Getting Started with HubSpot CRM

  1. Introduction
  2. The Players
  3. Deals
  4. The Sales Process

1. Introduction

I wrote this guide specifically for users on my AGR Sales Team – but you might still find it useful. You’ll just need to create a free HubSpot account here …

Okay. Let’s get started by logging in to our HubSpot CRM accounts at

Like all CRMs, HubSpot CRM tracks the interactions of sales reps and leads through the various stages of the sales process, from prospecting to close.

A good CRM will allow sales managers to customize the stages of the sales process based on their needs and preferences. So, for this guide, I’ll assume the role of Sales Manager and we will be using sales process stages that I have customized.

2. The Players

We can essentially divide everybody into two groups: Users (salespeople) and Contacts (customers).

Teams and Users

Users – i.e. salespeople – can belong to a Team. For large organizations there might be several sales teams representing different divisions of the organization, but for this guide I have grouped all Users into one Team – “AGR Sales”.

As you can see, each User in the AGR Sales Team has access to specific HubSpot CRM modules; Service|Contacts|Sales, etc. Access to the various modules can be granted/changed by a User with Admin or Super Admin privileges. The Sales Manager of a Team will need at least Admin access.

Companies and Contacts

Just like a User is associated with a Team, a Contact is associated with a Company.

If a deal is in the works between a User (salesperson) and a Contact (customer), that User is considered to be the Contact Owner (in B2B sales terms you can think of the Contact Owner as the Account Manager). If a different User steps in and takes over the deal, that Contact can always be re-assigned. NOTE: re-assigning a Contact to different User can only be done by an Admin or Super Admin, i.e. the Sales Manager.

It’s important to note here that Contacts in HubSpot CRM are NOT like contacts in an email program like Outlook. HubSpot contacts include a tremendous amount of data – far more than just address, phone, email, etc.

In fact there are over 100 different parameters that can be tracked. Fortunately, most of this is automated by the CRM – and there are only a few fields required to setup a new contact.

But before we setup a new Contact, we should Create their Company …

Creating a New Company

Typically in business, our contacts will almost always represent a Company. It’s normal to have multiple Contacts associated with one company. So rather than repeatedly re-entering all the company details for those multiple contacts, we’ll save time and create a Company just once. Then, as we create new Contacts, we can quickly associate them with an existing Company.

In the HubSpot CRM top-nav menu, click Contacts > Companies

… then in top-right click the Create Company button.

This will open the Create Company window. Assuming the Company has a website, start by entering the company domain name. HubSpot will try to auto-fill the remaining fields by scraping several internet sources. If it successfully auto-fills (and it might not) be sure to verify that the results are correct. For instance, it’s possible that your company has offices in several countries; it HubSpot might grab the info for the wrong office.

Continue to fill in as many of the fields as you can. Two of the last fields are drop-down selectors: “Lead Status” and “Lifecycle stage”. These are optional – but will be very helpful later on, so do yourself a favor and don’t skip these. Take a second to make an appropriate selection for each.

Now that we’ve created a Company, let’s create a New Contact.

Creating a New Contact

In the HubSpot CRM top-nav menu, click Contacts > Contacts

… then in the top-right click the Create Contact button.

Start by entering the Contact’s email address. HubSpot will try to auto-fill the remaining fields by scraping several internet sources. If it successfully auto-fills fields (and it might not) be sure to verify that the results are correct. Fill in as much information as possible.

The last field to fill in when creating a new Contact is “Legal basis for processing contact’s data.” Since the implementation of GDPR and CASL, this is required for all electronic communications.

Choose the appropriate basis from the list.

Managing Contacts

Anytime you need to access your Contact’s details, simply return the Contacts page. In the Hubspot CRM top-nav menu, click Contacts > Contacts. View a Contact’s details by clicking on their name in the list.

From within the individual Contact’s details page, you can access virtually all of the HubSpot CRM features that you need to do business with that contact.

  • Add notes to a Contact’s profile (what kind of beer do they like?)
  • Send an email
  • Call them
  • Schedule a meeting
  • Create a followup task
  • Access their Company’s details and other associated Contacts
  • Create and update Deals

Managing Companies

Accessing and managing Company details is very similar to managing Contacts. In the Hubspot CRM top-nav menu, click Contacts > Companies. View a Company’s details by clicking on the Company name in the list.

From within the individual Company’s details page, you can access virtually all of the HubSpot CRM features that you need to do business with that company.

  • Add notes to a Company’s profile
  • Send an email to one or more of the Company’s Contacts
  • Call them
  • Schedule a meeting
  • Create a followup task
  • Access associated Contact’s details
  • Add a new Contact to the Company
  • Create and update Deals

3. Deals

A Deal is any opportunity or attempt to sell something; it might be the result of diligent prospecting, a tip from a referral, or a chance to work with an existing customer who asks for a quote on some new widgets. In HubSpot CRM, these are all Deals. Let’s create a new Deal, so you can see how the Sales Process and Pipeline are related …

Creating a Deal

Every Deal involves at least one Contact. So the first step in creating a deal is to open an existing Contact’s details page (or create a new Contact/Company if necessary).

In the right-side panel of the Contact’s details page, under the Deals tab, click Create Deal

… and start filling in the fields.

Give the Deal a Name – it should be short, but descriptive; something like “2019 Q3 Widgets”. Don’t include the Company or Contact in the Deal Name – this will be associated in the next steps.

If the pipeline field cannot be changed – don’t worry. Free HubSpot accounts only allow for one pipeline. Not a problem – you can squeeze a zillion deals into one pipeline. Additional pipelines are a nice, extra level of organizations, but having just one pipeline won’t limit us.

