In our experience as a Platinum HubSpot Partner, we understand the main reason for businesses feeling like they’re not getting a big enough return on their HubSpot investment is due to poor user adoption and retention. Often, these businesses have employees who either don’t utilize HubSpot, don’t know how to use the platform correctly, or don’t know that certain features and tools exist inside the platform.
It’s for this very reason that we’re big advocates of regular HubSpot portal audits. Businesses are very often surprised to learn that their HubSpot portal can perform tasks far beyond what they’re using it for.
Whilst every portal is different, and audits are not 100% one-size-fits-all, there are certain ‘stand out’ areas that we always look for. Using a practical example, this blog will walk you through the what, why, when and how of conducting a successful HubSpot portal audit.
Curious about how you can improve your HubSpot setup? Request a free HubSpot portal audit today.
A HubSpot portal audit is a comprehensive review of your HubSpot designed to assess tool usage and performance. The end goal of this review is to identify opportunities to increase the impact HubSpot has on your bottom line.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to conducting a HubSpot portal audit. The focus of your audit should be based on what your overall marketing and/or sales goals are. During your audit, you should be looking to answer some of the following questions:
- Are you generating enough traffic to your site, and which sources of traffic are or aren’t working well?
- What is the conversion rate of your site (i.e., what is the rate at which visitors are converting into net new leads)? How does it compare to industry benchmarks?
- Are your contacts converting into customers at a decent rate? What are the conversion rates of contacts between lifecycle stages looking like in your funnel report?
- Do you have the right tools, processes, and reports in place to answer the above questions?
At the end of your portal audit, you should have a good idea of what is working well, what is not working well, where opportunities to get more out of your HubSpot investment lie and a set of recommendations on how to make full use of the tools you have available in your HubSpot platform.
Why is a portal audit so important?
The importance of a HubSpot portal audit cannot be understated. If you’re consistently using HubSpot to generate and/or manage your leads, then you automatically qualify for a HubSpot portal audit. Why? Because your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can get cluttered over time and accumulate unnecessary data that can affect your bottom line. Some problems that can arise in your portal include:
- Not being able to locate things in HubSpot
- Wasted time and resources working on projects or campaigns that aren’t generating results
- Outdated and unengaged database
- Duplicate data
The main reasons why you should conduct regular HubSpot portal audits can be summarised as follows:
- Help you optimize your existing setup
- Help you clean up and organize your existing database
- Help you manage your HubSpot more effectively
- Help you get more value from your HubSpot investment
Now that you’re aware of what a HubSpot portal audit is and why it’s an important exercise to do, you’re probably wondering when the best time is to run one.
When is it time for an audit?
Sometimes, the issues aren’t obvious. If you aren’t generating the conversions and results you’d like to see, it may be time to look under the hood of your HubSpot platform and ensure you’re making full use of the tools at your disposal.
There are several signals that might mean it’s time for a HubSpot portal audit, such as:
- You feel you aren’t getting the maximum value from your HubSpot investment
- Your marketing, sales or service performance is stagnating
- Your HubSpot platform is cluttered, and you can't find anything
- You've had a staffing change, and no one knows what is or isn't set up in HubSpot
- You don't think you are using HubSpot correctly
- You want to know how your HubSpot usage stacks up to other users
- You need an expert to give you guidance on best practices for using and managing HubSpot tools
How to run a portal audit [+ practical example]
Whilst there is no set framework for conducting a HubSpot audit, there are a few elements we believe every audit should cover at the very least:
- Website performance – reviewing the overall performance of your website, what the best sources of traffic are, what the conversion rate is of the entire site and for each source of traffic
- Data management and quality – What is your business data model? Is there duplicate data? What is your lead management process? Are there any areas where automation can be implemented? Are you segmenting your database by buyer personas and lifecycle stages? What’s the conversion rate per lifecycle stage for your database?
- Tool usage and performance – how are your campaigns, and the tools you’re using, performing against benchmark data? Are there any tools you have at your disposal that you’re not using that could potentially add value to your campaigns? Are you using the right tools to achieve your business objectives?
