HubSpot is an amazing platform to power your business, helping your teams work faster, smarter, and drive growth more easily. However, while it’s pretty easy to do things in HubSpot, the best way to do things isn't always obvious. And doing it wrong can result in a lot of wasted time and resources, especially as you grow or as processes change.
When clients come to us with a HubSpot issue they want us to fix, it’s often the symptom of a more fundamental issue in their setup. So we decided to share the most common problems we're asked to fix, along with some tips for overcoming them.
Pick the item(s) from the list below that sounds most familiar to dive in. Note that some mistakes cause multiple problems, so you may see identical fixes for different issues here.
If you find that you're facing many of these problems, or you just want some expert help addressing one, talk with us about our Fix My HubSpot packages — more details at the bottom.
Common HubSpot Problems
- Too many duplicate contacts and/or companies
- Team spending too much time entering and updating records
- Team struggles to find the information they need
- Salespeople aren’t using HubSpot
- Can’t confidently measure success for your marketing strategies or tactics
- Reporting is inaccurate or missing data
- Deal pipelines have a large number of old or stale deals
- Forecasting is regularly very inaccurate
- Marketing emails regularly get low open rates
- Segmentation for targeted email campaigns is time consuming or difficult
- You have a lot of workflows and you’re not sure what most of them do
- You have too many marketing contacts, or marketing contacts are generating too quickly
- Anyone who emails you is automatically added to HubSpot as a contact, even if they aren’t a lead or customer
- Lead scoring is inaccurate or unhelpful
- Your marketing assets like emails and landing pages aren’t consistent
- An unexpectedly large portion of contacts have an original source of “direct traffic”
- An unexpectedly large portion of contacts have an original source of “offline sources”
1. You have many duplicate contacts and/or duplicate companies in your HubSpot instance
Duplicate records can cause countless issues in a CRM. There’s almost no way to avoid them completely, but if you’re seeing duplicates pop up all the time, it’s a sign there are some issues with either your setup or with how your team is using HubSpot.
- Add the right info: Always add email addresses for contacts (and add domain names for companies). HubSpot will automatically merge contacts and companies (i.e. deduplicate them) based on these fields.
- Define a process: Have a system for regularly reviewing and merging duplicate records, using HubSpot’s duplicate management tool.
- Try bulk merging: Operations Hub (Professional & Enterprise) can make managing duplicates easier with bulk merging in the duplicate management tool and automatic duplicate merging based on specific properties with custom coded workflow actions.
- Set required unique values: You can require unique values for up to 10 custom properties per record type to help prevent users from creating duplicate records within the CRM. When dealing with a ticket, company, deal, or custom object property, mark the checkbox to require unique values for the property. This makes it so users can’t enter the same value for multiple records.
2. Your team is spending too much time entering and updating records
If your HubSpot portal setup isn’t optimized for efficient day-to-day use, users end up having to spend more time than necessary adding and updating records. This can lead to inefficiencies, poor adoption, and/or missing or inaccurate data. If you find your team complaining about wasting time like this, it’s time to make some adjustments.
- Automate processes: Identify places where automation can update records based on known data (requires Professional or Enterprise tiers).
- Gather only necessary data: Make sure your record creation forms are customized to only ask for the data that’ll be helpful. It should also be the type of data users will have available at the time of record creation.
- Check out your options: Make sure you’re aware of HubSpot settings designed to reduce data entry requirements, such as automatic contact-company associations, email and calling integrations, HubSpot’s new leads tool, and more.
- Define deals clearly, and not too early: Don’t set a requirement for deals to be created and managed too early in the sales process. Deals should only be created for leads that are actively engaged in a sales process; early activities such as prospecting should not be tracked with deals.
- Integrations: Leverage integrations with other systems that contain data about your leads and customers. There’s little point in copying data by hand when it can be synced automatically.
- Set up playbooks: Use HubSpot playbooks to easily capture the right information for different engagements.
