George Thomas 0:00
Alright, Sprocketteers. It's your boy George B. Thomas. And we're back. And you know, and I gotta be honest, I am super excited. Now I know I always say I'm excited, but I'm super excited. Because it's me and one of the oh geez back together. We haven't been back in a long time. But today we're gonna do an interview. It's gonna be Nick Soule, George Beatty. We're going to be laying it down. But before we lay it down, let's go and hit that bumper and get into the good stuff. All right, my man, Nick. So How you doing today, brother?
Nick Sal 0:34
Doing great. George is looking forward to this. Yeah, the back you and I on the mic together again.
George Thomas 0:39
I know. Right. It's gonna be absolutely amazing. Today we're talking about HubSpot. onboarding. Yes. And Nick, I actually want to hit this from a couple different directions because one, if somebody is searching HubSpot, onboarding and they're looking for content about HubSpot onboarding, they're probably pretty new to HubSpot, just in case So when you think of some somebody who is just starting, you know, what are before we get into the nitty gritty of like onboarding tasks or things like that, what is one or two things that you would share with every HubSpot newbie that they might not be getting or understand or see online in general?
Nick Sal 1:22
Sure. So good question. So if someone was searching for HubSpot onboarding online that tells me you're likely in one of two scenarios either one is you're looking for someone to basically do the onboarding for you. You're like who's going to help us help us or organization or whatever get on board with HubSpot. That's one way to look at it. getting on board is getting certain things set up. Certain things turned on certain things imported, configured, labeled properly. Now we're officially on board from a technological standpoint and then training and getting the team involved and empowered is somewhat of an afterthought. Then there's probably people searching for onboarding because they're going need it like some they're saying who will onboard me the loan market or the loan business owner, the first person in the loan director of sales or say director of revenue, whatever they might be, and they say who's going to help get me oriented? To HubSpot, I think of it more from an orientation and an empowerment standpoint. So just want to clarify those two things that that and I think George and I and other people who have been at this for a while would lean more towards you should be seeking the latter people who can get you oriented and get you kind of on the playing board, if you will, feeling empowered when you log into HubSpot, that you know what to do and where to go. So I'll use that as a starting point for what folks might be looking for George in terms of resource what they should be looking for is number one I know you agree with this is education. Yeah, when I went and I did a talk on this by the way at inbound 2017 about five things that market HubSpot reboot five things marketers wish they had learned the first time around thinking about marketing hub being the home base. For where a lot of people are investing in building out from HubSpot, but when I asked when I did some research and asked successful customers that I've on boarded over the years and I should say by way of background that I worked at HubSpot for four and a half years is one of the first 250 employees stayed with them till they were over 1100 employees on three continents through their IPO and then I started joining HubSpot agency partners, which I've been working at various leading HubSpot agency partners for the last few years. So I have worked with a ton of HubSpot customers trying to get on board so when I gave that talk in 2017, I called up some of these older customers that what made the difference for you You did so great, you you you found your way through to success. And they said a lot of times it kept coming up I threw a bunch of hours at educating myself is the best users who are getting on board should be looking for HubSpot Academy certifications, yes. For the video content. If you're kind of letting want the information to kind of wash over you You want to be led by the hand. HubSpot Academy content in general is a great place to start but also spending time hub spots are knowledge base which you can get at via help dot HubSpot Comm. There's Getting Started guides on there and stuff like that or if you're already inside your HubSpot portal, you know you're not searching for onboarding as a way to decide to pick HubSpot. But you've already picked HubSpot. You're in HubSpot. There's a little purple bubble at least it is today. bubble that says help you click on that you can search for anything you want to get oriented on and that's another key resources find the knowledgebase find help dot HubSpot comm it is surprisingly useful. Maybe you've used another software whatever and their knowledge base their articles are not that useful. George can attest to this the articles at HubSpot from HubSpot are very useful step by step articles. And then you want to move from there to see who else coming up in the search results seems to be deeply invested in educating HubSpot customers. The folks that impulse creative sprocket talk the things that George put out clearly a great resource to start with as well. So, in summary, start with HubSpot Academy, the official sort of orientation programs almost key aspects of HubSpot start getting tactical by going to help dot HubSpot COMM The knowledgebase with a step by step and screenshots. This is how you do what, where. And then finally, for power users, people who are deeply invested in helping the overall community use inbound and HubSpot, and start to look for those YouTube channels, those feeds where people are putting out a lot of great targeted content to fill in those gaps.
