2 min read

The ultimate HubSpot Workflows-a-palooza crash course: the good, the bad, and the ugly (HubHeroes, Ep. 39)

hubspot workflows guide


If you want to shine a spotlight on the part of HubSpot that exemplifies the awe-inspiring automation superpowers it can offer you, look no further than HubSpot Workflows in the HubSpot Marketing Hub.

For all of their might, however, Workflows may be the most singularly misunderstood tool within the Marketing Hub — or, at the very least, it's the tool that can cause the most anxiety.

Stop me if you've heard this one before ...

Your company is no slouch when it comes to HubSpot. In fact, you've been using it for years, and you've been using Workflows for years! Then, one day someone decides it might be a good idea to pop the hood on what you've got running in your portal, Workflows-wise.

🔎 Related: 6 must-know HubSpot workflows best practices (+ examples)

... and that's when things get spooky. There are hundreds of Workflows running! But they're all named counterintuitively, so you can't quite understand what most of them do, who built them, or why they heck they were even created in the first place!

On the one hand, you know you've undoubtedly got Workflows running that should be turned off, and who knows what conflicts may be happening between the Workflows that are live. And of the ones that are live, when you poke around in the data, you're not even sure if they're helping you are hurting you.

  • On the other hand ... uh, what if you break something? 🤔
  • What if you accidentally trigger something that sends a bunch of emails to a bunch of people on your list? 😳
  • What if you turn something off that's mission critical that really messes things up internally with your teams? 😱

If this sounds familiar, this is the episode for you. Heck, if you're just getting started with Workflows, but this is the exact nightmare scenario that makes you scared to click anything within the tool, you're also in the right place.

🔎 Related: HubSpot social media strategy 101 (HubHeroes Podcast)

This week, we're pulling back the curtain on HubSpot Workflows! It's the HubHeroes Workflows-a-palooza if you will — with special guest Christina Kay! We're talking about the good best practices, the bad habits you need to avoid, and our tips for untangling the ugliest of Workflow messes, so you can restore order to the chaos!

Now, let's dig in!

What we cover in this episode

  • What are the different types of Workflows folks need to be aware of?
  • What does great organization look like within the Workflows tool?
  • Is setting goals with Workflows actually important?
  • Complex or simple with Workflows ... which is the right move?
  • What are some of the coolest things we've seen folks do with the workflows tool?
  • What are some of the most complex Workflow "disasters" we've seen, and how did you go about solving them?
  • What do you do when you've inherited a mess of a portal when it comes to Workflows? How do you even begin to untangle a mess you didn't create and are struggling to understand?
  • What are the most important best practices folks must remember, above all else, when it comes to HubSpot Workflows?

Extra resources

HubHeroes Community

(We've made it easy!)

😱 The HubSpot workflows tool is, hands down, probably one of the most powerful parts of the HubSpot Marketing Hub ... but it can also be the most intimidating because of its complexity and potential for disaster!

Which is we can't believe it took us this long to dedicate an entire episode of HubHeroes to it!


#hubspot #hubspotmarketing #marketingautomation #hubspotworkflows #hubspotformarketing #inboundmarketing 

🏆 When you become a HubSpot workflows champion, you can easily become an inbound marketing champion. But it's all too easy to make mistakes or introduce unnecessary complexity into your workflow creations.

So, this week, we're breaking down our favorite workflows best practices, tips, and even some of our top secret disaster recovery scenarios!


#hubspot #hubspotmarketing #marketingautomation #hubspotworkflows #hubspotformarketing #inboundmarketing 

👉 Should your HubSpot workflows be simple or complex?

👉 How can you actually organize the HubSpot workflows portal, so you don't lose track of the workflows you create, no matter how many years go by?

👉 What do you do if you've inherited a mess of a HubSpot workflows tool? How do you even begin to untangle the mess?

👉 What are the coolest workflows we've ever seen others create?

We answers these questions and more in this week's episode of HubHeroes, dedicated entirely to workflows! 


#hubspot #hubspotmarketing #marketingautomation #hubspotworkflows #hubspotformarketing #inboundmarketing 



Meet your HubHeroes

Liz Murphy


Agency vet, content therapist, messaging strategist, HubHero wrangler.

Devyn Bellamy


HubSpotter, partner enabler, strategy wizard, BLACK@INBOUND.

Max Cohen


HubSpotter, senior solutions engineer, CRM evangelist, a millennial on TikTok.

George B. Thomas


HubHeroes leader, growth catalyst, guardian of humans, HubSpot expert.

[00:00:00] George B. Thomas: So just an f y I, Christina K. There's a running joke that I hadn't changed that intro for about two months of one, Mr. Max Cohen not actually being employed at, HubSpot. And because you were gonna be our special guest, I literally was like, I need to change this. I need to have no reason that Max can make fun of me on this episode where we're gonna talk

[00:00:23] Max Cohen: Good move.

[00:00:24] George B. Thomas: move you like that? So Christina, before we get into the actual intro, intro, just kind of explain to the Hub, heroes, listeners, uh, who you are, HubSpot Ecosystem, things like that. we'll carry on this conversation about HubSpot workflows because there is a reason that you're in the seat today for sure.

[00:00:41] Christina Kay: So thank you so much. I have been in the HubSpot ecosystem since about 2009, so it's been a little bit of time. Almost from the beginning. And I have been in it in various ways. So I've been at a HubSpot agency or two different ones and then in-house and then, um, freelance consulting, things like that.

And when I have used HubSpot, I've really used it in my mind. It's funny because the CRM is talked about so much now, but. Even in the beginning, I always thought of it still kind of as a crm. Cause it has, it is a database of contacts, you know, and people, um, never thought of it that way. So I've always had been that like, I don't wanna say true champion of HubSpot because that sound like a HubSpot champion pulling that card.

But, um, I have always,

[00:01:32] Max Cohen: don't

[00:01:32] George B. Thomas: I mean, you're allowed to pull that card just so everybody

[00:01:34] Max Cohen: can pull that carb.

[00:01:36] Christina Kay: it's um, it's just a thing that. I have loved to see them really kind of become who they are, and it's a really cool place to be in, and I think myself has grown within the community as well.

[00:01:47] George B. Thomas: Yeah, I love it. I love it. By the way, if anybody out there's doing math 2009. Yes. Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, that predates your boy G B T. Just gonna throw that other cuz I didn't arrive on the scene till 2012.