The depth of your audit will depend on what HubSpot products you’re using (i.e., Hubs) and your relevant plan (i.e., subscription levels) you’re using. For example, we recently conducted a HubSpot portal audit for a client, herewith referred to as Business A, who were using the free Sales and CRM Hub, the CMS Professional Hub and the Marketing Hub Enterprise.
If you are using any Hub(s) that provides you with access to additional tools and features than the above Hubs, then we’d strongly recommend extending your audit to include the performance and usage of those tools.
Before we started with the portal audit for Business A, it was important for us to understand what their marketing goals were. As they had no set or documented marketing goals, we asked them to define what their business objectives were with rolling out the HubSpot platform. This gave us a better idea of where our focus for the audit should lie.
After an initial discovery call, we uncovered that Business A wanted to achieve the following with their investment in the HubSpot platform and the portal audit:
- An increase in traffic to their site
- An increase in their conversion rate of the site
- An increase in the quality of their database and conversion of leads into customers
- A clean and organized HubSpot portal
From here, we needed to find something to compare their performance data to in order to gauge an idea of what 'good’ looked like. We did some research and gathered a bunch of best practice benchmark data to use as a reference guide. These metrics and their definitions can be found below.
**Bounce rate = the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing online page.
**Pages per session = the average number of page views per session in a given time range
**Sessions = a series of analytics activities by a visitor to your website, which expire after 30 minutes of visitor inactivity. These are not only page views, but include activities such as events, form submissions, and CTA clicks.
**Average session length = the average duration a visitor’s website session
**Visit-to-(new) contact rate = the number of form submissions divided by the number of unique visitors for the selected time period.
**Visit-to-submission rate = the number of submissions, as defined below divided by the number of sessions for the selected date range.
**Submissions = the number of submissions on a HubSpot form on your page or blog post. This data does not include any custom forms (e.g., non-HubSpot forms, custom API forms).
**Click-through rate = the percentage of views that lead to clicks on the CTA.
Format of our HubSpot portal audit for Business A
Our audit consisted of three focus areas:
- Website performance
- Data management and quality
- Tool performance and usage
Each focus area had subsections (depending on what data source we were looking at) and consisted of a findings section (annotations of what we observed from the performance data) and a recommendations section (detailing how Business A could improve the performance and ultimately meet their investment objectives).
Focus area one – website performance
To get a good understanding of how Business A’s website was performing, we turned to a traffic analytics tool and the HubSpot Grader tool. Using a traffic analytics tool, we reviewed the following traffic data tabs:
- Sources tab - shows where on the internet your visitors are coming from
- Topic clusters tab - tab shows you the traffic data in terms of the topic clusters you've created.
- Pages tab - shows your content's performance using key traffic metrics.
PRO-TIP: Make sure you’ve defined your date range consistently across all data tabs/sources.
We used a custom date range of one year as it was the first time Business A had completed an audit and we wanted to get a good idea of trends.
Findings from the sources tab
For more guidelines on how to interpret your site traffic with the traffic analytics tool, check this HubSpot knowledge base article out.
- The first thing we noticed was that there were several secondary brand domains connected to their portal. This meant that we had to isolate the performance of each domain to come up with meaningful recommendations. We did this by analyzing the data of a custom source view (this was a custom analytics view of the main brand domain that Business A’s website was hosted and built on)
- The best performing source of traffic to their website in terms of sessions was organic traffic, which remained stable despite the impact of COVID-19
- The next best performing source of traffic in terms of sessions was direct traffic, followed closely by referral traffic
Custom analytics views are filters that you can use in the traffic analytics tools’ sources tab and pages tab to split up data for easier analysis.
To get an even more granular understanding of the website’s sources data, we analyzed the sources table.
