HubSpot’s partner program is an ecosystem of HubSpot evangelists that has enabled the company to grow. From extending the abilities of the HubSpot Platforms to selling software solutions on HubSpot’s behalf and fulfilling the role of user support and enablement, partners increase the company’s reach while reducing the resources HubSpot needs to invest in those functions.
There are three types of HubSpot partners: Sales partners, who are CRM implementers or sales consultants, app partners, who develop apps and integrations with HubSpot’s platform, and marketing agency partners who help their clients leverage HubSpot.
Marketing agency partners were traditionally associated solely with the Marketing Hub, but as HubSpot expanded, they’ve started to work in the sales and services hubs too. Agency partners are divided into four tiers depending on how much business they do with HubSpot.
Certified agency partners help HubSpot’s customers maximize the value they gain from the platform. However, different agencies help their clients in different ways.
Partners, Executors and Consultants
Depending on the size and needs of the client and the work style and capacity of the agency, the amount of work the agency does and their level of autonomy varies.
Executors are agencies that complete deliverables for a client. They don’t have an input into the strategy, and there isn’t much collaboration between these agencies and their clients. They just deliver upon the work they’re given.
These types of agencies are best for businesses that have a well-built out marketing team but are missing specific skill sets. They don’t need help with their overall strategy or execution, just one-off projects.
Consultants will help with strategy but don’t do much work on the clients’ behalf. They can act as a sounding board or provide advice about how to improve performance, but they won’t be the ones executing on the strategy they recommend.
Consultants are best for companies that have a team who can implement tactics but need an extra set of ears for developing a strategy that will help them meet their goals.
Partners act as an extension of your team and balance the functions of executors and consultants to accommodate the clients’ needs. They help their clients develop strategies and then implement them.
If you’re a small company or have a small marketing team, a partner agency will be able to offer you the most support as your needs change day-to-day.
As part of your agency evaluation process, you should talk to a partner-style agency, because they’ll help identify what you actually need.
For example, a company might think they only need help with content creation. However, if their content isn’t targeted to the right audience or centered around the right keywords, creating more of it won’t improve their marketing’s effectiveness.
An agency that only executes tactics will just create the content you ask for without looking into the strategy. A partner, on the other hand, will make recommendations on your current strategy and can identify weaknesses you’re not aware of during the sales process.
A good agency will help guide you toward what you need instead of selling for the sake of the sale — even if that means directing your business elsewhere.
For example, New Breed and another HubSpot Diamond Partner IMPACT both act as partners to their clients but have different areas of specialization. Our revenue operations function goes deeper than theirs, so if a prospect really needs help with that, IMPACT will refer them to us. Conversely, if we’re speaking to a prospect with strong video needs, we might refer them to IMPACT.
Generalist or Specialist
Extent of service offerings
Different agencies have different proficiencies regarding what portion of the buyer’s journey they influence. Some companies offer a wide range of services and can act as an outsourced marketing and sales provider. Others will offer a narrower range of specialties.
For example, at New Breed we offer full-funnel demand generation services, meaning we work with clients to improve the marketing and sales process ranging from awareness to acquisition. Meanwhile, a branding agency only services the awareness stage. An SEO agency is even further specialized and only completes a specific tactic that only influences part of the buyer’s journey.
An agency’s skill set can include both tools and service areas. For example, agencies specializing in SEO have expertise in that area and can work in tools like Google Search Console, Bing webmaster tools, SEMrush and Moz, but they won’t necessarily be proficient in all those tools.
Every HubSpot agency will have a baseline understanding of HubSpot and up-to-date certifications on the platform, but if HubSpot isn’t the only tool your company uses, it might be beneficial to look for an agency that can service other pieces of your tech stack.
Some agencies will only work with specific industries, while others will work with clients from a wide range.
If you choose an agency that specializes in your industry, they’ll already be familiar with the market, your consumers and the purchasing process. This knowledge can help you gain more value quicker than you’d be able to gain from a generalized agency.
However, it might be difficult to find an agency in your industry that’s also within your budget. If you’re in a niche industry or are looking for a service that isn’t industry-specific, then a non-specialized agency might be better for you.
Utilizing the HubSpot Agency Directory
If you know you’re interested in working with a HubSpot Agency Partner, HubSpot’s Agency Directory is a great place to start looking for an agency that can fulfill your needs.
The HubSpot Agency Directory lists all of HubSpot’s agency partners. They’re ranked by tier (Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver) with the number of reviews determining the order agencies are listed within each tier. Inside the directory listing, you can find out more about the partner, their reviews, budgets, awards and more information about who they work with.
You can filter the agency directory based on your industry, budget types, languages, countries, services and industries.
Because tiers are based on how much business an agency does with HubSpot, higher-tiered partners tend to offer a wider range of services while you’re more likely to find specialized agencies in lower tiers. If you’re looking for a niche service, a lower-tier agency might better fulfill your needs.
Be Transparent About Your Needs and Expectations
Bringing in an agency to help your company is an investment, so be aware of what you’re getting out of the engagement.
Different agencies require varying amounts of commitment from your company. When you’re evaluating different agencies, be transparent about what you want and need. If you’re expecting the agency to execute strategies, a consultant won’t be a good fit, and if you need website design help, an SEO agency isn’t right for solving that challenge.
Understand what type of agency you’re speaking with, and ask about what their process looks like. If they require feedback and approval, you’re committing to provide that input. If they only provide you with deliverables, you’re committing to provide them with the strategy to guide their efforts.
Agencies are not one-size-fits-all. In order to select an agency that best suits your needs, you need to be upfront about what you’re looking for from the start. On top of that, you should talk to at least one agency that will look at your efforts from both the strategy and tactic perspective, so you don’t end up investing in services that you don’t need.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.