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What To Do When HubSpot Isn’t Working: 6 Common Mistakes (and how to fix them)

By May 4, 2016May 13th, 2019Uncategorized

home-839119_1280.jpgInbound or outbound, it doesn’t matter. Marketing is one of the harder aspects of your business – especially creating scalable marketing that will give you predictable ROI month after month.  That’s why many businesses have turned to marketing automation software, like HubSpot. They are looking for a “magic bullet” that will solve all of their marketing problems. But what many businesses are finding is that although their team is putting in the work, that work is not paying off in qualified leads. 

We have heard this frustration first-hand from many of the clients we’ve worked with and have come up with a list of the 6 most common reasons why your HubSpot Marketing Automation platform isn’t producing the results you want and some tips to help get you back on track.

1. HubSpot doesn’t do all the work for you

Marketing automation is a tool – albeit a multi-layered, technologically advanced tool – but a tool none the less. And like any other tool it only works as well as the person handling it. Despite the certifications and training offered by HubSpot, your team may not have all the technical or creative know-how to get real results out of your marketing automation.


  • Hire your marketing automation platform to do extra training. Many automation platforms offer additional training above and beyond the initial training offered when you purchase the platform. Just remember whoever you train is then the keeper of that knowledge and if they leave and haven’t put the right processes in place, that knowledge leaves as well.
  • Hire the A-Team! If your budget allows you can compile a team of skilled inbound marketers who can create all the content you need and understand all the ins and outs of the technical end of your marketing platform.
  • Hire a content creation company to help create premium content for your target audience.  Just make sure you have the right people in place for the technical end.
  • Hire an outsourced marketing company.  Outsourcing inbound marketing is a solution many businesses utilize. The trick is deciding if outsourcing is right for your organization and then finding one that is a good fit with your business model.

2. You don’t have a goal in mind

What are you trying to achieve with your inbound marketing? Do you want more traffic to your website? More MQLs? More SQLs? One of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to marketing automation failure is not setting goals. I mean one of the best parts of marketing automation is being able to see whether you reached those goals right there in ‘black and white.’


Creating goals is easy as long as you’re SMART about it. By using the SMART goals method you can create:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely goals that will put you on the road to success.

3. You don’t have the right processes in place

Is your company always recreating the wheel when doing the same tasks? Do your new hires have tried and true methods to learn from or are their first few weeks at your organization a series of trials and errors – ultimately wasting time and money. Without clear processes in place for your inbound marketing, your team or marketing results won’t fair any better.


Well-defined, consistently executed and evaluated, and continuously improved processes are the difference between an inbound marketing campaign that achieves marginal goodness and one that achieves consistent greatness.

  • Processes make a business competitive.
  • Processes enable growth.
  • Processes drive profitability.
  • Processes make for better teams.

Here are five types of processes that will assist in improving your inbound marketing automation results:

1) Information-Gathering Process

Getting to know your client is vital if you hope to deliver on her expectations, so it is critical that you have a process in place for uncovering a client’s goals. This is true whether you’re conceptualizing a complete marketing campaign or working on a specific, one-off project.

To gather the information you need, make sure that all necessary team members can meet with the client prior to commencing work. Create a template question sheet to guide your conversation. Once this process is complete, summarize campaign notes and receive a sign off from the client indicating approval.

2) Client Onboarding Process

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, it’ll be important for you to have a process which you can use with every client to lay the groundwork for all of your marketing success to come. There is no one size fits all to this process, but for the most part, look for it to involve some of the following items:

  • Marketing automation platform clean-up (Including lists, forms, lead scoring, etc.)
  • Fleshing out buyer personas
  • SEO research/strategy

3) Client Management Process

When you deliver creative material to clients for review, teams often see their production come to a temporary standstill. Despite the fact that these materials and services are often costing the client a lot of money, it isn’t necessarily their first priority, and that can easily bring your own productivity and results to a halt.

To aid production on your end, have a process in place that will streamline client interaction. Ensure that your client knows exactly what is needed from them to move forward and on what timetable. Remember, this isn’t about you becoming a nagging presence in your client’s ear. Work with them to ensure that your needs are met, while not overwhelming their busy schedules.

4) Content Creation Process

Creating a piece of target content is no easy feat. There’s plenty of work and set-up that goes into creating every new offer. What happens then, when team member don’t know their responsibilities for a specific piece of content? Who’s in charge of the call-to-action, the landing page, the thank you page, the social media posts, etc.?

Clear expectations and responsibilities help with individual output and set up the entire team to collaborate and communicate with the right person. Look to outline and assign all the different tasks involved in creating a new offer, and set deadlines to ensure success.

5) Data Management Process

So how do you know if any of these processes actually work? How can you determine if they’re helping improve productivity and bringing ROI? The best way to measure your team’s success is by having a reliable data management process in place.

For this to be successful you must ask questions such as: What metrics will you be measuring? How often should you be looking at these metrics? What format will you report in? What’ll mark a successful campaign vs. a failed one? By collecting data from past and present campaigns (through marketing automation, Google Analytics, heat maps, client surveys, etc.), your team can analyze this information to look for areas of inefficiency and ways to improve your processes.

4. You don’t have well-defined Buyer Personas

Have you ever looked at an ad and said, “I don’t get it, why would I want that?” It could simply mean that you didn’t fit that product’s target marketing or worse and much more damaging to an inbound marketing campaign is that the marketers who created that campaign didn’t understand how to market to you. In short, they didn’t have well-developed buyer personas.


Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention. When done right, buyer personas will give you:

1. An understanding of your customer’s needs/interests
2. A united front for sales and marketing
3. An understanding of your personas habit’s
4. A way to develop new services/products
5. The keys to creating content that drives leads.
6. Shorten the sales cycle

5. You don’t have a strategy

Have you ever built a custom house? If you have, you already know that long before the foundation is poured, you need to make a significant investment made in creating a blueprint. No one in their right mind would ever start construction prior to talking to architects, contractors, designers, and a host of other trades so that a detailed set of blueprints could be created. Only then, can construction begin. Surprisingly, many organizations – even those who have experience with inbound marketing – actually start trying to market without having a sound strategy.


A solid strategy will do the following:

1. Have SMART goals
2. Focus on one Buyer Persona
3. Define the Buyer’s Journey
4. Identify Premium content
5. Define lead nurturing content
6. Have an editorial calendar with at least 12 weeks worth of blog topics

6. You don’t have solid understanding of lead nurturing


Lead nurturing through workflows is one of the key benefits of marketing automation. But without understanding how it truly works, it’s just a wasted tool.


Understanding workflows goes back to training and processes. If you have the proper training on how to use your automation tool and then put that training into the form of a thorough process then no matter who is pushing the buttons they will be able to create lead nurturing campaigns that get results.

Marketing automation – specifically HubSpot – can help your organization drive traffic to your site that you can then attract, convert, close, and delight. But this won’t happen until you stop making these 6 common marketing automation mistakes. Want to learn more about why your inbound marketing isn’t producing results? Check out our new Ebook.

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.