Finding from source tab table
- The overall website conversion rate for previous years had been 0.87%, which sat just below the average benchmark of 1%. You should aim to get the overall session to contact rate of your website somewhere between 2-5%
- The average page view per session rate was 1.43, which was below the benchmark of two views per session. This means that visitors were not spending that much time browsing through their site
- The strongest converting source of website traffic was direct traffic, with a session-to-(new) contact rate of 1.93%, which generated 91 new contacts
- A significant proportion of organic traffic to their website is not converting (session to contact rate = 0.42% which sits well below the average of 1%), and are only viewing an average of 1.15 pages per session
- It was difficult to comment on the quality of those new contacts as their database was not segmented by lifecycle stage
- We also noticed that there no traffic is being generated from paid social or paid search. This meant there were potentially more avenues to explore
- Whilst digging into the original source data of the contacts generated in previous years, we noticed that a significant portion of contacts had an original source of offline sources (as shown below). As original source data tells us how users originally came into your database, and therefore what activities are working to drive lead generation, it’s important to refine offline data sources to avoid skewing the integrity of your source data. Not all offline sources are created equal.
Gathering original source data is key to pulling closed-loop reporting in HubSpot. The original source type property tells you the first known interaction with your business. Whilst this property is automatically set by HubSpot, you can update the value manually or with the workflows tool. You can find out more about HubSpot’s source properties here.
From the sources tab in the analytics tool, we moved on to analyze the performance of Business A’s topic clusters.
Findings from topic cluster tab
Findings from the topic cluster tab
- Topic clusters were launched in November and started strong by bringing in a high percentage of new sessions to the website. However, not a lot of this traffic has managed to convert into new contacts
- The session to contact rate for the topic clusters was 0.1%, which is considerably low and should be improved
- The average page view per session for the topic clusters was 1.08, which was below the benchmark of two pages
- The average session length for the topic clusters was only 19 seconds, which was far below the benchmark of two minutes
The last tab we analyzed using the traffic analytics tool was that of the pages tab. To ensure the right sets of data were isolated, we made use of the page types and domain filters. This would allow us to compare the findings to the benchmark data which is particularly useful when analyzing the performance of Business A’s landing pages.
Findings from the pages tab
- Landing page findings included:
- The average page view to submission rate of Business A’s landing pages was 14.94%, which sits within the benchmark of 10-30%. However, there were lots of room for improvement
- The bounce rate of all landing pages was 85.29%, which is also within the benchmark of 70-90%
- The page view to submission rate (14.94%) was significantly higher than the page view to contact rate (8.44%), indicating that a lot of the contacts downloading Business A’s content were previous contacts
- The landing page template was outdated in terms of landing page best practices. The form was below the fold. There lacked a clear call-to-action (CTA)
- Whilst the landing page redirected to a thank you page, no follow-up email was triggered upon form submission
- Personalization was not being used on thank you pages.
- Blog findings included:
- They were promoting their blog subscription, but their blog subscription emails were not configured correctly
- They were using a banner image at the end of most blogs to promote a relevant content offer (e.g., downloadable e-book)
- All page findings included:
- We noticed that several websites and landing pages were in draft mode and not being utilized
- We also noticed that their website, landing and blog pages did not follow any internal naming convention
Once we finished analyzing the performance of Business A’s website using the HubSpot analytics tool, we then used two more tools:
- HubSpot’s website grader tool - a free online tool that grades your site against key metrics like performance, mobile readiness, SEO and security
- Optimizing your website's performance is crucial to increasing traffic, improving conversion rates, generating more leads and increasing revenue
- Optimizing your website content for search helps you drive organic traffic to your website. You can do this by providing a great experience for people and web crawlers alike
- Traffic from mobile devices is growing fast. Optimize your website for mobile or you'll miss out on valuable traffic, leads and revenue
- A secure website equipped with an SSL certificate and free from vulnerabilities is now the standard online. People and search engines love secure websites.
- SEO tool within HubSpot – with this tool, you can view SEO recommendations for your overall website or on a page-by-page basis. More details on how you can view SEO recommendations in HubSpot can be found here.
