In my two years as an inbound consultant and Academy team member at HubSpot, I spent the majority of my time on the phone, consulting and teaching inbound marketing.

I spoke with CEOs, CMOs and Marketing Directors about how to best weave HubSpot Рand inbound marketing Рinto their current marketing and sales processes. Many of the customers I worked with saw amazing results even after just a few months of tactical content creation and conversion optimization.

One of my favorite customers was Alpha Software. Their Director of Marketing, David McCormick, is a bright guy and began adopting and executing inbound best practices almost immediately.

Watch the video below to learn more about Alpha Software’s results with HubSpot:

Yet for every Alpha Software, another company wasn’t seeing results.

As an employee of HubSpot, I can’t tell you how many internal meetings we had about these customers. HubSpot cares a ridiculous amount for its customers. From one-on-one sessions with my manager to department meetings and much larger town hall-style discussions, we constantly thought of ways to show our customers bottom-line results.

But there’s only so much HubSpot can do, right?

After all, it’s just a software platform. It’s not a magic bullet solution. Real work is involved.

Since leaving HubSpot to start my own HubSpot Partner agency, I’ve thought a lot about the customers I once worked with. What separated the ones who saw success from the ones who didn’t? Why did some customers generate more traffic, more leads and more customers, while others struggled to prove the value of HubSpot to their bottom-line?

Below I outline the five biggest, reoccurring mistakes I’ve noticed from my HubSpot customer relationships over the last two years.

1. Lack of KPIs and Bottom-Line Goals

It’s vital to know what your end-game is. Why did you buy HubSpot? What numbers do you need to hit this year? Next year? What kind of marketing results do you need to hit your revenue goals?

Without a clear sense of where you need to go, there’s no motivation to get there.

hubspot inbound kpi tracking

“But Alan, I need more leads to grow my business.”

That’s great, but how many leads? Are these sales-ready leads, or just email addresses? When do you need to get these leads by? How many leads are you getting now, and where are they coming from?

What are your KPIs, or key performance indicators? The primary numbers you’re going to look at on a regular basis to understand if what you’re doing is actually working or not?

As Zig Ziglar once said, “a goal properly set is halfway reached.” I couldn’t agree more. Smart goals enable us to be more focused and deliberate in our inbound marketing activities. They help us tell a story and tie real, bottom-line results to our efforts.

2. No Marketing & Sales Alignment

inbound marketing sales alignmentA truly successful inbound strategy involves both the marketing and sales teams. Too many companies have trust and communication issues between their marketing and sales departments.

But let’s think about it. Your sales representatives are on the phone every single say with potential customers. They’re more familiar with objections, questions and your marketing persona profiles than anyone else in the company.

Yet it’s the marketing team who puts together the prospect-facing content. It’s the marketing team who builds the website, who runs the webinars and publishes the blog posts and performs the keyword research.

Many HubSpot customers look at inbound marketing as the antithesis of outbound sales. But it’s not like that. A successful strategy leverages both marketers and sales reps in a fluid, helpful-for-the-customer kind of way.

3. Not Enough Gym Time

inbound marketing fitness analogy

Inbound marketing is like going to the gym. You can buy the membership, but if you don’t commit to showing up to the gym a handful of hours each week, you’re not going to get that sexy beach body more website traffic and leads.

It’s that simple.

Successful HubSpot customers spend at least 5-10 hours per week on inbound marketing activities. If you don’t have time, or you don’t have someone internally who can champion your HubSpot subscription and own the role of the inbound marketer, or you’re not willing to invest with an outside agency who understands HubSpot, then you’re not going to see results.

4. Shiny Object Syndrome

You can’t get distracted from your goals.

We all have limited bandwidth during the week, therefore it’s critical we focus our efforts around hitting our goals. That’s it. Let’s not get fancy. Let’s not fall prey to the myriad of inbound tactics and platforms and websites and Facebook likes. Let’s focus on fundamentals, and nothing more until we start seeing some basic results.

inbound marketing shiny object syndrome

For example, let’s say your company’s website is generating 10,000 visitors each month, but you’re only converting 5-10 of those people into leads. That’s an abysmal conversion rate.

(For what it’s worth, you should be converting at least 2-3% of your website traffic into leads each month.)

So why are we talking about search engine optimization, or the images you’re using on your Facebook page, or purchasing an industry email list to send out a big e-blast?

Let’s use our goals to drive strategy and not get distracted by all the fun and shiny things out there.

5. Not Enough Content

inbound content is kingContent is king, folks. Regardless of what platform you use, if you’re not creating remarkable, educational and valuable content for your potential customers, you’re not going to see results.

Regularly published and optimized content will bring you more organic search traffic. It will also help convert existing traffic into qualified leads and will facilitate your nurturing and sales process.

You should be blogging at least 2-3x per week, and you should be putting out one new premium content offer (eBook, whitepaper, webinar, checklist, etc.) at least once every 6-8 weeks.

What mistakes have you made as a marketer?