George Thomas 5:21
Nick, that's a great beginning. I love how you kind of segmented and then went into some, like fine points that people can do. And thanks for the kind words, by the way, thank you very much true. Now true. Now, here's, here's the thing, you kind of started the segment. And then my mind went to this question. I'm like, Well, I know what Nick and I, as people who work in an agency might say, and then I know what Nick and I as just general human beings might say. And then then the interesting thing is, they might not be the same thing. So when you know that there's people looking in two different ways. There's the folks who are like, I just want somebody to online board us. And there's the I want somebody to help us on board because I want to learn the tool. What are the pros and cons of like, Look, maybe, maybe you think you want somebody to onboard you. But you might want to get your hands dirty, like, give me some of the pros and cons of actually choosing to at least go through the onboarding process yourself versus having somebody else do it for you. Sure. Great.
Nick Sal 6:28
Question, George. And so folks, what we're considering here is, why don't I just get someone to do all that, for me, someone who's been through the minefield already, or that type of thing, versus Why should I do this on my own and be empowered and be my own individual user, but therefore be mostly on my own having to figure this stuff out and go through the minefield.
I still go back to George, I believe that nothing will last nothing will be successful in an organization's adoption of any of the hubs of HubSpot, unless they have empowered individual users who really can be champions inside organization, I can understand the nuances of their organization politically, operationally, business wise different business units, how they sell and so on besides the individual users inside the organization. Now a lot of organizations they're big enough, they're structured enough there's there's enough at risk that they don't want to make a mistake. So they think, get the folks from HubSpot. Like HubSpot has their own professional services team, get the professional service people get the best agency we can find. That's not always going to be the solution because they cannot. They cannot undo whatever is the are the obstacles or the requirements inside your own organization. So now you've got a HubSpot person on the phone, or you've got this agency on the phone and you've still got your internal problems. And what I found George, maybe you can relate to this, that a lot of times people say they bought HubSpot to fix a certain problem, but that problem is the tip of the iceberg. It's the it's the symptom and not the disease. They think they got a marketing issue when in fact If you got a product issue, they got a team alignment issue or whatever it is. So those things have to be solved internally in a lasting and durable way. And they're not always marketing tech integration problems. Those are sometimes business transformation, strategic consulting problems. So I'm just saying sometimes just putting a bunch of money or hire or hiring in a bunch of expertise will not solve the things that you need to have lasting change inside your organization arise. It's a bit off of exactly the pros and cons here. But let's say a pro of getting coaching, some guidance and advisement and orientation is versus straight up execution for you is you get accountability. If you hire some if you take HubSpot standard onboarding, or you hire an agency like ourselves impulse creative or other people to to do some coaching and guidance. I just got off a call like that. Just before we talked on the phone here George's you know, why this why these users are fired up to work with us from a coaching and consulting standpoint, there's many agencies that do this, is because we help them account Because we they have a counterpart, somebody else who cares about the success of HubSpot and inbound, that's honestly what I think people crave. And what you can get by having there be just a counterpart on the phone saying, here's where we want to be by next week, here's where you said you want to be by next week, bring your issues to the table, and they can help you troubleshoot those, but you have to go out and get your team aligned, that's a pro of kind of going at yourself is, is you are forced to become effective, empowered, independent, get your team aligned, and so on. Whereas if you just hired a bunch of order takers and question askers, and plugger, inners and setter uppers, they don't, they can't set up around sometimes those deep seated issues, that maybe you more than anybody else, the end user, the champion, or whatever needs to be accountable for forcing through. It doesn't mean you shouldn't have somebody kind of coaching you and checking your work and so on. That's what I'm saying. I don't think anybody should ever go it alone per se, but I think there's a difference in getting some coaching advising and consulting and training. versus do it for me style stuff. The pros. Now the con of doing all that is I've on boarded. You had no choice. If you bought HubSpot, and you didn't work with an agency partner. If you would have to work with me just purely as a consultant as an Implementation Specialist at HubSpot, I did phone calls with you and gave you advice. problem with that sometimes is when I have to tell somebody go put together a piece of premium content, go do a rather complex assignment amidst all the other things in your in their job. And then that becomes a major hang up for them because they don't do creative writing regularly. They don't get