Welcome back to the Inbound Reporting podcast, HubSpot Academy's miniseries covering the ins and outs of good reporting behaviors.

Here, your hosts, Jorie Munroe and Nakul Kadaba, will talk to the experts about how to set yourself up for success when it comes to the flywheel, goals, reporting, and everything in between.

In this episode, join us as we chat with Inbound Professor Adi Shah and discuss the common pitfalls companies experience when collecting and managing their data. Learn the tips and tricks he learned from years of consulting with HubSpot customers on creating a cohesive data strategy. Check out the entire episode below.

Prefer to listen? We've got you covered. 

Each episode will be uploaded to this SoundCloud playlist, so make sure to bookmark and like it so you can stay up-to-date:

 

That was a lot of content to cover! Let's talk next steps:

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  • Email us at inboundreporting@hubspot.com if you are looking for feedback on how your company is currently collecting, connecting, and managing your data.
  • Let's discuss! Stay up-to-date on all areas of inbound reporting and engage with other listeners of the series in the HubSpot Community.

Access Your Reports in HubSpot

Prefer a quick skim? Not a problem! Check out the transcript for the episode below! 

Episode Transcript

- Hi guys! I'm Nakul Kadaba. I am in house bot services.

- And we're so excited for you to join us for the fifth, count 'em, fifth episode. So, to kind of review where we are at, we've kind of walked through two steps of the inbound reporting framework. So, we're covered with Kyle and Adriti, what it looks like to map your fly wheel and how that fits into your business. And then with Julien and Mike, we covered really setting your business goals and how to continue to align with different teams across your organization. So, today I'm so excited because we have such a special guest with us. And we're really going to start to dig into managing your data and what that looks like in HubSpot, but when it comes to integrations as well.

- Yep.

- So, without further ado, I'm going to let you introduce yourself. So, go.

- Thank you. My name is Adi Shah. I am also now, as of a month ago, a professor at HubSpot Academy. I was a consultant on our professional services team before that, and before that I used to do implementation and support. I've kind of done a lot of it at HubSpot. I've done a lot of different roles. And we decided to talk about this today because this is something I heard about so often.

- Yep, yep.

- From the customers I was working with. From partners I've talked to. This is a recurring challenge. And there's a way to address it. This is a very curable disease.

- Yeah.

- Oh, yeah.

- And this is where, I would say Jorie, you know, this was part of the motivation of why we actually made this framework is because when we were going into the causes of what, you know, good practitioners reporting were doing, it's that they weren't thinking of data as the start of it.

- [Jorie] Right.

- [Nakul] They were thinking way beforehand.

- [Jorie] Truly.

- [Nakul] A lot of businesses that we've experienced, you know, you usually have gotten stuck on the data piece mostly because they started with the data piece.

- [Jorie] Right.

- [Nakul] We didn't really take into account what are your business goals and metrics? What is your business model look like? I.e. what is your flywheel, as it moves?

- Yeah, and I think this is like one of the, the first symptoms of a larger problem, is when you do have those like really empowered organizations that want to see data. They understand that data is important.

- Yep.

- But they're collecting it and it's not talking to each other. So, no actual insights are derived. So, by the time they get to those, you know, visualizations, those actual reports, building those actual dashboards, they can't do it because they don't have the data.

- Yep.

- And it's not that they're not collecting it, it's that it's not one kind of continuous place. So, let's talk about data collection.

- Yeah!

- Awesome. You can start.

- Yeah, sure!

- Looks like you had a thought.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah. No worries. So, Adi, it's great to have you here again.

- It's great to be here.

- Why do businesses get stuck at data collection in their reporting strategy?

- I think businesses don't always know what they're looking for and depending on what kind of industry you're in and what stage you are as a business, there are a lot of variables to consider. And I think everyone gets intimidated by those. And that's natural. All of us get intimidated by different aspects of our job. But particularly in this case, businesses almost have to start backwards.

- Yeah.

- And understand what their goals are and what they're trying to impress their boss with. What they're trying to impress their shareholders with. Based on those, they have to define what kind of data needs to be input. Now, there's some things that that are very basic. What you and I would consider to be basic CRM data, like contact data, company data, deal data. We think that's basic, but for a lot of businesses out there that haven't really made that leap to using CRM systems, they don't really know what they don't know. And so, from that perspective, there's almost this process of, "Okay, what goals are we trying to hit?" Which I believe you've talked about at some point.

- Yep.

- And this is something that will come up in our conversation today. You have to start with what goals you want to hit, and then find your way into what data you need to collect and how you need to present it to the key people in your organization. In order to determine whether or not you've hit those goals. So, it's like a chicken or the egg problem, you know? I would say that there's some advantage to starting with goals and going from there and then determining what you need to put in, but I've seen people do it the other way. The thing that matters in this is that you have to understand what you want to show to whom, and what you're going to do based on that data. So, data collection, that's why they struggle with it. It's because when you tell them data collection, they're like, "What're you talking about? "What data?" "I made my sales last month." Or, "I think we got enough leads." But, until you have an idea of what goals you're trying to hit, and there's a clear vision, it's very hard to determine how that data should be collected.

- That's a good lead way, into to the next question. Cause you're right. In the previous two episodes we're all defining our goals. We talked to Julien about just what they are. Talked to Mike about building internal buy-in.

- Right, and alignment.

- With those pitfalls, the alignment, challenges, opportunities, all that relate.

- Definitely. So.

- Yeah.

- I'm not sure if this was exactly the next question you want to do, but I wanted to kind of double down on something you said. So, for a little bit of context, Adi here was one of the most sought-after consultants at HubSpot I would argue. And so, I'd like you to walk me through potentially what types of conversations would you have with those new clients that might not understand CRM data, might not understand how like the HubSpot data ecosystem really works, when really trying to talk down what information is the most important?

- That's a very good question and I think I'm going to use the example of a startup.

- Okay.

- Yeah.

- Because I consulted quite a few customers in the HubSpot For Startups Program. Very ambitious, very driven. The funding rounds that they're nervous about that they want to capitalize on. So, in that context, whenever I would meet companies that were enthusiastic and driven and had a team that was willing to do anything, I would start with asking them how they understood the data in the first place.

