“Consultant” is a dirty word in some organizations.
We’ve all heard the horror stories: A struggling business needs to find a quick solution. The leadership team doesn’t know where to turn, so they hire a consultant.
The consultant swoops in to save the day… and yet the underlying problem never gets fixed. After months of back and forth, you realize that you’ve spent thousands of dollars, and have nothing to show for it.
Is it the consultant’s fault for failing to get the job done? The organization’s fault for failing to articulate the problem? Or a mixture of both?
It’s hard to say.
Consulting is a $259B industry in the United States, so clearly, there’s demand.
But how can you decide if hiring a consultant is right for you?
The trick is to do the work to discover your core organizational needs and then find the right consulting services to fulfill those needs.
Take HubSpot for example.
HubSpot has more than 56,500 total customers in over 100 countries. Thousands of organizations rely on it to generate new business through marketing automation and provide actionable insights for future growth.
But if you’re paying hundreds of dollars a month and not using the tool effectively (or at all), how do you course correct?
Answer: HubSpot consulting.
What is HubSpot consulting?
We broadly define HubSpot consulting as added help or assistance with your HubSpot portal from an outside organization. You can turn to the source (i.e. HubSpot’s consulting services), perhaps get a freelance consultant, or work with a HubSpot partner agency like IMPACT.
Before you dive in, you need to know that HubSpot Consulting agreements can look completely different from one agency (and one working relationship) to the next.
When you don’t have the option to compare “apples to apples,” it’s important to define exactly what you’re looking for and know how to ask for it.
Do we need high level technical support, or strategic guidance? Are we willing to own this in-house, or should we just outsource?
These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself as a company so that you can define your organizational objectives.
Different consulting strategies offer a wide range of services. Here are just a few to consider:
- HubSpot onboarding: An end-to-end overview of how to properly configure your brand new portal while your consultant brings you up to speed on HubSpot’s software.
- Point-and-click HubSpot training: A step-by-step tour of your HubSpot portal that’s a little more personalized than a HubSpot Academy video tutorial.
- High-level troubleshooting / technical support: The consultant is your safety net. If something is broken, they can help you fix it (and save you the hassle of calling HubSpot Support).
- HubSpot implementation: You hand the keys over to the consultant, and the consultant does all the work for you (which sounds great in theory, but it can also create a never-ending cycle of dependency if you fail to “own” the tool in-house).
- Education and strategy: Learn how to get the most out of HubSpot with hands-on training sessions, while also tying in larger business objectives that can be realized with marketing automation.
At IMPACT, our HubSpot consulting services center on education and strategy.
We moved from a “Do It For You” model to the “Teach It To You” model in 2017.
Instead of advising and completing all of your HubSpot work for you, we provide weekly one-on-one coaching that allows you and your team to dive in and learn the tool so that you can own HubSpot in-house and not rely on an agency.
Whether you’re a marketing automation superhero or completely new to the system, we meet you where you are to help you maximize the HubSpot tools and meet your business goals.
Who is a good fit for HubSpot consulting?
At the highest level, HubSpot consulting is for any marketer, salesperson, or business leader who wants to get more out of their HubSpot portal.
The sales team may need to learn best practices on how to use email templates, sequences, workflows and meeting links to maximize the benefits of automation.
The social media strategist may need to focus on how to monitor brand reputation, and quickly reply to negative customer comments on Facebook and Twitter.
All the while, the CMO may need to organize high-level campaigns, create custom report dashboards, and accurately report on ROI to the rest of the C-suite.
Good HubSpot consulting services can shift and change to meet any of these challenges, but at its core, the process is about building mastery of the tool over time.
So, what does HubSpot consulting actually cost?
The actual price tag for HubSpot consulting varies depends on multiple factors:
- Frequency of consulting sessions
- Level of technical training
- Level of strategic support
But even with well-defined objectives, uncovering the actual price (and what you’ll ultimately receive for that money) can be a challenge (to say the least!)