alignment, as I said, with their team. And suddenly, what could have been a simple task if I just gone in and clicked a few things or, or just gotten them draft copy for it or whatever suddenly becomes a major hold up in their adoption. Now, so I think the best combination actually Georgia's a bit of a hybrid, which is what are the things that we know people need to get good muscle memory themselves planning wise clicking around familiar comfort wise in the product, you'll never be successful HubSpot until as many people in your team as possible Very comfortable using the relevant aspects of the tool. It helps buyers successful like many software products when it spreads when there's more broad adoption and things like that. So, a good combination is let's get coaching and guiding, consulting and training. And let's spend a little budget to have certain certified specialists at you know, by who are certified by HubSpot and their partner program like media junction, the agency I'm with right now, impulse creative, the folks behind this great production right now, getting them to maybe do a couple tech setup items, do some automation mapping, do some domain redirecting for you, the stuff that's intimidating, doesn't need to be done more than a couple of times, and would probably be a major holdup for your content creation. Sometimes it's another area where at least for certain aspects of it, the designing of it, interviewing key stakeholders outlining it, reviewing it and optimizing it for keywords, things of that nature could make sense to outsource tactically in certain places to clear roadblocks, but never at the expense of your own team going through the hard intimidating work of Getting used to a new platform a new vocabulary, a new way of functioning and working together as a team.
George Thomas 12:06
Yeah, I think there's so much there so many good nuggets like the fact that ownership accountability the buy in right the streamline process and then I think there's an interesting thing that you started to talk about is like you had on boarded somebody who basically they got HubSpot shoved down their throat now they got to do this thing they have no clue what inbound is what do you mean we got to create content My world is exploding and and understanding where those people are and trying to get them over the hurdle can sometimes be a little bit of an interesting piece. And if you're watching this, and you're like, hey, that's me. You know, one of the things that is kind of a life lesson not just a HubSpot lesson is being able to pivot you know the bob and weave the zig and zag that being a transition specialist if you will, and and if this is what's going to work for your business. Your business is gonna drive more revenue and when they drive more revenue you get a raise. Yo be all in on HubSpot Academy and sprocket talk and immediate junction and impulse creative and all the places like go to all the places so that you can get a raise right now Nick, I want to get into a little bit more of maybe the nitty gritty and when you think of HubSpot onboarding, are there things that inevitably You see, like Oh, you've been using HubSpot for like three to six months but what about these two or three things that like you didn't set up from the get go? Like what are your thoughts?
Nick Sal 13:36
Oh, man, definitely. So I love what you also just unpack from that. George, I completely agree. And the book end on that is like having an entrepreneurial mindset whether you are an individual contributor and a large corporation, you got layers of management on you like in the in the inbound game in the HubSpot adoption game, the digital transformation game, the entrepreneurial minded of people, maybe you have to kind of absorb some That if you need to, but like be scrappy, say if it is to be it's up to me. We're here to innovate. We're here to disrupt. We're to break new ground always serve you well as you go into this. So let me also just say that's probably pitfall number one is people are like kind of waiting for marching orders, waiting to do it the way that everybody else has been done, waiting for it to be completely proven out and follow the proven formula. You're just going to be frustrated and left empty handed in a lot of different corners of this adoption implementation game. The things that I find George when we look in, in a few months that are that are pitfalls is one is a complete lack of project management. You need to be doing project management from the beginning. Even if you don't truly know what your project managing around you need to at least document what you do know what you don't know. One thing that people often don't look over is resources, who aren't what resources can they get from a company do they even have any other budget sometimes I talk to marketers and they go Nick, I don't have any other budget. Well, that was a huge mistake either on your part because you didn't bring it up or your business owners or your your sponsors apart because They didn't want to give it to you when you asked, there's going to need to be help. And if the team's not going to give it to this person, who is and does this person have some budget to be able to assign people resources, track contractors or whatever? Do they have goals and objectives about what is the first milestone that if it's achieved, the business is going to say now we're gonna we will pour more resources on the concept is now being proved out? What's that first goal? Where the business is going to say you've hit a promising milestone here for the business? And with so need to have those things kind of established? Who are key stakeholders budget? What happens