You can do the math. You can do the math. Max. When did you hit the scene, brother?

[00:02:03] Max Cohen: I'm the little baby here at 2015.

[00:02:06] George B. Thomas: Yeah.

[00:02:06] Max Cohen: What the hell?

[00:02:07] George B. Thomas: Yeah, well,

[00:02:08] Christina Kay: Get outta here.

[00:02:09] George B. Thomas: yeah, right.

What are you doing in the room now? So here's, here's the thing. The three of us, though, we're gonna add value to the listeners' lives here, and, and hopefully, people are starting to giggle and, and like what we're doing with some of our titles. Honestly, we don't give two issues about SEO at this point.

Literally, the ultimate hub heroes, HubSpot workflows, the Palooza crash course. The good, the bad, the ugly. Yeah. We're, we're probably not gonna rank for HubSpot workflows, but just. Just so you know, it's not about that. It's about adding value. And, and here's the thing. If you wanna shine a spotlight on the part of HubSpot that exemplifies an uninspiring automation superpower, that it can offer you, HubSpot can offer you, ladies and gentlemen, you look no further than workflows in a HubSpot marketing hub.

And, and for all of their might. However, workflows may be the most. Misunderstood tool within the marketing hub, or at very least it's the tool that can cause the most anxiety. And I cannot tell you the amount of humans where I'm like, ah, I'm gonna break something. But here's the thing. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Your company is no slouch when it comes to HubSpot. In fact, you've been using it for years and you've been using workflows for years as well. Then one day, Oh my gosh. Somebody decides it might be a good idea to pop the hood of what you've been got going running in your portal workflow wise. That is cuz there's a whole lot of other places that they could have popped the hood.

But today we're talking about popping the hood of workflows and. That's when things get spooky. There are

[00:03:37] Max Cohen: Ooh.

[00:03:38] George B. Thomas: of workflows running. I know we need like some like Halloween music right there, uh, when it comes to how, but here's the thing. There are hundreds of workflows running, uh, but they're all named, well, maybe they are named, maybe they're named counterintuitively.

In other words, you can't quite understand what most of them do. Who built them or why the heck they were even created in the first freaking place. On the other hand, you know that you undoubtedly got workflows running that should be turned off. And who knows what conflicts may be happening between the workflows that are live.

And of the ones that are live, when you poke around in the data, you're not even sure if they're helping or hurting you. Oh my God, does somebody stop me? Please. But however, on the other hand, what if you break something, a HubSpot Super admin's. Biggest fear, by the way. What

[00:04:28] Max Cohen: We've never done that, right?

[00:04:29] George B. Thomas: Nope. Nope. Never.

Never. Uh, what if you accidentally trigger something that sends a bunch of emails? To a bunch of people on your list. What

[00:04:39] Max Cohen: Wouldn't know what that's

[00:04:40] George B. Thomas: Nope, nope. Never been there. Nope. Uh, not on my resume. What if you turn something off that's mission critical that really messes things up internally with your teams?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, if this sounds familiar, then you're in the right episode. Heck, Even if you're just getting started with workflows, but this is the exact nightmare scenario that makes you scared. Stay up at night and click anything within a tool. You also might be in the right place. That's right.

We're back together. Uh, the three of us this time because guess what? We know it for a second week in a romax. There's not gonna be a haiku or a poem at the end of this because Liz had some sort of tree fall down and knock out the Innerwebs in in their location. And Devin is like a crime fighting sick kid.

So we go. Here we go. All right, let's get into this. Before we dig into our tips, I want us to take a step back and think about workflows in the big picture sense. What are workflows really, how should folks be thinking about them? Christina, Kate, why don't you take the mic first and then we'll roll through this.

[00:05:44] Christina Kay: Yes. Um, so whenever, honestly, whenever I'm, when I am starting workflows with like a fresh new instance or helping a, um, one of like my freelance clients, my consultancy. With, um, workflows in general, people just wanna do everything at once and I'm like, let's pull it back and stop, because first off, that gives me anxiety and two like, no, like that just, that's not gonna happen.

and what I always do is, and I have like a mindset of it to see what can help more than just like marketing at first and those like basic workflows of marketing triggers with emails, automation. That's awesome. But let's get down to helping the business first and having that foundation. And then let's get into the fund campaign workflow stuff nurtures you can do.

So that's my take on it, um, because you have to have a solid foundation to then and also document. I will say that, but thank God Now you can have descriptions and folders and stuff cuz otherwise that was a little messy before. But yeah.

[00:06:44] George B. Thomas: yeah. We'll, we'll get into organization here in a bit, but, but Max, when you think about what are workflows really, and, and how should folks be thinking about them, where does, where does your brain go?

[00:06:54] Max Cohen: Yeah, sure. I mean, it's the, it's the tool that helps you automate inside a HubSpot, right? It's the easiest way to think about it. But the, I think the, the better way of thinking about it is that it is the glue that holds all the hubs together, right? If you think about it, cuz. You're automating stuff that you're doing in the marketing hub, but then that's translating to actions that have to take place inside of the sales hub.

So like how are you doing things like assigning those leads over to sales after marketing's done their thing? And how are you handing those leads off to service once they become customers? And are all these little things that you're building in, in order to enable the folks that are doing the work in HubSpot to make their lives a little easier, but also make sure things don't fall through the cracks and you're reducing as much friction as possible.

Right? So, it's the, it's the glue that binds all of HubSpot together and just makes your life a lot easier.

[00:07:40] George B. Thomas: I love that. And Max, I'm pretty sure that that beep was for, automates all the good stuff that you're trying to do in HubSpot. Is that what that beep was for? I, I, I

[00:07:48] Max Cohen: my, my, my finger accidentally hit

[00:07:50] George B. Thomas: I, I thought that's what, what you were gonna say there. It's funny because when I think of the HubSpot workflows, I think it's like, it's HubSpot's magic wand, right?

It's just a little magic wand that you have in the tool. but

[00:08:01] Max Cohen: Tiny, tiny little baby magic wand. Just a very

[00:08:04] George B. Thomas: wand, but, but very, very,

[00:08:06] Christina Kay: really good.

[00:08:07] Max Cohen: Yeah.

