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A 2020 Guide to HubSpot Portal Audits & Account Cleanliness

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Introduction

HubSpot is a mammoth platform, especially if you’re a Professional or Enterprise user, so it goes without saying it can be a real beast to keep organised and working efficiently. 

At Thrive we’ve been HubSpotters for more than five years, and we recently reviewed our own HubSpot portal to conduct a HubSpot audit of all the files, landing pages, emails, templates, coded pages, and whatnot… It was eye-opening. I mean this isn’t the first time we’ve ever tidied it and deleted files, but the first time we made a collective, organisation-wide decision to audit our account. Conducting an audit of the scale we did can be heady to make sense of - and easier to ignore, or put off - denial is never the answer though! 

Remember when you first moved into your new house - it was bare, ready to be made ‘yours’. If it was a new build it was also oh-so-shiny. Your HubSpot account will have been similar. It was oh-so-shiny, empty, new and exciting. So, if you’ve been HubSpotting for a while that definitely won’t be the case now (rightly so, too). We recommend you make a promise for your own sanity and to ensure you don’t lose important files amongst the mess and outdated content, that you audit your portal every six months. 

 

What is a HubSpot Portal Audit?

HubSpot Portal Audit: A HubSpot Portal Audit is your chance to review the whole of your HubSpot portal as a whole, and to make a plan for refining and better managing your account.

This includes tidying up (read: deleting and categorising) files within your portal and identifying new opportunities for improving how you use your portal.  

A comprehensive HubSpot Portal Audit will usually include reviewing, reorganising and deleting files in: File Manager, Design Tools, Forms, CTAs and Email. It should be conducted regularly, with a view to improving the organisation of your account, to make it manageable and easy for new staff to explore. 

 

Why You Need to Complete a Portal Audit Now... 

Some organisations either avoid audits because of time constraints or they don’t truly identify their real need - and the value - of an audit. 

An audit should be completed by any company that:

  • Is new to HubSpot - create a strategy to avoid organisational chaos in future
  • Has been using HubSpot for 1 year or more - conduct an Audit yearly to maintain organisational equilibrium

Basically, every organisation that has any involvement with HubSpot should be conducting regular audits. If you’ve been active with HubSpot for more than 2 years without ever completing a full audit, you must do so now - it will only get more complicated if you don’t! 

By conducting a Portal Audit you can:

  • Delete any irrelevant/dated content or files
  • Discover missed marketing and sales opportunities - content or contacts you’d forgotten about that you can now utilise
  • Amend or A/B test existing processes and content to improve performance

Portal audits aren’t just an organisational task, they’re actually useful for reviewing and improving your marketing and sales efforts. They allow you to view activities and processes as part of a ‘big picture’, and as you work through files, deleting and reorganising, you can look at where smaller elements of those processes can be adjusted and improved upon - win/win!

 

4 Best Practices for HubSpot Portal Management

Over the next few pages we’re going to reveal the four key steps in making a significant impact on a messy HubSpot Portal - and once put into practice and made routine they help to really minimise mess in the future. All four of these tips are ones that we actively swear by for our own portal and clients’ too, as well as some additional tips along the way.

  1. Choose a naming convention
  2. Delete ruthlessly
  3. Tidy up assets
  4. Document your process 

 

Rule #1: Choose A Naming Convention

Life-changing advice: Use this rule in every element of your working life. 

Naming conventions aren’t just game-changers in HubSpot file management, they also work for web bookmarks, Microsoft Word documents, computer files, email inbox management, Facebook Advertising campaigns... the options go on, and on, and on!

For HubSpot, there are some specific recommendations we can give, as well as some general advice for overall file management. Together, these suggestions are worth considering because we’ve found they make locating files, content and information easier. It makes things painless for newbie staff and third-parties who gain access to your portal, for whatever reason, and they make managing Hubspot altogether less stressful. 

We advise all clients to start landing pages (the ones that include the form) with LP and all thank you pages (the ones with the button to download the physical resource) to start TY, so when anybody accesses your HubSpot portal and is looking for only one type of landing page, they’re easy to find using HubSpot’s search function.

Come up with a way of further collating these pages, to make it even easier too. For instance, we collate our landing and thank you pages by the service they represent, so our social media ebooks are under LP_Digital_HowToUseFacebook2019 or TY_Digital_SocialMediaStrategyGuide. For clients, we’ve previously used personas to successfully categorise content, i.e. LP_Andy_LandlordsGuideToInsurance or TY_Beth_HRGuideToGenderEquality.

You can then carry these naming conventions across everything relating to these landing pages - i.e. Forms, CTAs, Emails, etc. So if it’s a form/email/CTA relating to your HR Guide to Gender Equality, for instance, all of thee elements should include this title in their name, in the same style (no spaces, identical spellings).