Next, choose a Deal Stage from the drop-down. I pre-defined the stages for the AGR Sales Team. Generally speaking, most new Deals are going start at the “Preparation” stage (see The Pipeline below) – select this for now. You can always change it later.

Enter an amount for your Deal. Since you don’t have a crystal ball you can’t know for sure how much the sale will be worth, but give it your best guess. The Sale Manager needs to forecast revenue. You can always update this number as the deal progresses..

Likewise, you won’t be able to know for sure when (or if) the deal will close, but pick a reasonable date – this will probably change as the deal evolves.

By default, the Deal Owner is whoever created it, but you select a different user; maybe you’re being nice and creating a deal for one of your colleagues.

Finally – as I mentioned above – you can now associate the Deal with a Contact and Company. These fields have a convenient type-ahead search.

Managing Deals

In the HubSpot CRM top-nav menu, click Sales > Deals.

You can view your Deals either in a list (Table view) or in the Pipeline (Board view).

When you get really busy and have a lot of deals on the go, Table view is ideal for sorting and searching for deals:

Board view gives you a quick overview of your pipeline, including combined totals for all deals at each stage:

3. The Sales Process

Although they are closely aligned, the Sales Process and Pipeline are not the same thing.

The Sales Process can be thought of as a guide-line; a set of steps to guide sales people through the sales process – starting from the Prospecting stage and on through to the Close.

The Pipeline is aligned with the process, but the stages are graduated with more detail. This allows for a more accurate revenue forecast based on the likelihood of winning the sale.

The Sales Process for the AGR Sales team is a variation of the classic 7-step sales process:

  • Prospecting
  • Preparation
  • Connecting
  • Discovery
  • Presenting
  • Negotiating
  • Closing

The Pipeline

Pipeline stages are normally defined and configured by a Sales Manager. You can seen in the image below how I laid out the stages of our pipeline. These 7-steps of the Sales Process align closely (but not exactly) with the Deal Stages of the Pipeline

Notice that Prospecting is not part of the pipeline. Prospecting is an ongoing activity, something that salespeople are always doing, so it is not necessary to include it in the pipeline. Starting with Preparation, each Stage of the Pipeline has a value; Win Probability. Deals in the later stages of the Pipeline are more likely to be won than deals in the early stages.


In the Preparation stage, you are making your plan for how best to approach your Lead (Once a Contact is linked to a Deal in the Sales Pipeline they become a Lead). Who will they contact? How? When? What are they hoping to sell? How much could the Deal be worth? How long will it take?

Preparation also involves research. What does the Lead’s Company specialize in? What is their USP? How big is the company? Is it a startup or a legacy? Check out their website. Is the Lead active on LinkedIn? Twitter? Do they have a YouTube Channel?

You don’t have to spend weeks researching and planning – but you might need a couple of hours, spread out over a few days to fill in enough blanks. Reps that do good prep work make a better first impression during the all important Connecting stage. Just by doing some homework, you’ve already got a 10% chance of winning the sale.


This is not a meeting. Connecting is the stage when you reach out to arrange a meeting with the Lead regarding a Deal. A phone call is always a good place to start. No luck? Follow up the missed call with an email. No response? Try connecting on LinkedIn (but don’t try to PM a meeting request in the first few days!). If you can’t connect with the Lead, wait a week and try everything again. The Connecting stage can be over in five minutes, or it can linger for more than a month. Persistence will eventually pay off. Just by connecting, even if you can’t nail down a time to met, you’ve increased the odds of winning the sale to 20%.

Discovery Booked

You finally managed to connect with the Lead and you’ve booked an introduction/discovery meeting. The reason “Discovery Booked” is a stage in the pipeline, and not just an event, is because there might be several days or weeks between booking the Discovery meeting and actually having the meeting – the Sales Manager will need to that you have successfully connected, and the Discovery is booked, but has not yet taken place. Booking a discovery meeting dives you a 30% probability of winning the sale.

Discovery Completed

A very important stage in the pipeline. A successfully completed Discovery meeting will reveal the Lead’s pain-points – problems they would like resolved. The goal now is for you to present your product/service as the solution to the Lead’s problem(s).

During the Discovery it is important for you to ask the Lead if they are the decision maker. If not, be sure the decision maker will be there when you present your solution.

Performing a discovery meeting builds trust; the Lead now sees that you’re not just rushing in for a quick sale. They see that you care about them, and that you’ve taken an interest in their company. Half of all good discovery meetings will turn in to a sale.

Presentation Booked

At the end of the Discovery meeting, schedule a time for you to present solution. Again, the Sales Manager will need to know that the Discovery has been completed and that you have scheduled a presentation. By booking a presentation with the Lead (and decision maker) you now have a 60% win probability.

If, for whatever reason, you were unable to schedule a presentation, the Deal remains at the Discovery Completed stage.

Presentation Completed

Even though the presentation has been completed, it might take some time for the Lead to digest everything. They will likely do some research to verify what you presented and will be coming up with questions. When your Sales Manager looks at the sales pipeline and sees that you’ve completed your presentation, they will know what you’re up against next …

Objections and Negotiation

Deals that have reached this point aren’t often lost (90% win probability). Logical and well-informed responses to objections are the only way past this point. This stage isn’t often completed in one or two sessions. It can often take several back and forth communiques.

You’re a pro and you know your stuff forward and backwards. You know how to handle objects. Now … you just need to agree on the terms.

Mark this deal “Closed and won”.

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