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36 min read

What's a HubSpot Solutions Architect? Do you need one? (HubHeroes EP11)


Normally when you fire up an episode of the HubHeroes podcast, the title is a dead giveaway of what we're going to be talking about. In a split second, you immediately understand the what, the why, the how, and the when of what we're going to be covering. Not today, however. In fact, the topic for this week's episode is horse of a very different color.

This week, we've brought in the one and only Kevin Dunn, a senior manager from HubSpot Academy, to have an illuminating conversation about something many of you have likely never heard of – HubSpot Solutions Architect

A solutions architect is the person responsible for deep technical discovery, customized solution design, and data and systems integration mapping on the HubSpot platform. Or, put another way, they are tasked with understanding whether what a business wants to do in HubSpot is feasible. And, if so, how?

Now, if you're sitting there thinking to yourself, "Thanks for that definition, George, but I now have more questions than answers, because I still don't totally get what architects have to do with HubSpot!" don't worry. This exciting episode is an invitation to follow us down the rabbit hole into new, exciting and uncharted territory. 

In this episode, you'll learn ...

  • What the heck is a HubSpot Solutions Architect really, and what do they do?
  • Why is a HubSpot Solutions Architect so important?
  • What has changed in the inbound and HubSpot world where now HubSpot Solutions Architects are necessary?
  • What's the difference between a HubSpot Admin and a HubSpot Solutions Architect? Where does the work of an architect end and an admin begin?
  • How do you know if you need a HubSpot Solutions Architect?
  • Where do developers fit into this whole conversation?

And much, much more ... 


If you're a HubSpot partner agency, don't immediately jump to the conclusion that hiring a HubSpot Solutions Architect is a must for you. First, check in with your sales team to see how they're handling those more technical conversations around HubSpot, before assuming that's a pain point for them.

If you're not an agency, the message is also to not panic or make any big decisions without looking at your business and how you are, can, and should be using HubSpot. Yes, the world of HubSpot has become much more rich and complex, and this conversation is a clear example of that. And it's also a very exciting time in the HubSpot world. 


Some of these we talked about, others we're adding because they're only going to make the episode that much sweeter for you ... 


Intro: Do you live in a world filled with corporate data? Are you plagued by silo departments? Are your lackluster growth strategies demolishing your chances for success? Are you held captive by the evil menace, Lord Lack, lack of time, lack of strategy, and lack of the most important and powerful tool in your superhero tool belt, knowledge. Never fear hub heroes.

Get ready to don your cape and mask, move into action, and become the hub hero your organization needs. Tune in each week to join the league of extraordinary inbound heroes as we help you educate, empower, and execute. Hub heroes, it's time to unite and activate your powers. Before we begin, we need to disclose that both Devin and Max are currently employed by HubSpot at the time of this episode's recording. This podcast is in no way affiliated with or produced by HubSpot, and the thoughts and opinions expressed by Devin and Max during the show are that of their own and in no way represent those of their employer.

George B. Thomas: And, of course, we've gotta add the man, the myth, the legend, Kevin Dunn, to that little ditty that we put at the beginning of the show. I am super excited today for the episode. Kevin, before I get into my shenanigans that some of the listeners love and some of the listeners don't love, let me just have you explain to the Hub Heroes community who you are. Of course, you do it for HubSpot, but who you are and what you do, my friend.

Kevin Dunn: Psyched to be here, guys. And I think I cornered all of you at one point in the not so distant past to try and strong-arm my way into this, podcast to chat with y'all. So I'm I'm psyched to be here. Been a HubSpotter for about 6 and a half years, on the partner side of the business. So I'm currently a senior manager on the HubSpot Academy team.

More specifically, I manage the teams responsible for the certifications and education for our solutions partners as well as our developers. So both front end web development and back end development with HubSpot APIs.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. Super dope. By the way, if you are a HubSpot employee or maybe you're an app partner or maybe you're an agency, and you've got a topic that you wanna talk about, and by the way, you want a dope cartoon superhero of yourself, you should probably reach out to me,, and throw up your idea, and we'll see if we can get you in the show moving forward. Now today's episode to me is very interesting because a lot of times when you see a piece of content, and I know Max, Devin, Kevin, you've all seen. You see a title and you're like, I know exactly what this is gonna be about.

That's not this episode today, ladies and gentlemen. I'm just gonna tell you that right now because we are talking about architect, architecture, architects. I don't know. Just however you wanna say that word word probably in 27 different ways. But what I wanna start out with is because we have to put the mind in the right place of, like, George, Max, Devon.

How what does this have to do with inbound and HubSpot? How how is this gonna fit in? Well, here's the thing. At first, as most humans, you might think about that word architecture as the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings. But, however, if you look at the dictionary, it's actually a second version.

It's the complex complex and carefully designed structure of something. Now we'll get back to that. We'll get back to that. You need to have that in your brain. If we look at architect, most of the time you might think a person who designs buildings in many cases also supervises their construction of those things.

However, the second version of that actually has computing in the dictionary next to it. It says, a person who designs hardware, software. We might know some software, just saying, or networking applications and or services of a specific type for a business or other organizations. Also, design and configure configure. Okay.

Ladies and gentlemen, hopefully, you've got those words in your brain. One other thing though, I wanna throw out Max, Devin, Kevin, you know we have some shenanigans here, and since we're talking about architecture, we can't just jump into the deep end of the HubSpot pool. I did a Google search for the strangest buildings in the world. Now here's a question for you. Have you driven by any building where you're like, oh my gosh.

