HubSpot Partner onboarding vs direct HubSpot onboarding: which should you choose?

25 October 2023

If your company has recently decided to move forward with HubSpot to grow your business, congratulations! Your investment in HubSpot will make a real and significant difference to your operations across the board. The next step is to decide on how you will handle HubSpot implementation, or onboarding.

While HubSpot is intuitive and easy to use, you’ll need expert input to ensure that you are using the platform to its fullest potential. How you adopt the software and initially embed it into your everyday work processes will set the tone for a long time to come. You’ll find that through a full onboarding process you’ll optimise systems and refine your processes across many areas and business departments. 

So, how should you go about the HubSpot implementation process? Your choice is between direct onboarding (working with HubSpot themselves), or a certified HubSpot Partner Agency. There are pros and cons to each approach: let’s take an in-depth look at HubSpot Partner onboarding vs direct HubSpot onboarding.

What is HubSpot onboarding and what does it involve? 

Onboarding is the process of HubSpot implementation – helping users and businesses to set up and configure their HubSpot account so that they can begin to use it effectively.  

Whether you work directly with HubSpot or a Partner Agency, HubSpot implementation can typically involve:

  • Setting up the CRM and customising it to the needs of your business
  • Setup of core sales, marketing and customer service features
  • Integration with other tools in your tech stack
  • Data migration from your existing platform(s) to HubSpot
  • User training and education

What is direct HubSpot onboarding and how does it work?

Your first option for onboarding is to work directly with HubSpot. 

During a 90-day period you’ll have direct communication with a HubSpot employee, your implementation specialist. You’ll get detailed instructions, extensive resources and quality consulting to help you set up and use your account. You’ll also get support on which tech to integrate into your HubSpot account, and things like setting up your first marketing campaign. 

The biggest difference between direct HubSpot onboarding and HubSpot Partner onboarding is that working directly with HubSpot is very much a consultative process only. Your team are the ones who will actually be doing the implementation work. 

Pros of direct HubSpot onboarding

    • Fixed pricing structure

    The cost of onboarding with HubSpot depends on the Hubs you purchase but is easy to budget for, as each option has its own fixed price. For example, direct HubSpot onboarding for professional Marketing Hub is £2600; for professional sales and service Hub onboarding, £870 per Hub.  For Enterprise subscription level this increases to £4900 and £2610 per Hub respectively.

    • Predictable timeline 

    Direct HubSpot implementation is a standardised process, working through a checklist one point at a time. Usually this process takes 90 days. It can be good to have this predictable process which will give your team the chance to plan their workload accordingly. 

    • Onboarding autonomy

    Because your team will be handing most of the setup and legwork, they’ll get an in-depth, hands-on understanding of the platform. This can be a good thing if you want to keep working on HubSpot in-house, although it can also mean that best practices aren’t followed and the team find work-arounds or get into bad habits

    Cons of direct HubSpot implementation

    • Minimal one-to-one support

    Working directly with HubSpot, you’ll have access to one HubSpot Implementation Specialist who also works with a large number of other clients at the same time. This means that the one-on-one time available to you during the 90-day period may be minimal.

    • Resource-intensive

    You can expect direct HubSpot onboarding to take up a large chunk of your team’s capacity, as they will be doing the setup themselves. This is a really important point to consider, especially if you have a small team or a team that doesn’t have as much technical experience.

    • You’ll complete your data migration yourself

    Migrating your data from your existing platform(s) to HubSpot is one of the more complicated parts of onboarding. If you don’t get it right, it can be messy and expensive and can potentially involve data loss.

    • The timeline can be inflexible

    Direct HubSpot onboarding is a one-size-fits-all process. If you need to fast track your timeline or have a more flexible schedule, it’s unlikely to be able to accommodate that in a way that an agency can.

    What is HubSpot Partner Onboarding and what does it involve?

    Your second option for HubSpot implementation is through a HubSpot Partner Agency.

