Optimal workflow design for multiple buyer personas and languages

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Regular Contributor

We are new to Hubspot and trying to design our lead nurturing workflows. We have two aims with the design:

a) to know what is working and what is not
b) to keep things organised and agile

Whether there is a tradeoff involved, I'm not sure. Answers to initial questions on onboarding calls suggest it is better to have many small workflows.

However here is the thing. We have 5 personas and offer our product in 4 languages and
from the point someone provides an email to the point they generate revenue, there are 4 separate funnel progression stages. Assuming that there are 4 emails per funnel progression stage, that would mean:

I) Number of emails = 5*4*4*4 = 320
II) Number of workflows = 5*4*4 = 80

(and this ignores internal workflows, emails etc).

I was wondering about two options

- using Smart Content linked to buyer personas in emails via CTA which would reduce emails by a factor of 5
- using branches linked to language which would reduce workflows by a factor of 4

However, I'm not sure if this is a good solution. I'm worried that I won't be able to drill down and compare performance across persona or language (i've seen in the documentation that Hubspot recommend workflow branches for things like "mini-goals" with no mention of segmentation which is effectively what I am proposing).

Any recommendations as to what would be best way to structure things to maintain agility and still be able to drill down into performance?

Separately, would be great if there was some sort of folder classification system of tagging for workflows, or at very least being able to add a detailed description of the workflow. Pretty worried that if we don't configure this right from the get-go, it could be chaos.


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Every once in a while, someone takes the extra time to articulate a question so clearly that an abundance of information can be communicated in the exchange. Sorta like going from the days of 9600bps modems to 100Mbps internet connections.

Thanks for that.

 

Q: Optimal workflow design for multiple buyer personas and languages

 

Short A: There are no short answers to this multi-faceted question, but will try to be brief.

 

Longer A: hubspot-workflows-the-butterfly-effect.pngThe HubSpot Workflow Butterfly Effect

Keeping in mind the two primary goals: 1) ease of testing (because there's simply no other way to know what works and what doesn't) and 2) agility, we have to agree with the core HubSpot recommendation of "many small workflows". Would also like to add, "relatively simple" and "well documented" to the criteria. Here's why.

 

As you begin building out your workflows and discover their awesome power you may experience a sometimes overwhelming temptation to put everything in there (including the kitchen sink). You may even have dreams of calling it something like your 'Master Workflow' (or worse) 'Master Workflow 01' which implies there's gonna be more 'masters'. haha The choice here is to either resist temptation or to embrace the chaos you so aptly anticipated and thereby creating what we've come to know as 'The HubSpot Workflow Butterfly Effect'.

 

The framing of your question suggests an organized mind capable of reverse-engineering complex solutions, so consider ...

 

You will have MANY workflows with varying degrees of complexity. Some (maybe even many) will interact with and/or depend on the successful completion of other workflows. This simply can't be avoided in even a tiny HubSpot Marketing portal which fully utilizes the platform.

 

Since the HubSpot workflow management system -- an oxymoron -- is virtualy devoid of management capabilities (i.e., no folders), we like to repurpose HubSpot's awesome Campaigns tool to help group related workflows. This makes troubleshooting agile.
(see image)

hubspot-campaigns-zmfjlabs-do-not-add-assets.png

 

Examples:

_Top-Level Admin Workflows
- restricted to high-level, portal-wide processes that align with an organizations business strategy -- i.e., assignment of HubSpot ownership, (re)classification of Lifecycle stage, management of integration-specific custom properties, etc.

 

_Data Hygiene Workflows
- restricted to actions and notifications around housekeeping -- e.g., flaging contacts for review by a manager, flaging contacts containing bad data, flaging contacts for deletion, etc.


_INTERNAL NOTIFICATIONS
- restricted to internal notifications about the operation of the portal and other essential messages -- e.g., "Customer opted out of all emails", "Work begun with no NDA on file", etc.


Again, these are just baseline examples we use to organize portals and which encourage a blackbox approach to workflow building whenever possible. A good rule of thumb is to handle a specific task in a single workflow or group of workflows dedicated to the task. AKA: KISS theory.


Examples:

- Assign HubSpot Ownership in a single workflow or group of 'HubSpot Ownership Workflows' in the portal. This makes testing as relatively easy as possible and allows laser-like focus on a single task when issues inevitably arise.

- Flag records for deletion in a single workflow when possible. Makes testing a breeze. Makes troubleshooting even easier. (And no. There is no workflow command to auto-delete contacts! haha)


I say all of this to shed light on your proposed two options:

>>- using Smart Content linked to buyer personas in emails via CTA which would reduce emails by a factor of 5
True. However, it also increases complexity and risk of failure. Additionally, as you eleuded to earlier, it increases difficulty when analyzing performance -- always our focus.

 

Not to suggest that complexity scares us because we're fearless when it comes to dynamic content in both email AND on HubSpot pages. Just know that when comes time to make revisions, you're not gonna wanna have one of your interns handle this one unless you want your emails to end up in the news like the MIT guys! haha
- see MIT Shares Email Love With The Wrong Recipients

(disclaimer: We only love to pick on MIT because that's where Brian and Dharmesh met.)