- Okay.

- 'Kay.

- I'm like, "What do you think data is to you? "And why does it matter?" Like, there's this tendency to jump after the shiny new thing and data has become this overused buzzword.

- Yeah.

- Where, you know everyone's talking about, data is essentially the new oil.

- Yeah.

- There's a quote by, someone, I'm forgetting now, someone important said this.

- Someone.

- Someone important!

- Someone very important said this.

- Just write it down, okay?

- Yeah, yeah.

- And the idea is like, you have to know what to do with that resource. And so, in this particular case, if we're thinking about like startups, I would ask them, "Okay, "so based on your data, how do you imagine "your data effecting your decision making." And then they'd say, "Oh, well, you know "if we realize that this kind of prospect "is actually not the best "for us in terms of being lucrative or "in terms of being the right audience, "then we would like to dedicate our efforts "to some other kind of prospect." So okay, there's a couple of things in that, right? If you break it down. What they're trying to do. They're trying to segment their prospect list. They're trying to produce the right leads and serve them up to their sales team, which is probably one person in a startup.

- Fair.

- And they're trying to then make sense of the progress they've made in their sales by looking at that data and saying, "Hey, are we actually selling correctly?" So, just by having that conversation around what people expect data to be for them and what they want to do based on that data, that second part is really key. You can collect all the data in the world, but if you don't have something you want to do with it, then arguable you're wasting real estate.

- Totally.

- In your HubSpot portal or account. So, these are the two things that I focus on. I start with that discussion.

- Okay.

- And then I break down into things that are industry specific, KPIs that I've seen others in an organization, other organizations use in a similar space. I don't know if that kind of start answering that question.

- No, absolutely.

- No, no, yeah it does.

- So, what about when you would get like an existing customer.

- Yeah.

- Maybe through like a hand-off or like I don't know. You get an existing customer, and they might be using a couple of integrations. How is that conversation different?

- That's a very interesting question. So, it depends on the nature of the integration.

- Okay.

- So, first of all, what is that purpose of the integration? What kind of data? Now, what an integration is, is it's supposed to make both systems better.

- Right.

- No software’s an island unto itself. You need something that connects them, and you know, if you try to do everything in one software sometimes you won't get a complete business solution. So, the first question is, what is the integration doing? How are you currently using it? Because sometimes data's coming in but it's not really being used. It's more of a we just want to keep that there because we'd get anxious if it weren't there.

- Right.

- But more than that, my focus is always on where do we see that data? Does your team know how to use this data? To take an example, there are folks who have integrations between Help Scout and HubSpot and they're getting data on help tickets that have been filed et cetera. Then they're trying to, you know, sometimes they don't know how to translate that over to their sales team. Like, how do we know if someone's upset that, you know, we should try not to sell to them in that moment and instead try to make their experience better before going forward? So then, we have to look into okay well, what's syncing it? Can the sales rep see it? Do we have a report telling us who's not so happy and who is happy so that we can do segmentation based on that and target the right leads at the right time and improve the experience for the others?

- Yeah.

- So, that process of really taking a question and breaking it down into all the dependent variables and then targeting each one of them with a data strategy. That's, to me that's what data management is. You could say its data implementation, but these terms kind of meld together a little bit.

- That's right.

- And would you say in a larger organization where you have like a key business goal, right? With those key metrics along the teams, like how does that, how do you use that without being the start of, you know, talking about your data management and collection strategy?

- Yeah.

- And then how so?

- That's a good point. So, if you've got a couple of different teams, there are, you know, hopefully, if they've watched the goal setting podcast that you've done.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- Yes.

- Then they've set some sort of common goal that everyone can align around. We call it an MSPOT at HubSpot.

- Yep.

- Yep.

- And so, in that context, what I start with is if there are some goals that have been set, that's great. Then we can use those to determine what pieces of data each team is contributing to that overall vision that they're trying to build. And it really breaks down into how much visibility is there into each of these data points? Are the people that need to see the data, in each of these teams, able to see it and do something actionable based on it? Because often times you have situations in which the data exists, but the only people who are looking at it are managers who are not necessarily using the data in their day to day. They're so far removed from what their employees are doing, when in fact their employees are the one who would benefit the most from the data. I see that in the context of service teams, where they don't really surface data about like recurring problems to their employees. Oh just, you know, it's this sense of just answer the ticket, move on. In reality, the folks who are answering the tickets need to be the ones determining what kind of data is collected in the first place. What kind of property is collected? How we identify our recurring issue. Developer teams, if we're talking about a software company. Developer teams need to have a role in speaking to the people at services and tell them what properties they want to identify to see if a problem has occurred five or 10 times for different clients.

- Yeah.

- So, that's where we need to, all the teams need to have a conversation about what they need to see to be successful, and then whoever is handling the data strategy for that organization needs to take all of that feedback into account. Synthesize it and then create a data strategy based on that.

- Right, right.

- It benefits all of them. I don't know if that was a little roundabout.

- No, no, no, no. It does answer it.

- Just trying to go through everything.

- Yeah. Because I mean, you also eluded to, you know, the types of data that's being collected. You know? In HubSpot, I mean, we call it properties. In other systems they may call it fields. You know, do those different types of properties really make a difference in collecting that data? I'm sure on managing that data makes a difference, but what about collecting it?

- No, absolutely. I mean, the properties, there's a couple of different things. When you're entering data into a system it's not as simple as just, you know, if you have the wrong kind of property you will end up creating data that's not, that can't be parsed.

- Yep.

- Or searched. There’re so many examples where people have single lined text fields for things that really shouldn't be single lined text. And that might seem like a really nerdy point to bring up, but we're all nerds. So, you know, you're trapped. More so, the important point here is that if people make like spelling errors.

- Right.

- Yeah, yeah.

- Or mischaracterize something. Or they insert colons where there aren't supposed to be. You know, there's all kinds of things that people can do.

- Forget about it.