[00:08:08] George B. Thomas: powerful. Very powerful though. And, and here's the thing. What's funny is everybody, they, their brain immediately goes to workflows and they say automation tool.

Dare I say that it's not just an automation tool, right?

When I think of workflows, I actually think of it as a communication tool, internal and external, by the way. But we'll get into that a little bit, uh, later in this episode. But also it's a process tool. Right. And so that's why I like to call it a magic wand because if you think about the three major vectors when you're talking about, uh, you know, hub landia, it's people platform and process.

And the one tool that can actually affect the process, the platform and people is your workflows tool anyway.

[00:08:46] Max Cohen: Mm-hmm.

[00:08:46] George B. Thomas: that's how I kind of think about it. I, I, I also like to teach the fact that it's not as complex as people think. I love to, to help people not have that anxiety. And so I just love to be like, Hey, it's, it's gonna be okay.

Workflows aren't the nerdy, deep end of the pool. Of course, some would call me a liar when I say that because workflows can actually become the nerdy part of, uh, hub swap, but it doesn't have to So, so let's dive into this because I want this episode to be somewhat. Actionable, somewhat example, somewhat just bringing people up to speed.

If they're getting started with HubSpot and HubSpot workflows, what are the different types of workflows, uh, that the, you know, HubSpot users or potential HubSpot users should be aware of, that they might wanna use or, or maybe that you think get left on like the back shelf?

[00:09:34] Christina Kay: I feel, um, well, I mean that, that's a very loaded question where I'm like, where should I start? Oh, goodness. I mean, So I'm many come to mind right now. If you wanna go first, max, you can go ahead. Cause I have so

[00:09:47] Max Cohen: Yeah, sure. Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, and we can, we can break it down a little bit. I mean, I think a lot of people when they first start approaching it, they think this is just like the automated email dripper tool. Right. Send an email delay, send an email delay, send an email delay. Have they bought something yet?

No. Send an email delay. Yeah. it's not that. I mean, it is that, but it's not that. Right. Um, it's, it's. If, if you're of the mindset that that's all you're doing with workflows, you've, you've totally missed the plot. Um, so like, you know, in terms of like, what can you use workflows for, I mean, to automate almost anything, right?

Um, and, and most of that should be happening. Like, you know, your email automation should maybe be 10% of like the total workflows you're creating, right? If we're really, you know, coming down to it or thinking, thinking about like how else you're, you're using it and the distribution of it. but in terms of like types, I think the first thing like. You know, there's, there's types of workflows for every object. And the thing, it's like important to point that out and like a lot of people miss this is that workflows center around the objects that go through them, right? So you can almost think of like a workflow as, you know, essentially a set of actions that get applied to an object as soon as it gets enrolled in it, right?

And those actions happen to that object, right? So you can think of it like falling through this process or going through this, um, like almost factory line or conveyor belts of different things that are happening to, happening to the object as it goes through it. Right? I think sometimes people just need like a little visualization to kind of understand that, but basically any object that you have inside a HubSpot, you could build workflows and then there's like types past that, right?

So how they actually get triggered, which I'm sure we'll talk about in a bit. So I'm gonna, I'll pause there.

[00:11:27] Christina Kay: I echo all of that. And then another thing that I would say that a lot of, when I'm in like new portals that I haven't been in, and I see different things that I see how their data looks is, um, really just like creating a, um, like formalizing your data really within workflows and being able to do that because it helps a lot, especially with a small team.

depending on like what tiers you are, obviously, but, uh, it, that's one thing that helped us a lot cuz I have a lot of, well I've worked with a lot of, uh, lazy salespeople.

[00:12:01] George B. Thomas: Oh, snap. Shots fired. Mm-hmm.

[00:12:06] Max Cohen: Get 'em.

[00:12:08] George B. Thomas: That's fun. So, so it's interesting, I, I think that there are so many things you can do and you know, if you stop and think about just like, Hey, I might be getting started, and by the way, when I say I might be getting started, you could be two years into this and you might hear something we say and be like, Oh, yes, I should probably do that.

meaning if you, uh, hopefully you know what a HubSpot owner is. If you need to assign leads to owners, there's a workflow for that. Uh, hopefully, you know what life cycle stages are. It's literally the vertebrae of your sales and marketing funnel. Uh, there's updating life cycle stages. There's a workflow for that.

Uh, you're probably gonna run into unqualified leads. So qualifying out your leads from your database. Well, there's a workflow for that. Uh, you might wanna score those leads because, well, you know, sometimes if you actually do it the right way, a number can really mean something. So setting up score properties, there's a workflow for that need to do, lead nurturing workflow for that internal notifications, workflow for that create and assign some tasks to people who need to get is done.

Yep, there's a workflow for that. Hey, you can even automate your deal stages. Why? Because there's a workflow for that. And you can also format your data as Christina K just said. By the way, hopefully you're doing event marketing and you want to actually promote the events. Maybe it's webinars, maybe it's just a different type of event.

Doesn't have to be webinar, but guess what, ladies and gentlemen, there's a workflow for that and that's just scratching the service. By the way, I mean we, we could really do a commercial. We could do a commercial or HubSpot. By the way, HubSpot, if you're listening, you could literally do, there's a workflow for that very, very

[00:13:42] Christina Kay: one of those like easy buttons, but uh,

[00:13:44] Max Cohen: they could also just sponsor the podcast, but I mean, that's,

[00:13:47] George B. Thomas: I mean they They could do that. They could do that, which hang around by the way, ladies and gentlemen, cuz about halfway through this podcast, you're gonna hear a word from our sponsor, but I won't mention them yet cuz they

[00:13:57] Max Cohen: Oh, let's go.

[00:13:58] George B. Thomas: Now moving forward, let's talk about this because Christina, you kind of actually alluded to like descriptions and folders and I was like, woo, hang on, we're talking about that

[00:14:09] Christina Kay: Yeah, sorry.

[00:14:09] George B. Thomas: Uh, that's all good. It's all good. So what does great organization look like within HubSpot workflows tool? Uh, and I would even maybe add in why is it so dang important to be organized in that part of HubSpot?

[00:14:21] Christina Kay: Yeah, so well, for your own sanity one, I would say that, uh, and then everything else is just so you, you know, what's going on. Because for me, I've built so many at, not at a time, but like throughout. A time period and you, you forget what you've done and if you don't organize it, you can set something off that sets something else else off.