You should come up with naming conventions for different elements of your HubSpot account too, so all follow-up emails are saved in a certain way, and all CTAs and forms are named a certain way. For example: 

  • CTA with actual ebook file: DL_Beth_HRGuideToGenderEquality
  • Follow-up email once form is filled out: FollowUp_Beth_HRGuideToGenderEquality

CTAs are crucial to clarify as a CTA that has a file link should not be confused with a CTA that is simply directing to a landing page - don’t give away that good content just because your portal is complicated, put it right! For example: 

  • CTA with actual ebook file: DL_Beth_HRGuideToGenderEquality
  • CTA directing to an ebook’s landing page: Landing_Beth_HRGuideToGenderEquality

 

Rule #2: Delete Ruthlessly

This sounds simple but it’s oddly difficult to do. There’s something about going into your portal and just removing work that you, or your coworkers, have actually put real effort (and maybe frustration) into.

But it’s for the good of everybody to be brave enough to delete and be ruthless in your deletion too. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should start with the coded files in Design Tools. There will undoubtedly be files here that you don’t understand, so you may need to consider who does this - your developers might be best placed to take charge of tidying up this area of your portal. You can then move into File Manager (usually very chaotic unless someone has set up a filing convention already), and further into your portal from there (emails, lists, forms, etc.).

Another piece of great advice is to delete any file that is ‘obviously’ not being used or relied upon within your portal, HubSpot makes this easy to work out as it will specify if the file is being used or ‘dependent on’ by anything on your live site.

Rule #3: Tidy Up Assets

We’ve touched upon this throughout our ebook so far, but assets really are the easiest area that gets complicated, as different people use your portal and add files to your account.  

This makes it complicated to put right as you worry about breaking file links that are live on your site, as well as moving other people’s work. But it must be done. The sooner it’s done, the less mess that will occur in the future - so get it over with!

Start by reviewing the hierarchy of File Manager. Do you even have a filing system? If you do, is it working effectively and it is used by everyone in your team as it should be? 

If an effective filing system isn’t in place then you need to come up with a filing system for File Manager that works for everyone. Start by having one file for all of your static files that will be hosted on your website (basically team images, product images, background images and headers, etc.). An example hierarchy might be:

  • Website-v3
    • Background
    • Team Headshots
    • Company A
      • Statistic Images
      • Background Images
    • Company B
      • Statistic Images
      • Background Images
    • Women's Clothing
      • Dresses
      • Skirts
      • Accessories
    • Infants Clothing 
      • Boy
      • Girl
      • Unisex
      • Accessories
    • Gifts
      • Maternity
      • Baby Shower
      • New Mother
      • Mum & Baby Hampers
    • About
    • Case Studies
    • Products

You should then have a Social-Media file just for image files that you upload to HubSpot to schedule in social media messages using the Social Media tools, as well as a file for Email Images, Blog Images, Ebook Files (PDFs, etc), Resource Images, and so on.

TIP: You can ‘archive’ some files, but use this sparingly, as you risk having lots of archived files that you could have deleted.

 

Rule #4: Document Your Process

Make your Portal Audit an iterative, documented process - one that can be repeated identically and consistently.  

Whoever is in charge of your Portal Audit should create an internal document outlining the processes and best practices your organisation needs to regularly go through to complete a full, successful audit.

The document should be shared with anybody that uses HubSpot to upload work or amend and create files as they may unwittingly deviate from your newly-organised and tidy portal, without realising it. It also should be shared with new team members accessing your HubSpot account, as well as third-parties, such as agencies or freelancers.

Remember that HubSpot shows the name of whoever last worked on a specific page, email, or file, etc., as well as when it was worked on, so if there are inconsistencies you should raise them when appropriate. 

It’s crucial not to let standards slide as it will only make the next audit more difficult and time-consuming. Bear in mind that as you start to repeat your Portal Audit process you may find additional items, or ‘to-dos’, get added to your Audit, so your documented process needs to be fluid and updated whenever necessary. 

TIP: Everybody who accesses your portal should be using their own personal login, this helps to identify who is doing what and when ensuring accountability. There is no additional cost for adding users to your account, but be aware of the level of access you give each new user.

 

Dig Deep & Declutter These 5 High-Use Areas

We’re not going to repeat ourselves, wasting your time and ours, but you should use the advice previously given to focus on high-use areas of your portal.

Of course, depending on your level of HubSpot subscription and your team’s uptake in using all, or some, of the features, offered, these may not be suitable for all. But, generally speaking, these are the ‘worst offenders’ for being untamed. Get started here and once you’ve followed our two golden rules - use a naming convention and delete ruthlessly - you will be well on your way to a Marie Kondo-level of organisational bliss! 

  • Design Tools
  • File Manager
  • Emails
  • CTAs
  • Forms

 

How to Cleanse Your HubSpot CRM and Contact Records 

As a side note from the rest of this ebook, one of the biggest tools, if you’re utilising HubSpot’s Sales function is its CRM and in-depth, data-hungry Contact records. 

HubSpot’s Contact records can be a goldmine of information, but as with all CRMs, HubSpot needs you to manage individual files effectively, or it will get into a state of complete disarray.

Ensure your sales team have a process for managing and cleansing records as they carry out their sales activities. Within HubSpot, two key elements of this are: 

  • Updating contact lead status
  • Updating contact lifecycle stage 

If you have a HubSpot Professional package or higher you can use Lists and Workflows to continuously keep your contact records updated.