That is crazy. I want you to kinda get that in your brain for a second as I talk about a few these. Because I looked up this. I've driven past a couple of these. 1, there is the London Burger Company.

It is a big huge by the way, ladies and gentlemen listening to this, I will put links to this in the show notes. Just slow down. They'll be there for you. It is a huge wickerish style basket. And if you know what a Longaberger basket is, you know what I'm talking about, but there's a building of that.

The other one that I was like, that's really a building? Was Dog Bark Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho. If you are from Idaho listening to this podcast and you've driven past Dog Bark Inn, I need to know. There's also another one in here, which is National Fisheries Development in Hyderabad, in the India? I don't know.

I'd probably jack that up. But here's another one, and then I'm gonna be quiet. Another one that I have driven past, and that is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and it is a guitar. But it's all glass. It's all glass.

Okay? So super dope. Now with that, I'm gonna pause. Max, Devin, Kevin, when you think of outlandish buildings or strange architecture, where does your brain go?

Devyn Bellamy: I can tell you right now, the most exciting place that anyone from the Bay Area will tell you about that none of us have ever been to in Hillsborough, California, the Flintstones house. You're driving through the mountains, you look on the mountains, and you just see this house that just looks like it's out of the stone age, has all these funky colors. There was a huge thing about somebody had Flintstone sculptures in it, and the city hated it. And there was, like, a huge back and forth about it. But that that super weird building is firmly cemented in my childhood.

Max Cohen: Where I went to college, UMass Dartmouth is a a very interesting case study in architecture. In that, it's got some really weird stuff about it. Most notable, if you look at it from the air looking down, I guess bird's eye view is what normal people call that. There are benches that spell out the number 666. So it's got some weird like satanic stuff going on and then there is this massive spire in the middle of campus and it's this giant circle.

And I have no idea, like, what purpose it serves, whether it's like a radio tower or I don't know, some sort of weather vein. But it's this really weird dystopian futuristic looking campus. And it was it was really strange going there.

George B. Thomas: I mean, it sounds strange just listening to you talk about it. Yeah.

Max Cohen: It was free.

George B. Thomas: Kevin Kevin Kevin, what are your thoughts?

Kevin Dunn: The 2 that come to mind for me aren't connected to summoning the dark lord. But first for me, if anyone's been to Boston, government center, like our government offices, complete contrast to, I think, a lot of the architecture you'll find around Boston. Very brutalist. It's just it stands out very significantly amongst the skyline of buildings in Boston. And then, man, I I wish I knew what this building was.

It definitely has substantial importance to the city of Dublin. But on the river, there's one building where the glass kind of structure at the front of it is oriented in a way to represent, to my knowledge, the perfect angle to pour a Guinness. I think it might be like a museum or something. So it kinda it's like a Guinness glass, and it's, like, perfectly angled to show that. So I thought that's always super cool.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. Perfect opportunity to talk about how I like beer too. I'm just gonna throw that out there, but not why we're here. Not why we're here, people. Let's get back into this mindset of the complex and carefully designed, as well as this design and configure, and even the idea of software.

Let's get into the deep end of the pool and talk about HubSpot and really this idea of architect or architecture. And so I'm just gonna throw this out there. Whoever goes first, totally up to you guys. You know how we roll. But in your minds, because there's a group of us, when we mention the term HubSpot Solutions Architect, what immediately is, like, right there?

Max Cohen: Maybe I could just kinda start and give a little perspective. So at HubSpot, I am a solutions engineer, but there are also folks in the presales organizations called solutions architect. Now here's the thing, in my year of being in presales, so I'm still very new to all this, one thing that I've noticed is every single person that I interact with that's in some sort of presales profession, whether they're called a sales engineer, a solutions engineer, a sales architect, a solutions architect, whatever, that role varies wildly from company to company. In my world, I'm exclusively doing presale. I do nothing post sale.

But there are plenty of sales engineers and solutions architects that work presale and post sale. Some that just exclusively work post sale. So I don't want anyone listening to this to get so hung up on the name. I think, Kevin, we're mostly gonna talk about the role. This is like a role that you're kind of envisioning that partners have if I'm understanding it correctly.

I can break it down a little bit of what how it's different at HubSpot. So we have solutions engineers, those are like me. Typically, we're working, you know, anywhere from small biz to mid market, and we also have solutions engineers that are on the corporate side too as well. We're all divided up by segment. I'm in the mid market segment myself, so I'm dealing typically with mid market sized businesses.

And my role is a combination of, yeah, coming in and having scary technical conversations, explaining the art of the possible, maybe running a demo here or there. Mostly, I focus on really helping sales reps be more confident in doing a lot of this stuff on their own. Because the way we're paid, I'm kind of incentivized to do that just a little bit versus holding their hand all the time. But solutions architects, they do all that and more, but they're typically more focused on the up market, super complex, high MRR, high number of seats deals. They're working less deals at the same time, but they're going 10 times deeper on those deals in terms of really working with all the proper parties to really come up with, with, like, a plan in place and putting together a lot of, like, the architecture in the background needed for such a large HubSpot deployment.

Whereas we're working more deals and we're going a little less deep, but we're going way deeper on a technical side than, like, a sales rep is. And we're we're sort of strategic deal support for sales rep. At HubSpot, that's kind of the difference for us. But again, every business you go to that is going to change wildly, and that's fine. The world we live in, it's okay for words to have different definitions.

