Why You Need to Conduct a HubSpot Audit
Audits provide leadership with great information about your HubSpot health and data quality so strategic decisions can be made with confidence.
HubSpot is an amazing tool used by all types of businesses across the globe. But, that’s just it - it’s a tool. To achieve great results, your HubSpot account needs to be properly configured, adopted by the users, integrated with other platforms, monitored, maintained and continually optimized.
This may sound like a lot. It is. Where many organizations fail is in the ongoing administration and optimization of their account to strive for a healthy ROI. This is precisely why audits are so important.
When Should You Audit Your HubSpot Account?
Generally speaking, HubSpot (and Three Ventures) recommend to conduct account audits annually.
This is a good suggestion as most organizations develop annual strategy plans and set annual budgets. So, once you have completed your onboarding and implementation of your account, go ahead and schedule a time on your calendar for that first audit.
For the first year, your audit may fall outside of the recommended 12-month range, but that’s ok. In fact, if possible, you should set aside time for your audit about 60 days prior to the expected annual planning and budgeting efforts. That way you have fresh, relevant information to contribute to the discussion. Starting in year two, your audit will align with a 12 month cycle, which will give you easy year-over-year comparison data to review.
Auditing your HubSpot account prior to an annual renewal will allow for cleanup of contacts, hubs and users so you'll know exactly what you do and don't need to be paying for.
What Is Included In A HubSpot Audit?
OK, now that we have established the importance of auditing your HubSpot instance and have a plan for how often to do them, let’s explore what is actually done. There are different approaches, to be sure. There’s no doubt you can find a variety of suggestions with a quick visit to a search engine. Some audits are focused on operational reviews while others focus on end results.
We at Three Ventures have developed an audit process that incorporates a combination of tech review, user adoption and engagement, data analysis, operations, and of course, results. Keeping in mind that HubSpot is merely a tool, your audits should be more about how and to what extent your business is leveraging the tool. In other words, an audit of your HubSpot account isn’t actually about the platform. It’s about your people, your processes, and your proficiencies as they relate to using it for sales, marketing, file management, data quality, customer service, and reporting.
Get our HubSpot audit template by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
1.) Contacts and Companies
Data, data, data. This one is all about checking your data. Begin with a data governance review. Check for completeness, accuracy, and overall quality. Next, you’ll want to take a look at how new entries get into HubSpot, how they are treated by the platform, and what your users are doing with them. Some of the items to document include, but are not limited to:
- Contact origins
- Assignments of ownership
- List memberships
- Proper data formatting
- Object associations, such as Contact-to-Company
- Activity and engagement
This one is all about grading your account against HubSpot’s credo of “getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time.” After all, being able to scale your reach while simultaneously providing customized, personalized messaging to your various audiences is one of the main purposes of the platform. It’s worth noting, this part of your audit is less about the actual messaging and more about the structure you have in place for delivering your message.
Whether designated the system of record for prospect communications or not, HubSpot requires that your contacts are properly assigned to their respective subscriptions. Doing so complies with regulations, but also allows you to place your contacts into the right buckets based on their preferences. You’ll also want to review and document several items related to marketing emails and sales sequence emails. Look at naming conventions, template use, sender settings, overall email health scores, and some best practice checks.
Some of the best practice checks include, but are not limited to:
- Subject lines
- Preview text
- Brand adherence with headers and footers
In addition to sales and marketing emails, you can investigate internal communications among employees, partners, and other stakeholders. Not only should you do a deep dive into emails, but be sure to review your content snippets, the use of chatflows, and methods used to secure meetings.
Content is king. Your assets are the fuel that your HubSpot machine needs to run. For many organizations, content creation is the most resource-consuming, challenging thing to do and to get right. Assessing the state of your content can also be quite a task. One way to make this part of your audits more efficient is to keep a running list of content in an assets inventory document. With each piece of content make note of the main subject, the target audience, which product/service it relates to, and at which stage in the buying process it should be used.
Then, armed with an inventory, your audit can be more easily organized to review each piece according to type of media, which ones are most effective at advancing leads down your sales funnel, which topics drive the best engagement, and so forth. Depending on your defined customer journey (more on this in a moment), you may want to begin your audit at the bottom of the funnel and work your way upward. Along with analyzing the actual content you should also document publishing frequencies, whether assets are gated or ungated, and identify possible gaps when aligning content with the expected customer journey.
