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Organizing actionable insights in HubSpot Reporting for C-level

In collaboration with Emerce - How do you find out what is and isn’t working in your HubSpot portal? And how do you create the ultimate overview of KPIs for actionable insights on how your marketing, sales and service teams are impacting the top-line in control of your customer-facing business processes?

The majority of companies that deploy HubSpot in their commercial process are underutilizing the power of reporting in HubSpot. More often than not the limitations and obstacles have nothing to do with HubSpot itself, but with your processes, people, and data. In this article, let’s explore what the common pitfalls are in HubSpot reporting, and how to actually get actionable insights out of HubSpot the right way.

What questions you should ask yourself for the right actionable insights in HubSpot:

  1. “Which business processes are we managing in HubSpot?”
  2. “What data do we have available to measure the right KPIs for those processes in HubSpot?”
  3. “Are the teams registering the KPI data in the HubSpot CRM?”
  4. “What does the ultimate overview of KPIs for actionable insights in HubSpot look like?”

1. "Which business processes are we managing in HubSpot?"

As the technological landscape within companies evolves over time, it also becomes more complex for management to establish what teams work in what system and where they can distill their management information from. In a world with over 8.000 MarTech tools (and counting) it’s understandable that processes and data are managed everywhere and anywhere.

Over time, this approach results in a brutally bloated tech stack that takes so much time and energy to manage, there's little left to dedicate to customers. What's more, when tech stacks are unnecessarily complex, it becomes increasingly difficult for customer-facing teams to access reliable data, making it nearly impossible to deliver the type of contextual experience customers expect.

In the daily business of being a HubSpot agency, this is one of the main obstacles we run into setting up reporting for clients. Companies are looking to get insights from HubSpot, but the understanding of what purpose/role HubSpot has as a platform for your business is the first step to getting the most out of reporting.

Why is this an obstacle?

Let’s first establish what role HubSpot fulfills in your company’s business processes, but especially which role it doesn’t. Central to HubSpot is its CRM data. Where the line is drawn of what customer data is available in HubSpot is based on what business processes are organized in what system(s).

Depending on which parts of HubSpot your company uses, these can be the following topics at a high level:

  • Marketing Hub:How well are we generating (qualified) leads?
  • Sales Hub:How well are we turning leads into customers and engaging with potential buyers?
  • Service Hub:How well are we resolving customer issues and delivering a satisfactory experience for our customers?

How the functionality of HubSpot helps your customer facing teams do better business 

So what does this mean? 

Data in your other business processes, like project management, order management/fulfillment, production planning, financials and billing are not available out-of-the-box (without data integrations) in HubSpot. And that’s fine.  Use technology for what it is designed to do, instead of shoehorning a system into a business process with a lot of extra friction in your business processes as a result.

Misconceptions on reporting across business processes in HubSpot

Some real-life examples of expectations in reporting for C-level management that users are looking to get out of HubSpot:

  • Wanting to measure customer satisfaction after solving complaints, but complaints are handled in a separate complaint- or  quality management system.
  • Having an overview of what invoices a customer did and did not pay in the HubSpot CRM, when the financial process is managed in a revenue-/billing-software like ISAH or Exact
  • Measuring Customer Health Score of customers in the Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) industry when the core process of the business runs on a custom platform and not HubSpot.

Takeaway: Make sure that looking at your company’s scorecard or KPI report, you know which data is coming from what system and where measuring KPIs may require integration of data across systems before you can get the right insights.

2.“What data do we have available to measure the right KPIs for those processes in HubSpot?”

Where in the current day and age data is more readily available across systems, it can lead to either misconceptions of how you can leverage this data, or it can result in information overload as companies are looking to utilize every opportunity of having all this data available in reports.

Let’s elaborate a bit on these 2 topics:

Too many data points

Looking at the average HubSpot portal today, there are over 300 data points you are able to establish reports for. In reality, most teams that have set up reports in HubSpot are not using every single report to manage the day-to-day business. This results in the mentioned information overload and results in companies making reporting in HubSpot a more complex topic than it has to be. 

Ask yourself these 2 questions:

  • “What are the key performance metrics in my company that impact the business at a high level?”
  • “Am I able to review these metrics with the right attention to proactively impact the business? “

If you look at your set of KPIs critically and still end up with a larger set of metrics, consider delegating ownership of KPIs at different levels of the organization (layering your scorecard) to make sure you are in control of what is really impacting the business. HubSpot offers a lot of flexibility in setting up dashboards with reports specifically for teams, processes or even individuals/reps.

Takeaway: Start small, keep it simple. What is at a high level a Key Performance Indicator (With the emphasis on key) for how your business is performing? You can always go a level deeper when issues arise. The power of Hubspot reporting is mainly in the fact that you can zoom in on the data of which the KPI is composed in the report.

Disregarding HubSpot Data in setting KPIs

You can’t expect every HubSpot user in your company to understand what data is available underneath the hood in HubSpot. The consequence of this is that we often see there’s already a wishlist of KPIs for reporting that is totally disconnected from the HubSpot data, meaning the data is not available 1:1 in HubSpot. 

