Digital Learning Institute Case Study

Founded in 2018, the Digital Learning Institute is the leading certification standard for the digital learning and instructional design profession. The body offers university credit-rated courses in digital learning design and supports global brands and educational institutions in upskilling their learning teams. 

The Challenges for Digital Learning Institute

Digital Learning Institute was using the same business processes from their original start-up phase. The company urgently needed new customer management systems to scale up as it grew. Although already using HubSpot, they wanted to use it to its full potential.

For example, there were inefficiencies with the invoicing process for purchasing programmes. An organisation would request an invoice by filling out a form. Then, an employee would take the information and manually send it to the finance department. An invoice would be created manually and eventually returned to the customer.

This slow process was, in effect, delaying the sale as businesses had to wait for an invoice. Digital Learning Institute wanted the ability to check out online or invoice immediately.

Also, the Stripe customer payment system needed to be optimised. Payment information was not automatically entering the finance system, but required manual interventions to update both to the CRM and financial system. At the Digital Learning Institute, customer experience is paramount. Recognising that the enrolment process over weekends was causing delays, they identified a need for improvement. Previously, students enrolling on weekends had to wait for staff to manually enter their information into the LMS (Thinkific) before accessing their courses. This delay was not in line with their commitment to providing an excellent customer experience.

The Solution by PYB

Digital Learning Institute needed clarification on whether they would have to integrate different systems to help them achieve the overall management they wanted. Or if they could even get all the information they needed, where they needed it.

Amy McPartlan, the COO of Digital Learning Institute, spoke to her network in the Irish education sector for a solution. However, Amy couldn’t find anybody using a systems stack that exactly matched her needs. She decided the best option was to use HubSpot as a single source of truth.

See a video run through here:

Putting the Fundamentals of HubSpot in Place

Amy wanted to find a professional and experienced technical HubSpot partner to help them set up the right business processes. She found Plus Your Business (PYB) through Hubspot’s Partner pages and wanted to verify their technical expertise before engaging them as partners. Martin from PYB connected Amy directly with a PYB client.

Digital Learning Institute’s HubSpot instance had initially been “set up by a lot of cooks” and had gone through a few hands. The result was that the company’s configuration of HubSpot was suboptimal.

Our recommendation was to integrate different platforms with HubSpot, enabling data synchronization, automating their B2B and B2C processes, and saving time.

Objects that we connected with Stripe (via our website) for B2B purchases are:

  1. Search, Create or Update of Contacts
  2. Search, Create or Update of Deals
  3. Products and Line Items attached to Deals
  4. Aligning “Course” Custom Object with Products and connecting it to Deals
  5. Timeline Events

Contact Record Example

Contact Record Example_pyb blog image

This integration with Stripe enables Digital Learning Institution to instantly track all website purchases, including one-time payments and monthly instalments. The integration also involves dynamic labelling based on the purchased product.

  1. Contacts
  2. Course - custom object (currently under development)

Association with labels will enable us to update the course-related data in the Deal. The main goal was to transfer the correct IDs from Thinkific LMS based on the course's start date.

pipelines_pyb blog image

Once the IDs are being transferred, the automated process then uses the Thinkfific REST API to: 

  1. Search for Customer
  2. Create or Update the Customer
  3. Enrol Customers in the correct Courses

Monthly payments (instalments) are processed by Stripe. Our recommendation was to store all payment intents back to HubSpot, creating a single timeline event and storing:

  1. Payment Reference / ID
  2. Payment Amount
  3. Status of the Payment

DLI - Anonymised Image

Payment Intents are also sent to Xero for adding payments to Xero Invoices; where CRM Card lists Invoice data. The invoicing issue was resolved by integrating a custom two-way system with Xero.

Once the B2C or B2B deal is created and the invoice generation is triggered from CRM, implemented logic has to:

  1. Search for Customer
  2. Create or Update the Customer
  3. Create an Invoice with Line Items, plus:
    1. Adding a discount if there’s any
    2. Adding Cohort details
    3. Adding Instalment Fee if there’s any

line item_pyb blog image

To achieve the mentioned integrations and data flow, we used:

  • HubSpot Operations Hub and 
  • Webhooks as triggers for Workflows, and
  • iPaaS -, using HTTP requests

Based on the given setup, the plan is to implement a B2B enrolment process, where contacts can enrol themselves in the Course without reaching out to Customer Support or the Sales team.

The flow will be built on the HubSpot Landing Page, where the flow would be to:

  1. Visitor Authentication
    1. Enter B2B owner Email + 
    2. B2B Deal ID +
    3. Verification code received via email after purchase 
  2. If Deal is recognized, we’re returning the number of:
    1. Purchased Seats (Products)
    2. Used Seats
    3. Remaining Seats
  3. Giving an option to select a Course 
  4. Giving the option to select:
    1. Start date - previously received in Custom object API 
    2. Full name
    3. Email address
  5. On submit - logic in HubSpot will:
    1. Create a ‘child’ Deal and associate Deal with the main B2B Deal
    2. Dynamic Association based on Course 
    3. Search, Create or Update Customers in Thinkific LMS
    4. Enrol Customer into Courses and set: 
      1. Start date of the Course
      2. End date of the Course

APIs used to achieve the functionality:

  • HubSpot Contact API
  • HubSpot Deal API
  • HubSpot Company API
  • HubSpot Custom Object API
  • HubSpot Association API
  • HubSpot Timeline Event API
  • CRM Cards
  • Thinkific Enrollments API
  • Thinkific User API
  • Xero Contacts API
  • Xero Items API
  • Xero Invoice API

For example, when a prospect downloaded a brochure, they would be put in the system as a contact, and you would see their form submission. Then, the system automatically created a deal for that person straight away. As a result, the pipeline was enormous and inaccurately represented the sales pipeline.