- People are very creative. Including me. So, in that context, if you allow for that sort of ambiguity, you're going to make it so hard to actually make sense of your data later. You're going to create more work. Now the key there is to pick the right kind of property for the right kind of data to understand how the team's going to use it. And then to instruct everyone to insert it the right way. And these might seem like obvious steps, but please try to set up your own reporting strategy and you'll realize that there's a lot of different variables because people aren't doing things the same way. And until that conversation is something that is taken seriously by the different teams in your, what you're talking about, three different teams.

- Yep!

- Then, you can't really, you know, you can't pick the right properties because you don't know what people need until... Yeah.

- Right.

- You want to make their lives easier and you want to make lives for management easier and you want to be able to analyze that data. So, yes absolutely. You have to pick the right kind of property and you have to pick the property that's going to reduce ambiguity, increase accuracy, and make everyone's life easier.

- That answer was revenge from the nerds. Just to use that.

- You're trapped!

- You're trapped. Yeah.

- I love that. So, one thing that you, you mentioned that I want to drill into a little bit more, is kind of that cross-team alignment. So, what would happened when you get on a call with a client and it became apparent, or actually, let's even take it a step further back, how would you diagnose when there was more opportunity for cross team alignment with your clients?

- I ask very blunt questions.

- Love that.

- In the beginning, I'm like, "Dude, no. "What's motivating your sales director today?" The marketing director's like, you know, crickets.

- Yeah.

- In some cases, or in other cases, it's like, "No, but I'm sure he's doing a great job." Or in another case, it's like "Oh, yeah, yeah. "She told me, but I'm not quite sure "what to do with the information because "we're not really held to the same targets." Or in some cases there's actually, for organizations that are very sales driven but haven't quite figured out that marketing sales alignment is a better strategy for them, there's actually butting of heads between the two teams.

- Yeah.

- Where marketing is trying to prove that they got this lead and then sales is like, "Nah, I talked to them three months before you got them." 

- Yeah.

- In all of those things, when you have a conversation about the other team, you ask them, "What's that person doing today? "What is that sales director doing today? "How are you looking at that sales data?" Or, you know, if you're talking to a salesperson, "How are you reaching out to qualified leads "identified by marketing?" Asking pointed questions. And often the answer will be, "I don't know. "I haven't thought about that." Well, okay. Let's dig into why you haven't thought about that. So far, we haven't really needed to. You know, they've done their jobs and we've done our job. I'm like, "Well, you're here to embrace "an inbound strategy. "You're here to get those leads. "Someone's got to close 'em." Someone's got to work them.

- Yeah.

- And so, it's having very, higher levels of conversations with those who are in charge of these teams about the need to talk to each other. And, you know, from particularly for sale, I say you know, the keyway to motivate a sales team is tell them that "Hey, this will help you "hit your quota quicker. "And will help you hit your quota better over the coming months."

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- From marketing, similarly, you know, getting qualified leads and talking to sales will help you create content that will get better qualified leads the next time. And the same for service, you know, if you help us identify the best kind of leads and we build a good service organization, you're not going to get the same kind of repetitive unhelpful questions that you're dealing with.

- Right. And you'll be to subsequently retain them.

- Exactly.

- Yeah, right.

- Does that kind of answer?

- Yeah, definitely.

- It's asking very blunt to the point questions right at the beginning and usually, you know, as a consultant, when I would start with the disclaimer, you know, I'm going to ask questions that could be unpleasant, but I don't think you would have hired me if I was here to coddle you.

- Right.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

- And you're here to grow. And so, if there are areas for improvement, I will tell you because my selfish interest is seeing you super successful.

- Right.

- In the course of the next few months. And so, I think setting that expectation is also important.

- So, how often, what say you, encourage clients to start to have these conversations, how often were you kind of telling them to have meetings with potentially people across different teams or check in at least with the reports? What types of reporting behavior were you trying to instill?

- That's a really good point. You know, one thing I found that was effective is we have this ability in the HubSpot Tool to send reports out automatically. Dashboards. Those automated emails, some people seek them out right from the beginning. Others don't know that this is a possibility, and so part of what I've tried to do, especially when there are communication problems between teams, a lot of teams are remote these days.

- Yeah.

- So, they're not even in the same place, so getting a meeting with someone and building trust is a difficult thing. Like, we live in a world where, I mean everyone's essentially floating out on a screen, but at the same time, like, having some sort of relationship building experience is really important for leaders in an organization. So before, that's a longer process.

- Right

- Right, you're right.

- I tell them, "You need to set up meetings. "You know what? "Bring them to my call.

- Yeah.

- You know, we're just going to, we're going to muscle through and build this relationship. Let's go! But if that's not possible, then let's start by understanding what metrics they care about. Maybe you already know. You know what you care about obviously, hopefully. If not, we'll figure that out too.

- Right.

- And you know what the other organization, the service organization cares about. So, let's bring that all together and start constructing some kind of a dashboard. And then let’s have it send out to people at the beginning. So, like, you know, the first-time people see it they'll be surprised. They'll be like, "What is this?" Or, "Wait that's not exactly the metric I want to track." Viola! We have a conversation.

- You have a conversation right there, yeah.

- And so, like, you know, I don't want to say forcing the conversation, but I'm going to say forcing the conversation in some cases.

- But it's through data.

- Yes.

- But it's through data, and I think that's the point you're trying to bring up cause generally, I mean it's an approach that I've seen in my exposure as well. Where if you just show the report, for example shows nothing, all of a sudden, you know you've got a customer who speaks out and says, "Why is there nothing on this? "There should be something on this. "Oh, where is it?"

- Yep.

- And then you start kind of dialing in further down. So, I mean, we talked about I mean, you know, property types. You know, different forms of data. How they're coming up as challenge. We talked about people being in all remote corners of the world as another challenge. What are the other challenges you've kind of seen in data collection, in particular?

- Yeah, yeah. I think some of those definitely hit the nail on the head. The other thing I've seen people struggle with, especially when it comes to getting the right data, isn't, I think they struggle with getting their teams to actually do the step of putting that data in. Cause there's a thin line between overwhelming your team, and you know, keeping their trust.

- Yeah.

- Teams that have to enter tons of data, especially if you've been on sales calls all day and you have no time and you, you know, let's say you give them 34 properties to fill out after every call.

- Yeah.

- Oh, yeah. That's a lot.