Findings from the website grader tool
- In terms of performance, their website had far too many HTTP requests (in other words, the number of files their site loads), which resulted in a very slow page load speed (13.9 seconds). This is far longer than the industry benchmark of 5.3 seconds There were some images that were not compressed, incorrectly sized and unresponsive. The CSS that’s being used to describe how the layout should behave on the website is currently not minified, meaning it’s not optimized for speed
- From an SEO perspective, Business A is doing well. However, we were able to pick up a few issues using HubSpot’s SEO recommendation tool. Those being:
- There were 20+ pages that had several crawling and indexing issues with a high SEO impact
- There were 60+ pages that had an on-page SEO issue, with an SEO impact ranging from low to high
- As for mobile, their website scored quite well. However, there were instances where their CTA buttons and links were too small or too close together
From the above website findings and observations, we came up with the following recommendations to help Business A work towards achieving its overall objectives using the HubSpot platform.
- Define lifecycle stages from scratch and segment their database according to the new lifecycle criteria. This would help report on the quality of leads generated
- Cleaning up the offline source by creating a bespoke original source tracking system
- Work on improving the overall conversion rate (visit to-(new) contact rate) of the website by adding more conversion opportunities to the website, these could take the form of:
- Live chat
- CTA areas on website pages to promote awareness or consideration of downloadable content pieces
- Blog subscription pop-up forms
- Work on improving the organic performance of their topic clusters by:
- Adding more supporting sub-topic content pieces to each topic cluster on a more regular basis
- Setup follow-up emails and link them to each landing page
- We recommended conducting a content audit to identify what new content to create, what content they should update, re-write or delete
- Implement the SEO recommendations highlighted by the HubSpot Website Grader and SEO recommendations tool
- Use a consistent naming convention for all pages in their portal. This would help them keep their website, landing page and blog tool clear and organized
- Blog specific recommendations included:
- Set up and configure blog subscription emails
- Promoting their blog subscription more prominently on their website by way of an exit-intent form and adding an opt-in option on all content download forms
- Optimizing their blogs for conversion by adding an inline text CTA in every blog
Focus area two – Data Management and Quality
To analyze their database and quality thereof, we reviewed the contacts, company and deal pages in their portal, along with the settings for each object to ensure they were following data management best practices.
- We found a total of 54 possible duplicate contacts and 50 duplicate companies using the manage duplicates tool
- Business A did not appear to segment their database by buyer personas or lifecycle stage
- There lacked a consistent way of collecting data for each object. Some contacts had more information than others. For example, those that were being generated via the website had far more information on their record than those being created manually. This was because no prompts were set for when a contact, company or deal was created manually
- A large portion of the contact database had free email addresses
- A large portion of contacts did not have an associated company
- Every company record had a known domain (company URL)
- No record customization was being used for contacts, companies or deals
- Not all deals had an associated contact and/or company
- Closed lost reason was a free text field
- No pipeline automation was being used.
Data management and quality recommendations
- Use the manage duplicate tools to merge and consolidate duplicate contacts and companies
- Creating and deploying buyer persona self-identification question on all forms to help segment contacts by buyer personas as they’re generated
- Consider blocking free email addresses from your forms to try and improve the quality of your contact database
- Create a data management (otherwise known as lead management) process to help with:
- Lead qualification and segmentation
- Defining what a good fit and quality lead looks like (both from marketing and sales perspectives)
- Identifying when lead nurturing is required
- Defining lifecycle stages and creating a technical lifecycle journey map
- Determining whether a lead scoring model should be used
- Lead allocation and routing
- Standardize data formats and a process for manually creating records in HubSpot
- Change closed lost reason to a drop-down field and make it a required field to populate when a deal is moved into the closed lost deal stage
- Consider using pipeline automation to keep a tight sales pipeline.
Focus area three – tool performance and usage
When you're working with a tool that has everything all in one place like HubSpot, that place can easily become cluttered with outdated and unused information. This section focuses on the tools Business A had been using to increase traffic to their website and improve conversion rates.