Just think of the word campaign.

Devyn Bellamy: Max, what

Max Cohen: does that even mean? What does that even mean? I'll do

Kevin Dunn: that. Right?

Max Cohen: Same idea. But I'm gonna I'm gonna get off my soapbox. Knock on.

Kevin Dunn: No. It's a perfect way, I think, to kinda give us a lay of the land and that it's it's less about the label you wanna put on it, and it's more so the function, the responsibility, and the value it can add to an organization. And I think solutions architecture as as we know it, yes, it can happen presales or, like, pre implementation of HubSpot. But it can certainly happen after that purchasing decision a customer makes and the actual environment has been set up. But the long and short of it and this isn't to say that HubSpot isn't a deeply powerful platform just out of the box as is.

And I think we all know that. It's incredibly user friendly. It's very powerful. However, as HubSpot grows in breadth of functionality and depth of functionality, the use cases that require a little tinkering or the opportunities for further customization or, like, extending what the platform can do, those opportunities are are growing quickly, which is very exciting. And so solutions architects, they can come in and just be deeply knowledgeable around the technical nature of HubSpot.

And, okay, these are business requirements. These are our existing tools and systems. Here's the data that they present, and here's how we use that data. Max, you you teed it up really well, and that it's less about the name of the role, and it's more so the responsibilities, the function that that role provides, the value that they bring to the table for business thinking about HubSpot. And I think that can happen in a presales capacity as you've outlined it, pre implementation of the HubSpot platform.

Or, you know, it can happen once it's been rolled out in an organization, we're ensuring that that their success in leveraging the platform. And again, this isn't to say that HubSpot out of the box isn't a deeply powerful platform. We all know that it it definitely is. But based on how the tool and the platform is growing in breadth of functionality and depth of functionality, we're seeing a growing list of use cases for connecting it to more tools outside of the walls of HubSpot. Increased opportunities for customization based on the unique business requirements of a particular organization.

Or, hey, we want to extend the value or the data within HubSpot. We wanna connect it to some other systems and things we do. And so a solutions architect can come in and basically identify the feasibility of plugging in HubSpot to a much broader, much more complex tech stack, so to speak. And so, you know, I think it it relies heavily on deep technical knowledge, like, deep understanding of what can be done in HubSpot. If it can't be done in HubSpot, but it's done in another system, well, what are our options for connecting those two systems?

Is it in our app marketplace? Is it a native integration that's like a click setup? Do we need to think about leveraging HubSpot's APIs for some sort of private app or custom integration? And so the architect comes in, understands what can and cannot be done, verifies the the feasibility of it all, and then actually carries that through to like a visualization. Here's your tech stack.

Here's HubSpot's place. Here's the direction of all of the data flows that you need. And teeing up and setting up the teams responsible for then building that, administering that, developing that, making sure that those teams are set up for success. That is my at least in today by today's recording, that is my working, walking definition of a solutions architect.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. It's super interesting because I go back to the question. In your mind, when we mentioned the term HubSpot solutions architect, what comes to mind? And I said instantly. Max's was a complex answer.

Kevin's was a semi complex answer. Devin, what is your thought when we just what first comes to mind when you think of HubSpot Solutions architect?

Devyn Bellamy: Somebody's gotta map out the complex use cases. Who are you gonna call?

George B. Thomas: Yeah. And it ain't ghost Ghostbusters. Right? And and exactly. That's the thing.

So for me, as soon as I hear those words, I go, oh, probably a big deal. Oh, probably a bigger company. Oh, probably multiple pieces of software, and I also go to this where historically and I think it was Kevin and Max both mentioned the breadth and depth of HubSpot today versus what it was. Before, you could talk about HubSpot as you're gonna plug it in. Now, ladies and gentlemen, there are many companies who need to build a system.

They need to architect the way that this stuff is gonna talk together. So with that, I wanna stay kind of in the foundational conversation of this. We'll dig into the deep end. Don't get me wrong. But who is that person?

Meaning, what the heck is a HubSpot solution architect? What would you guys give us a definition of that knowing that we before talked about it could be multiple things? But let's at least try to drill it down to a thing that the Hub Heroes audience can kind of take away and understand, oh, it's that type of person or that type of thing.

Devyn Bellamy: For the layperson, the simplest way to describe it is there are more technical requirements when it comes to integrating with things or custom objects. Like, there's just a certain skill set that the average, even advanced, HubSpot user or HubSpot administrator isn't going to have. It's about laying the foundation and building the system in a way that would benefit the organization. If you're using custom objects, you need to know about how database relationships work. You need to know, like, phrases like one to many and many to 1 and and be able to read an ERD.

Those are the kinds of skills that you need. And then if you're, you know, talking about integrating with other systems, you need to know about API endpoints and communications protocol and OAuth, and all that fun stuff. And you don't necessarily even need to know how to do it. You just have to know how to build it to get the team of coders and whoever else is involved in order to to get the job done.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. It's funny, Dev, and I love that you went down that direction. And by the way, Hub heroes, anybody listening to this, if you were like, hey. What where hashtag nerd alert. Devan just gave you a whole list of things you can Google that'll probably help you in the future.

But Kevin and Max, where does your brain go around this? What is a HubSpot solutions architect?