- They're going to... Yeah, they're going to mutiny you. So, you know, this is they'll throw you overboard the ship. So, like, in this case, I don't really blame them.

- Yeah.

- It's really hard. So, it takes some work on part of the person in charge of the data strategy to determine exactly what they need to collect in order to keep the ship moving. Now, in this case, you know, sometimes you do have to push that. And so that's where, you know, you have to, whatever you're asking them to do that is additional to what they've been doing already, you need to actually have a rational for that.

- Right.

- And so, this seems like a small thing, but business change, or change management for businesses is the hardest thing. Most businesses fail at it.

- Right.

- But if you can instill that culture of, you know, this is for your own good and that we're collecting this data so that we can make your lives easier and do better as a business and all of us go home a little happier. That conversation is really critical, because, you know, yes, you could have the wrong properties. You can correct that. You could be collecting the wrong sort of data. Okay, you can correct for that. But now that you know the right kind of data you'd want to collect; you have to pick and choose what part of it is feasible for the team to do.

- Yeah, and your answers really and extension of the last episode when we talked with Mike.

- Yep.

- About saying it's not necessarily, it's not enough to just tell your team, "This is our goals. "This is our metrics. "Here's the process that we're going to do it." Reaching out to other teams as well, and understanding what they care about, right? And saying, "Well this is how we're going to relate to that."

- Definitely.

- Right? And just by saying, "This is the data that we're "going to collect to validate that we're achieving "our goal and metrics, we're also achieving "the organizational business goals."

- Yeah, absolutely. And really instilling that sense of purpose along the way, right? Where it's like, it's not just you're collecting this data, but your team knows why you're collecting this data and how it will help them in the future so that they're more likely to kind of, continue the machine.

- Yeah.

- That makes a lot of sense. So, is there... What types of organizations or industries did you find struggle with data collection in particular?

- Yeah, yeah. I think there's certain organizations that historically have, I think when it comes to sales, it's interesting where there's some organizations that relied on the ingenuity of sales reps almost too much in the past.

- Okay.

- Sometimes real estate strikes me as an example of that.

- Okay.

- In my experience where they are, it's not that they don't want to use the data. They've been used to not needing it in some cases.

- Okay.

- Cause they're like, "I don't need this. "I can close it." Which is great. You should have that confidence as a rep. You know, you should be able to step in a room and close. But, at the same time, this advantage is eroding at this point. Data is really critical for that industry, and for many other industries. I would say there are other challenges particularly with medical companies.

- Yeah.

- Around data collection and storage.

- Regulations about that.

- Yeah. HIPPA.

- Yeah.

- And so, that's when I've seen data collection can be tough and you have to have an organized data strategy so in the case where someone is working, for example, in the medical industry with a software that isn't HIPPA compliant. And most marketing automation is not, HubSpot is not, and it's because, you know you can do marketing automation without having sensitive data in there.

- Yeah.

- And then you have to evolve data strategy where going back to our point of integrating you have to have HubSpot integrate with a HIPPA compliant CRM.

- Yep.

- And have the sensitive data safely stored in the HIPPA compliant.

- And not syncing over.

- Exactly.

- Yeah, yeah.

- Not syncing over. But you know what? You don't need it to sync over.

- Yeah, yeah.

- Because when you're doing marketing or sales, you don't necessarily need to use that sensitive data. And so, from that perspective, like knowing when to put what data in and being very aware of the regulations in your industry. And in the case of real estate, actually being a bit more open minded and realizing that the tactics of the old world are no longer effective.

- Right.

- And we need to adjust, or we will parish. So, from that perspective I think it can be tricky in a number of different industries. There are also industries where we don't know what data to collect yet. There are companies that are working on emerging, you know, AI companies.

- Right.

- Where they have some clue of the kind of data they need to collect, you know. Typical sales data. Typical marketing data. But there's data surrounding usage that they haven't defined for their apps. There's data surrounding behaviors of the people who are using those apps. So, I think in all of these cases, it can be tricky for any organization, but these are some examples I've seen.

- So, what about on the flip side when you would encounter a CRM or like a client for example that would have a lot of data, but it wouldn't be like cohesive or clean.

- Yeah.

- Like, what would you do for say someone joined an organization.

- Yep.

- And they have a lot of data but it's just not talking to each other or it's not been effectively managed. What's the first step there?

- Yeah, it depends on the nature of the mismanagement.

- Okay.

- So, if it's... If we're dealing a situation where a lot of different, a lot of cooks in the kitchen, we have a lot of different people managing data and we've got properties repeated, we've got the wrong kinds of properties repeated.

- Yeah, yeah.

- So, you can't easily just like turn on a workflow and copy from one to another cause they're not even the same property. You know, there's various complex issues. At that point, there's no completely painless way to do this. I mean, you could hire someone to do it, but then you're, you know, what you would be putting is as time you are now paying that person to do. You're paying for it directly. So, from that perspective I'd say that the only way to deal with like the complex situation like that, is to take stock of every single property each team is currently using. Determine which one's they're using. Determine which one's they aren't. And the ones that are duplicate, you clean up. The ones that are configured incorrectly you go in and you can figure them correctly. And you may also discover in this, you know, often in these cases you have leads in the database that shouldn't be there in the first place. Because people do things like they take their entire LinkedIn list and they, you know, put that into HubSpot. They'll take everything from their boss' phone and import all those leads.

- Right.

- And I don't think your boss' grandma really needs to see the latest sales promotion.

- Right.

- You think I'm joking.

- She could be. She could be really interested; you never know Adi.

- Yeah, you know.

- You shouldn't presume like that.

- That's true. That's true, you know. I mean, but the response, you know.

- But chances are...

- Chances are, yeah.

- Yeah, no, yeah. I'm just saying, yeah.

- There was response for it actually. She's like, "I'm so proud of you Bobby."

- Based on a real-time case.

- Yeah, this is such a you've come such a long way. You're running a business.

- I love your business. Clicks email.

- Clicks the email, opens, responds, fill out the form.

- Yeah.

- For software she doesn't really know. But like, you know, in some cases they do. But all in all, what I'm saying is, this is a funnier example, there are not so funny examples.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- Where people are not supposed to email people and really shouldn't be there in the database. And given that we have an international audience.