- Training: Make sure your team is trained on efficient day-to-day use of HubSpot.
3. Your team struggles to find the information they need
HubSpot can store a lot of data, but this can actually make it difficult for users to find the data that’s most relevant to them. If your team is complaining about having a hard time finding information in HubSpot, you have many options for making things easier for them.
- Customize views: Edit your object record pages to show the most helpful information in the left sidebar, center tabs, and right sidebar. This can be further customized by team and/or with conditional properties.
- Don’t ignore these tools: Leverage saved views, lists, and task queues to show users the records and tasks most relevant to them.
- Set permissions: Similarly, edit permissions so users only see the records and tools relevant to them.
- Check integrations: Take advantage of HubSpot’s integration options with other systems that contain data about your leads and customers.
- Training: Make sure your team is trained on efficient day-to-day use of HubSpot.
4. Your salespeople aren’t using HubSpot
Team adoption is the key to success for any CRM system, and it’s often one of the most difficult aspects of CRM implementation and management. Poor adoption can lead to bad data quality, inefficiencies, inaccuracies or lack of insights in reporting, and an overall reduction in the value HubSpot creates for your team.
So how do you get everyone on board? The main idea here is that HubSpot should allow them to accomplish more with less effort.
- Pitch them the right benefits: First off, make sure your sales team understands how HubSpot tools can help make their jobs easier and drive more results. HubSpot provides much more than just better reporting for management, so focus on what matters to your users.
- Keep everyone on the same page: make sure you have adequate documentation for your team’s use of HubSpot and any related standard operating procedures, especially for common tasks.
- Incentivize and recognize: Ensure your company has the right mix of requirements and incentives (or celebrations) related to your team’s use of HubSpot. Teams should have minimum requirements for when and how HubSpot should be used. Use it as the go-to platform for recognizing achievements, as well as for conducting sales meetings and development discussions.
- Use each tool for a reason: Be sure your HubSpot processes aren’t over-engineered. Use HubSpot’s built-in tools and best practices to prevent unnecessary friction and complexity in user training, as well as in day-to-day use (for instance, failing to follow deal stage best practices can create a lot of unnecessary work for salespeople).
- Keep it simple: Make sure you’re not requiring too many properties for record creation.
- Automate and integrate: Take advantage of automation and integrations to reduce data entry requirements.
- Make sure they know how to use it: ensure your team gets sufficient initial and ongoing training.
5. You can’t confidently measure success for your marketing strategies or tactics
One of the best things about using a comprehensive platform like HubSpot as the primary tool for your marketing and sales operations is how much easier it can be to figure out what’s working and what’s not, by properly attributing lead gen and revenue. But easier doesn’t mean easy and there are still many things that can get in the way of getting these insights.
- Use HubSpot’s campaigns tool. This is one of the most robust tools in HubSpot to track how well something is helping generate new leads and revenue, and how that compares to the investments you’re making.
- Centralize: Move more processes into HubSpot, using HubSpot tools whenever possible as you migrate from other systems. When this isn’t possible or practical, be sure any relevant third-party systems are tightly integrated with HubSpot. When the data is all in one place, you get a much clearer picture of what’s going on.
- Take advantage of deals: Make sure you’re using HubSpot’s deals tool, even if you’re using another CRM like Salesforce to manage the bulk of your sales activities. Nearly all of HubSpot’s revenue tracking and attribution features are based on revenue reported through closed-won deals.
- Get the right data to the people who need it: Identify the specific questions various stakeholders on your team need answered, and build the reports and dashboards they need to answer those questions. See the next item on this list if you’re having trouble with reporting.
6. Reporting is inaccurate or missing data
HubSpot has a unique ability to provide robust reporting across marketing, sales, and customer success. But its reports are only as good as the underlying data stored in the CRM, and there’s a bit of a learning curve to mastering HubSpot report building.
- Review your setup: Make sure HubSpot is capturing all the data you need. This is generally a mix of creating the right custom properties and ensuring they’re being filled in correctly by your team and/or integrations with other systems. See other issues on this list for incorrect source data and complaints from your team about data entry.