Especially when you’re team is starting fresh in HubSpot, this is the road to success and helps you to tackle KPI reporting in the right order: 

  • Take a step back from an already defined wishlist of KPIs and establish what you are looking to monitor for what objective. 
  • Explore which data/properties in HubSpot touch upon this part of your business process and are already there to set up.

Example: ROI of marketing campaigns 

A perfect example of reports most companies eventually want to see is measuring the ROI of their marketing campaigns. While HubSpot is not designed to give you insights on how investing your marketing budget directly translates to generating customers, you can actually backtrace all closed customers to their original (marketing) source or see how campaigns are attributed to generating those customers. 

Campaign overview of how each individual campaign is assisting in closing deals and customers and with what revenue. 

From there it’s an easy step to establish whether investing your marketing budget in that campaign was a good idea or not.

Takeaway: More often than not, there are already data points available in HubSpot out of the box that can help you gain insights on how your team is performing.

Here’s a list of the most common KPIs you can pretty much measure out of the box in HubSpot:

  • Marketing -Reach, traffic, leads, marketing qualified leads (month over month and by source)
  • Marketing & Sales: Convert Marketing qualified lead to Sales Qualified lead conversion-%
  • Sales: Sales accepted MQLs, Sales Qualified Leads, Opportunities, Customers, Deals closed vs Target, Deal forecast (next month, quarter), Deals closed reasons, Activity per Sales Rep, Deals - Time spent in deal stages, Average deal value
  • Service: Ticket close rate, Net Promoter

3. “Are the teams registering the KPI data in the HubSpot CRM?”

So the main benefit of HubSpot reporting is that you can run reports on any data that is in your system. The actual challenge is having the right data available in the first place.

Even though the data points are available out of the box for most of the reports, more often than not, what we notice when we first step into a client’s HubSpot portal is that the data is not actually used or registered by the teams working in HubSpot CRM. 

The most common pitfall here is that the teams are not aware how important this data is for reporting, because:

  • They have not been involved in what KPIs are important to measure the performance for their specific team;
  • There is no defined process of what responsibilities team members have in registering data;
  • The process isn’t automated, so the accuracy of your data depends on how keen your team is on registering this data. 

4.What does the ultimate overview of KPIs for actionable insights in HubSpot look like?

Alright, so we talked about the common pitfalls of reporting in HubSpot, but what does the ultimate overview of KPIs in HubSpot actually look like?

Let me start off by saying that the ultimate overview is obviously going to vastly differ per company. However there’s a very “common” overlap of KPIs that apply to pretty much all businesses that work with HubSpot. 

Let’s explore what that initial starting point for HubSpot reporting could look like for your business, so you can continue to develop it towards your own ultimate overview of KPIs.

Most common key performance indicators in HubSpot

To tackle this case, let’s distinguish the top areas C-level are looking to measure performance on in HubSpot:

Sales

  • Get full visibility into your sales pipeline in real time.
  • What order intake can we expect from our sales forecast for the next period?
  • Where in our process are we losing the most deals?

Marketing

  • What return do we get on our marketing investments? 
  • How many qualified leads is Marketing generating for Sales?

Service

  • How happy are clients at specific stages in our process from sales to upsell?
  • How fast are we helping our customers solve issues?
  • How happy are our customers overall?

Sales - What success looks like

I once heard a CEO say “Hitting our sales targets is more luck than wisdom, because we close deals with companies we didn’t even have on our radar, whereas we lose the deals that we were expected to close.” Sales Reporting ended up giving this company the “grip” on their forecast, by defining how they do sales, how to register this data in HubSpot and reporting on this process.

The deal pipeline functionality in HubSpot CRM is so powerful when done right, providing you with ample information on a more predictable forecast and how your sales team is performing closing deals.

The top 4 reports sales teams on HubSpot use are:

Deal Stage Reporting 

  • Measuring how sales opportunities are moving from one stage in your sales process to the next
  • Where are you losing sales opportunities and for what reason?
  • How healthy your sales pipeline is (how long are deals commonly stuck in stages (deal velocity), are sales people spending too long on deals?)

Forecasting

  • How well are you hitting sales objectives next month, quarter or by the end of the year?
  • What order intake can we expect from our sales forecast for the next period?
  • What deals have a high likelihood of closing in the next days/weeks?


Recurring Revenue Reporting (HubSpot Sales Enterprise)

  • What new deals or upgrades are new recurring revenue?
  • What deals have been renewed and count toward existing recurring revenue?
  • What deals have churned or downgraded deals that have churned or downgraded and count toward lost recurring revenue?

Time in Deal Stage / Deal velocity 

  • How fast are sales opportunities being closed as customers
  • Where are deals lingering in deal stages longer than average (and what’s the cause of it?)