Devyn Bellamy: I'm gonna

Max Cohen: I'm gonna kinda talk on this for a second, but I'm I'm curious for you to kinda gut check me on this. Even taking the word HubSpot out of it. If a HubSpot solutions partner, you have a sales team and I think a fundamental part of scaling up a sales team is kinda understanding what your sales people should be good at and then what are other resources that they can lean on for the things that aren't as important for them to be super pros at. Whenever you're selling anything, would it be wonderful if your sales people were the ultimate bastion of being an expert on your product? Sure.

That's the ideal. And for simpler products, maybe that's attainable. But you look at something like HubSpot where, yes, it is a simple product, but you can do a lot more with it now and that inherently is gonna add a lot of complexity. You can't expect all your sales people to be super duper product experts that understand every single facet about how the product works, as well as how to connect it in these different complex scenarios, and how to tie everything together. Your salespeople are supposed to be good at selling and positioning value and moving that conversation along.

You need someone who's gonna be able to come in and be that product expert, but be that product expert within the context of a selling motion. That's much different than being a product expert in a support or some sort of services manner. Being able to communicate complex technological concepts and jargon to folks who may not understand it, but also to people who do understand it and need to have a conversation at that level is super important. And you can't expect all of your sales reps to be able to do that because that is not a scalable situation whatsoever. You need to be able to have this sort of resource that your sales reps can lean on to come in and have these deeper conversations, to help the sales reps figure out a a good solution for someone even if that doesn't mean coming on a call.

But also, someone who can really kind of pay attention and really, really dig in and spend a lot of time on these complex solutions that you're putting together for customers so those sales reps can be involved in that and understand what's going on, but also so they can spend more of their time generating more business and moving people along a sales process and and really putting a lot of time, effort, and care into that versus getting really stuck up on how are we gonna create these custom objects and have it connected to our back end system through the API. Your salespeople shouldn't be having to think about that, because then they're not thinking about the stuff that their job title is actually calling for them to do. So I think, Kevin, my question is is are we in this push to kind of create this idea of a HubSpot solutions architect? Are we encouraging HubSpot partners to really kinda think of a more structured way of having someone who's, like, fitting into that role? Where are we kinda going with this?

Kevin Dunn: Yeah. I think, Max, you've outlined it perfectly, and that they don't have to be the strongest seller, but they need to know the way in which they can plug into this sales process, but very much in a prospect or, like, customer centric way. And so I think it's an important delineation of role and responsibility. Who's selling? Who's moving an opportunity through their pipeline?

And who's actually trying to blueprint out and design the feasibility of the solution that we're offering? And I think there's a couple things. First off, both Devon and Max plus wanting, all the way to the points that you had both mentioned out. When we think about, well, who is an architect? Well, certainly, it's the person on your staff that's probably most intimately familiar with HubSpot, the technical pockets and components of HubSpot, but there's some soft skills or power skills that they need as well.

An innate curiosity, being energized by solving ambiguous problems. A life like a constant state of always learning, because the product's gonna change, new functionality's gonna roll out. And what does that mean for architecture moving forward? And so I think all of those are important considerations. And then they also have to be comfortable, and I think Max you alluded to this, they have to be comfortable communicating to different levels of stakeholders.

First and foremost, they need to prepare the developers and the admins to go do, so they need to be able to package the implementation plan in the format, in the verbiage, in the words that relate to those functions. But then they also need to go back and be able to explain what's gonna happen and why and how it'll all work to the nontechnical stakeholders as well. And, hey, trust that the nuts and bolts are gonna look great, but here's what it's gonna look like after the front end and here's how it's gonna appear for you. And so I think the diversity of stakeholders and managing them and being able to speak them also critically important in this role.

Max Cohen: There is gonna be people from every size partner all the way from the one agency, all the way up to our biggest elite partners listening to this kind of conversation, and you've all had experience in the partner world. The question I have for you is when we think of someone who's filling this type of role we're talking about, irregardless of what you wanna call it, but this function that we're describing. What's something an agency is looking for or maybe a stage in their growth they get into or whatever where they need to go We should think about building a role for someone like this. Because the last thing I want anyone listening to this podcast and they just thinking is just, oh, crap. I don't have a solutions architect.

We need 1. When maybe you don't. So, like, where should people be starting or where should agencies or partners be starting to think about we should we should think about creating a role like this if they haven't already?

Kevin Dunn: It's a great question. I think it comes down to the businesses, the verticals, the types of clients that you serve today, and the types of services that you offer them. Hey. We're really great at marketing engagements, marketing retainers for small to medium sized businesses. That's our bread and butter, and we do that better than anybody else.

Maybe they're not somebody that should go out, build this job description, and hire this person today. But if you are offering CRM migration services or, hey, we wanna help you rip and replace and and migrate over to HubSpot. We're gonna CRM implementation or we're gonna help you maximize what you get out of the full HubSpot platform. And we're finding that we're doing it for companies increasingly larger in size. And the conversations that we're having with these businesses used to be, no.

I don't know if we're gonna be able to exactly do that. Then you might start to think about having someone that can come into this function, and be able to say, well, actually, yes, we can, and and this is how it it may or may not work. And so, again, Max, to your question, the short answer is this isn't something everybody has to do today. I would take a look at the services you offer, the businesses you serve, the complexity of the requirements that they've been asking for, all of that as it stands today, but also what what you wanna do in the not so distant future. And is is that also somewhere that you do wanna go and so you can start to think about it?

