10 Lessons I Learned from Creating HubSpot Academy

1. Team Purpose

We created our Team Purpose very early on.

  • Make sure it aligns with the mission of your company.
  • Review it frequently. We reviewed ours in every Monthly Team Meeting and frequently in ad-hoc meetings with others.
  • Use it to make decisions: Not only did we review it, but we used it to help us align around strategy and tactics.
  • Have your team members commit them to memory. When your team knows and can recite your team’s purpose, it will be easier to unify around it.

2. Team Principles

We also created our Team Principles early on.

  • Have team members commit them to memory. When your team knows and believes in your team’s principles and can recite them, behaving in congruence with them will become (almost) automatic.
  • Have your team work together to build them. Our original principles and several iterations after were made with everyone’s input.
  • Revisit and update them appropriately. We revisited them annually and sometimes made minor tweaks, and others made sweeping overhauls. As the company grows and increases its products or international focus, your principles for educating may change. As the team grows and becomes more specialized, they also may change. If you’re curious about the team’s current principles, check out this post, “ HubSpot Academy’s Eight Guiding Principles .”
  • Recognize that some principles may be more prevalent or resonate depending on a person’s job function, the project they’re working on, or the time of year (e.g., annual content updates vs. KPI setting ).

3. Team Operating System

Mark Kilens, the team’s former VP, did an excellent job laying out the three operating systems our team leaned into to help us run efficiently over the years, which you can read here.

4. Hiring

Hire for character, train for skill.

5. Celebrate everything

Our team was obsessed with celebrating.

  • first instructor-led training class going live
  • our first attendees
  • when we transitioned all of our ILT content to video
  • the launch of every certification
  • our LMS the Learning Center going live
  • every piece of feedback we received
  • and even the personal milestones of our team members like buying houses, getting married, having a birthday, or achieving a life-long dream
Here’s me cheering on team member, Lindsay Thibeault, as she nears the end of the Boston Marathon. Finishing this race was a lifelong dream of hers.

6. Share or borrow resources

There were many instances, especially at the beginning, where we didn’t have the resources (budget, bandwidth, etc.) to achieve our goals.

HubSpot Academy’s First Iteration: Instructor-Led Training

7. Abundance mindset > Scarcity mindset

Starting a corporate academy or getting buy-in to increase your resources can feel like a Sisyphean task.

  • “Why can’t my leadership team see the opportunity here?”
  • “Why won’t they let me create this?”
  • “How can I build anything of value with no resources?”
  • How can I create something amazing with the resources I have today?
  • How can I create a compelling vision and plan with metrics that will help my leadership say “heck yes” to this?
  • How can I partner with others to grow further and faster?

8. Teaching Frameworks

Many people don’t know that the current HubSpot Academy that you see today was HubSpot’s third attempt at creating scalable training.

9. Use frameworks from other disciplines

After our certification programs had scalable and fine-tuned repeatable processes, we managed them like a product owner, promoted them like a marketer, and sold them like a sales rep.

10. Learn to tell stories with data

When we first started, we had zero data and zero data analysis skills. And admittedly, this hampered our ability to grow as rapidly at the onset as we could have.



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Sarah Bedrick

Sarah Bedrick


Personal coach @ Thrive. Founded Compt & HubSpot Academy. Passionate about learning & sharing ideas so together we can reach our fullest potential.