    In order to be accepted into HubSpot’s Solutions Partner Program, agencies must be thoroughly vetted and extensively trained. So when you work with a certified HubSpot Partner Agency, you can be confident that you have the support of a specialist team of experts throughout the onboarding process. 

    That process will look different depending on the agency you use and the scope of work you ask for. Generally, it’s a collaborative approach that involves the agency partnering with you to create a customised CRM configuration and take on the bulk of the technical set-up, integrations and data migrations for you. 

    At Wagada Digital, for example, we take a “white glove” approach. This means that we work with you to understand your needs for set up and customisation, identify the best tools and features to match your priorities and then implement everything for you.

    Nick showing capability of HubSpot on screen

    Pros of HubSpot Partner onboarding

    • Access to a full team of experts

    In contrast to limited time with one consultant, agencies tend to work in teams. They’ll collaborate and work with you, often undertaking a large amount of the implementation for you.

    • A flexible, tailored timeline

    A partner agency doesn’t need to be fixed to a rigid timeline (although they can work to your schedule if that’s what you need). Working with an agency offers the flexibility to take the time you need. At your pace, your agency team will spend time understanding your business and its goals to customise and personalise your account using best practices. 

    • Align your teams

    HubSpot makes it easy for different teams (such as sales, marketing and customer services) to stay on the same page. Partner agencies often rope in these various departments to refine their processes and build these tailored solutions into your HubSpot account. Getting your employees on board at this early stage also helps get their buy-in and hit the ground running.

    • A holistic approach to your tech stack

    As agencies aren’t exclusively tied to HubSpot, they have experience with a range of other tools. If you’re looking to integrate these tools with your account, many agencies are robust enough to support you with a tech stack audit, making recommendations and even save you money by advising where HubSpot can replace some of these. 

    • Onsite training for all your HubSpot Users

    Interactive, personalised face-to-face training is something that a lot of agencies, including Wagada Digital, offer. You’ll often find that training offered by some agencies is far more extensive and targeted. When your teams have a clear grasp on the various features and how to use them to their advantage, it can significantly improve your ROI.

    • Potential for a long-term partnership

    If you are looking for long-term or ongoing support, strategic guidance with HubSpot and growth beyond the initial onboarding phase to get the most value from your software, an agency is likely to be the right choice for you. As most HubSpot Partner Agencies are also marketing agencies, it’s also a great way to do a test-run with them if you have wider marketing support needs.

    Cons of HubSpot Partner onboarding

    • Prices aren’t fixed, so you’ll need to understand the cost

    If you choose the Partner agency route, you don’t have to pay the HubSpot onboarding fee. However, the fee charged will vary depending on the agency and the scope of work you request. Don’t be afraid to delve deep with the questions you ask potential agencies about what is or isn’t included. The cost of robust HubSpot partner onboarding will more than level itself out in terms of ROI. A partner agency will be able to demonstrate this with results and data from HubSpot reports.

    • Different agencies vary in their approach

    Every agency partner will differ slightly in their approach, how they train you, how long they’ll stay with you and their level and type of expertise. HubSpot Partner onboarding is collaborative, and you’ll have access to a team that will partner with you throughout the process. Choosing an agency that works well with you and reflects your own values is crucial to the success of your HubSpot onboarding project. 

    So which HubSpot onboarding option is best for you? 

    When it comes to HubSpot Partner onboarding vs direct HubSpot onboarding, the right choice will depend on your own unique preferences and situation as a business. 

    If you want to learn the system by undertaking the implementation yourself, and have a large and technically minded team who have the capacity, direct HubSpot onboarding may be the option for you. 

    If you prefer to have a team of experts partner with you throughout the process to undertake the lion’s share of the implementation and tailor it to your specific requirements at a timescale that suits you, then a HubSpot Partner onboarding is the best route for you.

    Contact our HubSpot implementation experts

    There are lots of things to consider when choosing how to approach HubSpot implementation. So our experienced HubSpot Partner Agency are always happy to help you make the right decision. Contact us for a free consultation with one of our expert HubSpot consultants.