if we win? What happens if we lose key metrics? What do we know? What do we don't know? What are the assumptions that we're making that my managers making? That is the individual contributor making document all that. Next is I did to just allude to it having a scrappy mindset to get quick wins to push towards that first milestone. The biggest mistake and I experienced it myself as an individual customer before I became an employee was crossing your arms and the person's waiting for the cavalry to come. Well, Nick, I would have gotten the article up if my boss had made appointment, you know, I would have been able to write the book if the engineers had been available to be interviewed, or contributed the content. Too bad is what I say they're not coming. They're not going to make the appointment. What are you going to do is I'll tell you, if you can't solve that problem, I won't see you in six months, they'll cancel the implementation because it did not gain traction. And even though you'll have 100 excuses while you were left out on your own, they won't care. They'll point the finger at you. Most the time. I've seen it. So I just say, push for quick wins and do whatever you have to do to get scrappy and follow getting content out, starting to put wind in the sails of this initiative. So you can get to that first first milestone that the business told you and your project plan was a sign of traction and success. The only thing I don't see is they're not spreading HubSpot out to get other users to get other people coming in at least looking at the data and the reports, so they have no reporting regimen. They have no way to kind of champion and evangelize, what they're learning from the early returns and the data that's coming in from HubSpot people you're company would find that very fascinating, individual users out there leading, you know, champions HubSpot implementation out there, you got to have a great reporting regimen. And that's not something HubSpot will give you the data, but you got to be a good communicator and a good reporter. And if you aren't having regular reporting meetings with the key stakeholders, sales, leadership or whatever, they're not gonna understand what you're doing, they might resent what you're doing, they might work against what you're doing. And you won't get that feedback in alignment, you certainly won't get them logging in to your portals or looking at data and so on. And I'll tell you, George, my worst nightmare when I know that this account is doomed. And this happens more often than you think is when I log on eight weeks into an implementation and the marketer, I've been working with a little lone person there who didn't spread their wings or whatever they're gone. As a CEO says, you know, Kerry didn't work out on the CEO taking over. So how does HubSpot work what's HubSpot? You're like, Oh, crap, you know, now, you know, there's going to be gone in a month or two, is this person not the CEO is not going to have the time to pick all this up and gain momentum. So I think those are just some key things. George and people just not networking enough not reaching out to people like communities like yourselves, you know, sprocket talk and stuff and building a sort of networking group to support you because this is going to be an intimidating, sometimes frustrating and challenging initiative to get everybody all in on inbound organization, and you're going to need some therapy, you're going to need some guidance and somebody looking over your shoulder. As soon as you can find communities like that, like, Look, look at your success, George, and others like you, people who got plugged in the communities online offline are the ones who have thrived in this inbound movement.
George Thomas 18:33
I love this. There's so much there. And it's funny because you started Nick with Project Management. And I thought to myself, okay, if I'm listening to Nick right now, what if I don't have an Asana? What if I don't have a base camp? What if I don't have a team works? Well, folks, did you know you have projects inside of HubSpot, which is a project management tool that you could at least start with and leveraging Nick I love that you dove into goals because it's so important and there's so many Many places in HubSpot to set your goals and that's one place that we see with onboarding that people aren't going to their workflows and setting goals. They're not going to their dashboard and setting goals. And then here's the thing. I wanted to like, stand up and shout, amen. Because you're like, you're like, Look, these are my words. Not exactly yours. So you're like, Look, no one's coming to save yet. Save yourself, like do the things that you got to do to save yourself. And then I love I love the last little piece that you had in here where you're like, dive into the data, because that's where the magic is. And by the way, share that data so other people can see what the heck is happening, the successes, the failures, the reason why you need that buy in for HubSpot onboarding. Nick, my next question here is so much good stuff in this interview already, is when you think of the more technical things that people are going to have to jump through because I might be watching this. I'm I'd be listening this and I'm like, Okay, I'm down. We're gonna do this hybrid mix. I'm gonna have my project management set up. I know what goals we're trying to achieve. But man, that deep end of the pool, it really scares the crap out of me. Nick, George, what should I watch out for? What might I want to reach out to media junction or impulse creative to at least get over? Like those hurdles? What say you on that my friend?