But, again, clients, services, and the requirements that come up in the sales process should dictate the decision here.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. There's so much good that just happened right there, and I have to unpack my brain on a couple things. Because right now, you might be listening to this and you're like, man, this feels like a very agency specific episode. I would beg you to actually pause and think about that for a second. While we're talking about HubSpot agencies and if they need to play that role, and we're gonna continue to talk about some of that, depending on the size of your business, you might have an internal agency even though you're not calling it an agency that you need this person that we've been talking about that can bridge the gap.

By the way, there was a magical thing that happened in my own brain, which I really was trying to play with while you guys were talking. But, Max, as I listened to you, and Kevin, as I listened to you, and it was the technical skills and the soft skills mixed together, I was like, wait. That's ladies and well, wait. Am I a HubSpot admin, or am I a HubSpot architect? Because now all of a sudden, we're making that level of cut kinda difference.

And so we literally have in one of the questions that we wanted to cover was what's the difference between a HubSpot architect and a HubSpot admin? So when I throw that nice little juicy bone out into the center of the room, where do your guys' minds go with that?

Devyn Bellamy: I'd like to jump on that one. For me, the easiest distinction is that the architect is the one that designs and builds. The administrator is the one that maintains and grows. And so that, for me, is the easiest level. The other thing is that your architect doesn't have to be internal and it doesn't have to be a continuing relationship.

It could be just like I don't have a continuing relationship with the person that built my house. I have people that have come in and updated my house, and electricians, plumbers, all that, if you wanna keep going with that analogy. But the thing is, and this is for customers and partners alike, you don't need someone internal to do this, even if it's something you do regularly. 1st, I'll speak to the customers. This is not necessarily so much a specialized skill set, but requires a certain set of skills that are not typical, as far as being able to understand not only the systems in place, but the professional processes involved around what you're doing.

Someone who understands how an affiliate program works and how you need to connect your system to the affiliate provider, or how you would need to, connect your legacy homegrown system to HubSpot. That's the kind of thing that an architect would do. And what you could do is you could just find companies that specialize in that kind of thing. When I was working for a solutions partner years ago, we had a very, very, very major client who was integrating their enterprise CRM, HubSpot Enterprise Portal, with a lot of different systems. One of them was the affiliate system.

And what we did is we just reached out to another partner and say, hey. Let's collab. And everybody got paid. And so it it's not something that you have to keep working on or think that you have to have in house or keep driving business to. If it's something that it's like, we're doing it so much, man, we need somebody internally.

And for some reason, nobody internally has gotten it by osmosis. It's not click for them. You could just continue developing that external relationship. And it may lead to a permanent partnership or even an acquisition. Who knows?

But as far as being a customer is concerned, you got other stuff to worry about, like keeping the lights on. You don't have to necessarily pick up a whole new set of skills or create a whole new job or find somebody off the street who may or may not have 80% of the skills that are required in order to get this done. Find somebody who specializes in it. And there are going to be entire well, no. I'm I'm not even gonna talk about accreditations.

It's all I think about is accreditations. I hope so. I'm not gonna talk about accreditations right now. I'm just I'm just gonna take a step back.

Kevin Dunn: Devin, that's the sequel episode. That's the sequel to this.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. It absolutely is. So, Kevin, around this HubSpot architect versus a HubSpot admin, where does your brain go?

Kevin Dunn: Devin, I think, in the spirit of a superhero theme podcast, your superpower is taking my very wordy points in in distilling it down to digestible sound bites. That was great. But listen, I think, you know, architecture could live inside the walls of a business and not something you hire for. And I think, Devin, you've alluded to this, and I think the home building metaphor is great and that, hey, we've just purchased a new accounting software. It's not in the app marketplace of HubSpot.

It's not a native integration. How can we feed this data into HubSpot? Well, guess what? If you can solve that problem and make it happen, then you have architected that solution. But again, if you're a HubSpot admin in the walls of your business, your primary focus should be the ongoing optimization of the tools, the maintenance of the tools, troubleshooting the issues that may arise, and so certainly there's an opportunity to look elsewhere and and hire for that service.

If you're familiar with home building, certainly you could design the blueprint for your dream home. But for someone like me that can't do that, I would certainly look for somebody that's very much a specialist in there. They're certified and they're validated in being able to do that. But, yeah, it's it's an important contrast, architect versus admin. And if we want to go there, there's certainly a fairly deep overlap and hand off procedures, and and they certainly work very closely together, but but the distinctions are key.

George B. Thomas: Here's where I wanna go because, first of all, and some very interesting pop into my brain. I love listening to you gentlemen on this episode because I'm like, okay. Yes. You need an expert. No.

I would not build my own house. If I tried to build my own house, I would probably be divorced because the house would fall down. And so this idea of needing an expert, I do wanna spin it on. Look, there is a partner marketplace that if you need an expert, a true architect, a true HubSpot solutions architect, then you should head over to the marketplace. You should look for the right expert that is a HubSpot partner, and you should call them up and get them on the phone and have them build your house or fix your electric or whatever analogy we we wanna put in there.

But the question that I wanna go into next is why? Why have we reached a point where now we need to have a conversation around this topic in the first place? Why do we need HubSpot solution architects, or what has changed? I don't know where you guys' brains are gonna go. But this wasn't a conversation, at least to the typical human beings out here on the planet.

6 months, a year, year and a half ago wasn't even a thing. Why now?

