you know, Using the startup tools of HubSpot, or you might be on HubSpot for a startup, so you get a 90% discount on the enterprise package and you think, if I only pay 400 euros a month, why would I pay, you know, 10, 15 or more thousand euros for an implementation?

Um, I'd say don't, don't fall into that hole, do things right from the beginning. Take the time it takes and, uh, don't underinvest in the training and, and user adoption, which is I think statistically the biggest reason why serial implementations fail. Users don't adopt the tool or they don't use it properly., 

Pete: So measure twice, cut once, get your plan together and make sure the training is in place and then get the team to then adopt it, but in, in clever, clever ways and not misuse the tool. Like picking up a screwdriver and using it as a hammer. Which I see often being done in as you do too. Um, fantastic. Well, thank you for being with us on the show. It's been an absolute pleasure talking with you. And in exploring that particular situation, which is typical of many, what's the best way for people to connect with you, Mads? 

Mads: Thanks Pete. Pleasure talking, as always. Um, yeah, so they can connect with me on, on LinkedIn - Mads Jorgensen. If they search for me on the HubDo Marketplace.

Pete: Fantastic. So I will have links to that and uh, links to your listing on our HubDo marketplace where we feature, uh, work that you do. So, uh, I'll catch you soon, Mads. Thanks again for being on the show. 

Mads: Thanks for having me, Pete.

Pete: See ya.


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