Nick Sal 20:27
Great question. Once again, I appreciate all the feedback here too. I hope this is useful. And again, you and I are I've been in the trenches for years trying to help customers with this. I think it's that's why we're able to get it. So power packed here. And hopefully, it's not too much. And if it is, I'd say that's another thing as a user, you have to get used to drinking from a firehose, that's just gonna be part of your life the next 12 or 18 months. But all that being said, you talked about what how does one approach when it gets to the more technical pieces, such as migrating data over from the CRM, building, complex conditional, interchanging work. flows and nurturing streams If This Then That. And then if we get to that, then this and that that type of thing. Yes, that is an area where it may be worthwhile to engage a consultant. And I'd go so far as to say maybe you don't even need it to be a, you know, dyed in the cloth, HubSpot specialist agency, per se, if you're not if you have a closer contact or there's somebody your executive team is going to trust, but someone needs to be looking at. Okay, what is our sales process? What is the marketing process that at least we know so far? And how what are the stages that people go through? How does someone buy our product? And are there places where there's pitfalls and hiccups? And I'd assume you'd have something to say on that if you've been in business for longer than six months. I'm saying as the end user, there should you should be whiteboarding that out maybe using like something like a lucid chart or one of these other online mind mapping tools and thinking about this is how the stages somebody goes through to buy and this is how we normally are involved. And this is what usually is the information that's exchanged at the stages. Yeah, maybe it's an older school method. You're you're talking about when you map this out, and you want to upgrade to digital. But if you could come to an agency, like media junction or impulse creative or somebody else, and say this is basically our ideal sales process for the best deals and the best leads that we we get, you know, and when it works well, it flows kind of like this. And this is where we we've exchanged content in one format or the other that clear that Roadblock, then we've got something to work with to say, well, this data matters, we need to be capturing these fields at this point, there's an opportunity for an email based exchange at that step or you don't have an already there's some standard tasks we should be assigning to sales to ensure that the beautiful ideal follow up that you just described in your map there can actually happen standard each time. Here's an email template where we can say perfectly the thing that you said that often you hope get said at this stage of your process, because it's really tough. Otherwise when they kind of you know ga comes to you they vaguely describe what they wish could happen versus what kind of happens sometimes. You know, and you have to sort of guess what that ideal is think about that ideal first folks. That's your sales process. That's your company. You really shouldn't have to necessarily wait for that. Now you need someone to help facilitate that. Like I said, you get a consultant, and one HubSpot agency worth their salt should be able to do that. So I'd say to have that first, have the data gathered, have the have the different apps that need to integrate and map forward mapped if we're doing a website migration over to the HubSpot CMS, which I'm a huge fan of so you have everything under one roof everything, managing a central, you know, central set of data and stuff like that. Have the have the site map, start starting to flesh out, come with some research and preparation. Don't just say well, I'll wait till we sign the big check to those consultants or that agency and they'll drag us kicking and screaming into the future into this process. Have some of this stuff going as much as you can before you get to the HubSpot part. Then we can help interpret what you gave us. Stage wise, sort of sitemap wish list wise into what that could look like and what could be done in HubSpot. It's a much clearer conversation. There's a much straighter line we can draw to success. From there, the more that you have already fleshed out from what you understand how things could and should ideally work from your stakeholders.
George Thomas 24:19
Yeah, so much good stuff. I want to I want to talk about how you said you'll be drinking from a firehose for the first 12 to 18 months I want to tell you Yes, that's true. But but don't lose like your mind because it goes away like it starts to become these repeatable things. The foundation the onboarding, kind of put to rest put in bed everything's working now do you look back at it and tweak and test and of course you do. But But this kind of big 12 to 18 month Hill, you get over it, it gets easier. The other thing that when I was listening to it's funny because a lot of people though, they'll be like well, we got you know HubSpot marketing hub. Professionals. So now we're going to onboard marketing. But as you were talking about this preparation, right and proper preparation prevents piss poor performance. Let's just throw that out there. So if you're prepared, right ding ding, ding, ding, ding. Let's just say that's a winner right there. That's tweetable moment people. So here's the thing, though, when I was listening to you talk, I was like, you know, it's funny, like this mindset of we're just onboarding marketing. And I almost be wish people would realize, no, it's about onboarding your entire company. Yeah, you got marketing professional, but their sales tools in there to their service tools in there. Sure. Maybe you got sales professional, but there's a little bit of marketing tools in their service. Like it's HubSpot is built in a way that you should think about, we're onboarding our entire company. So yes, with that said, with that said, folks, are you enjoying this interview? I bet you are. I know I have been. Would you like to see another interview with Nick Sal, the man, the myth, the legend and myself. We can Talk about onboarding. We can talk about a bunch of different things. But it's gonna have to be at a later date because you got work to do. And we got to get you back to getting that HubSpot onboarding. Nick, before we go, why don't you explain to people a little bit more about media junction, who you are, how they can get ahold of you if they have questions. Go ahead and give them the lowdown?