And then it's a domino effect of negativeness nonsense that you don't really want. So that's why. But for everybody, and I will say not just, I won't, I won't say just about yourself and your own sanity, but your, your teams, like, I always have the analogy of. If I get sick and I can't come in in our whatever for weeks at a time, I'm not saying I get that sick, but say that would happen.

Someone could come in and see what's going on, instead of being like, F Christina's out. We don't know what to do. And that's like the last thing that I would want to happen.

[00:15:14] Max Cohen: Yeah, and like good, like, yeah. I mean, for me a lot of like the basics of good organization is like give the workflow a description for God's

[00:15:22] Christina Kay: Yes,

[00:15:22] Max Cohen: forget doing that all the time. Like be very specific about what it does. Right. And now, Like even with like the comments that you can add to actions, right?

Like if that's updating a property, right? Sometimes it's not as simple as just updating a property. Maybe it's updating a property and that causes like five other workflows to trigger and do something specific, right? So like, you know, maybe consider writing a comment where you like switched that one property to say.

We're switching this property and that's because it does X, Y, z da, so that's why we're doing it at this stage or whatever, right? So like get really good at coming up with like a very clear naming convention that explains at a glance what it is, get more specific with a description and then utilize that comment feature when, when, like, You know, whenever there's any like, nuanced understanding of like, why you're taking that step in the workflow, right?

Because like you may move on from that portal one day and someone else is gonna have to take that over for you, right? And then you're gonna, you know, you're gonna leave them not a mess. You're gonna leave them a. Very clear process that, that, that's built out, that's easy for them to understand. They understand why it's there and they don't have to like blow it up and start from scratch or like tinker with something and end up like completely breaking it.

Right? Um, so that's big. They just released sub folders, I think. So now you can do folders within folders. Which is awesome. Um, but another little like tricky naming convention I did too is whatever I would name my workflows. You know, for me, I like to know, like if it's a series of workflows that work together, right?

You can put like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, like in the naming convention and sort by that, right? So, a combination of like a good naming convention, grouping things into folders, giving good descriptions, like there's no reason that you shouldn't be able to have, or all the organization that like you need for workflows.

You know what I mean? And then on top of that, what I would say is like, try to consolidate 'em as much as you can, right? Like, try not to build a lot of these like repetitive workflows that are doing the same thing. Like if you can get the workflows to kind of work together. That's great too as well. Um, you know, and, and just make sure you keep 'em simple sometimes like organization just means don't do a thousand if then branches do a couple if then branches and some go-to actions that bring

[00:17:34] George B. Thomas: Oh yes. Go to go. Enroll in next workflow. Enroll in Next. Oh my God, yes.

[00:17:42] Christina Kay: I was going through that today actually, because the client was like asking, it was, I was like, let, you're hurting my brain right now. I was like, we have to break this down because. After, if you hear us snoring, it's my dog. I apologize. Um, he's, he, it gets loud sometimes. It's whenever I'm talking, it's really wonderful.

But, um, he, sorry. He goodness. For the workflows, they're, if you make 'em too complicated, they're more likely to break something, just to be honest, because you'll forget. And then I'll just skip too many things. So the thing that I, um, Always, I live it myself for my if ends. Cause I used to be like, oh, let's see how big my workbook can get.

You know, like, let's do that now. I'm like, what? What was I thinking? I have a Snapchat from like 2013 that like shows this one. And I was like, what was I thinking? What was I thinking?

[00:18:36] George B. Thomas: Yeah, it's, it's so funny because go to next action and enroll in workflow are two of my favorite, favorite, favorite features of workflows. Um, but Max, I wanna unpack something that you said because you slipped right by it. And I hope that the hub, heroes, listeners understand how important it is if you can treat and document your portal, like you're the one that's gonna inherit it.

There's something there because again, we all think about ourselves, but if we think about others, and not that we're planning on leaving or anything like that, but it's just, it's just being a good human to make sure you're documenting it in the way that it needs to be documented. Now

[00:19:14] Max Cohen: Yeah. Don't build it for you. Don't build it for you. Build it for someone

[00:19:17] George B. Thomas: That's it. That's it. Speaking of which, I wanna double down on this naming convention thing because you guys talked about descriptions and comments and stuff like that. Listen, I always teach, use a tag mentality for your naming convention. It's automation or it's process, it's awareness or it's consideration.

It's, you know, a singular or part of a group or whatever you can think of to actually give tags in the naming convention. And here's why.

[00:19:43] Christina Kay: And now you can put this in folders.

[00:19:45] George B. Thomas: Yes, yes. N folders named with tagging and, but here's why. When you first get in there, you're like, well, I only have five workflows. That is just a moment in time, ladies, gentlemen, you will soon have 500, if not 5,000 before you know it.

And so the best feature inside of the workflows tool is the search bar, because if you actually do a tagging convention for your workflow's naming. You can search those bad puppies, find all the ones that happen to be lead, nurture awareness, stage eBooks, and then pinpoint the one that you want. Anyway, just I, I'll get off my soapbox, but actually we might get ba Oh, go ahead.

[00:20:23] Max Cohen: they didn't, they just didn't, they just add like the, um, advanced, like filtering and stuff. There's like a whole new. Like workflows, like index page almost. Right. And it treats it more like the records where you have like tabs now and like a whole bunch of other stuff, just like

[00:20:39] Christina Kay: Yes.

[00:20:39] Max Cohen: is wild.

[00:20:40] Christina Kay: Mm-hmm. It's very nice. It's very, um, it's time. I almost said time consuming, but opposite of that, it saves a lot of time.

[00:20:48] George B. Thomas: Streamlines your day. Streamlines your day. All right. I might get back in my soapbox here shortly, depending upon what the two of you say here. Um, cuz I found that are so many people that are confused about this next thing we're gonna talk about that is, Is setting goal. I'm, I, I can't

[00:21:04] Christina Kay: Hmm.

[00:21:04] George B. Thomas: it without sounding like I'm trying to be a dick when I read this.

Um, is setting goals with workflows actually important?

[00:21:13] Christina Kay: Hmm.

[00:21:14] Max Cohen: It depends on the situation. Should we define goals for people who like are uneducated about 'em first?