Max Cohen: Yeah. That's interesting. I mean, I think as you start to see HubSpot go more and more up market and no longer just be kinda nested within the idea of just being a tool for small and medium businesses. Don't get me wrong. We're great there.

We're amazing there. Like, that's our bread and butter. We love them. But bigger and bigger, larger, more complex, larger companies are starting to use HubSpot. And not that I mean, well, yeah.

Their use of it would definitely look probably different even though a lot of same motions. So their marketing, sales, service, things like that. Those bigger companies tend to have other larger complex systems and more complex processes and many more people using HubSpot. You gotta remember, when you're deploying HubSpot to sales team of 10 people, getting everyone together to do a couple little trainings to make sure they're comfortable in there is super easy. When you're rolling it out to, like, a organization with 100 and 100 of reps, different functions, different teams, that way you go about enabling, training, getting people on, transitioning people from the older system is much more complex.

As well as all the different systems that you're hooking that into. Are you dealing with anything with the HubSpot extensions API and seeing information from other systems within HubSpot? What sort of integrations you have to build? All this kind of stuff. What sort of custom functionality does it need?

And you need someone who is able to understand HubSpot, but then also being able to conversate with all these other parties involved that need to bring all those systems either into HubSpot or not into HubSpot, or however you wanna think about it. So now as we've kind of been able to become a solution for these larger businesses, the conversation of how you get it done definitely changes. Not only internally for you as the company, but also for how you sell it to people. It's interesting because this this idea of, like, a solutions architect being able to exist not only for, like, the seller of HubSpot, be it HubSpot director, be it a partner selling, like, reselling HubSpot to someone. Man, I mean, depending how, like, complex your your organization is.

Like, I think, yeah. There is sort of a an idea of it being an internal solutions architect that you just use for your own business. For when the folks who sort of own the HubSpot instance or or own managing the HubSpot instance need to solve a new business need that the business actually has, but they need folks who are able to think about the complex ways in which you would solve that. Whether it's interfacing with another part of the company that owns these other systems and really has the context of what's happening in HubSpot to be able to then talk to those folks that maybe aren't working at HubSpot and figure out how to marry the systems together. I think that's also definitely a concept beyond just seeing the solutions architect as a sales support role.

So yeah. It's interesting. I think HubSpot's evolved and that's kinda now why we're having this conversation. For the longest time, I the the the line that I would use with customers was is like, hey, there's a reason you don't see a lot of people with HubSpot admin in their LinkedIn profile, cause you don't really need one. Because it's meant to be sort of administered, or at least the way I perceived it, administered by the folks that are using it.

Especially when you look at, like, small to medium businesses. Typically, the admins are the ones that are in there doing a lot of the work and kind of the main person who's taken ownership of it, but it's not their full time job. When you are managing systems and that's exclusively like your full time job, being exclusively a HubSpot admin is something that's possible. But again, your partner could be your admin. Maybe you don't have the resources internally to be able to pay for someone who's one singular job is HubSpot.

Maybe you do. Businesses are different. That's okay. But also it could be an internal person, it could be managed by a partner, Somewhere in between, there's no one right answer, guys. And that's the beauty of it.

However your business can kinda support it, you can do it.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. First of all, ladies and gentlemen, listeners, hub heroes out there just know that I've gone over to our template of ideas, and I added the fact that we need to have a HubSpot admin episode where Max and I can battle out the idea if it is somebody's full time job to be an admin or not and many other things around admin. But today, we're talking about solutions architect and architects. And so, Kevin, I wanna kick it back to you real quick on this why. Why have we reached the point where we need to have a conversation around this?

Kevin Dunn: I think we just have to look right to the team building the product, and they've been shipping a whole lot as it relates to customization and configuration, of the tools within the platform. How do you want the deals board to appear? What data do you wanna pop on to a contact record? What CRM cards do you want to surface? How do you wanna populate your CRM with data?

Whether it's from, points within HubSpot or from any other solution, any other point solution you have in your in your entire tech stack. You look at the app marketplace, and it's growing exponentially with options as it relates to connecting HubSpot to x. And the categories, the things, not just the quantity of apps but but the the categorical nature of the apps that are adding to the marketplace is also growing. And so it's just I mean, to the question why now, it's because just the growth of HubSpot as a product now warrants or creates the opportunity for, certainly, like, complex customization, extension of the data. And it's built on the tremendous work of our product team.

Devyn Bellamy: Long story short, just like Kevin said, it's getting more complex. Use case are getting more complex. As you move up market and have more people involved, you have more moving parts and more specialized requests, and you need somebody to design all that.

George B. Thomas: So let me jump in here as the one guy on this episode that doesn't work for HubSpot. I love the fact that HubSpot is super powerful and back in the day wasn't that customizable. Because I knew that we could keep people from getting themselves in trouble. We could give them the power, but they had guardrails and goalposts as, one of my friends like to say. And now today, we have almost opened up the gates of what potentially could be the wild wild west of HubSpot.

Meaning, at this point and moving forward, you could step into a portal and it look and feel dramatically different than another one that you might be trying to serve or work in. So now if you're a normal human being going from one company to another forward because it might not be your grandpappy's HubSpot. This is a reason why we have to have this conversation. There has to be somebody that is in place to have the guardrails, to not let us mess it up, to be able to pay attention to all the things that are plugging in and changing and looking and so we can still have the power of the original HubSpot. Okay.