HubSpot’s own ongoing consulting services range from $350 per month for inbound strategy sessions to $1,500 per month for a customized consulting program, but this is mainly strategy, not technical training or implementation work.
Some other inbound agencies see HubSpot consulting as an extension of their client retainer.
In this instance, a client may only be charged $125 per hour-long consulting session, but this requires signing on to a full agency retainer (ex: 100 hours or $12,500 per month.)
Typically these ad-hoc sessions mirror the point-and-click HubSpot training described in the section above, with little overarching strategy or curriculum that allows the training program to develop and evolve over time.
At IMPACT, our HubSpot consulting services start at $2,500 per month with a three-month initial agreement.
Why so much? We build-out a multi-month curriculum that combines the best elements of consulting strategies.
Clients receive 30-minute weekly phone calls with their dedicated consultant to talk all things HubSpot — everything from step-by-step tool training to high-level strategic planning (and you also have access to their consultant throughout the week for troubleshooting and technical support.)
Ok, but why a 3-month agreement?
We don’t believe in a “do it for you” approach.
We believe that mastery of the tool is only achieved when we empower your team to take ownership of HubSpot. We want to forge a long-term relationship to closely analyze all areas of your business, and find the best marketing solutions to fit your unique business needs.
And keep in mind, even the best working relationships don’t have to last forever. We’ll work with you to achieve your objectives, and then happily part ways once you “graduate” from our services.
But when it comes to cost, the biggest question you need to ask yourself is: What is the opportunity cost of NOT maximizing the results of my HubSpot investment?
If you’re at the point where you’re considering HubSpot consulting, you’ve likely you’re ready to invest in inbound marketing and marketing automation.
That annual investment can range between $600 to nearly $40,000 per year (and that’s just for Marketing Hub!) If you fail to maximize on that investment, what does your organization stand to lose?
Is your HubSpot consulting agreement worth the cost?
Now that you understand the cost of HubSpot consulting (and the opportunity cost of not doing anything), you may be asking yourself, is it worth it?
In many ways, finding a HubSpot consulting relationship worth your money is like looking for the right romantic partner.
What does a healthy HubSpot consulting relationship look like? It starts with trust.
You need to trust that your consultant is looking out for your best interest and is invested in your long-term organizational success. Healthy consulting relationships evolve and change over time.
Your consultant should be excited to see you grow and allow you to come into your own as a HubSpot user. Even if that means you eventually become self-sufficient, “graduate” from the program, and no longer need the service.
What are the signs of a bad consulting relationship (i.e. one that will ultimately do more harm than good for the health of your HubSpot portal)?
A “bad” consulting relationship is born from mismatched expectations or uneven power dynamics.
For example, it’s a bad sign if you expect your consultant to run your marketing department (when really, they’re just there to advise your CMO on high-level HubSpot strategy).
It’s also a terrible sign if your HubSpot consultant rigidly sticks to the script of their strategy and refuses to listen to and/or adapt to meet your needs.
Where’s the transparency? Where’s the trust? Each member should be on an even playing field and have a total understanding of where they stand in this partnership.
From initial expectation setting to mutually agreed upon goals, the best consulting agreements (like the best romances) build from a strong foundation of trust and mutual respect and work their way up.
If your consulting relationship fails to live up to expectations, the organizational costs can compound — you can lose months of time, energy, and financial investments (both in the software and in the consultant.)
That’s why making a solid “match” from the start is essential to long-term success with HubSpot consulting.
Worth their weight
When you’re “looking for love in all the wrong places” it’s easy to inevitable that you’ll fall into a bad relationship.
That’s why there’s so much to consider when evaluating the organizational need for an outside HubSpot consultant. From cost to quality, and quick fixes versus long term working relationships, a HubSpot consulting agreement needs to be carefully vetted.
But “consultant” doesn’t have to be a bad word in your organization.
By thoughtfully weighing your organizational goals, defining clear outcomes, and selecting the right consulting services to fit your needs, you can find the right consulting relationship that’s worth its weight in gold and very much worth the cost each month.