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Episode 291: Learn from our HubSpot mistakes, using emojis, calculated fields and conversation forwarding

Episode 291: Learn from our HubSpot mistakes, using emojis, calculated fields and conversation forwarding

Welcome to HubShots Episode 291: Learn from our HubSpot mistakes, using emojis, calculated fields and conversation forwarding


This edition we dive into:

  • Challenging your norms - learn from my mistakes!
  • Using Emojis in HubSpot
  • Using calculation fields to calculate commissions
  • The dangers of editing enabled workflows
  • The dangers of confirmation biases
  • The dangers of re-engagement campaigns (revisited)
  • Choose original sender of email forwards into Conversations
  • Listener question: Trigger a sequence from a workflow

You can watch this episode on our YouTube episodes playlist (or just listen to it on our YouTube audio channel)

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Recorded: Tuesday 15 November 2022 | Published: Friday 18 November 2022


Table of Contents


🌱 Shot 1: Growth Thought of the Week

Challenging your norms

We all know how easy it is to get caught up doing things because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’. We know it’s a trap, yet we fall into it ourselves.

Here’s a recent example where I fell into the trap:

  • Our HubShots show notes email is (or used to be) an RSS email that triggered of a blog post of the show notes going live
  • It was efficient and ensured the email went out each week
  • However, it causes some limitations with styling - there’s very little you can control about the formatting and style of the content in the email
  • When Erika, our graphic designer, mentioned she’d like to improve the look and feel of the show notes email I was of course happy
  • But mentioned to her that the formatting options were limited
  • As much as I’d like to improve the show notes email, we’re kind of limited in what we can actually do…

Do you see the trap I’ve walked us into?

I’ve assumed that we need to stick with an RSS email.

The solution to this is obvious in hindsight, but at the time was not even considered as an option.

The solution is to switch to preparing a campaign email each week, instead of using the automated RSS email.

well duh

There’s pros and cons of course (ie preparing the campaign email each week is extra work), but I’d not even considered the pros and cons - I was locked into my ‘norm’ (that we were always going to use an RSS email, because that’s what we’ve always done…).

The above may seem trivial, but hopefully you can see my point. What activities are you doing each week simply because you’ve always done them that way? What should you consider changing? What norms do you need to challenge?

BTW - if you’re reading this in your email then you should be having a much improved experience :-)

Later in Shot 7 we’ll consider this in light of our own confirmation biases as well.

As an aside, I’ve been encouraging our team to challenge any of our old processes - especially if I created them - chances are the processes I set up years ago were in response to circumstances that are much different now.

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✨ Shot 2: Quick Shots of the Week

Here’s a few quick items of interest we noticed:

  • Create lists directly in the Lists folder you are viewing
  • Testing contacts in lists (KB article) is now smarter - full disclosure: I didn’t even know you could test a contact in a list!
  • You can add line items to a deal when creating a deal in a workflow (very handy - and a good reminder to keep your Product library up to date)

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🚀 Shot 3: HubSpot Marketing Feature of the Week

Using Emojis in Properties

(Hat tip to Stuart Balcombe and Kyle Jepson for this idea - I stole it from one of Stuart’s LinkedIn updates last week)

You can easily use emojis in property fields eg in a dropdown:

emojis on fields

And then use them in Views eg

emojis in views

You can get emojis from 

It’s a nice, easy, visual option. We’ve just started adding this into our portal. The ideas are endless eg having a RAG dashboard (ie Red, Amber, Green) approach on fields (eg customer happiness, etc)

You can filter based on these easily as well:

filtering emojis

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💰 Shot 4: HubSpot Sales Feature of the Week

Using Calculation Fields to Calculate Commissions

Many companies use a commission structure based on deal properties.

If you have complex commission calculations then the following won’t be a fit for you. But if you have reasonably basic calculations, then using a Calculation property is a simple way to go.

Simply create a Calculation property:

calculation fields

And then use an equation:


One frustration: you can only have a single condition - it would be nice if you could have multiple conditions (eg pipeline stage, and checking if particular fields were known). In the above example, if either of the amounts (ie Setup Component, or Recurring revenue amount) are blank, the equation won’t calculate - which means you have to ensure the numbers are updated eg on Closed Won stage.

