Sea of Knowledge

HubSpot Onboarding vs Implementation - Understanding the Difference

You’re about to sign your HubSpot contract and become a brand new HubSpot customer. But wait! There’s one thing left to decide. Will you pay for HubSpot onboarding or onboarding with a HubSpot Solutions Partner? And, if you work with a HubSpot Solutions Partner, are they providing Partner-led Onboarding or a HubSpot implementation? What is going to be the most beneficial for your team?

Understanding HubSpot Onboarding and Implementation

Let’s break down your options and explore the difference between HubSpot onboarding and a HubSpot implementation. Then you can best decide how to move forward and start with HubSpot.

Onboarding: The First Step Towards Success

HubSpot onboarding is designed to boost your confidence in using HubSpot. When you purchase HubSpot onboarding directly from HubSpot, they create an onboarding plan focused on your business goals. Then, they provide you with resources to access these tools in HubSpot. This service is templated and standardized across all new HubSpot customers.

If you purchase HubSpot onboarding from a HubSpot Solutions Partner, you will likely get a more personalized experience. When you research your onboarding options with various partners, you will find an extensive range of options and pricing. That’s because HubSpot Solutions Partners offer two categories of support when getting started with HubSpot: Partner-led onboarding and HubSpot Implementations

Partner-led onboarding is comparable with HubSpot’s onboarding offering. But, with a partner, you can work with a team specializing in your industry or vertical. That way, you will have a more personalized experience with onboarding.

Onboarding is a beneficial jumpstart for using HubSpot and is best suited for teams with the technical team members required to implement HubSpot without outside support. Teams opting for basic onboarding are choosing to complete all of the hands-on work in HubSpot internally.


  • HubSpot onboarding and Partner-led onboarding both provide a templated walkthrough for your first 90 days in HubSpot
  • Both come at a cheaper price point than a HubSpot implementation. 
  • You will be responsible for doing all of the hands-on work in HubSpot.

Implementation: Putting HubSpot to Work

A HubSpot implementation is the process of designing how HubSpot will meet your business needs as a platform and moving all existing data in your business from a spreadsheet or an old CRM into HubSpot. Implementing HubSpot with a HubSpot Solutions Partner typically involves 3 phases—scoping, implementation, and training. 

When implementing HubSpot, a HubSpot Solutions Partner will work with your team to truly understand your business and how your internal systems function. Then they will build a solution design combining their knowledge of HubSpot best practices and your business operations. After aligning with your team, they will implement the solution design from start to finish. This typically includes importing your existing data into HubSpot, configuring HubSpot settings, and integrating key tools you already use with HubSpot. When they’re done, they will train your team on how to use HubSpot and the systems they’ve implemented. 

A HubSpot implementation is perfect for teams looking to get the most out of HubSpot right away. While a HubSpot implementation is a larger investment than HubSpot onboarding, your team will not have to do the hands-on work of implementing HubSpot. And you will benefit from the strategic advice of a HubSpot expert, ensuring that you are maximizing your HubSpot investment from the start. 


  • Implementing HubSpot with a HubSpot Solutions Partner helps you get the most out of HubSpot right away.
  • There are 3 phases of a HubSpot implementation—scoping, implementation, and training.
  • Outsourcing a HubSpot implementation takes the hands-on work of starting with HubSpot off of your internal resources.

Comparing HubSpot Onboarding and Implementation

Timeframe and Scope

HubSpot onboarding is delivered over 90 days, whereas a HubSpot implementation can take anywhere from 1 month to over a year, depending on complexity. Why the big difference? 

Think of it this way. Onboarding is like a realtor showing you around your new home. You’ll learn where the bathrooms are, how to work the shower, and how to enter the attic. An implementation is a professional organizer that you hire to strategically unpack your things and optimize how your home is set up. Then, after everything is set up, they’ll show you around the house, where they stored everything, and teach you how to maintain the organizational systems they implemented. Depending on the size of your house and the amount of things you’re bringing into it, the time it takes to unpack will vary. But, regardless of how many things you bring, showing you around the house takes the same amount of time.

Similarly, onboarding is a guided look around HubSpot. Based on the tools you purchased and what you’d like to achieve with them, a HubSpot employee or a HubSpot Solutions Partner will guide you through HubSpot and provide you with resources to learn how to use it. This usually looks like weekly meetings with intermittent emails for 3 months.

An implementation, however, is extending your team outside your organization and partnering to build something new. During implementation, a HubSpot Solutions Partner listens to your goals with HubSpot, recommends a few goals and/or directions based on their experience, and builds a roadmap to transform your vision into a reality. Then, they get to work, making it happen. 

You’ll walk away from an implementation with a ready-to-use CRM, sales enablement tool, customer service center, and marketing automation platform. You’ll finish onboarding with a better understanding of how to use HubSpot.


  • HubSpot onboarding takes three months, whereas a HubSpot implementation can take anywhere from one month to over a year.
  • HubSpot onboarding guides you through HubSpot and shows you how to use the tool.
  • A HubSpot implementation leaves you with a ready-to-go HubSpot instance and a documented how-to guide showing you how to use your HubSpot account.  

Expertise and Support

HubSpot onboarding and a HubSpot implementation require a very different skill set. Onboarding a team into HubSpot requires the ability to teach, guide, and explain to various people. HubSpot onboarding and Partner-led onboarding both involve teaching your team how to use HubSpot by determining what you want to achieve and how you learn and recommending the best resources for you to learn. 

A HubSpot implementation requires envisioning how HubSpot can be used to best achieve your business goals. It’s about knowing the full extent of HubSpot’s capabilities and having the ability to combine HubSpot’s capabilities with the vision you have for your company and your team. 

If you have a technical team internally that has prior experience implementing HubSpot as an administrator, you may not need to implement HubSpot with a HubSpot Solutions Partner. HubSpot onboarding or Parter-led onboarding may be sufficient. But, if you have a team with the skillset to use HubSpot as a marketer or account executive, consider investing in a HubSpot implementation

Think of it this way. Let’s say you want to go to New York City. You can hire an experienced driver and buy a nice car. But, if the driver doesn’t have a map to route them to New York City, it’s not likely that you’ll arrive there on time. You may never get there. 


  • HubSpot onboarding is about teaching, whereas a HubSpot implementation is about doing.
  • Unless you have a HubSpot administrator on your internal team who has prior experience implementing HubSpot, you should strongly consider a HubSpot implementation. 

Making the Right Choice for Your Business

After considering the differences, benefits, and challenges of HubSpot onboarding and implementation, it's time to make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals.

Assessing Your Business Needs and Goals

When deciding how to start with HubSpot, you must outline your business goals and evaluate your internal resources. While HubSpot is the best CRM and marketing automation platform on the market, purchasing the tool alone will not give you the results you’re looking for. To drive results for your business, HubSpot needs to be implemented correctly and put to work towards reaching your goals. If your team does not have prior experience implementing HubSpot as an administrator, consider working with a HubSpot Solutions Partner to implement HubSpot. While Partner-led or Hubspot-provided onboarding will show your team how to use HubSpot, an implementation will give you the foundation to reach your goals with HubSpot.

Implement HubSpot with Coastal Consulting

Coastal Consulting specializes in implementing Hubspot Marketing and Sales Hub when Salesforce will be the primary CRM. We have the strategic and technical ability to navigate HubSpot and Salesforce. We implement HubSpot, integrate Salesforce, and teach your team how to maximize using HubSpot and Salesforce together. 

Implement HubSpot with Coastal Consulting