If you are in search of a new agency to support your inbound marketing, you may be wondering what's behind the HubSpot Partner Certification. It's an important question. If you understand the process for partner certification, you'll be able to ask better questions in your search for your ideal partner.
By going through the certification process a marketing agency has to prove they get content marketing. A required exam ensures theoretical understanding of inbound principles. In addition, the agency team has to prove they've actually got real world experience too.
An agency can't get certified overnight. HubSpot's requirements to demonstrate the skills through a live campaign means agencies have to work hard to get certified. There's no free lunch here.
Requirements for Partner Certification
Partner certification has several requirements. Those requirements include:
- The agency must have an active Hubspot subscription
- Minimum of one team member must be certified on the Hubspot platform
- Minimum of one team member must be certified as an agency partner
The Hubspot Certification requires what Hubspot calls a Practicum. This is equivalent to the agency turning in their homework for grading by Hubspot. The Hubspot team is looking for the agency to prove that they have the chops to deliver value to their clients.
The practicum step also ensure that partners practice what they preach. It's one thing to talk about blogging and promoting content. It's another to show your scars and prove you've been there.
Partner certification also ensures that the agency has an understanding of how to effectively manage client relationships. Content Marketing campaigns take time. Client engagements will therefore be longer. The certification makes sure the agency is set up to work productively with clients for the long haul.
Let me go a little deeper into each area of the certification below so you'll have an even better understanding of what's behind it.
Being a Hubspot Customer
Being a Hubspot customer is a clear advantage to you as a client. It means that the agency uses Hubspot's marketing automation software. They are confident enough in it to the extent that they are investing their own time and resources. It's a signal that they are committed to the process as well as Hubspot's software platform.
Practical Experience With Hubspot Implementation
The basic Hubspot Certification is key. Here the agency needs to demonstrate real world application of Personas, Landing Pages, Blogging, and Conversions.
To get certified it requires extensive online training as well as building out all the core components of an effective inbound campaign.
As part of the final certification, the two most challenging requirements are around blogging and conversion rates. The applicant must complete one of the two following requirements:
- Blog a minimum of 10 times in a 45 day window
- Produce a landing page with minimum conversion rate of 20% and with greater than 100 page views
While only one is required, the reality is that they often go hand-in-hand. Look for an agency that has hit both marks. If they've done it, it proves they know the value of keeping to a content calendar.
Agency Partner Certification
Agency Partner Certification touches on a few key points that will be relevant to your engagement. These additional requirements make sure the team has a clear understanding of the following points:
- Best practices for working with you and Hubspot throughout your engagement
- Hubspot contract structure
- How to work with additional resources available to agency partners inside of the Hubspot organization
- Effective client on-boarding and campaign planning
- Effective monthly client reporting
This knowledge ensures that you get the most value from your partnership.
Requirements of Keeping the Certification Current
We all know software and trends change. It should come as no surprise that Hubspot requires agencies to renew their certification.
Certification renewal is required annually. With each re-certification Hubspot is ensuring that the agency and its staff are keeping up with the latest features in the tool as well as inbound best practices.
Final Thoughts on Certification
The partner certification is like any certification that you see on a resume. It's a good proof point to make sure that the agency you're considering has basic knowledge of inbound and content marketing.
In the end, your team needs to work with the agency's team directly. A cultural fit between your team and your selected partner will go a long way. Through limiting partners you're considering to certified only partners, you can rest assured you'll get the skills you need.
Until next time, keep on marketing!