[00:21:23] George B. Thomas: Yeah. So first of all, there is a place that you can go into your hubs, what workflow, and you can set a goal, meaning what is the desired outcome that you want to happen after somebody is enrolled in this workflow? One of the things that I love about it, by the way, and taught for a long time, is it actually gives you a percentage rate once you set it, of people who have reached that goal or not, literally, I have said it as a success or failure metric of what you have inside your workflow. But there's other things that we might need to talk about when we actually set a goal.

[00:21:53] Max Cohen: the other thing is that it removes the object from the workflow, So, you know, there's that idea that yes, it uses to say this workflow was successful, right? Because the only other option is that they just get to the end, they get to that little finish line flag, right? Um, and in some cases, like you want a workflow to just do all the things, and that's it.

Like no matter what, I want all the steps to take place. If that's the case. You don't need a workflow. Right. You don't, you don't, you don't need to run it. You Or a goal, sorry. Yeah. Goal. Sorry. You need the workflow.

[00:22:23] George B. Thomas: get ish done, bro,

[00:22:25] Christina Kay: Actually,

[00:22:25] George B. Thomas: the workflow. I'm just saying.

[00:22:26] Max Cohen: need the workflow. You don't need the goal. Right. Um, now I can, I can see where there's kind of like an argument there to say like, oh, well we want to know that, like, It successfully went all the way through, right? Well then, hey, get it to change a property like down at the end, and then have that be like the goal criteria or something and great.

Cool. You'll know it got all the way through the end and it does the thing, hits the goal, blah, blah. Done. Um, you know, but yeah, so it's either like, it'll pull it out. So like a lot of the times where you see people use this is like, uh, email drip campaigns, right? So like you're sending an email delay, sending an email delays.

Yeah. Right. Boring. But like, you know, people still have to do it. Right. Um,

[00:23:03] George B. Thomas: it 

[00:23:04] Max Cohen: yeah. It's super boring. Super boring. I hate getting marketing email these days. I'm, uh, now that I don't work at HubSpot anymore, I'm mask off. I hate email marketing. Oh my God,

[00:23:12] Christina Kay: oh my God.

[00:23:13] Max Cohen: Anyway.

[00:23:14] Christina Kay: I had, don't even ask the amount of emails I had at my, yeah.

[00:23:18] Max Cohen: Yeah. Yeah, it's brutal. Sorry for anyone listening here. If you're just blasting people with emails, I'm sorry. You're, you're, it's, uh, anyway, um, I, I'm not, I don't wanna piss too many people off, so I'm gonna shut up there. Um, but I mean, with the goal stuff, like, let's say it's a, it's an email, like if someone takes the desired action, such as like, fills out a form to like, get a piece of content or goes and like, makes a purchase or, I don't know, maybe like clicks the link in the email or something, right.

You can set that as a goal criteria, just keep in mind it's gonna pull 'em out of the workflow and any actions that they haven't gone through yet, they won't. The other thing that you need to be like cognizant of when you're looking for the goal stuff is like make sure you're setting delays so you give time for the goal to actually happen.

Right. Uh, versus it just flying through everything and, and, and not giving any time for the goal to actually take place, right? So time for that click, time for that form filled, time for that purchase time for that whatever. Um, you know, a lot like workflows is all about timing. Right. Because remember workflows, while they sound very smart, they're actually very dumb.

They just do exactly what you tell them to do. And if you don't give them time to search for these things, or time to update information or time to wait for a goal to happen, it's not gonna know that it was supposed to do that unless you tell it to. Right? So timing is everything.

[00:24:34] George B. Thomas: so Christina, your thoughts on to goal or not to goal with HubSpot workflows.

[00:24:40] Christina Kay: so I'm a hundred percent in line with Max with all of that because I have been on a, the side of I loved goals at one point, and then I was like, these are great, but like Max said, it like pulls people out of the workflow and it's not. Doesn't really, it's not the full goal in my, in my heart, like, you know, like, yes, but not really because it didn't really finish.

So how could it reach the goal, you know, in my mind. But, I also can see it, I will say this. There's some instances like if it's a very factual, like streamline my dog's snoring again, streamlined, uh, quick nurture per se. I say quick, but like, Two months quick nurture. And the goal is for like an upsell.

And we have this like one specific like offer for the set of people and everybody, same thing. Sure. That goal's fine, but also I'll just create a dashboard, like a dope dashboard with reporting on it too. And you can go there cuz that's where our executive team will get the emails anyway, you know? So it really depends.

In my mind, I've, yeah.

[00:25:54] Max Cohen: know, having, having this conversation makes me think like, it, it, it almost would make, because I could see a situation where you'd wanna be able to say, Yeah, they achieved what we wanted them to achieve in this workflow, but not remove them from it. Right. So like I almost wonder like if it would, if it would almost make sense if they had, like if they renamed what goals actually is to like, Removal criteria or un enrollment criteria.

Right? Because there is that option that you could say, if they no longer meet the starting criteria, unenroll them. But that's very different than them meeting a new set of criteria to then unenroll them. Right. And like Sure. Could you, could you jerry rig that and do it with like, if then statements and like branch people off to like, stop.

Sure you could do that. Right? But, but I mean, like, I, I almost feel like you could just, you could have a whole new thing called UN enrollment criteria and then a goal criteria that they could hit, but still keep going through the workflow so you know it was successful. Right. know, because just cuz the workflow is successful, does that always mean you want to take 'em out of it?

Eh, maybe, maybe not, right? I don't know.

[00:27:02] George B. Thomas: Hashtag

[00:27:03] Max Cohen: product team. Hope you're listening.

[00:27:04] Christina Kay: Yes. And I mean,

[00:27:06] George B. Thomas: item. Right?

[00:27:07] Christina Kay: cuz it could be like the goal, you put the goal in and then it's like a checkbox of. To Unenroll or whatever. It's, I sh in my mind, I make it simple like, you know, but I

[00:27:17] Max Cohen: you're right. Yeah. Maybe make it, yeah, no, you're right. So same as the goal stuff now,

[00:27:21] Christina Kay: Mm-hmm.

[00:27:22] Max Cohen: But maybe there's a checkbox that could

[00:27:24] Christina Kay: Like in settings.