If you don’t set up these tools you risk having a sales team that is managing a wealth of contact records that are increasingly just lost, unqualified leads and abandoned customers. 

You can utilise Lead Scoring in your portal to identify the factors that your Marketing & Sales teams use to identify a lead as either a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Then, within Contacts, you can use these filters, alongside lifecycle stage and lead status, to identify ‘quick wins’ - contacts that should easily convert.

If you really want to next-level your usage of HubSpot’s CRM and Contacts, you can use Workflows to automate and take the pain away, from data management. Consider setting up workflows that can:

  • Update the status of leads who’ve been communicated with
  • Identify contacts whose lead status you’re yet to identify - so that your team can rectify this
  • Assign new leads to specific members of your sales team

HubSpot is only as powerful as you allow it to be, and being lost in a haze of data and impressive-but-complicated tools is not actually a powerful place to be. Motivate your sales team to utilise HubSpot’s powerful sales and automation abilities to make data management manageable!

 

A HubSpot Partner’s Advice for Managing Your Account

Getting started - or getting tidied up - can be daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Having the mindset to get started - or get tidied up - can be the biggest move, after that, this ebook should help you navigate the clutter. 

But it goes without saying that a Portal Audit can seem overwhelming and it is crucial to get right, as you could risk deleting files that are critical to your website, or content marketing process. 

We’ve been there, done it, and bought the t-shirt when it comes to learning ‘the good, the bad, and the little bit clunky’ with HubSpot, but we’re still standing and we’re still HubSpot advocates! 

So as wizened and weathered, but wonderful, HubSpotters ourselves, what do we recommend to help with your company’s HubSpot account management...?

Key People

Identify who is the HubSpot Guru in your company. They need to be:

  • Approachable - As in, they actually have the time to dedicate to your own HubSpot activities (even if it doesn’t solely rely on them) but they also have to be available for communications with any third-party agencies, HubSpot themselves and fellow team members that need assistance and advice from them too.
  • Learners - By nature, HubSpot is a bit of a formidable beast if you undertake it without external support. But HubSpot provides an abundance of resources to guide you along the way, so your HubSpot Guru needs to be an avid learner, someone who likes to soak up new methodologies and navigate new tools with enthusiasm. 
  • Engaged - That is, engaged with their work, coworkers (up and down the ladder), and in the industry. A positive communicator is crucial to the success of your HubSpot implementation, they need to have the interpersonal skills, as well as technical ability, to ‘next level’ your HubSpot activity. Otherwise, why bother? It’s an expensive platform to have in the hands of someone who is disinterested or disengaged. 

Tools You Aren’t Using (But Should Be)

There’s so much to HubSpot, especially if you’re on the Professional or Enterprise package of the platform, so there’s bound to be some elements you haven’t explored as fully as you’d like to (or as we recommend you should). After you’ve read this ebook, block out some time in your hectic diary to just explore inside the platform, navigating through the buttons and tabs you tend not to click on. So if you’re a marketer don’t touch the Marketing button, you’ve got that down, try Service instead, or fully explore Reports, for a refreshing change. 

If you think you’ve seen it all, review HubSpot’s Product Updates, they’re super-fast at wowing with new features and add-ons! Their monthly video updates are definitely worth a watch - and they’re short too!

Report and Review

It’s crucial to measure your marketing and sales efforts consistently and make the time to act upon findings as appropriate. A lot of marketing and sales teams struggle to incorporate this into their day-to-day tasks effectively, but it is a vital element of any progressive organisation. 

HubSpot is particularly spectacular when it comes to reporting functions and it churns out insightful data in pretty much every element, from Contact records, to the Blog, Social Media, and actual website and activity-wide reports.

Dedicate some of your resource to utilising HubSpot’s reporting and data capabilities, alongside other reporting and data-specific tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Data Studio. For instance, did you know you can even review your competitors’ activity inside HubSpot’s Reporting tools*? 

* Marketing Professional & Enterprise users only.

Conclusion & Related Content

We said this earlier, but it is absolutely worth repeating: 

“HubSpot is only as powerful as you allow it to be, and being lost in a haze of data and impressive-but-complicated tools is not actually a powerful place to be.”

You need to get started. Realistically, if you’ve been HubSpotting for years you should have started years ago, so there’s no better time than doing it right now. A HubSpot Portal Audit is easily put off, in the same way as organising your emails or tidying up your computer desktop - it’s something you recognise the benefit of and would like to do, but it doesn't seem as valuable use of your time as other tasks. Unfortunately, that’s where you’re wrong. You need to start ASAP to get things right going forward.

Remember, a tidy desk equals a tidy mind. So, it stands to reason that an organised HubSpot portal equals an organised marketer. And, if you’re a multi-tasking marketer then organisation is crucial to success, so why wait? 

We can offer advice for your Portal Audit, we could even do it for you, but quite honestly we think this ebook should get you well on your way (but we’re happy to be the motivating (or nagging) voice behind you, should you wish!).

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