I'll get off my soapbox. Let's move on. Yeah. Yep. Go ahead.

Max Cohen: No. One thing I just wanna add there is that the thing is is, like, sure. Is HubSpot very customizable these days? A 100%. But I do like to say it's customization with guardrails because there are limits.

There are a lot of options for customizations, but there is a limit to how far it can go and it can always be rolled back. So for example, if you look at something like the layouts of the objects, all that could be changed in the settings. So if you inherit something that's, wow, all these objects look different and it's wild, they can only get so different. You know what I mean? And, like, the it's always it's never gonna get to the point where we can't call support and we can't help you with it.

Unless you're talking about something that is a custom integration, custom APIs, things like that, but that's owned by the people that built them. So there is a very kinda clean delineation between how much you can customize that HubSpot can always help you with, and that's 99% of it. Right? But then there's, like, the custom stuff. Well, it's easy to kinda say, alright.

Well, that is custom built by something else. You can do that, but, like, you know, that's kinda where you'd have to look for for support on that type of things. Right? So, yes, there's a lot of customizations within HubSpot, but it's customization with guardrails.

Kevin Dunn: I love that, Max. Too and and George, you may I I would keep that in your pocket for maybe the next episode too because maintaining the guardrails sounds like the role of a really effective HubSpot admin to be able to maintain and keep it from being the wild west from a user perspective and what's the opposite of the wild west? I'm not sure. Like, a civilized town on the cusp of the wild. I don't know.

But they can they can help keep it manageable and maintainable. And then I think that also speaks to I'm gonna create an adjective here in a moment. It speaks to why you wanna vet and ensure you're working with a really effective architect because they should plan for and make sure that you do have a guardrailable solution. That should be factored into their design of the whole thing as well.

George B. Thomas: It does, and I love that we're making up words on the Hub Heroes podcast too. That is amazing, that we did that because I'm a big fan of creating my own words. As a matter of fact, I was made fun of today by my son. He said, you said that word wrong. I said, what do you mean?

He goes, automagically is not a word. I go, oh, in the HubSpot ecosystem, it is. Anybody that knows your dad knows that's a word. We make up words. But here's let's move forward.

Every everybody know that's what HubSpot does. It just does stuff automatically. I'm just throwing that out there. But here's everybody knows we're coming to the end of this. We've been adding a ton of value.

I am gonna ask here in a hot couple minutes what's the action item the listeners should take after this episode. But I wanna dive into may maybe 2 other places if we have time. The first one is the whole time that we've been having this conversation, my brain has been screaming one word over and over and over again, and that's developer. Developers and nerdy people. Like, where do the developers fit into this puzzle that we're talking about today?

Kevin Dunn: Admins and developers fundamentally completely different functions clearly, but the relationship that they have with the architect is fairly similar. And so I think, Devin, you had mentioned the the the trades people that come in and and help build your home. And so, you know, maybe the developer is the plumber in that instance and the admin is the roofer. Right? But regardless, the architect has to come in and package the requirements like, hey.

Here is what we need to go code, and then the developer obviously can go and execute that. So the relationship feels similar. But, yeah, Devin, the developers are the folks that you have or hire out to to custom code or or write the code that you need to to execute the the plan that the architect has designed. And plus 1 to HubSpot extend, shameless plug, our HubSpot Academy developer professors will be in attendance as well.

Max Cohen: I think when it comes to, like, developers, the thing that I've seen is really interesting is when we say HubSpot developer, you know, I I think of that as someone who knows how to code enough to set up stuff with the APIs or maybe design something nice looking in the CMS, but also has the context of why they're doing it and the purpose it's serving within the walls of HubSpot, the the products that is. Because we can't assume that every just developer out there that knows how to code is gonna kinda understand the why behind what they're doing, and who's gonna benefit from what they're doing there. Because you you show any developer the developer documentation, they go, okay, great. I know how to make contacts from or contacts from internal system a show up inside of HubSpot. And I know how to send along values that will be attributes in their table in the database.

Like, I know how to I cool. I I I can figure that out as much. It's a different conversation to say, why are we doing it? Who is gonna be looking at that data? Where is it gonna be showing up?

Do you know how to go into HubSpot and then customize the record so it shows up in the right place? Do you know that people can then automate a whole bunch of stuff based on that data coming through? And is any of that going to change the way you build these integrations and write those API connections varying ways we've described a solutions architect, is they know how to give that context to developers who don't have that internal HubSpot context. So when they say, hey, we need to create an API connection between this system and HubSpot. We can also say, this is why we're doing it.

This is what people are gonna see. This is the sort of segmentation and automation and stuff that we desire. So how do you think we should then actually write the code to get this done now that you have the context of how the information is being used? Right? And being able to communicate to folks who don't live in HubSpot 247 that would superpower is that they can write the code to make it happen if you are creating any sort of complex integrations.

George B. Thomas: It's so funny because my brain and I I was also told this, by the way. Somebody said they're gonna get me a shirt. My brain goes in these different directions. I guess I say that a lot that my brain goes in these different directions. But I had, like, an moment, Max, when you're talking as, like, an architect, and so they draw.

A designer, I can draw. The difference is when I draw my drawing of a house, I don't even think that it would really stand in the real world. When an architect draws their house, it has to have the fundamental foundations of physics to actually work with what they're drawing. And, like, the developer and the mindset you're talking about with that was, like, oh, yes. It's it that it has to be this nitty gritty finite details that they're paying attention.