[00:27:24] Max Cohen: wanna unenroll them if they meet the goal criteria? Yes or no, right. Or

[00:27:28] George B. Thomas: Somebody get coding. Somebody get coding. Hey, I want to close the loop on something, by the way, because Max, you almost had like, what was a little bit of a meltdown about email marketing? listeners, if you're like, well, but I want to know how they really feel about email marketing. You should head over to episode 27 and 28, cuz it was literally a two-part series.

Episode 27. We talked about HubSpot, email marketing strategy and best practices 1 0 1. But then episode 28, man, woo wee. Hot to trot HubSpot and email marketing part two, the electric boogaloo. You gotta go over and check that out for sure. Without a doubt. Okay, so here's the thing. We, we've talked about goal or no goal, right?

Two goal or, or not to goal. It's almost like we're having the giff and gif, uh, thing, but around like HubSpot terminology, HubSpot workflow terminology. Because the next thing I want to know, and by the way, Well, no, I won't say that. I'm just gonna actually ask the question because I have some thoughts by the way.

Uh, so now we're gonna talk about to delay or not to delay. So beginning of a, of a workflow delay or no delay. What are your thoughts?

[00:28:32] Christina Kay: can I ask a clarifying question?

[00:28:34] George B. Thomas: Oh, snap. Okay. Okay.

[00:28:36] Christina Kay: Are you, are you saying like, here's like the enrollment criteria and then like right away there's a delay?

[00:28:42] George B. Thomas: Here's the trigger and the next step is a delay.

[00:28:45] Christina Kay: Like,

[00:28:45] George B. Thomas: Hmm

[00:28:46] Max Cohen: I mean, it depends right?

[00:28:48] Christina Kay: it truly depends. Cause I mean, if someone fill out a form, I'm not gonna email them like seconds later. Cause that's like, for me, I feel like that's like a 10 10 creepy. Unless it's like an e-book. Cuz that's, but still sometimes with e-books I'm like, where is this ebook? It's been like five minutes. I just need it now.

[00:29:04] George B. Thomas: you should get it now on the thank you page.

[00:29:06] Christina Kay: well I have had, believe me, that's a whole, I recently, Was on page that that didn't happen. And I was refreshing my emails and refreshing

[00:29:16] Max Cohen: Oh, that's the worst.

[00:29:18] George B. Thomas: user experience ever.

[00:29:19] Christina Kay: Worst. but that's a whole, that's a whole other situation. Um, it really depends. But I mean, I, I, this is gonna go back to goals, but not HubSpot workflow goal.

What's the goal of the workflow you're creating in a sense, like, is it. Is it internal more wise? Is it, is it for, um, like property value updating, is it for lead scoring, all that kind of stuff? 

[00:29:47] Max Cohen: I think we're both curious George, kind of curious George. That's funny. I I think we're both curious kind of like where, like what's the context, what's

[00:29:56] Christina Kay: sure he's never

[00:29:57] Max Cohen: or not to delay? Cuz I think me and Cine are very much both in the, it depends camp.

[00:30:01] George B. Thomas: All right. So I will share, my thoughts on this. First of all, I do agree with Christina. There's a whole nother episode that just popped in my mind of like, the proper, proper delivery of your offer. Thank you. Pages and emails, everything you need to know. cuz I think that for people who are coming up, uh, and want to do it in a certain way, that it would be very useful. But here's the thing, the way that I, uh, think about this, and by the way this is for process, and it is for nurture, uh, workflows, is I actually fall into the camp. And by the way, I fully know that I'm gonna get email, either love, email or hate email when I say the statement, but I'm willing to put it into the world.

When I think about HubSpot workflows, I always give it about a two to five minute delay. Okay. And there are two major reasons why I do that. Reason number one, I do it for a technology standpoint, meaning I understand that HubSpot is built on the internet. I understand the, uh, internet does not always work the way that it should.

And I also understand that SaaS software sometimes has issues. And so if this is off of some type of form conversion or. Action or something along those lines. I wanna make sure that the data or the thing got to the place where it actually needed to get to before I use some of the personalization tokens or something like that along the way.

So technology two to five minutes. The second reason that I bring this up is because psychology believe that we should be marketing in a mindset of abundance, not of scarcity. And if I were to come to your website and if I were to fill out your form, and if I were to immediately hit submit and then all of a sudden I got, you got mail or ding or whatever your email service provider does, I'm like, whoa.

Well, that's kind of creepy. However, If I've already downloaded my, uh, offer, offer your thank you page, and I'm starting to kind of peruse it and about two to five minutes later I get a, you've got mail or ding or whatever your email service provider does, and it's a nice email talking about, Hey, we just want you to save then a safe space because you don't have to go through the conversion process again.

You can download your guide from here at any point in time. I go, well, that. It's helpful. That is valuable and there is a wide cavern between that's creepy and that's valuable, and I want my brand to end up on the value side of this conversation.

[00:32:17] Max Cohen: Mm-hmm. And, and I think so. I, I agree with you there. Um, But I would say this is like, this is why, I mean, that's like a little micro lesson on why thank you. Page copy is so important, right? Because you can easily kill the creepiness by saying thanks. We just automatically emailed you a copy so you can get it later without filling the four.

Something like that. Obviously it's not that. Not that chunky, but like if you say, if you're transparent and say, we sent you an extra copy just in case you need it. Right. It softens the blow of that immediate email. Right, because you go, oh, it's just automated. Like, you know, people, people understand that, you know what I mean?

If, if it's like a notification on your phone that you're kind of already used to, right. So I mean it, you give good, like it's also good to just like set expectations, right? Like when someone requests like a demo or something from you. Right. It shouldn't just say thanks, we'll be in touch. It's to say, thanks.

We've assigned to a member of our team. They'll reach out within X amount of time, right? And like under, like get them prepped for what the follow-up's gonna look like. Because one, if it's not something that's immediate, then they're looking for it later, right? And two, they're not disappointed if it doesn't come in x amount of time that maybe they're expecting, but you didn't do the legwork to set the proper expectations, right?

So thank you. Page copy is really important.

[00:33:33] George B. Thomas: do you mean that marketers should actually take the initiative to. Set expectations.

[00:33:40] Max Cohen: Yeah. And maybe coordinate with the other people that you're setting up to have these interactions with and yeah. Yeah.

[00:33:46] George B. Thomas: Oh, you mean us as marketers should have accountability and work as teams.

[00:33:52] Max Cohen: Yeah, I think it's a great idea.

