Innovating the way they serve
Instrumental Group is a certified international agency that helps companies scale by leveraging the full benefits of HubSpot. With head offices in Colorado and Mexico, they deliver comprehensive inbound marketing, technical implementation, and integration services to businesses throughout the Americas.
Over the years, Instrumental Group’s business model evolved. What started as a service building out strategic HubSpot implementations grew to offering more customized, ad-hoc projects. They also developed specialized apps to integrate with their client’s overall customer-managed relationship (CMR) strategy.
Both of these changes turned their billing process into something convoluted and highly manual.
Amanda Althaus, Chief Technology Officer, had a mandate to find a simpler way for Instrumental Group to serve their customers’ diverse needs.
Amanda says, “We did not have a good way to collect fees for our built-for-HubSpot apps. And the process of quoting for ad-hoc projects took much longer than it should have. For simple services that were purchased frequently, the administrative burden was too great, so we ended up doing a lot of work for free.”
Managing subscriptions manually
With their old billing system’s lack of automations, Instrumental Group struggled to scale their apps.
Amanda says, “We were using one of the add-ons for Shopify that helps you manage recurring subscriptions. But it was a really kludgy process. There wasn’t a very good integration with HubSpot, and it didn’t make for a great user experience.”
The lack of data shared between the subscriptions app and HubSpot meant it was challenging for Instrumental Group to see when someone had signed up for a new subscription, and that slowed down the process to activate new accounts.
Amanda says, “It was very manual, and obviously, not sustainable or scalable. Billing was taking away time and attention that we needed for more important things.”
Creating ad-hoc quotes by hand
Meanwhile on the agency side, clients were increasingly requesting small, add-on tasks, and the accounting team was struggling to manage the quoting and billing.
PandaDoc had always been used for quoting their core services, but it proved too labor-intensive for ad-hoc tasks.
Amanda says, “Those small quotes took as much time to create as our big projects. They weren’t easy to generate, and that became a huge administrative hurdle for our technical teams. When a client wanted to expand the existing scope of work, it was often easier to just do the work for free.”
Refining the process with HubSpot payments
When Instrumental Group heard about HubSpot payments, an end-to-end solution designed to deliver a more connected buyer experience, they knew it could help relieve their billing challenges.
Amanda says, “We jumped at the chance to participate in the alpha release. Knowing that it would be natively powered with our HubSpot CRM made it a no-brainer.”
As a HubSpot partner, the agency is actively engaged with HubSpot’s product roadmaps.
“We try to stay on the cutting edge of HubSpot’s technology. We want our clients to feel at ease, knowing we’re on top of it so they don’t have to be.”
Effortless billing for diverse offerings
After implementing HubSpot payments, Instrumental Group’s admin teams could feel the difference almost immediately.
Amanda says, “It gave us the ability to quickly and efficiently capture payment on transactional services. Now, we spend less time quoting and chasing down small sums of money. We collect payments sooner and with less effort, and our accounting team is really grateful.”
By leveraging HubSpot Quotes alongside the payments tool, Amanda’s team turned over two hundred one-off quotes per year into a pre-set sales process.
Now, if a client requests add-on services, Instrumental Group’s account managers can send them a templated quote with a preset payment link to purchase a block of either 10 or 20 hours of support.
“It’s made a significant difference in the amount of time we spend putting together custom scopes of work. It even increased revenue by reducing the amount of work we’re doing for free.”
The team behind Instrumental Group’s SaaS product line also leveraged payments. By building a recurring payments link, they created a seamless and natively connected process for processing subscription payments and activating new accounts.
More growth and better service
In addition to streamlining billing, HubSpot payments also helped Instrumental Group develop a more customer-friendly service model.
Amanda says, “The support block concept has been incredibly beneficial to our growth. We’re getting paid for work we previously would have done for free, and the smaller offering lowers the barrier to entry for clients who might not be ready to sign a 12-month retainer. The whole idea developed because we had access to those payment links.”
New clients can easily test the waters with a small project to see if Instrumental Group is a good fit. And existing customers can add items to their projects without a lot of hassle.
“We find that as clients get acquainted with their new HubSpot build, they start to ask us, ‘Hey, is it possible to do this or that?’ Instead of telling them that we have to wait until their current project is complete, we can easily use some hours from a support block. It helps us deliver a better client experience.”
Evolving the business strategy
The next step for Instrumental Group’s support block strategy involves defining the scope of these blank-slate commitments.
“We’re innovating our process even further,” Amanda says. “We’re using HubSpot Quotes to formalize our addendum process. We’ve found that when the scope of a support block isn’t well-defined, it can be a real challenge for our project managers.”
The new tool will help administrative teams get clients’ sign-off efficiently, helping manage expectations and keep projects moving forward.
Seamlessly connected marketing
Having their payments natively with HubSpot’s commerce-powered CRM, Instrumental Group is able to personalize content and deliver an outstanding customer journey.
Users of their paid app receive nurture emails to convert them to the paid version.
Amanda says, “We also have workflows that send out an NPS survey or review request when someone has purchased a subscription, and that feedback shapes product development. Next, we’re building sequences to cross-sell services to our app customers, and the app to our service clients. It’s an incredibly beneficial opportunity.”
A client-friendly system that’s ready for growth
With HubSpot payments, Instrumental Group turned their disparate and frustrating billing processes into a smooth system that makes things easier for clients and internal teams alike.
Now, they use payment links and Buy Now buttons to bill for standardized blocks of support hours and easily manage their app subscriptions.
Amanda says, “The biggest difference is the time we’re saving on putting together a quote, getting the customer to sign off, and getting started on a project. And we’re doing less free work. Plus, on the product side, having all of the subscription and payment data inside HubSpot is really beneficial for marketing sequences.”
The accounting and technical service teams are both being freed to develop more valuable initiatives to grow the business.
Amanda says, “Compared to creating those small quotes in PandaDoc, we estimate we’re saving 45 minutes per quote, and that has added up to about 155 hours in the last 365 days.”
To other companies struggling with manual or disconnected billing systems, Amanda highly recommends HubSpot payments.
“I’ve recommended it several times. It improved the buying experience for our customers. And with everything right in HubSpot, you’ve got a single pane of glass. That visibility into what that customer has done is just amazing from a reporting standpoint and for understanding how people are engaging with your company.”