- Yeah.

- And GDPR is an important thing to be aware of.

- Yeah, yep, that's right.

- And now even CCPA in the states.

- Yes.

- Yep, CCPA.

- Correct. Keeping in mind that we don't want people in there who don't belong there and often with databases that are mismanaged, that is inevitably the case. So being aware of all the risks that are, you know, when I encounter customers who are not willing to clean up their database, I have to educate them on the risks. It's like, I'm telling you all of these things so that you are making an educated decision.

- Right.

- Right.

- You know, if you asked me what I would do I would clean this up first.

- Right.

- Right.

- And you can do it side by side with your reps. You know, nothing has to come to a grinding halt. It isn't nuclear science, it just takes like time, effort, and dedication to do it. And I've seen certain customers, I can't everyone's names but do a fantastic job.

- Sure.

- I think the customers that do great, a great job at data cleaning themselves are those led by someone who's used marketing automation in some way before.

- Yeah.

- They have an idea what data is important.

- Right, exposure.

- Exactly.

- Yeah.

- Product exposure, not just HubSpot, elsewhere too.

- Yeah.

- And they can apply those. So, I think, you know, that's really the key. It's understanding the risks of a complex database. Taking stock of each and every property and how it's being used, which is painful but necessary and you got to do it some time. And then using that audit as an opportunity to improve upon existing processes that are flawed.

- Yeah. I'm glad you brought up the audit because I mean certain privacy laws and regulations, like GDPR or CCPA have come up, at least in my exposure, you know dealing with customers.

- Yeah.

- How is that conversation different? Or how is it, I guess, accentuated? How is that audit accentuated by the fact that I have to think about this privacy law. You know, I have to think about how I'm going to be collecting it because you know, I don't want to violate anything legally.

- Yeah.

- I don't want to be in legal trouble.

- And that's absolutely true. In that case, you know, one of the things as a HubSpot consult we were trained to do is be very careful about saying that we do not give legal advice.

- Yep.

- Right.

- We can't. We can tell you what HubSpot can do.

- Can we get a disclaimer just on the bottom of this? Just saying, "We are not lawyers." Not any of us.

- Not qualified to give any sort of legal advice.

- But know the law.

- Yeah but know it.

- No, no, no. You should know the law. HubSpot has some fantastic resources.

- Yeah.

- Actually, published by Academy.

- You know, shameless plug.

- Oh course. Shameless plug for the both of us. And so, in this case, I think consulting those resources is one thing, but also, I've implored the heads of data organizations to speak to a lawyer. And usually when you say something like that it sounds like, "Ah, did I do something wrong?" No, I'm like, you didn't do anything wrong.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

- You need to talk to a lawyer because I can't tell you what you should do in that sense. I can tell you these are the resources that are available to you and this is the law.

- And these are real risks.

- And these are real risks.

- Yeah.

- That's right. And so, there's this sense of, "They're not going to "do anything." Well, I'm like, you don't want to play with that kind of a risk.

- Yeah.

- Do you know that for sure?

- Yeah.

- Do you know that for sure?

- Yeah. They don't. They don't.

- Yeah.

- So, you know it's like, you want to be risk, very risk averse when it comes to this cause it's one of those things that's so easily corrected.

- Right.

- It's like going out and standing in the middle of the road. And it's incredibly risky. And hopefully in Boston no one would, you would be safe because pedestrians are king.

- Sort of.

- Sort of, sort of.

- Guess it depends on where in Boston you are.

- It's one of those things where it's not worth taking on addition risk.

- Right.

- And we try to be very clear about what those are and arm people with the resources. And then, you know, teach them about the HubSpot tools that help them mitigate their risk and be better marketing citizens.

- And I love the advice, not legal advice, but.

- Not legal advice.

- Perception that you should think about your data management in light of these new regulations because I think what was interesting to watch unfold when GDPR was kind of new and being implemented was, you might think that you have like your data management down to science, but when looked at in light of these new regulations like it just might be eye opening in terms of how you're collecting your data. My phone is ringing and it's very distracting.

- Yeah, I was like...

- But yeah, so.

- What is that noise?

- Yeah. But I think it adds a new facet to thinking about how, how your data is managed. So, know the law.

- Yeah.

- Oh my gosh.

- Yeah.

- Yeah but don’t but consult a lawyer.

- Right but consult a lawyer.

- Yeah.

- Yeah, no, absolutely, I mean, yeah. Every HubSpot consultant will say the same thing. Any consultant worth their money will say the same thing to you.

- Yeah, let's chat about, you know we kind of went on kind of the risks and the challenges and the pitfalls that you could see. What if it, Adi, what if it goes well?

- Yeah.

- Because I know like...

- Not gloom and doom.

- Still trying to be that glass half full kind of guy here.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- Because I'm sure for all of those situations where you've had to have those serious conversations, you've also probably had conversations where it’s gone well.

- Oh, yeah.

- And you've been able, an organization has gotten by and you haven't had to do so much like change management consulting to get them bought in.

- Yeah.

- And maybe it's just a case of, let's make sure that this is the process that you have to follow.

- Yeah.

- Right?

- I mean, that's always fun.

- Yeah.

- As a consultant, when someone is ready to go.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- I've had times when customers are impatient about their data strategy and I think they're doing a great job.

- Okay.

- I've had startups that are, you know, when it comes to their data, they're like, "Adi, we have all this data here. "These are the dashboards we've built. "There are the three different systems we have. "And we want you to tell us what we're missing." And that question is both challenging and a lot more enjoyable.

- Sure.

- Because they have clear goals that they're trying to hit, and they built their data around that. In those cases, like, it comes down to like what they need their data to tell them that it's not telling them at the moment. So, I'll give you some examples, there are companies that are doing some really interesting stuff in biotech.

- Okay.

- Okay.

- Where they have to, you know, get behavioral data from the user of whatever product they've produced. And then square that with marketing and sales data. And that's when, you know, HubSpot now does cross object reporting so that offers some obvious advantages there along with in the Enterprise Suite, like calculated properties.

- Yep.