Forms and list tool findings
- Their forms tool had a conversion rate of 0.9%, which totalled 1578 form submissions
- From the 1578 form submissions, 211 hard bounced, meaning an invalid e-mail address was entered
- We were not able to comment on the quality of these form submissions due to lifecycle stage tracking not being set up
- They were using a unique form for every landing page, despite many of them using the same fields
- There are a total of 95 forms, none of which had a consistent naming convention, at least 25 of those were not being used
- A total of 210 lists were created in their portal, of which a significant portion (155) lists were not being used, meaning they hadn’t been updated in the last 60 days or hadn’t been used by any other asset in HubSpot
- None of their lists followed a consistent naming convention.
Forms and lists tool recommendations
- Update your forms and lists with a consistent naming convention. This will help your team easily find forms and attribute results to certain forms
- Delete unused forms. Filter the list of your forms in the export file and delete forms that have 0 views, 0 submissions and do not appear on a HubSpot page
- Use progressive profiling to aid greater business intelligence from contacts that reconvert on your website
- Create and deploy a self-identifying buyer persona question to segment their database by buyer persona
- Consolidate multiple forms with the same fields to centrally manage forms. This will keep the forms tool organized and easy to find in your portal. We also suggested they create a unique form for every stage of the buyer’s journey. This would follow best practice which suggests that the length of all forms reflects the perceived value of the content offer
- Delete unused lists to keep your list tool clean and organized
- Segment database by lifecycle stage, persona and anything else that would make your marketing efforts more personable and impactful
- Create and make use of suppression lists to protect the reputation of your email sending domain.
CTA and campaigns tool findings
- We found a total of 305 CTAs in their portal
- The average click-through rate (CTR) was 0.83%, which was slightly less than the best practice benchmark of 1.5%-5%
- It was good to see that Business A was making use of the campaigns tool, although it didn’t appear as though every asset within HubSpot was associated to a particular campaign
CTA and campaigns tool recommendations
- Update CTAs with a consistent naming convention
- Use content audit to map out what content offers should be promoted on each blog and website page, ensuring they’re aligned with the buyer’s journey of the content piece in question
- Consider creating SMART CTAs based on the lifecycle stage or a similar category
- Update CTAs with a standard naming convention to help keep CTA tool organized
- Delete unused CTAs. Filter the list of your CTAs to show the date range of “All time”. Delete CTAs that have 0 views, 0 clicks and 0 locations
- Delete unused campaigns
- Configure attribution reporting so that you can get an idea of the attributed revenue values for each campaign
- Update their campaigns with a consistent naming convention
- Attribute ALL digital assets in HubSpot to relevant campaigns. This would ensure their campaign reporting was accurate and inform future campaign focus .
E-mail tool findings
We broke down the performance of Business A’s e-mail tool into two sub-sections: 1) Email deliverability (performance indicators for whether you’re sending the right content to the right contacts at the right time) and 2) Email engagement (performance indicators such as clicks, opens, and spam complaints contribute to your e-mail sending reputation):
E-mail engagement findings included:
- The open rate of all e-mails sent in the last year had been 19.18%, just under the benchmark of 20-50%. It appeared it had also decreased by 12.02% compared to the previous year
- The click-through rate of 14.29% sat above the best practice benchmark of 10%, which was great to see. We also saw that the rate had increased by 1.23% relative to the previous year
- Their e-mail sounding domain hasn’t yet been connected to their HubSpot account. This means that every e-mail that landed in their recipients’ inbox would have a message ‘via HubSpot’ added to the from address.
E-mail tool recommendations
- Mark those that have unsubscribed from ALL subscription types as non-marketing contacts, so you don’t pay for them. You could also delete them from your portal
- If you mark as unengaged contacts now, we can create a workflow to re-tag them as a marketing contact if they submit a form
- Breakdown contacts that hard bounced into the various hard bounce categories. If they were errors or temporary issues, unbounce the contacts from the contact record.