- Centralize: Migrate your processes to HubSpot tools whenever possible, phasing out your other systems and putting everything in one place. When this isn’t possible or practical, be sure any relevant third-party systems are tightly integrated with HubSpot.
- Check filters: Make sure your reports are using the correct filters. Many pre-built reports are filtered based on the creation date of relevant records, and failure to adjust or change this filter often results in reports not including data that you expect to see.
- Keep consistent processes: Make sure that anyone who’s importing data or creating records is trained on which data is essential, how it’s captured in HubSpot, and the processes they need to follow.
- Learn best practices: If you haven’t already, get trained on report building from HubSpot-Certified Trainers or online resources such as the HubSpot Academy for the basics.
7. Deal pipeline(s) have a large number of old or stale deals (that aren’t marked as closed-won or closed-lost)
Deals are a great way to track opportunities, and they play a key role for reporting on revenue attribution and for forecasting. However, all these upsides go away when deal pipelines start to fill up with old, stale, or out-of-date deals.
- Follow best practices for naming deal stages: names should represent clear milestones in the sales process, not start too early in the sales process before the buyer is truly engaged in a sales conversation, and be easy for everyone to understand.
- Set time limits: Your team needs a clear rule about how long a deal can stay open without a response from the client.
- Manual reviews: Schedule regular deal reviews with the sales team to clean things up.
8. Forecasting is regularly very inaccurate
Forecasting is one of the most helpful tools in HubSpot’s Sales Hub (Professional & Enterprise tiers), but only if it’s accurate! From optimizing your setup to having consistent standards in place, there’s plenty you can do to get more dependable forecasts.
- Proper naming: Follow best practices for naming deal stages to ensure deals aren’t mistakenly put in the wrong stage or get included in forecasting too early. They should represent clear milestones in the sales process, not start too early in the sales process before the buyer is truly engaged in a sales conversation, and be easy for everyone to understand.
- Proper weighting: Make sure your forecast category or deal stage weights are accurate. The more accurate these are, the more accurate your forecasting can be.
- Accurate deal amounts: Be sure salespeople are entering accurate amounts on deals. Don’t require an amount so early in the process that it’s unlikely to be accurate and leverage products and line items to help ensure accuracy.
- Standards for forecasting updates: Have a standard operating procedure for when and how salespeople should update forecast submissions and forecast categories for deals.
- Regular review: Ensure you’re regularly reviewing historical forecast submissions and forecast categories with salespeople to identify common issues and improve accuracy over time.
9. Your emails regularly get low open rates
There’s a lot more to email outreach than simply blasting out messages and hoping you get some bites. In fact, failing to maintain best practices with marketing and sales emails can tank your deliverability (i.e. you start getting marked as “junk”).
You can get a quick sense for the quality of your email practices with HubSpot’s Email Health score, found under the “Health” tab of “Email”, in the Marketing Hub. HubSpot provides an industry-agnostic benchmark for open rates at 22%, so if your rates are low, you probably need a checkup.
A better Email Health score equals a better chance that your emails will reach your contacts' inbox and get opened. You can use this data to monitor your email sending reputation, and see what you might need to fix.
- Cull your list: Stop sending emails to unengaged contacts (you can mark a checkbox for this). If they’re not opening your emails, that probably won’t change, and they’re bringing down your Email Health score in the meantime.
- Get opt-ins before sending marketing emails: Make sure you’re not sending marketing emails to cold prospects, since they haven’t opted in to receive them. Instead, use 1-to-1 email tools for cold email (and/or generate opt-ins by leveraging other channels). Make sure you understand the difference between marketing emails and sales emails in HubSpot.
- Test your subject lines: a good email subject line can make a massive difference in open rates, though you need to make sure the email body lives up to the promises of the subject line, or you risk souring relationships with recipients. Use HubSpot’s AB testing functionality to test sales sequences, marketing emails, and more.