Nick Sal 26:22
Sure. I appreciate that George. And I think that getting feedback, folks is key on all the work that you do if you take nothing away from this as as you move along in your planning and the content you create, and the integrations you're trying to map out and even frankly, the help that you seek out and partner with over over time. Always be seeking feedback from your target audience and your key stakeholders internally. That will always keep you on truenorth. Now, the organization that I'm with right now in Georgia is generous enough to cue me here to talk about media junction. We, I got to know media junction because they're one of the first HubSpot customers I on boarded back in 2011. And they were one of like, maybe 15 out of two 150 different customers on board that really took it to the max that did everything that they were advised to do that put all of the time and effort into the guts of the cuts and bruises and just really power through in a very standout way. So I always kept them in mind. And then after HubSpot became a big grown up Corporation, which is entirely the point I started calling back up these really successful agencies that I'd held on board cuz I focused a lot in the agency in the HubSpot agency partner program, mostly. So I've known me to junction for almost 10 years now Trish lasar, the founder CEO. It's a hard business to be successful helping HubSpot customers in a creative consultative way. We don't sell just widgets here. we dive in with customers and go through the cuts and bruises and help them get through all the growing pains and and making mistakes and going through different revisions and all this type of thing. We provide full service support to HubSpot customers in any aspect of the hubs of HubSpot that they want to offer. And I think we have a little bit more of a superpower than most in some of our design and some of the work that we do on the CMS, the HubSpot CMS in particular. We're very passionate about HubSpot. We built our whole agency around HubSpot. They're mostly based out of St. Paul originally when I joined them I was one of the first remote employees I'm based out of here in Boston is with the HubSpot connection, right? We just started hiring people in different states George, we're turning into a remote organization and that's kind of what I like to bring to different agencies or teams that I join is how to be more flexible, more agile to continue to evolve. And I'm proud to say that media junction just a few weeks ago, hit HubSpot highest tier, the HubSpot elite certified partner tier. So it's just been really great to work with an organization that wants to be you know, tip top number one, go to agency for HubSpot. So if you're interested learning more about media junction, you can go check them out at media junction com spelled pretty much how it sounds. If you'd like to know more about me I try my best to keep a personal brand website is my own copy of HubSpot. They try to keep up to date is when I have spare time whenever that exists, right George? It would be at Nick's Allen bound.com if you wanna check me out that's Nick's Allen bound comm or at Nick's Allen bound on Twitter, I kind of use that as my shorthand for you want to talk to Nick about HubSpot inbound stuff. We'll get Nick, Google Nick's Allen bound, you'll find me.
George Thomas 29:15
So ladies and gentlemen, this has been a great onboarding conversation. I appreciate Nick taking time to do this interview. I will say get the buy in you need have your goal set up, be ready to manage the projects that you're going to have to do definitely have an accountability partner and reach out to impulse Creative Media junction. Obviously we're interviewing them so we trust love and know that they can help people with the things that we talk about, hey, let us know who you'd like to see. Next, let us know what you want to learn next. And while you're letting us know remember to focus on being a happy, helpful, humble human. And let's do some happy hub spotting along the way.
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About the Expert
Nick “Nick Sal” Salvatoriello is the VP of Agency Services at media junction®. Nick has a BA in Political Science from Union College in NY, and a Masters Certificate in Human Resource Management from Union Graduate College, NY. He has completed all core certifications from HubSpot Academy as well as Project Management Training at the Corporate Education Group, MA. Nick was one of the first 250 employees at HubSpot, and he worked for them through their IPO. In 2014, he was chosen as the HubSpot Services Team Champion for his work on creating the new HubSpot Agency Partner Certification.
George Thomas 0:00