If you’ve been looking into inbound marketing, or HubSpot, then you’ve likely come across a series of HubSpot Solutions Partners - all claiming to be experts in the software and offering services from content creation to web design.
But what actually is a HubSpot Partner?
There are plenty of blogs on what it means to be a Gold, Platinum or Diamond partner, and even a few content pieces on what it means to be an Elite partner since the new tier dropped in 2020. But wading through the data to see what the difference is between these isn’t always simple.
Here, we’ve outlined exactly what a HubSpot partner is, what the tiers actually mean, and some common myths that you’ll find lurking on the internet, busted. Let’s dive in!
How are the tiers assigned?
HubSpot tiers are evaluated twice a year, meaning that each partner agency could rise or fall each time. The tiers are calculated via a combination of a few vital variables:
- Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
This is based on how much profit the agency is making for HubSpot. They differentiate between sold revenue, AKA how many HubSpot licenses have been sold outright, and managed revenue, which is the amount their clients are paying monthly for their HubSpot license.
- Retained clients
This is pretty self explanatory - if an agency manages to keep their clients on board, without cancellations, it’s a good sign that the partner is performing well.
- Portal engagement
If the HubSpot partner has access to several different HubSpot portals, then they can tell how often that companies engage with HubSpot. Portal engagement is a good metric to see how useful the software is to the company - if they have a license with 1000 users, but only 2 are using it regularly, it could be a sign that the platform isn’t worth their investment.
- Inbound marketing success
Another pretty explanatory one - more successful campaigns means more successful agency. HubSpot actually hands out a few awards based on the results that their partners attain for clients, but it’s not as straightforward as you might think - more on this later.
We’ve briefly mentioned the different tiers - at the moment, there are four. Elite, Diamond, Platinum and Gold are awarded based on the above metrics, but there are also untiered ‘Solutions Partners’, who work with HubSpot but don’t quite meet the goals for an official tier.
Based on their tier, HubSpot partners get different freebies, opportunities and extras from HubSpot. Here’s the quick breakdown.
The Elite tier is the newest, and most exclusive, partner tier. Agencies get into this club by managing a whopping $150,000 in monthly revenue, so at the moment there are only a few Elite partners in the world. These partners get more support from HubSpot, including a Solutions Architect to help with strategy, deals, and software, and a day onsite at the HubSpot offices for their executive team. Elite partners also get access to a special session at INBOUND, HubSpot’s annual conference in Boston.
The Diamond tier has been around longer, and so you’ll notice plenty of Diamond partners scattered across the globe. At the Diamond level, you get pretty much the same as the Elite tier, but without the extra support and with less free tickets to INBOUND. Diamond partners can still take advantage of one-to-one sessions with their HubSpot support team, and they also get the chance to post on HubSpot’s marketing blog.
Platinum partners get a similar deal to the Diamond partners in terms of support, but don’t get any special blog privileges, or as many tickets to INBOUND. The MRR bar is much lower for this tier too, sitting at around $13,000.
Gold (and the death of poor old Silver)
Gold is now the lowest official tier, after HubSpot retired Silver in early 2020. To nab this badge, agencies need an MRR of $3,000 and get the same support from HubSpot as the Platinum and Diamond tiers. Unfortunately, Gold partners miss out on any free tickets to INBOUND, and also miss out on any HubSpot blog-writing privileges.
Myths about tiers
There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding HubSpot tiers, mostly because the system can be confusing, and also because every agency describes them slightly differently. These are the statements that we’ve heard from clients in the past - and the truth about them!
The higher the tier, the higher the cost - FALSE
It’s not a hard mental jump to make - many business leaders hear ‘Elite Partner’ and immediately think that the price bracket is going to jump up. However, this isn’t always the case. Inbound marketing can prove expensive, but many agencies offer services at a range of price points, and tier doesn’t always factor into their fees. It’s worth checking out a few pricing guides from different tiers before committing to a partner, and looking for which agency will provide the best service at the cost that meets your needs.
A higher tier means the agency has more experience - TRUE (mostly)
We’ve tacked a “mostly” onto this one for a reason - 99% of the time, a higher tier does mean more experience working with HubSpot and inbound. However, as the tiers are based on the amount of revenue, theoretically a partner could work with one huge client and technically gain Platinum or even Diamond status. This is a rarity though, and you’ll find that the graph of ‘amount of clients’ to ‘partner tier’ is a straight line up.
Elite or Diamond partners always provide a better service - FALSE
Here’s a hard truth that plenty of partners aren’t willing to admit - when it comes to providing great inbound marketing or sales services, their HubSpot partner status means nothing. If you’re looking for a partner to help you carry out great inbound campaigns, it’s much more important to find one that has experience in your industry, understands your goals, and has a solid understanding of how to deliver results for your business. There’s no point working with an Elite partner who has to do hours of research before writing a piece of content - you’d be better off with a Gold partner who has years of industry experience.
Picking ‘the best’ partner means that I will see faster results - FALSE
As with anything, inbound marketing is a process, and can take time. Levelling up a tier doesn’t mean that you’ll see faster results as there isn’t really a cheat way to get to the top when it comes to inbound. To carry out a successful campaign, you need to be creating valuable content, nurturing your leads, optimising your sales and marketing processes, and reporting accurately on the data you find. If you can find a partner with the capacity to handle this, and who can effectively adapt strategies based on the data, you’re likely to see results - but it’ll take the same amount of time with a Diamond partner as it would with a Gold partner, sorry.
Certifications are more important than the tier - TRUE
While the tier isn’t really too pressing when it comes to choosing an agency, the certifications are. In order to qualify as a solutions partner, every HubSpot agency needs to pass courses on the HubSpot Academy, and these can offer a great insight into what the partner specialises in. If you’re looking for a website redesign project, for example, you may want to look at partners who have this qualification, and know what they’re doing. As with all of the above points, you should always choose skills and experience over a nice badge - it’s important to get the results you want, not to have a “better” HubSpot partner on the case.
There are pros and cons to working with a HubSpot partner agency, and the tiers can make it confusing when you’re looking for a partner to work with. One thing that’s incredibly important is that you should never choose to work with a partner based solely on the tier they’re in. Choosing an agency to work with long term means weighing up your options. Experience, cost, industry knowledge and proven results are a million times more important than a badge on the website - trust us!