[00:33:54] George B. Thomas: Wow. That should be an episode in itself. Maybe in Future Hub Heroes, uh,

[00:33:59] Max Cohen: Oh, we did sales and marketing alignment kind of right. That falls into that episode, didn't

[00:34:03] George B. Thomas: there we go. We did talk about that too. We did talk about that too. All right, so let's get into some examples. What are some of the coolest things?

Uh, cuz by the way, Christina, the fact that you've been around since 2009, you, you've probably seen some stuff, girl. I'm just gonna throw that out there. But what are some of the coolest things that you've seen folks do with the workflows tool?

[00:34:22] Christina Kay: I would, one of the thing, and I'll. I will say, um, at first we had to create it in Zapier. Cause there wasn't a way to do that in HubSpot at the time. Um, and so then once HubSpot, um, amazingly had the opportunity for us to do this, and the product changed, we were able to, okay, so long story short, we, this is gonna be, I'm gonna try to do this long story short, when we had a closed one deal.

Cool. It was always in Salesforce. Someone had to manually, go to our, uh, go to charge me and create a contact customer. Uh, yeah, customer and a contact, and then it would. Automatic, then we had to manually go back to Salesforce to say, yes. They, it was just a whole journey of a person going back and forth.

Okay. So once we switched to HubSpot crm, everything from, like they self-service essentially signed up, they signed their Panda doc, and then from that it did a cl automatically changed the property, the deal to closed one, and then it automatically created, well, I Jerry rigged this. Automatically cloned.

I say this because Maxx just a TikTok on this, I think, but I Jerry rigged a duplicate clone, um, deal prop, uh, deal. Um, object md Yeah, well, no, sorry. A new deal. And then from there it completely went to charge B. And charge B did all of its stuff like automatically with. The customer contact, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And then created an auto renewal. And then it went back to HubSpot to like put in the invoice and then it started their nurture campaign for auto renewal, like 90 day thing. So it was taking away basically the unmanaged customers we had and us having the opportunity to lose them because we had no contact with him really at that time ever.

And we created this workflow that. We made sure that our books were in order, as well as the communication with the customers. We didn't talk to as much for auto renewals and everything like that within the book, and that saved a lot of time for our team like ours.

[00:36:35] George B. Thomas: Max.

[00:36:36] Christina Kay: In a nutshell, that's what it was.

[00:36:38] George B. Thomas: Yeah, max. in a world where a guy might have used to work at HubSpot,

[00:36:43] Max Cohen: Uh

[00:36:43] George B. Thomas: imagine that HubSpot probably used their own workflows tool, or you may have been passed down, stories from the mountaintops of, of amazing workflows. What, what are your thoughts?

[00:36:54] Max Cohen: I mean, what, in terms of like the, the coolest things

[00:36:58] George B. Thomas: Yeah. Yeah. What's something cool

[00:36:59] Max Cohen: the

[00:36:59] George B. Thomas: you've seen? Yeah.

[00:37:00] Max Cohen: I mean, HubSpots ones were, were always kind of like pretty simple. I, I'm trying to think of like, one that like, like really. Blew me away. Can you come back to me, George?

[00:37:12] George B. Thomas: Yeah. Yeah, I

[00:37:13] Max Cohen: I'm trying to think. I'm trying to think of like a really, really good example and I'm having trouble

[00:37:17] George B. Thomas: It's all good. It's all good. So first of all, I'm gonna give a shout out to, uh, Liam Redding. because Liam Redding, uh, man, I, I'll tell you, freaking workflow died just anyway. Anyway, so there's, there's two that I'm gonna mention and we're gonna make sure we put links to these YouTube videos.

By the way, in the description one, he actually walks you through how to do a 365 win back HubSpot workflow automation framework for like, win backs of, of what you're trying to do in your organization. The other one that I absolutely love too, that I wanna make sure because we are having a workflows conversation is, uh, and the fact that we also talked about goals earlier is that Liam, uh, Redding has a tracking HubSpot workflow goals.

That actually shows you how to set up, where you can see a little bit more than the average bear if you do what, uh, he shows in that video. So those are two where I'm like, those are really cool. As somebody who has talked to a lot of partners, uh, dealt with a lot of clients, uh, as soon as we were gonna do this, uh, episode, I was like, oh, oh, I've, I've gotta get these out to the world and let people see 'em.

[00:38:26] Max Cohen: Yeah. I think the, the coolest stuff that I see people do with like workflows these days is when you really start getting command of like, custom behavioral events, right? Or even just behavioral events like in the past, right? Because then you're using stuff from like outside of HubSpot to like, Orchestrate and like dictate the automation that's happening within it.

you know, I, I bring up custom behavioral events a lot just cuz I see it as like one of the most underutilized tools that like so

[00:38:52] Christina Kay: hundred percent.

[00:38:54] Max Cohen: aren't, aren't touching. Right. But like, you know, a great example of this is if you're a SaaS company and you want to know when like one of your contacts has completed some sort of like, High value or important action in your SaaS platform.

You can tell HubSpot that happened through a custom behavioral event, right, and with the recent, recent rework, wow, that's hard to say. Recent rework, not recent. WeWork, recent rework. Of the workflows tool, the engine behind it is all like events based, right? So like you can trigger stuff right? When custom behavioral events happening versus like waiting for like some list to compile in the background and like however it works before, right?

Um, and so what's really neat is like you could say, hey, when someone completes a certain event, Right. Go trigger this. Or you can, you can do delays based on when events happen, right? So you can say delay until an event occurs, right? So you can say, Hey, uh, we kick off a, we kick off a workflow. That's like onboarding someone onto a product, right?

But then we do a first email that goes out, tells 'em to go do a couple things. Well, hey, if you can track if they've. Done those couple things through custom behavioral events, then you can build in delays that say, wait until they do those couple of things and then continue down the path. Right. Um, so I mean, getting really smart with custom behavioral events is I think where you're really start to get, you know, super, super advanced with workflows.

other than that, like it's gotta be, you know, some of the stuff you see people accomplish with custom coded like workflow actions and operations hub. 

[00:40:28] Christina Kay: that's my

[00:40:28] Max Cohen: Yeah, that's the best one, right? Like, cuz at that point, if you have a command to code, you can, you can, you can get anything done, right? And you can, you can, you can automate almost anything under the sun.