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👨‍🔧 Shot 5: HubSpot Service Feature of the Week

Choose original sender of email forwards

A reminder of this handy setting, when forwarding emails from clients (Eg they sent to your personal email) into Conversations (eg you forward it into a team inbox):

do you want to enrol existing contacts

Having this enabled will associate the conversation (and tickets) with the original sender.

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🔧 Shot 6: HubSpot Workflow Gotcha of the Week

Editing an enabled workflow

If you’ve ever changed the trigger criteria for a workflow when it is already enabled, you’ve probably seen a popup like this:

do you want to enroll existing contacts?

It’s easy to misread this and hit the orange button on the left (especially if it hasn’t updated with a number of contacts yet), only to realise you’ve suddenly enrolled thousands of contacts into the workflow that you didn’t intend to.

If you’re having cold sweats now, remembering when you did that, then you have my sympathy. It’s a terrible feeling - most of us have been there.

sweating man meme

To save you the stress of this - make a change to your process from now on, to always turn off a workflow before editing it (especially entry criteria).

Here’s our process for editing ANY workflows:

  • Turn the workflow off
  • Make the changes
  • Ask a colleague to check your changes
  • Review, and wait for the indication of impacted contacts to update
  • Turn on accordingly

Notice that there is a message indicating that the number (ie ‘3’ in this case) is likely not accurate. Always open the link to check the list of contacts.

review before turning workflow on

We’ve had instances where the indicated number has been wildly inaccurate - sometimes just indicating 0 results. Here’s a video where I show an example of this happening:

trigger criteria gotcha

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💡 Shot 7: Insight of the Week

Beware of your own confirmation bias

There’s a time and a place for having a ‘do unto others as you’d have them do to you’ approach to your marketing activities.

Should you treat your contact list well? Yes.

Should you treat them how you like to be treated? Possibly.

Here’s an example: I personally like it when I receive an email and the Unsubscribe link is super easy to find and use. To me, that’s a good experience and the sender is showing me respect.

Here’s a good example from Chris Penn’s newsletter, which I really respect:

Unsubscribing from emails

 I like this approach, and it’s something we’ve done for many years now, eg here’s an example from back in 2019:


But, as we’ll see later, it can backfire on you - if you get a lot of unsubscribes.

So, where am I going with this?

Simply this - doing things the way you like them isn’t necessarily the best thing to do.

Try to take a step back and put your own biases aside. Instead look into the data and industry best practices.

Here’s some other (personal) examples:

  • I hate popups, so I avoid using them. Industry data suggests otherwise…
  • I hate Facebook, so I avoid using it. Industry data suggests otherwise…
  • I hate LinkedIn, so I avoid using it. Industry data suggests otherwise…
  • I deleted TikTok, because it’s a bad use of my time. Industry data suggests otherwise…

If I based our firm’s actions on what I like and don’t like, we’d be out of business… thankfully I’m part of a team who challenge my ideas and push ahead testing things in spite of what I like/dislike. Outcomes trump biases.

Takeaway: be mindful of your own biases

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🏈 Shot 8: Listener Question of the Week

Efficiency of process is our key thing and limiting opportunity for error. I know we need a sequence for personal 1:1 in sales but can we use SMS messaging in a workflow and then have it trigger a sequence if certain criteria are met - or does the sequence need to have a manual enrolment?

Answer: If you are a Sales Enterprise subscriber you can trigger a sequence from a workflow based on the criteria that you prescribe.

enroll in sequence

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📚 Shot 9: Thought of the Week

Re-engagement campaigns revisited

Last episode I mentioned we had started some re-engagement email campaigns for a few clients that had resulted in getting their HubSpot accounts suspended.

Firstly, thanks to HubSpot for quickly reviewing the accounts and unsuspending them. Much appreciated.

This episode I wanted to mention a few of the learnings from the experience.