- Focus on value, not self-promotion: unless your list of contacts specifically signed up to receive sales promos, they don’t want a bunch of pitches. Emails that deliver valuable, high-quality content are more likely to get opened and clicked, thus improving your Email Health score. This will also help earn the trust of your audience, so they’re more likely to buy when the time comes.
10. Segmentation for targeted email campaigns is time consuming or difficult
HubSpot empowers you to do advanced segmentation, but if your processes are over engineered, or your underlying data structure isn’t sound, segmentation can be difficult or even impossible.
- Make sure HubSpot is capturing all the data you need. This is generally a mix of creating the right custom properties and ensuring they’re being filled in correctly by your team and/or integrations with other systems. See other issues on this list for incorrect source data and complaints from your team about data entry.
- Keep it clean and organized: Don’t use too many lists, and ensure you have a clear naming convention to keep all of your contact lists clear and organized. We recommend regularly auditing your lists and removing any that aren’t necessary. It can also help to adjust user permissions to limit who can create lists.
- Make sure you’re not over-segmenting. Targeted and personalized messaging is generally highly effective, but don’t get so narrow with your segmentation that your team can’t keep up with the amount of content variations you need. Test segmentation often, and only focus on increased segmentation when it clearly results in improved performance.
11. You have a lot of workflows and you’re not sure what most of them do
Workflows are a powerful tool in HubSpot, but they’re also a common place for problems to originate. As a HubSpot portal ages, it’s easy to lose track of what workflows have been created and what they do. This often results in automations doing things they shouldn’t or with nobody on your team knowing how or why something is happening in your portal.
- Audit your workflows. Document what your workflows do in an external document and in each workflow’s description. Archive or delete any workflows that are no longer needed. Create a process for doing this on a regular basis, such as at the end or beginning of every year.
- Organize them: Organize your workflows into folders with clear naming conventions. This will make it easier to understand what a workflow is doing, and to more quickly identify any problems later on.
- Limit permissions: Edit user permissions to limit the number of people on your team that can create their own workflows.
12. You have too many marketing contacts, or marketing contacts are generating too quickly
Growth in the number of marketing contacts in your portal is often a good sign — it can mean that your lead generation efforts are working well and that the list of people you can actively market to is growing. However, sometimes a quickly-growing number of marketing contacts can be caused by underlying issues that list someone as a marketing contact even if there’s little to no chance you can effectively get them to buy.
Left unchecked, this can cause unnecessary and sometimes-unexpected contact tier upgrades that raise your HubSpot costs.
- Automate cleanup: Set up automations that automatically remove marketing contact status from contacts that unsubscribe, hard bounce, or haven’t engaged for a long period of time.
- Perform an audit: Audit your forms and workflows to ensure they aren’t automatically marking contacts that aren’t actual leads as marketing contacts.
- Define your processes for the team: Make sure you have clear processes for importing contacts and that anyone doing contact imports knows when to mark a new list of contacts as marketing contacts, and when not to.
13. Anyone who emails you is automatically added to HubSpot as a contact, even if they aren’t a lead or customer
HubSpot makes it easy to add new contacts from your email, but if a new contact is being created for everyone that emails you, this can quickly become an issue.
Make sure email settings are correct: This problem is almost always created by HubSpot’s conversations inbox tool. This tool is meant to help manage shared email addresses (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), but it’s a common mistake when first setting HubSpot up for people to add an individual’s email address here. Instead, email addresses for individuals should be added through those users’s email settings.
14. Lead scoring is inaccurate or unhelpful
HubSpot lead scoring is a great way to prioritize your efforts and know when someone may be ready for a more personalized, one-to-one approach. But a lead score is only as helpful as the rules it’s based on, and can often be ineffective in identifying the leads that are truly most likely to buy. Following lead scoring best practices will help a lot here.