 

>>- using branches linked to language which would reduce workflows by a factor of 4

Using excessive If/then branches in HubSpot workflows has the same effect as excessive {{ elseif }} statements in code -- they lead to unintended behavior and to errors. And, they're not scalable.

 

Right now you may think, "He11, we'll never serve more than 4 languages." Then the bean-counters tell us that we're leaving a 30% revenue boost on the table because we're not serving 3 additional languages. Now we're up to 7 languages. Do we just add 3 more if/then branches to our already if/then branch laden workflow?

 

We thinks not.

 

Also, if/when working with clients in different countries there are frequently additional country-specific actions that need to take place. Depending on the task(s), these are often best handled in their own country-specific / language-specific workflow. For example, if we break CTAs or Forms serving the US market we don't wanna interfere with our GDPR-compliant CTAs and Forms we just got approved by legal for the UK.

 

To sum it up, HubSpot Marketing is an awesomely powerful tool that's only getting more powerful as the orange Oompa Loompas add to the product line. Mastery takes considerable time and experience. (even for the smart people AT HubSpot)

 

If there were a 'short' or 'simple' answer here it would be to hire a HubSpot Marketing partner to help you both strategize and implement. It will save you much pain and dramatically reduce your risk.

 

Thanks again for a world-class question.

Hope that helps.

 

Best,
Frank

 

MFrankJohnson-dot-com-HubSpot-Community-banner-gif-v20190817

6 Replies 6
Highlighted
Community Superstar

Every once in a while, someone takes the extra time to articulate a question so clearly that an abundance of information can be communicated in the exchange. Sorta like going from the days of 9600bps modems to 100Mbps internet connections.

Thanks for that.

 

Q: Optimal workflow design for multiple buyer personas and languages

 

Short A: There are no short answers to this multi-faceted question, but will try to be brief.

 

Longer A: hubspot-workflows-the-butterfly-effect.pngThe HubSpot Workflow Butterfly Effect

Keeping in mind the two primary goals: 1) ease of testing (because there's simply no other way to know what works and what doesn't) and 2) agility, we have to agree with the core HubSpot recommendation of "many small workflows". Would also like to add, "relatively simple" and "well documented" to the criteria. Here's why.

 

As you begin building out your workflows and discover their awesome power you may experience a sometimes overwhelming temptation to put everything in there (including the kitchen sink). You may even have dreams of calling it something like your 'Master Workflow' (or worse) 'Master Workflow 01' which implies there's gonna be more 'masters'. haha The choice here is to either resist temptation or to embrace the chaos you so aptly anticipated and thereby creating what we've come to know as 'The HubSpot Workflow Butterfly Effect'.

 

The framing of your question suggests an organized mind capable of reverse-engineering complex solutions, so consider ...

 

You will have MANY workflows with varying degrees of complexity. Some (maybe even many) will interact with and/or depend on the successful completion of other workflows. This simply can't be avoided in even a tiny HubSpot Marketing portal which fully utilizes the platform.

 

Since the HubSpot workflow management system -- an oxymoron -- is virtualy devoid of management capabilities (i.e., no folders), we like to repurpose HubSpot's awesome Campaigns tool to help group related workflows. This makes troubleshooting agile.
(see image)

hubspot-campaigns-zmfjlabs-do-not-add-assets.png

 

Examples:

_Top-Level Admin Workflows
- restricted to high-level, portal-wide processes that align with an organizations business strategy -- i.e., assignment of HubSpot ownership, (re)classification of Lifecycle stage, management of integration-specific custom properties, etc.

 

_Data Hygiene Workflows
- restricted to actions and notifications around housekeeping -- e.g., flaging contacts for review by a manager, flaging contacts containing bad data, flaging contacts for deletion, etc.


_INTERNAL NOTIFICATIONS
- restricted to internal notifications about the operation of the portal and other essential messages -- e.g., "Customer opted out of all emails", "Work begun with no NDA on file", etc.


Again, these are just baseline examples we use to organize portals and which encourage a blackbox approach to workflow building whenever possible. A good rule of thumb is to handle a specific task in a single workflow or group of workflows dedicated to the task. AKA: KISS theory.


Examples:

- Assign HubSpot Ownership in a single workflow or group of 'HubSpot Ownership Workflows' in the portal. This makes testing as relatively easy as possible and allows laser-like focus on a single task when issues inevitably arise.

- Flag records for deletion in a single workflow when possible. Makes testing a breeze. Makes troubleshooting even easier. (And no. There is no workflow command to auto-delete contacts! haha)


I say all of this to shed light on your proposed two options:

>>- using Smart Content linked to buyer personas in emails via CTA which would reduce emails by a factor of 5
True. However, it also increases complexity and risk of failure. Additionally, as you eleuded to earlier, it increases difficulty when analyzing performance -- always our focus.