- Right.

- And other things that are across the Hub. So, that's where there's an opportunity to take the existing data and actually compare it in ways that weren't possible before.

- Right.

- And so HubSpot can do an awful lot. In fact, I've had situations where I get companies that have been doing business very well without a CRM, they come online to HubSpot and they realize that all of their Excel hacking can be replaced by intelligent cross object reports.

- Yep.

- Right.

- The concept of cross object reporting is not something that HubSpot invented.

- Yeah.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- It's been out there. This isn't me just, you know, shamelessly plugging for the tool.

- Yeah.

- But I think what we've done is identified the need for these organizations and given them a solution that actually reduces the amount of work they have to do.

- Yeah.

- And gives them a better solution. So, from that perspective, I don't know if that starts to get at the answer.

- No, no, no, it does.

- A good organization, like finding them, showing them novel ways to interpret their data.

- And tools and techniques that you use. I mean, you mention calculate properties. You mention cross object reports. Are there any others that kind of spring to mind?

- Yeah.

- When you're kind of walking them through? Good and bad.

- Absolutely, I mean. Yeah, absolutely.

- Cases, yeah.

- I mean the segmentation tools that are available on HubSpot should be overused.

- 'Kay.

- You can't really overuse them. And so, you know whether it comes to, you know something as I won't say simple, but something as well-known as lists.

- Yeah.

- Or using filters intelligently and thinking of all possible reasons why you'd need action a particular list. So often folks are like, I'm not quite sure how to build the right list of leads for this particular promotion. Well, alright. Well, what are you looking for? Is this for everyone who's interested in this product or service? Okay, let’s look at everyone who's expressed interest in an article related to this topic. Let's look at everyone who has spoken about one of these topics with their sales reps on a conversation and that was tagged in a property. Let's create a list that pulls from all of the different organizations and gives you a complete picture. So, using the segmentation tools like saved filters, lists, to actually pull in that information and then segmenting within reports themselves as well. And so, you know, those are some of the tools that I think are very helpful from a kind of a cursory perspective.

- [Nakul] Sure, yeah.

- [Adi] In helping us delve into that. But there are many other places HubSpot gives you data. There's analyze. There’re reports for blogs. There are reports for e-mail marketing.

- [Jorie] Yeah.

- [Adi] In fact, we are trying to make it easier to find all of these reports in one place. And, yeah, I mean, the list is quite large, but I think those are some of the basic tools and strategies that are recommended. Like, start with building a good list of lists.

- [Jorie] Yeah.

- [Nakul] Yeah.

- [Adi] And saved filters.

- [Jorie] Yeah.

- [Nakul] Yeah.

- [Adi] And reports you can rely on and from there we can cross them and get creative. What I love most is when the organization starts getting creative with the data themselves. And they start asking me questions that are, you know, I'm like, "Wow, actually you know what, "I think you're right. "I think this is the only possible way to do this." And he's like, "I knew it!" Cause he'd invested that time in learning the system.

- Yeah, right.

- So, I don't know if that's an appropriate way to phrase that.

- Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. So, are there, when do you start recommending that people kind of automate their data management?

- From the beginning.

- Okay.

- Okay.

- I mean, I think there are times when automation should not be pursued because...

- One of those times, let's dig into that.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- Yeah, absolutely.

- So, automation should not be done if you don't understand, so there's this saying that says, "Don't move the cups "when you're new to a team without understanding "why the cups were there in the first place."

- Right.

- 'Kay.

- So, there's --

- Wait, I love that!

- Yeah, don't move the cups.

- Don't move the cups.

- And so, part of this is, if you think that a process is broken and you're sitting up in your ivory tower of being the VP of marketing, no digs at VPs of marketing, I love all of you, but you know, if you were you know, I've seen this case of this is broken and we need to fix it. I'm like, "What's your team doing?" He's like, "I don't know."

- Yeah.

- I'm like, so you're going to, you want to turn on this workflow that's going to completely change their experience in the tool without talking to them.

- Yeah.

- And in one case it's like, "Yeah, they'll have to do "what I said. "I'm the marketing VP." And predictably it led to complete chaos for the next week. You know, people who are --

- So, you're going to move these cups, but.

- Yeah. You know, I'm not saying they were crying bloody murder, but it was.

- Right, right, but still.

- It was this sense of like, we don't know what's going on in our organization anymore.

- Yeah.

- I don't know why I'm assigned these contacts. I don't know what's going on. Help me, please.

- It's a change.

- Right.

- Exactly.

- Yeah, yeah.

- A part of this is, when you don't automate something when you don't understand how it's done first.

- So, take stock first.

- Absolutely. Understand, don't move the cups without understanding why they're there.

- I'm going to use that all the time.

- That's actually a really good analogy.

- New favorite.

- And then from there you have to understand why, when you move the cups, you have to tell people why you've moved the cups. And make sure that you're actually, this is where the metaphor ends. I guess I could say something about like moving cups efficiently, but I won't go there. I'll say that you want to create automation that actually makes people's lives easier.

- Yeah.

- Mhm.

- And so, from that perspective there's three steps. Take stock of what's happening. Don't move the cups. Figure out what cups need to be moved. And then tell people and ask them for feedback.

- This is why the cups are moving.

- Exactly. And like, is this helpful to you?

- Are you cool with me moving the cups? Where I move it.

- This is the purpose. To kind of go back to like some of the themes that we're creating.

- Yeah.

- Of moving the cups.

- Yeah, yeah. And you also need to identify when certain processes are not broken to begin with. There are certain things, there are workflows that are built on all the time that are never used.

- Interesting.

- Because they spent all this time building out this workflow and they realize you know, "We need like two steps from this." And the team can do it. And they find that easy and you know what? You got to pick your battles. You know, you got to keep your eye on the prize. You're not trying to radically change everything in one evening, which some people definitely try.

- Especially with workflows.

- Yeah, absolutely. They feel very powerful. I think it's like, it's like playing God for a moment. You're like. I can flex so many powers at once.

- Change all of these properties!

- All of the properties.

- Reports, who?

- Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

- Fair.

- The problem with that, getting intoxicated by that power is that you are quite possibly introducing more complexity into the lives of your team.