What do you need to make these reports work: 

  • Sales pipelines and stages are defined - Opportunities and customers are tracked in HubSpot
  • All Sales users in the CRM are aware of the definition of each stages and what their responsibilities are in moving opportunities through the pipeline(s)
  • Manual or automated triggers are established in HubSpot to secure the process in practice.

Marketing & Sales - What success looks like 

Companies often underestimate that making marketing and sales work together well includes setting goals and responsibilities across those teams. Marketing and Sales that work together toward the same business goals and sales targets together, have 2 crucial KPIs they report on to find out what quality and quantity of leads marketing is handing off to sales.

  • Marketing Qualified Leads -What leads “on paper” would sales be eager to follow-up
  • Sales Qualified Leads -What leads does Sales actually qualify as leads they are going to follow-up

There is only one report you need for this in HubSpot, that has a lot of added value:

Lifecycle Stage Funnel Conversion

  • What is the quality and quantity of marketing generated leads?
  • How many marketing leads is Sales following up?
  • What does our marketing forecast look like in lead generation and how they are going to impact our revenue?

CLifecycle stage 

Lifecycle stage conversion reporting is the basis for how scaleable your growth is across the marketing & sales process, including marketing generated (qualified) leads in your forecasting reports.

What do you need to make these reports work: 

  • Marketing responsibility: The context of lead information is shared with Sales
  • Sales responsibility: Sales is following up on marketing leads within x hours/days
  • Sales responsibility: Sales is providing feedback on quality of marketing generated leads to Marketing (SQL)
  • Sales responsibility: Deals are moving through the sales pipeline based on manual and automatic triggers
  • Technical: HubSpot is set up so contacts move through lifecycle stages manually or with automatic triggers.

Marketing - What success looks like 

We already made note of the most important KPI we often see defined in the marketing process: MQLS generated. Nevertheless, within the marketing process there are some other important KPIs that are of importance to C-level:

Marketingprestaties

  • How much traffic are we generating from which marketing channel?
  • How many leads are we generating from which marketing channel?
  • How are we impacting revenue by generating customers with a marketing channel as an original source?

These insights can quickly help you discover which marketing channels are performing best, and better yet, if these are “paid” or “owned” media, so you know whether your ROI is improving over time.

Marketingprestatie-overzicht van hoe je marketingkanalen bijdragen aan het genereren van leads/klanten

What do you need to make these reports work: 

  • Technical: Have an installed HubSpot tracking code in your website/online channels to measure all data
  • Technical: Make sure all campaigns use either HubSpot forms or form data is integrated in HubSpot
  • Marketing: Run campaigns from HubSpot

Customer Service - What success looks like 

Maintaining a grasp of how satisfied customers are becomes harder as your business scales up. After all, it’s easy to maintain a good understanding of how you’re helping them if less people deal with the same clients over time.

To make the process scaleable in HubSpot there’s a few KPIs that are common among customer service teams to report on in C-level meetings that can have a big impact on customer retention:

Ticket Pipeline Reporting 

  • How fast are we responding to tickets?
  • How fast are we resolving tickets for customers?

Customer Effort Score Reporting

  • How satisfactory is the issue resolution process for the customer?

Net Promoter Score Reporting

  • How happy are our customers overall (over time) and how likely are they to remain customers?

As mentioned before in this article, the power of HubSpot always allows you to go into the data in detail and find out which customer gave you what score in surveys, making sure you can actually identify and solve recurring issues in your business processes.

What do you need to make these reports work: 

Ticket Pipeline:

  • Service/Ticket pipelines and stages are defined in HubSpot
  • All Service hub users in the CRM know what their responsibilities are in moving tickets through the pipeline(s)
  • Manual or automated triggers are established in HubSpot to secure the process in practice
  •  

Customer Effort Score: 

  • Ticket pipelines are in place as described above.
  • The Customer Effort Score survey tool in HubSpot is automatically sending out customer effort score surveys based on resolved tickets
Net Promoter Score: 
  • A process (responsibilities and activities) is in place to send out a net promoter score survey at a decided frequency to a list of established contacts at customer companies.

Summary

To summarize, here’s what successful marketing, sales & service teams that work and report across the HubSpot functionality have crossed off their list::

    • A scorecard is defined for KPIs measurable in HubSpot based on available data in HubSpot
    • The customer-facing teams are working in HubSpot and registering the required data (manually or automated)
    • Sales Process: Sales pipelines and deal stages are defined and implemented in HubSpot, definitions and responsibilities are known in the sales team
    • Marketing & Sales process: Definitions for  lifecycle stages of leads in the marketing- & sales process are defined, responsibilities for handing off leads to sales (Marketing) and providing feedback on marketing leads (Sales) are established.
    • Marketing: HubSpot’s tracking code is up and running, form data is integrated into HubSpot, marketing is running campaigns in HubSpot.
    • Customer Service: Service/Ticket pipelines and a customer feedback survey framework are defined and implemented in HubSpot and responsibilities are known in the customer service team.

A defined marketing & sales process ready to be implemented in HubSpot. 

Picture of Ralf van Thuijl
Ralf van Thuijl

Business Growth Consultant