When auditing your HubSpot account, keep in mind that all roads lead to results. This can be positive, negative, or flat. Those results need to be collected, displayed and used to determine if you are accomplishing your goals. HubSpot is one of the rare platforms that can offer your business a way to run all of your operations. With built-in capabilities for qualifying contacts and companies with lead scoring, customizable pipelines and forecast functionality, and multi-channel customer service ticketing systems, users can get a full view of each contact’s engagement with your business.
Whether you have it documented or not, your contacts are taking a proverbial journey. So, how do you audit the customer journey in HubSpot? Start with reviewing the mind map of the supposed journey. Look in HubSpot to see how individuals are able to take this journey. Ideally, each contact in HubSpot will belong to a predefined ICP and have an assigned Persona. And, according to these categorizations, you can select random individuals for review. Look for their origins, their activities, sales interactions, and how automation has assisted them on their journey.
Other questions to as yourself in an audit include:
- Do you have HubSpot configured to identify different stages?
- Are you using a lead scoring system?
- Do you account for any/all potential paths according to industry, persona, activities completed, or other triggers?
Starting Your HubSpot Audit
Before doing the actual audit, make sure you have a good understanding of the strategies deployed.
Any documentation you can review along with any real-world examples of how your strategies are designed to work will be beneficial. For example, you should have the following on hand at minimum:
- A strategy document
- A customer journey map
- An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) document (that defines audience personas)
- Buyer personas document
- Lead scoring documentation
- Lead assignment processes
- Lead prospecting requirements
- Deal stage requirements
- Sales process workflows that trigger external communications
You’ll also want to be aware of other platforms being used and to what extent they integrate with HubSpot. It’s common for HubSpot to be integrated with Salesforce, Eventbrite, WordPress, Zendesk, and CallRail to name a few.
A highly effective way to strengthen your understanding of the intended use of the platform is to have key stakeholders complete questionnaires along with follow up interviews for clarification.
Be sure to get at least one user from each department so you get different perspectives. Typically, this would include marketing, sales, someone from the implementation team, and perhaps customer support. Once you have the baseline understanding of strategies and perspectives from different users you can begin the au
How Long Does an Audit Take?
Several factors come into play affecting the length of time it will take to complete an audit. Factors include:
- Which hubs you have
- What licenses
- How many contacts
- How many companies
- The number of assets
The accounts use and maturity also play into the count of hours, days or weeks it may take. Typically, with a dedicated, independent auditor you can expect the process to take between 40 and 60 hours. You can expect this to span over four to six weeks. Conducting your own audit may take longer because of all your other ongoing responsibilities.
What You Can Expect to Learn from Your HubSpot Audit
The entire process leads to a very valuable deliverable - the audit report. The report can be as many as 60 pages in length, if not more. Great auditors include several screenshot images and videos as a way to build a connection between what users see and the auditor’s findings.
As a differentiator, Three Ventures also delivers a highlights presentation that outlines findings according to the “4C” categories described above - Contacts and Companies, Content, Communication, and Customer Journey.
The highlights are focused on demonstrating what is working, what can be improved, suggested best practices, and questions to consider.
A meeting with all the key stakeholders is important for fostering discussion and gaining agreement on next steps.
Why Hiring a HubSpot Partner For An Audit is the Right Call
You, like many customers, may be tempted to go with the do-it-yourself approach to auditing your HubSpot account. You can. However, tapping into an external, independent resource makes a lot of sense in more ways than one. There are some valid reasons for having a HubSpot partner handle the task for you.
An outside auditor can provide a more direct, unbiased opinion not encumbered by office politics or emotions.
Another good reason to leverage a partner is that they can get the job done quicker. Using one of your employees is difficult as they have their usual load of tasks that will no doubt take priority over the audit. Also, with a partner, you can take advantage of their deep and diverse platform knowledge. And finally, a HubSpot partner agency can be trusted to formulate a plan and roadmap for changes that might prove to be difficult coming from someone within your team.
Why hire a hubspot partner to conduct an audit?
- Unbiased opinion
- Deep platform knowledge
- Diverse implementation experience
- Deliverables include recommendations and a roadmap for changes