I think coolest thing I ever did that I was proud of is, is I used that format data, mode or whatever to create a Google Maps link. Based off of like properties that were filled in on a company record. Right. So I think, you know, but people that are more skilled, uh, than I, that can do a lot more cooler stuff with that.

But, you know, a lot of it's all just your creativity. You know what I mean? That's the beauty of workflows.

[00:41:02] Christina Kay: Mm-hmm. And Max, you were talking about the customer behavioral events. With that, it's almost how I've created it with workflows is an essentially like an intent based type of, um, workflow. And then with our sales team, and then also having it come in, like if they've clicked on an area that they usually, they would have to like upgrade to so many times and were on that paid for so long.

It's kind of like a lead scoring in a sense, but then you can pull from so many different things. And what I do on that is also then train the, um, once we have the reports for this and the workflows created is train the team on what to look for when you're on the calls within their contact record and the CRM to have those conversations because it's gonna help so much.

And you can also do like internal ping saying, Hey, this. Person did this for so many, whatever, you know, and it really just helps the team be more aligned. But that also helps like cross collaboration. Cuz sometimes sales just thinks marketing does like social media and email. But for me, I'd love just to help them close quicker.

[00:42:08] Max Cohen: Yeah.

[00:42:09] George B. Thomas: All right. We've gotta. By the way, I, I have a special gift, uh, officially now at the end of the, uh, podcast, uh, we, we reached a point where I was like, okay, I've gotta do this. But I wanna ask one more question before we get to the end of this episode because I think it's important, uh, and it might end up being its own standalone piece, dependent upon what happens here.

But what do you do when you've inherited a mess of a portal? When it comes to workflows? How do you even begin to untangle a mess you didn't create and are struggling to understand? Where does your brains go?

[00:42:43] Max Cohen: Go, go, go, go into the, they have those new tabs now that tell you like the unused ones or something like that. Or the ones that like don't, yeah. Unused workflows. Yeah. Go, go look at those. Right. And if it says untitled workflow at the beginning, nuke that thing. Right? Cause there's, you generally have an army of unused workflows, cuz.

You know, if you didn't get your permissions down right. I'm sure there's been tons of people that have gone on there and go, what is this? And then gave up after the, it tried to ask him what they wanted for a trigger. Right. Um, but yeah, I mean, I'd say whittle it down to, it's just the stuff that has a green light on and it's, and it's like operating then like what I would try to do is like, Go in there, make sense of what's going on, rename it so you understand like what's happening and try to like map it out, right? Try to map out what's happening, what forms are triggering these things, what properties are they changing? Where are we using those properties, right?

Because, you know, it's cool is like you can go find all these different things they're touching and then see the dependencies. Those things have. Right. So like for example, you could say, oh, okay, uh, I'm looking at this first workflow. Alright, there's a form that gets filled out. I can go to that forum then and see what pages it's living on.

Right? And if it's changing some properties, I can go look at that property and see what that property's used in. Right? And, and, and, and you can usually kind of follow it. Now, it may take a long time if someone really, you know, created a rat's nest of crazy automation. Right? But the good thing is, is like, HubSpot gives you those signposts to figure it out if you really want to figure it out.

Right. Obviously there's a human element of someone doing some crazy shit, right? But, um, you know, HubSpot at least like helps point you in the right direction so you can solve the mystery, which is really good. It's like dependencies are huge.

[00:44:35] Christina Kay: And, uh, one thing that I. Do, and even like sometimes on the regular as well as do like an exported view of the, um, workflows and just to like see it in a like fully together, just not with other distractions within HubSpot that you can go to. And that's how I organize it. And then I pull from there to kind of get in line with what they're doing right now.

And then I can easily just like change naming or descriptions from there. And then I do like, uh, like current or before I keep it just so if someone comes with a question like, oh, this used to be this one. You can kind of, um, have everybody on the same page with that.

[00:45:17] George B. Thomas: So much goodness there. And yeah. I'm just gonna double down on, there's three tabs, unused workflow. Needs review and created in other tools that are gonna be really helpful at the beginning of this journey if it's created in another tool. Go to that tool and see what the, see what it's doing, uh, needs review.

In other words, see what's kind of semi broke, unused workflows. See if it even has a name like Max said. But then I love Max that you talked about, and again, you can, you can view the details of a workflow. And you can go to view connections. And if, if you haven't gone to a workflow and viewed connections and look at, you know, this workflow, uses these properties, uses this list, uses these tools, um, man, you can start to really understand a lot when you have that context before you jump into the actual workflow that was built.

So I love all of this. This is, this is good. Any last words of wisdom that you would leave the hub heroes audience with around just HubSpot workflows in general?

[00:46:22] Christina Kay: I would say if you're like new, try not to feel like overwhelmed, especially if you're coming from a different product. and I, and I say this and I always say this, um, because I just love the HubSpot community. go to the HubSpot community cuz nine times outta 10 your question will be answered there already.

And someone probably has a solution accepted. It's probably that guy who has like 5,000, I can't think of his name right now. And the workflow will basically be done for you. And so just really utilize that network cuz it'll help you more than you can know.

[00:46:53] Max Cohen: Don't automatically create deals in a workflow.

[00:46:56] George B. Thomas: my

[00:46:56] Max Cohen: Don't do that. Don't, uh, uh, ju just cuz you can't automate it doesn't mean you should. Right. And a bunch of stick figures working together is always better than a giant Christmas tree. I'll leave you with that.

[00:47:08] George B. Thomas: Oh, wow. All right. So, uh, keep it simple, baby. That's, that's gonna be my, uh, take words of wisdom, but keep it simple. Use those, uh, features that are two my favorite features. Uh, next action and enroll in new workflow. Uh, please don't get, uh, lost in the wilderness of branches that might be at your feet. But here's our special treatment, by the way, because, today is Friday 6 9 20 23 at 3 59.

It was only several hours ago that I reached out to Christina K and said, we're in trouble because we needed some help on this episode because we lost two of our hub heroes. And so Christina, because you were such a great. Great human and joined us on the podcast. I

[00:48:00] Max Cohen: End a legend.

[00:48:01] George B. Thomas: yeah, and a legend.

I feel like we should exit with this. Hub. Heroes beacon. Christina's voice shines brightly each word.

[00:48:11] Christina Kay: That's.

[00:48:11] Max Cohen: Let's go.