A Quick Reconfiguration

Amy wanted to return to basics, in order to build clean, and even considered deleting everything in HubSpot and starting again. Elisa from PYB explained to Amy that it was not necessary to do that and instead worked with the business to run a full reconfiguration.

PYB and the Digital Learning Institute team set out to complete the work in three months, but completed it in two. PYB worked very well alongside Digital Learning Institute as a team. Amy thought she was already quite a decent HubSpot user, but she learnt many new things from Elisa.

Amy worked collaboratively with Elisa and “used her like a sounding board”. Elisa would guide her through each issue and explain how to manage it in HubSpot. She also mentioned that the PYB team of Darian, Elisa, and Martin are all lovely and a pleasure to work with.

PYB helped Digital Learning Institute reconfigure everything towards the end of last summer. On the 4th of December, the company launched their automation by connecting the shopping cart with the finance system, HubSpot, and their LMS. Digital Learning Institute also managed to launch their new website on the same day.

The Phenomenal Results

Amy has been hugely impressed with the results. Before working with PYB, it would take her up to ten days after the end of the month to see how the business had performed. This laborious and stressful process would involve checking spreadsheets and moving data from Stripe into the finance system and HubSpot.

The finance system and HubSpot would not always match and it was difficult to identify where the problem was. This meant delayed management reports for the CFO and prevented the CEO from having accurate figures to base his business analysis on in a timely manner.

The old processes also had a knock-on effect on other business areas. For example, there was a delay in calculating the sales team's commission payments. Also, the team could not receive meaningful performance reviews as the HubSpot data was inaccurate.

Instant Access to Company Figures

For comparison purposes, in January 2024, Amy could close the month within 40 minutes of logging on and know exactly how the business had done. She can now also look at any point in the month and know how well the company is doing. On top of this, she also has the confidence that the finance system will match HubSpot.

Now, by using HubSpot optimally, Digital Learning Institute has a single source of the truth. Digital Learning Institute can use HubSpot to manage the performance of the sales team. Also, Digital Learning Institute can now track where
leads are coming into the business from, within HubSpot. From a customer perspective, the students can access the learning platform within 4 minutes of purchase.

There is also no manual intervention on the website. Amy explained, “Right now, everything just happens when you purchase from us. It’s incredible and is great for the students.” Email confirmations are also automated through HubSpot so the students can start learning immediately.

The HubSpot Impact That Surpassed Expectations

The overall impact of HubSpot on the business has been incredible. Amy summed it up by saying, “HubSpot is beyond belief. I was really sceptical about this project’s complexities and Hubspot’s ability to be everything we needed. I had been told an awful lot about what it could do, but you’re never quite sure. However, it has completely surpassed my expectations.

Improving Business Processes

HubSpot has managed to boost the on-demand programs for students. As the name suggests, students should have had immediate access to the courses. This access was not the case in the past before PYB helped optimise the business processes. Now, students can access on-demand programs instantly.

HubSpot has become the student information system for Digital Learning Institute, as well as the CRM. Previously, the company emailed students from Outlook because all the information was in Excel spreadsheets. Now, students receive emails via HubSpot, and the company is also constantly improving this area.

HubSpot has positively impacted Amy’s role. PYB has helped her use HubSpot in a more user-friendly way, which makes work more enjoyable. Before working with PYB, creating reports or looking at any metrics or meaningful figures was impossible. Now, she can access this accurate information within a few short clicks.

Opening Up New Ideas

Digital Learning Institute is excited about the subsequent phases of using HubSpot and how the marketing team can use it to optimise their life cycles.

The more the company uses HubSpot, the more it has opened up new ideas on how to use it in the future. Before the support from PYB, having access to up-to-date student information was a foreign concept for the business. Now, there is the possibility of using the Service hub to create a knowledge base and ticketing system.

A Game Changer for the Business

Amy is excited to continue the relationship with PYB in the future because what they created was a game-changer for their business. HubSpot and PYB have helped Amy achieve much more and awakened new ideas for the company.

If I could give them 100 stars I would


Incredibly grateful to Martin, Elisa and Darian for their help with two projects this year: 1. HubSpot reconfiguration- Elisa guided us through how to back out of some previous CRM mistakes and how to adopt some of the native HubSpot functionality to maximise our CRM usage. I would go to Elisa with what I thought were complex scenarios and she would have visualised it and built it while I was still trying to explain what I meant. It was an absolute pleasure working with Elisa and absorbing some of her know how. Our CRM just sings now, exactly how we wanted it. I look forward to continuing our reconfiguration into the new year as we tackle Phase 2. 2. A development project- We were re-platforming our website with another vendor and wanted to introduce some automation into our enrolment process. For this project I worked with Martin and Darian. I will admit to very much doubting Martin when he kept saying 'yep that's possible' as I outlined what we wanted to do. He had no doubt Darian could do everything we wanted and it seemed to good to be true. I wanted an individual to be able to purchase directly on our website, process their transaction on Stripe, pass their information into HubSpot creating/updating the contact, creating a deal, associating it with the correct line item, pass their transaction to our finance system and finally enrol them in the relevant course in our Learning Platform (with various rules for what they could/couldn't access immediately). I am delighted to say, that is exactly what we achieved. In fact we even did more than that and enabled automated enrolment for invoiced customers also. And, better yet all of the above is completed within 3 minutes of purchase. It's incredible. I look forward to working with PYB into the future. I couldn't recommend them more. Lovely team, so nice to deal with, reliable and their enthusiasm for 'what is possible' is infectious. The sky is the limit.

Amy McPartlan
Chief Operating Officer, Digital Learning Institute