This is a great question, and one that comes up fairly often. Because HubSpot's such an extensive tool, you might be concerned that it will take a lot of training to get up to speed. And it's true that marketing automation platforms can have varying levels of learning curve (check out our guide to the best marketing automation platforms for more on this).
So, how much time/effort/money would you need to start using HubSpot? Well, as with most things in this space, the answer depends on a few things!
- What tier are you using?
- What hubs are you using?
- How much experience of marketing automation, sales automation, or CRM software do you have?
- Have you, or any of your team, used HubSpot previously?
- How complex are your needs?
Now, some of these questions lead to a pretty easy answer...
If you're simply using the free tools, you have plenty of experience with CRMs, and you're just scratching the surface of what you want to do with HubSpot/marketing automation, then you don't need much in the way of training. A few videos, a few blogs, and you should be fine.
But, if you want to get more out of the system, or you're using Professional tiers, then you're going to want to get some level of training.
There's a big jump from the free and Starter tiers to the Professional and Enterprise ones - both in terms of your investment, and in what you can do with them. And when you're investing a decent amount in your software, you want to make sure you're getting the most out of it.
At a minimum, if you're using Marketing Professional or above, HubSpot require you to have professional onboarding - either through HubSpot directly, or through a qualified partner. That's because there's so much to the system that getting it set up correctly can be challenging, but it will make all the difference to how much you get out of the platform.
You should expect that part of that onboarding will cover some training - which may be enough for your needs, but you may also want additional training.
The Sales Hub is a powerhouse of functionality you might not have seen before, even if you've used marketing automation, so it's worth getting at least a small amount of training on this hub.
The key thing is to make sure you get what you need out of the system - it's worth investing some time in training to get your whole team up to speed. Any system built on data is only as good as the data you're putting into it, and while HubSpot generates a lot of automatic information, if your team aren't consistent with how they do things on the system, you'll run into problems.
Take our word for it - we completely revised how we started out using HubSpot, because we had some underlying assumptions and misconceptions that meant we weren't 100% aligned on how we used it across sales and marketing. A workshop to get to the bottom of those issues, and we were able to switch things up and get it spot on - it's generally better if you do this before getting set up though!
The more complex your business, the more complex your systems - it stands to reason. When that happens, you often need to create bespoke elements, custom reports, and strategic workflows to get the CRM and automation platform you're using to work just right.
It's possible to engage a partner to help you get this done and set up, without the need for any training. We've helped businesses migrate to HubSpot and set up new elements that they need, because they don't have the in-house expertise to do it. And if that works for you, it's perfect. You get what you need, and you don't have to learn a lot of stuff to achieve it.
If you want to understand the ins and outs of what has been created for you, or you want to be able to make changes in the future, or you simply don't want to always have to go to a partner for support, then some training would definitely be helpful.
Free training resources for HubSpot
The HubSpot Academy is a great resource for any user, no matter what tier you're using. There are tonnes of training videos, lessons, and even certifications, across every aspect of the platform, as well as inbound principles in general. For more info, check out our Everything You Need to Know About HubSpot Academy post.
HUGs, or HubSpot User Groups, are run by HubSpot Partners across the world, so you should be able to find one near you. They usually focus on a specific topic each time, and often have speakers from HubSpot to explain how things work, things you should look into, and tricks you may not know.
A little bit of self-promotion here - we offer a free, 4-week HubSpot Bootcamp to help people get started using the platform. It's primarily aimed at free and Starter users, and it's open to anyone using HubSpot. You're welcome to sign up to our next cohort.
The online HubSpot forums are a wealth of information, with users sharing answers to your questions. In fact, if you search "how to do [something] on HubSpot", chances are one of the first results you'll see will be from the community pages. If it's a simple/common question, you'll probably see a HubSpot Knowledgebase article, too, but if it's a little more complex, the forums are more likely. If your question has never been covered, make your own post and you'll get some helpful responses.
Other training options
If those free options won't get you to where you need to be, then your best bet is talking to a HubSpot Partner and seeing what sort of training packages they offer. For example, we have a range of workshops, but we also put together bespoke training for businesses too.
Talk to a few partners and get a feel for what they specialise in, whether they're certified in the areas that you want training on (you can check the certifications a partner has on their HubSpot partner directory profile, where you can also see their reviews and star rating), and how they could help with your specific needs.
You should also check what kind of materials you'll get as part of your training - whether there will be guides, videos, workshops, webinars, in-person training, and so on.
Can I get away with no training at all?
Given the availability of the Academy and other free resources, we'd generally suggest that you should be able to access some level of training, that's right for you.
HubSpot is very user-friendly, it's built to be intuitive (partly because it's all developed by HubSpot, rather than through acquisitions and bolting on additional tools). So, if you're a technically confident, experienced software user, sure you might be able to get away with no training whatsoever. But you'll also miss out on a lot of tips, tricks, features, and other useful information.
As an example, we helped a client who wanted to report on a specific subset of their data. The problem was, they didn't have a high enough tier for custom reporting, and the existing reports, while extensive, didn't cover exactly what they needed.
We were able to show them a way of using contact views with heavy filters, to bring out the data they needed. There are lots of little workarounds that you might not know, or find out yourself, that a little bit of training can really help with.