Guys and gals, ladies and gentlemen, hub heroes, listeners, time flies when you're having fun, so let's do what we do, and we give you some action items before you we send you back to your regular scheduled day. So, Devin, we're gonna go with you, then Kevin, then Max, and I'll close this bad boy out. Around this conversation of architecture, architects, integrations, nerdy designers, developers, HubSpot solution partners, all the things that we've brought up today. How do we boil this down to an action item that they can take after this episode?

Devyn Bellamy: Sure. This is advice I like to give in general when it comes to setting up HubSpot or using HubSpot. Think about what you want HubSpot to do, not about what it can do. Think about the problem that you're trying to solve and not how not about how HubSpot can solve it. What you wanna do is find, an ideal scenario where, oh, wouldn't it be great if everything did this, and our team could do this and that?

And then, look for ways that you can use HubSpot, even if it means customizing it outside of its original design in order to accomplish your goal. And know that you can you don't wanna just say, oh, I don't see the I see HubSpot doesn't do that, or that's not in HubSpot. It can be. It's possible. With Operations Hub, custom objects, and third party, app applications, you can actually craft a solution that meets your goal.

So just take a step back from the system that you're in, and think about the solution that you want. And then find an architect.

Max Cohen: I'll directly target any partners listening to this. If you're listening to this episode and you're, like, oh, we need an architect. What I would encourage you to first do is 1, talk to your sales team. See how they're doing. Are they really struggling with technical conversations?

Is that slowing the sales process down? Given the types of companies that you're selling to, is that hurting your sales process? Not having some sort of dedicated sorta even just at a first sort of base layer, some sort of dedicated product expert that knows how to have sales conversations. See if that's even a thing you need. If you're unsure, listen, if you're a a HubSpot partner, it's likely that you're partnered with a bunch of different SaaS companies to deliver different stuff.

Go go go talk to their, you know, your your your sales contact there. See if they can put you in touch with anyone who, like, runs any sort of presales org in there And say, hey, how did you guys do it? What like, when did you know you needed to form this team? How like, what sort of what what sort of ideas do you have on on roles that they play that, like, I might be able to kinda fit in if it if it makes sense for me? Right?

And start to get an idea of, like, how other organizations have kind of started to add a little bit of presales support beyond just having sales reps. Because I guarantee you everyone's story is gonna be different, all the roles are gonna be different, but there's ideas and responsibilities that you can pick out of all those different perspectives and hopefully craft something that would be beneficial to what your company needs at this point in time and maybe when you start to scale up what you would kinda need in the future. Right? And again, this could be an architect. It could be an engineer.

It could be a product that, like, whatever you wanna call it. Don't get too hung up on the name.

Kevin Dunn: I would summarize it. Think about it in 3 categories. If you're a HubSpot customer today or a business that leverages HubSpot, don't be an alarmist in thinking that I need an architect. I need to go find an architect. We need an architect.

Just take a look at how you use HubSpot today. And if there's anything that you wish it did do or you've previously been told it cannot do, revisit that. And maybe that is a conversation you have, with somebody in, like, an architecture role. But just but but brainstorm and ideate and think, could this be more customizable? Do I wish data from one system, you know, was coming into HubSpot and that doesn't currently happen for us?

But just think about the opportunities, especially you've been told, hey. You know, HubSpot may not be able to do that. Revisit that. For partners, Max plus 1, take a look at the services you offer today, the services you want to offer in the future, the types of businesses, again, today and tomorrow that you wanna serve, and really think about the opportunity of having a solutions architect and and what value that could provide, obviously, to your own sales process and sales acceleration metrics and, you know, MRR, etcetera, but also the value it bring to the clients that you work with. And then lastly, the third category here is just the the HubSpot, user.

And the demand for this type of function is growing alongside it's like the same growth trajectory as the platform itself. And so if you're a HubSpot power user and if you're considering a career change or thinking about, you know, what are the opportunities ahead, for me, the opportunity for somebody that is a solutions architect, in the HubSpot ecosystem, there's there's a ton a ton a ton a ton of opportunities. There's very much a talent shortage for that type of function, so definitely consider that. And if you guys will indulge me, a tease, the partner team in HubSpot Academy, probably not a huge surprise based on this conversation, we have a number of solutions architecture certifications in flight. And so my big CTA for any partners listening, keep an eye out.

Keep an ear out because we're hoping to to educate, enable, empower partners to be able to to do this level of architecting.

George B. Thomas: So a couple of things. I might have just got a little giddy with the thought of more certifications that we can get. I'm just gonna throw it out there. Rack them up. Collect them all.

The other thing too is, Max, I'm sure Noah thanks you for your own beep and him not needing to edit that in. I'll throw that in there. And then my final tip well, actually, before I get to my final tip, I also like, Kevin, that you referenced. So I'll I'll plus 1, rethink everything and ask yourself if if it's possible. I think I might have ended a recent episode with those exact words and said that in one of the episodes.

But my thing for you, if you're listening to this and you're like, we have gaps whether it be in the software or we have gaps whether it be in the talent, here's the biggest thing, quit treating the app marketplace and the partner marketplace like it's the plague. Head in there, figure out what you need, have the conversations you need to have, and then rock out HubSpot the way it should be. Okay, Hub Heroes. We've reached the end of another episode. Will Lord Lack continue to loom over the community, or will we be able to defeat him in the next episode of the hub heroes podcast?

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