 

Not to suggest that complexity scares us because we're fearless when it comes to dynamic content in both email AND on HubSpot pages. Just know that when comes time to make revisions, you're not gonna wanna have one of your interns handle this one unless you want your emails to end up in the news like the MIT guys! haha
- see MIT Shares Email Love With The Wrong Recipients

(disclaimer: We only love to pick on MIT because that's where Brian and Dharmesh met.)

 

>>- using branches linked to language which would reduce workflows by a factor of 4

Using excessive If/then branches in HubSpot workflows has the same effect as excessive {{ elseif }} statements in code -- they lead to unintended behavior and to errors. And, they're not scalable.

 

Right now you may think, "He11, we'll never serve more than 4 languages." Then the bean-counters tell us that we're leaving a 30% revenue boost on the table because we're not serving 3 additional languages. Now we're up to 7 languages. Do we just add 3 more if/then branches to our already if/then branch laden workflow?

 

We thinks not.

 

Also, if/when working with clients in different countries there are frequently additional country-specific actions that need to take place. Depending on the task(s), these are often best handled in their own country-specific / language-specific workflow. For example, if we break CTAs or Forms serving the US market we don't wanna interfere with our GDPR-compliant CTAs and Forms we just got approved by legal for the UK.

 

To sum it up, HubSpot Marketing is an awesomely powerful tool that's only getting more powerful as the orange Oompa Loompas add to the product line. Mastery takes considerable time and experience. (even for the smart people AT HubSpot)

 

If there were a 'short' or 'simple' answer here it would be to hire a HubSpot Marketing partner to help you both strategize and implement. It will save you much pain and dramatically reduce your risk.

 

Thanks again for a world-class question.

Hope that helps.

 

Best,
Frank

 

MFrankJohnson-dot-com-HubSpot-Community-banner-gif-v20190817

Regular Contributor

Thank you Frank for taking the time to write such a detailed reply.

Sounds like am better off making sure stuff is organised properly outside of HubSpot and keeping things as granular as possible within HubSpot. Had hoped to avoid cumbersome naming conventions and having workflow descriptions external to the system, but hey, here's hoping this will be improved upon further down the line.

Cheers.

Community Superstar

Hey DWXFX just going through old posts and realized this was never marked as solved. Please accept the solution so other searchers can find it quickly.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Best,

Frank

Hope that helps.

 

Best,
Frank

 

MFrankJohnson-dot-com-HubSpot-Community-banner-gif-v20190817

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0 Upvotes
Occasional Contributor

Hey Frank, 

 

Loved your response. I have one question; when you say you would opt to limit the amount of 'if/then' use in workflows determining actions based around languages and other scaling factors, would you create separate workflows for each language?

Reply
0 Upvotes
Community Superstar

Thanks @BenKarklins,

 

Workflows by language? Yes, depending on the specific use case. However, there may be additional considerations that warrant an even more granular separation of workflows.

 

book-cover-spanish-of-country-gif.gifHubSpot Workflows: Language vs CountryHow you decide to tactically implement your HubSpot workflows may (should) depend heavily on a workflow strategy consistent with your organizational goals. The following two examples briefly consider two multi-language use cases where the buyer persona of company 'A' is language-specific, but the buyer persona of company 'B' is country-specific.


Company A - (language-specific workflows):
Company A is US-based and sells transportation services internationally. Their solution is language-specific. This means, in countries with similar languages (and different dialects), Company A uses what they refer to as 'common language' to save lauguage translation costs for their webpages. As such, their HubSpot landing pages target common LANGUAGE (despite notable differences).


- English -- USA, Canada, and UK
- Spanish -- Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and US-ES
- Portuguese -- Portugal and Brazil


This solution results in a language-specific workflow strategy that is country agnostic -- i.e., one HubSpot workflow for each LANGUAGE.


Company B - (country-specific workflows):
Company B is US-based and sells translated books internationally. Their solution is country-specific. This means, Company B offers translated books in the lauguage most commonly read by the country. As such, their HubSpot landing pages reflect the language variety specific to the target COUNTRY.


- USA -- English (American variety)
- UK -- English (British variety)
- Canada -- English (British variety)
- Spain -- Spanish
- Mexico -- Spanish (Mexican variety)
- Puerto Rico -- Spanish (Puerto Rican variety)
- Portugal -- Portuguese
- Brazil -- Portuguese (Brazilian variety)


This solution results in a country-specific workflow strategy -- i.e., one HubSpot workflow for each COUNTRY.


++
To my original point --
Now imagine a company that sells language translation services. Neither solution above may be appropriate for their specific use case and organizational goals. In fact, we'd expect their prevailing buyer persona to be BOTH language-specific AND country-specific.


Does that make sense?

Hope that helps.

 

Best,
Frank

 

MFrankJohnson-dot-com-HubSpot-Community-banner-gif-v20190817

Occasional Contributor

Awesome! Thanks for that, Frank. You've made me rethink my strategy a little Smiley Happy