- Make it a scale: Think about your lead score as a scale rather than an ever-growing number. Start by setting a maximum score, such as 100, and work backwards from there. This way, the threshold score that represents a qualified lead won’t change as you add more marketing assets and campaigns.
- Make sure your lead scoring rules also factor in time. A prospect who viewed your pricing page 3 years ago probably isn’t as ready to buy as one who viewed it yesterday — this sort of intent decay should be factored into your scoring rules.
- Apply negative scoring. If a lead does something that signals they’re unqualified, you’ll want to dock their lead score. For example, you might apply a negative score to someone who downloaded a research report but listed their job role as “student.”
- Consider multiple lead score types: If you have a high volume of leads or complex qualifying criteria, consider having multiple scores with each score representing a specific aspect of whether a lead is qualified. For example, you might have one score based on a prospect’s engagement behavior and another that’s based on the demographic information you know about them, such as their job title and company size.
15. Marketing assets like emails and landing pages aren’t consistent throughout your company
One of the best things about HubSpot is how easy it makes it for people to create and launch marketing assets and campaigns, but this comes with its downsides. Whether you’re a small company with an all-hands-on-deck approach to doing marketing, or you're a large organization with a large team responsible for marketing, it can be difficult to keep things consistent and on brand.
- Limit customization with a HubSpot theme: Develop a custom HubSpot theme with custom modules that’s designed to be used for all of your assets, from webpages to emails. Within this theme, be strategic about what design options will be available in page-level and module-level settings, and where the templates will allow for drag-and-drop customization, (as opposed to layouts being predefined).
- Require approval before publishing: Leverage HubSpot’s new approvals capabilities.
- Check that permissions make sense: Edit user permissions to control who has access to create and/or publish different types of assets.
16. An unexpectedly large portion of contacts have their original source marked as “direct traffic”
HubSpot assigns “direct traffic" as the source for inbound leads when someone comes to your website directly (types your domain into their browser), or when it can’t tell where someone came from. Since it’s rare for most companies to have a lot of new leads typing in their specific URL, a large amount of direct traffic usually results from HubSpot being unable to track where people came from.
- Cookies: Make sure cookies are enabled.
- UTM codes: Create and manage a thorough UTM strategy.
- Filtering: Exclude traffic of employees by blocking their IP addresses from tracking.
- Source tracking: Make sure source tracking in HubSpot emails is enabled. Also make sure source tracking is enabled in non-HubSpot marketing tools, such as any other mass-email tools
- Cross-domain tracking: Make sure cross domain tracking is enabled.
17. An unexpectedly large portion of your contacts have their original source marked as “offline sources”
Contacts with a source of offline sources come from imports, integrations, and records that are manually added by your team. This isn’t an issue for imports and manually added records because "offline" is the correct source, but it may be an issue with integrations.
This is especially common for integrations with companies' own SaaS products or proprietary systems. For example, if you have a SaaS product with a free trial and someone signs up after finding you through organic search, you want the source of that lead to be organic search rather than offline sources.
Set up a custom integration that uses the Forms API instead of the Contacts API: Source data generally comes from the HubSpot User Token and/or UTM parameters. To pass this data to HubSpot in a way it can interpret for assigning values to the original source and latest source fields, you must use the HubSpot forms API. However, many developers skip this step and only use the contacts API to create contacts and pass data about them.
Fix my HubSpot
If these or any other issues with HubSpot have you stumped, or if you just want some expert guidance getting things running smoothly, we've got your back. After helping many clients navigate through challenges in maximizing the value of their HubSpot investment, we created as service designed to do just that: Fix My HubSpot.
We begin with a full audit, identifying issues and areas of opportunity. Then, we dive into our interactive Buyer's Journey Workshop, where we help you identify the best ways to make HubSpot support your unique processes. Finally, we wrap this all up by diving into your portal and addressing the most pressing needs with an included block of implementation hours.
Within a month, you'll have a clear picture of what needs done to make HubSpot work better for you, and will have already made some progress towards your goals. Schedule your free consultation with us today to learn more.