- Right.

- So.

- So, what --

- We see that all the time.

- Yeah.

- And I'm sure, actually I'm sure all three of us have seen that.

- Yeah.

- We look at maybe a workflow and you have to zoom out all the way and you still can't see the whole thing.

- Man.

- And then you ask this simple question, which Adi, I'm sure you've asked. What is this doing?

- Yeah! Why does this exist?

- Internally, you know. Even for the internal ones, what is this exactly doing? And then you may get an answer. And if you get that answer and it's confident enough, great, totally fine. But sometimes you get those crickets chirping and you're like, "You sure you know why this is running?" or "Are you sure that this should be running?"

- I just got like this very clear flashback of one of my days in support where I got this call and it was to the point where it was like it was troubleshooting a workflow and we had to zoom out so far that I think my computer screen was like 10%.

- Yeah.

- And I still couldn't scroll over to see all of these options.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah. You still couldn't see the whole thing. You couldn't see the whole thing, yeah.

- And I remember, that was point when I used the best power pause of my life. And there was just like, "Explain." What is going on? Like, what is the purpose of this?

- Yeah.

- And I'm sure Adi, you were in support too.

- Oh, yeah.

- You remember those days.

- Oh, yes.

- And I think to kind of go back to another theme that we're kind of establishing with data, always starting with the "Why". Like, why does this exist? Why are you doing it this--

- Why are you collecting this?

- Is there a way to be more efficient?

- Yep.

- If you rather than 56 branches, if you could do it in one.

- Yeah.

- Especially if you could consolidate things into like similar properties.

- Right.

- Cause the reporting implication is pretty straightforward.

- Yeah.

- From this point of the framework, right?

- Yeah.

- If you understand your business model. You've got your flywheel. You've defined your goals and the metrics by the team, right? Then we're getting into data collections like, well we know that the data collect, you know, the data that we collect should supposedly answer the question or address the point of did we achieve our metric? I.e. did we contribute towards our business goal to make our flywheel spin faster?

- Right.

- Right? It's how we want to showcase that.

- Absolutely.

- And Adi talked about you know, we were talking about property types, right?

- Right.

- [Nakul] Depending on whether you have something like a single line text or a number versus a radio select versus, you know, any of the other ones I cannot think of right now.

- [Jorie] Absolutely.

- [Nakul] Can really show a cleaner set of reports or visualization that you can show later.

- So, on the flip side of that question, when are some, what are some good use cases of like automating?

- Yep, yep.

- Where it's like the team should just like not have to worry about this at all.

- Yeah, thankfully there's a bigger list there. I mean, I think some examples that I've seen very obviously and I'm going to call a few of them out.

- Yeah.

- With sales, we have this property in HubSpot called Lead Status.

- Yeah.

- And this isn't actually really that nerdy at all. It's something that sale people understand very intrinsically.

- Need all of it.

- Yeah, yeah!

- You need to understand where the lead is in the process. Have they reached out to them? I mean, these are basic organizational tools. And so, you can actually automate them using workflows.

- Yeah.

- So, like if a salesperson sends out an email, "Hey." They don't need to go in and mark that they sent out the email. HubSpot recognizes that the email's been sent out and will automatically mark it as having gone out. If the salesperson then books a call with this person, you know what? If they're using HubSpot Sales Suite, HubSpot will recognize the call's been booked and will mark it as meeting booked. So, this way you can remove, it's almost like there's an assistant working side by side with the sales rep kind of doing the...

- Checking those boxes, yeah.

- Exactly. The boring work. Because it is, it's important. Important, good things can often be a little boring.

- Right.

- But if you don't need them to do it and they can spend more time going and actually, you know building connections and relationships then it's pointless to put them through that. There are cases, where people are actually doing a lot of manual work to try and work through leads and score them and determine if they're important. That's where automation can jump in and make their lives a lot easier. On the marketing end, automation can help you identify your most engaged website visitors and target them with the right kind of content. On service, automation can help you identify the most pressing issues based on, you know the ticket that's been submitted and then escalate them to the right person. I could go on and on. This is going to take three hours.

- No, that's okay. No, no, we got time.

- Three months.

- We got time.

- But the idea is that there's so many ways in which automation can make your life easier.

- Yeah.

- The place to start is by asking people, "If you could wave a magic wand, how would you "change this process and make your life easier? "How would you imagine you'd be doing this "if you were you know, it could be a hundred years "into the future, how do you imagine "you'd do this?"

- Yeah.

- Right.

- I love that question. That's actually something that Academy to kind of gut check our own processes, we were just actually in a meeting that had a very similar exercises running out with our team. So, that's definitely helpful, helpful question to ask.

- Yeah, for sure.

- Yep. Automation is not magic. But, it's helpful to think of it in that sense, because it's there to, it's there to reduce your burden.

- Yeah.

- And make life easier and make it more accurate. And honestly, in many cases automation actually guarantees data integrity cause often times people can't fill out everything they're supposed to fill out.

- Right.

- And it makes it hard to analyze what worked later.

- Yeah.

- Automation ensures that you can get to it.

- And I like that as a point too because it's like once you add human input into the fold, that's the word I'm looking for, you have the potential for human error.

- Yep.

- Yeah, correct.

- And especially that's why single text fields can be so dangerous.

- Yep.

- And maybe dangerous is a strong word for that but it can really mess up your reporting because it's like, it's so easy for humans to make mistakes.

- Yeah.

- Especially like--

- Provided that data points should not be in a single text.

- Exactly.

- Format.

- Totally.

- And I think Adi also hit on this too that even if you're not starting at the beginning with automation, which may not be the case with a majority of businesses, because they're not starting at day zero or day one, right?

- Right.

- You still have things like filters. You still have things like bulk CRM editing of those properties. To say I'm going to try to tackle this instead of one by one.

- Yeah.

- I'm going to try to do this 100 at a time or something.

- Right.

- Based on common attributes that I already know already exist between these contacts. Right, or companies.

- Or don't exist. Yeah.

- Yeah, or don't exist. Correct.

