What we learnt from conducting a year's worth of HubSpot Portal Audits

Estee Hall | 3 February 2021

In early 2020, we started offering HubSpot portal audits as a service. These were value-adds that new clients of ours, who had already been using HubSpot for a year or longer found very useful. Not only did it give us an understanding of their portal setup and account maturity, but it gave our clients actionable recommendations and quick wins straight off the bat.

The demand for these audits quickly grew, and we conducted audits for existing clients, and to businesses as a one-off project. 

After a year of conducting these portal audits, this blog explores what we've learnt and provides examples of some of the recommendations you can expect from a HubSpot portal audit. 

1. Security needs to be a top priority

If left to their own devices, your team is very unlikely to set up MFA for their accounts. Luckily, HubSpot has a setting that enables you to require they do, but we've found that very few portals have this enabled. This is a very easy way to secure your portal and your clients' data and we highly recommend it. In fact, this has been a recommendation in 90% of our audits.

2. A naming convention will cut down your admin time

Another frequent recommendation we make is to develop and implement a naming convention. Although this isn't as high impact or high priority as some of the other recommendations, we still feel this action has value, as it will save your team a lot of time in the long run. Not only will it make it easier to find what you're looking for, but it can also make it easier to identify assets that you can archive or that needs an update. 

3. Proper user management will ensure your portal doesn't get abused

One of HubSpot's best but most under-used features is the level of control you have over user permissions and accessibility of assets. We frequently see all users being assigned Super Admin access with all users having editing permissions for all tools. However, there's generally no reason for your sales team to need permission to publish content or for your marketing team to be able to edit your HubSpot billing details. The level of granularity when it comes to access management is great, and we highly recommend setting up a strategy to manage these access levels. It could potentially save you from a lot of admin time fixing mistakes or prevent brand damage from accidental email sends.

4. Comparing your metrics to benchmarks quickly helps you identify ways to improve your performance 

Setting up a dashboard that gives you high-level, portal-wide metrics makes it easy to identify areas to focus on and allows you to track your progress and performance improvements as you implement the recommendations from the audit. This dashboard is going to be your main indicator of portal health and usage.

5. Your team can quickly upskill by completing HubSpot Academy certifications

Very few of the portals we've audited had anyone managing it who has completed certifications from the HubSpot Academy. It's a great resource that is free to HubSpot users and I am baffled that so many people are not taking up this opportunity to learn more. We generally identify the course and certifications that would be the most beneficial for the team to complete based on the other audit recommendations. For example, if your visitor-to-contact conversion ratio was below benchmarks, we'd recommend completing the Inbound Marketing certification. If your email marketing stats were below the benchmarks, we'd recommend the Email Marketing certification, and so on. 

6. You are not using all the HubSpot tools available to you

90% of our audits highlighted tools that weren't being used. This included newly released tools, like the Marketing Events object or the Sales Forecast tool, but it occasionally also occurred with tools that have been around for ages, like Templates and Snippets. The reason? The user's simply didn't know about it! Keeping up to date with product updates and product releases (which are fast and frequent from HubSpot) is so important to maximising the value you get from HubSpot. We recommend signing up to a newsletter that focuses specifically on keeping you up to date with HubSpot releases. (Guess what? We have one that we send out to our clients every month! If you're interested in joining that mailing list, pop me an email.)

8. Your database decays at a rate of 2.1% per month or 22.5% per year and you need to keep it up to date

Check out this Database Decay Simulation from HubSpot. Your database decay could be because of email address changes as people move between companies, abandon old email addresses or opt-out of your communications. At a rate of 22.5% per year, your database is shrinking quickly and continuing to send to old email addresses, lowers your email deliverability and your sender score. One of the most common and impactful recommendations we make is to do a database cleanse, and then set up rules or lists to automate this cleanse to prevent sending emails to addresses that don't exist or people who no longer want to hear from you. 

7. Comparing your portal health right now to the health six months down the line, will give you quite a thrill

Setting up a dashboard that monitors your entire portal's performance and monitoring it as you keep making improvements and implementing recommendations is a great way to motivate both yourself and your team! We take it a step further and introduce the HubSpot Platform Engagement Score (as partners we have a tool that scores your usage of the HubSpot platform out of a score of 10. We also introduce our own scoring system based on the HubSpot setup and utilisation, that you can keep track of as you progress. This is a score we assign out of 25, and you should see an increase in your Struto score in no time!

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