The first learning, funnily enough, is that we are always learning. There’s a reason I changed my LinkedIn bio last year to just say: “I am always willing to learn” - I’m the first to admit that the more I know, the more I realise how little I know… I’ve been doing this marketing thing for more than a decade now and it seems that there’s some pretty basic things I still need to learn. A quick way to learn is from the mistakes of others - so learn from my mistakes. You’re welcome.

The second learning is that if people Unsubscribe from your emails, it is almost always considered a bad thing by HubSpot (and other email platforms).

This doesn’t really make much sense to me. I thought having people Unsubscribe was actually a good thing - it meant they were being given control.

But it seems that’s not the case. To be fair, there’s actually some nuance to this - some email platforms (MailChimp is an example of this) will give people who unsubscribe the option to provide more information with one of the options being ‘I never signed up for this’. In that case, I think it is spam, and yes it’s bad.

According to HubSpot, having a high unsubscribe rate affects email deliverability. I don’t really understand this, since it will only be HubSpot who sees it - compared to say marking as Spam (which the email client services see).

Here’s what I thought was the case:

My thinking

Correct thinking

Spam = bad


Hard bounce = bad


Unsubscribe = good


BTW I don’t think I’m the only one who is of this opinion (eg see Shot 7 above, as well as some very successful marketers)

So what’s the right way to go about this?

There’s a few ways to go about this:

  • Use a confirm your interest button (ie permission pass email). However the problem with this is that most people are lazy and don’t take any action (eg I know myself I’m quite happy receiving emails from companies, but I couldn’t be bothered clicking a button to confirm my interest - if they stop sending to me then both they and I have missed out)
  • Use an Unsubscribe me intent button, that isn’t actually an Unsubscribe link, but is instead a CTA button that you use in workflow to manage their subscription. This gets around the Unsubscribe rate issue, but is misleading with your click rate stats - you may have a high CTR email which is just people wanting to unsubscribe

Of these, I think it will be a case by case basis. Choose the one that fits your circumstances best. 

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✍️ Shot 10: Quote of the Week

“Important life skill: recognizing the difference between criticism from people who don’t care about you and don’t root for you, and criticism from those who do. The first is best ignored. The second warrants attention and reflection.”

Tim Urban (@waitbutwhy)

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🏋️ Shot 11: Training of the Week

HubSpot Email Marketing Certification Course

Probably time I took this course again :-) 

[Back to Top]

🏋️ Shot 12: Need help with your HubSpot Portal?

HubShots HubSpot QuickCheck

Our new HubSpot QuickCheck service has been popular with companies who are looking for a quick review of their HubSpot portal to understand:

  • Are there parts of HubSpot I’m not using yet that I should be?
  • Am I using best practices in the key parts of HubSpot (eg Workflows, Forms, Emails, Landing Pages, Lists, Deals, Reports)?
  • Are there any ways I’m using HubSpot that are cause for concern that I need to address?
  • Are my processes efficient (eg qualifying new leads, creating tickets, managing Marketing Contacts, etc)?
  • My renewal is coming up - is my HubSpot subscription giving me good value?
  • Should I consider upgrading my Hub or adding new Hubs into my portal (eg I’m using Marketing Hub, should I consider Service Hub)?

If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, our QuickCheck call might be ideal. Here’s the details:

  • We organise a 90 minute Zoom or Teams call with you
  • On the call we start by getting a brief overview of your business, your goals and how you currently use HubSpot
  • We then guide you through our 50 point checklist through your portal, to gain a high level understanding of how well you are using your portal
  • We provide recommendations for improvements, features to use, and processes for increasing efficiency
  • Pricing is available on the site

You can view more details and book in your session here.

HubShots HubSpot QuickCheck

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🧲 Shot 13: Follow Us on the Socials

Connect with HubShots here:

Connect with Ian Jacob on LinkedIn and Craig Bailey on LinkedIn 

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HubShots, the podcast for marketing managers and sales professionals who use HubSpot, hosted by Ian Jacob from Search & Be Found and Craig Bailey from XEN Systems and XEN Solar.

HubShots is produced by Christopher Mottram from Podcastily.

We record using (<= affiliate link)

Please share this with colleagues - it helps us improve and reach more marketers.




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