- Yeah, that's a good point, you know? Workflows is one tool, but like Nakul was saying, bulk CRM editing is another great thing. It's a, people who used excel before, and are troubled by Excel, love bulk CRM editing.

- Yep.

- For how simple the interface is.

- I love it.

- Yeah, yeah.

- I love Excel too.

- Yeah.

- And I'll say that I love the way that we can do these things in HubSpot.

- Yeah.

- And so, you know, I think taking account of all the different tools that exist in HubSpot and not just workflows that help you add a dash of automation to your life.

- Right.

- And in this--

- Just a sprinkle.

- Just a sprinkle.

- Yeah.

- Or sometimes, you know, the whole bowl depending on how much you need.

- Automation.

- Just as long as it's not cinnamon. That's all.

- Yeah. I guess. I guess, yeah. No, well, I don't mind cinnamon. This case, I think it depends.

- I'm thinking like the cinnamon challenge.

- The cinnamon challenge!

- Oh that!

- Maybe not the whole bowl of cinnamon! Like, oh!

- No, no, no, no, no.

- That's a lot of cinnamon.

- That's an awful lot, yeah.

- Yeah.

- That's different. I didn't understand the context.

- I love that we just like knew.

- Yeah.

- I'm out of sync here.

- That's fine. Nakul and I spend a lot of time together.

- We do actually.

- It's fine.

- But yeah, that's the point. I mean like, cause I'm sure in your time as a consultant, or even as your time, in your both your times maybe in support.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- I know for sure in support, you were dealing with customers that came in the middle of this strategy.

- Yeah.

- Right?

- Yeah.

- Of some sort.

- Definitely.

- Right?

- As a consultant Adi, you probably were dealing with some net news that were coming along for the first time, but you probably were also dealing with businesses that were in the middle. And so, you had to say, "Well it looks like "it's going to be a combination of let's bulk edit "or filter what we have now. "Going forward, let's automate."

- Right.

- So that there's not as much burden on the same people again, you know?

- Yeah, absolutely, I mean one thing that occurs to me is that we've talked about like net new companies. We've talked about bringing companies to their baseline right now. Like, it's like coming, bringing them to zero.

- Yeah.

- Yeah, yeah.

- They're coming from new organization.

- Yeah.

- Or even if they're in the middle like finding out exactly when they need to succeed. There's also like, some forward thinking involved here.

- Yeah.

- Like what one customer of mine calls delightful automation.

- Okay.

- Okay.

- Thinking forward about like what we're going to need a couple months from now or what our customers are going to need a couple months from now and just going that extra step.

- Sure.

- To show that you can use automation to actually make your sale processes, your marketing processes, your service processes more human.

- Yeah.

- Because you can engage with them at the right time and you can send them the right reminders.

- Yeah.

- You can summarize things for them. There's potential for so much proactive problem solving.

- Yeah.

- With automation, it's not purely reactive.

- So, do you have any recommendations for like if an individual contributor identifies that there is like a use case for automation, how to start to have those conversation or even on the flip side if it's a manager talking to a director or a director to a VP, like how to almost have those conversations where, there's been a use case identified almost, downstream if you will, that could really help them bring the, elevate the entire kind of team or org with automation?

- That's a good point. I think, I honestly think that the best use cases always come from individual contributors.

- Right.

- And any manager that doesn't listen to their individual contributors reporting need is just not doing a good job.

- Right.

- And I think that most do listen, and most managers are actually, that I've spoken to can't really think of anyone who hasn't.

- Good.

- Yeah.

- There's been a HubSpot customer how they're avidly looking forward to their reps telling them.

- Yeah.

- In certain cases, in legacy sales teams, or even, yeah mostly in sales team, I'd say because marketing has always had this need to like look at the data to see how they're doing.

- Efficiency almost.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- Yeah, but with sales teams, they're incredible high performers who don't really need to look at anything. They have the gift.

- Yeah.

- But now the issue with that is, that's great but we want to actually recreate that.

- Yeah.

- So that everyone can sell better.

- Yep.

- And that's where like having direct conversations and creating incentives for people to put in the right kind of data. So, rewarding top performers for leading the charge on a data initiative.

- Yeah.

- Creating roles for enablement when it comes to sales. So that top performers who are doing really well, hey, you know what? This is an example. We're going to pull you out of the funnel. Go and help everyone else sell well. And that's another kind of intelligent investment of resources in certain teams I've sat where they've taken top salespeople and slowly, they've had them coach others so that everyone's numbers go up.

- Yeah.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- As opposed to one person, you know, kind of carrying the team.

- Almost create like an environment of learning from your data.

- Exactly! And it all comes down to data because top performers especially when it comes to more modern companies are using data in some sense or the other.

- Yep.

- Even if it's instinct, it can be pulled back.

- There are patterns there.

- Exactly. And that can be identified and democratized.

- Yeah.

- For the team. And so, I think that's where I see individual contributors do a great job is when they're given the right incentives and management is open to hearing them and respects their opinion.

- Yeah.

- That's when they give their best advice and it propels the whole organization forward.

- That makes sense.

- Right. And I love how you're saying, you know, amplifying one’s impact.

- Right.

- Because it doesn't necessarily, it doesn't necessarily have to be limited to just sales, although sales are a really good set of examples here.

- Yeah.

- But it also could be marketing. It could be services.

- True.

- It could be product. It could be... You know, we had Michael on product.

- Yeah.

- It could be any organization within a particular business.

- Yeah.

- Right.

- That is attempting to collect data in some aspect.

- Definitely.

- Absolutely.

- So. Well great. I know we're just coming close to the one-hour mark on this time.

- Yep.

- We did... First off, thanks Adi, for having you on.

- Yeah, thank you for joining us.

- Pleasure to be here.

- It was great.

- Thanks for having me.

- As a follow up, guys, you know we last time had a SWOT analysis as an asset. This time we have an asset that will ask you to list your business goal, your portal ID, just so we know exactly who you are and then the types of data that you are going to be looking to collect based on that business goal and or metrics.

- Absolutely.

- So that we can give you some feedback. If you'd like to send it to us, please email us at inboundreporting@hubspot.com. And thanks very much.

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Originally published Oct 14, 2019 11:00:00 AM, updated October 14 2019