- Create a sunset policy to manage your disengaged contacts and maintain a healthy e-mail sending reputation by:
- Disengagement criteria, re-engagement campaign, remove contacts who are still marked off as unengaged
- This can serve as your final attempt to engage a contact before completely deleting them from your CRM
- Block specific e-mail domains or free e-mail providers to reduce spam e-mails and receive business e-mails only
- Replace the unsubscribe button in the footer of e-mails with a manage preference link to reduce the chances of someone unsubscribing from ALL e-mail subscription types
- Connect your e-mail sending domain ASAP - this will help prevent your marketing e-mails from getting caught in spam filters and will also remove the via HubSpot text that appears in the sender information at the top of your marketing e-mails
- Evaluate top-performing e-mails in the last year to draw findings from them and apply with future e-mails to improve open rates
- Try to improve engagement through personalised e-mail content (personalised content in the subject line and body of e-mail), running A/B tests and by sending e-mails in the recipient's time zone
- Delete or archive the 15 e-mails that are currently in draft and not being utilised
- Acquire and manage new blog subscribers by deploying pop-up form, adding a form to the blog template, and adding the blog subscription e-mail type as an opt-in on forms.
Workflows tool findings
- We found a total of 15 workflows in their portal, none of which followed a consistent naming convention or folder system
- There were only six active workflows, and several workflows had an error
- We also discovered several workflows that were outdated and unused
- Several workflows have errors within them
- None of the workflows had goals set up or were attributed to any campaigns
- There was no lead nurture workflows setup in Business A’s portal
For more details around identifying workflows with errors and a breakdown of the most common workflow errors, check out this HubSpot Knowledgebase article.
Workflows tool recommendations
- Our main recommendations were centred around the idea of creating specific lead nurture workflows to nurture contacts further into their buyer’s journey. Check out this article by HubSpot on how to lead nurture contacts with HubSpot
- Update workflows with a standard naming convention. This would help your team easily find and organise workflows
- Create folders for workflows used in different campaigns. If you have a lot of workflows, this will make it easier to find and organise your workflows tool
- Attribute workflows to relevant campaigns to ensure campaign reporting is accurate
- Turn off old workflows and delete unused workflows. We suggested they use the ‘unused workflows’ tab to review and clean up their list of workflows
- Use the workflows tool to manage and set lifecycle stages for contacts
Dashboards tool findings
- It didn’t appear as though Business A had any bespoke dashboards set up for their marketing and sales activities.
Dashboards tool recommendations
- We suggested they define what success looks like for marketing (leads + MQLs) and sales (SQLs + opportunities) and create bespoke dashboards for each team to track activity and performance
- We also suggested they set up multi-touch revenue attribution reporting so that they can better understand how their marketing and sales activities are creating revenue for them
- As Business A were looking for more guidance on what report and dashboards to set up, we recommended the following reports as a starting point:
- Marketing dashboard: New contacts by original source, new contacts by lifecycle stage (+ conversion rates), number of leads by source, number of MQLs by source, number of SQLs by source, etc., and new contact by first conversion
- Sales Dashboard: Pipeline funnel report (+ conversion rates), average deal size, win rate (# of SQLs divided by the number of customers), average length of sales cycle (average time to convert a lead and close an opportunity) and sales velocity (average time deals stays in your pipeline before they are won).
Get started with your HubSpot portal audit today!
You now have the correct steps needed to open the bonnet of your HubSpot portal and quickly diagnose areas for improvement. For each aspect of HubSpot or tool, you end up analysing, ensure that you compare the performance against your initial business goals or benchmark data. Get your action points (i.e., recommendations) into a priority list and acknowledge that you’ll probably need to chip away at this over time. Prioritise the updates by front-loading the work that will have the biggest impact, such as content that generates a lot of traffic but converts poorly.
Not confident you or your team can undertake an effective HubSpot portal audit? No problem. We’re offering a free HubSpot portal audit to help businesses just like yours to unlock the full potential of their HubSpot portal audit.