Workflow Fluke Woes


Decided that there needs to be a support thread for those "oh **bleep**!" moments -- especially those of us who are a one person shop!


Fluke 1: last week. Accidentally sent an email to a list that should be sent Dec 31. Had to send the "oops, please disregard" email which was fine.

Fluke 2: messed up my workflow condition and accidentally enrolled our whole contact list (about 1700 people) in a workflow that was set to a specific audience. They received one email. But may also have received "Out of Office" emails from my coworker who's on vacation this week. Big, old, messy mess up! 


Best/worst part: I've been using Hubspot for 5 years and these are the first times I've messed up like this! Ugh. 


Anyone else need support?

12 Replies 12
Community Manager

Thanks for sharing @eeghbal4! Mistakes happen and if we can learn from them - and learn from each others' - we'll all be better from it! 🙂 


@MFrankJohnson@Bryantworks@Josh@Krystina@sharonlicari@joshua-paul@willsmith do you have any mistakes that we can learn from? 



Thought Leader

Thanks for the ping, @jennysowyrda ...


Do you mean mistakes like the time we imported 70K contacts and forgot to set an 'update flag' to differentiate the 70K updated contact records from the additional 35K non-updated records?
Timeframe: Those were the days before HubSpot auto-tracked imported contacts.
Lesson Learned: Having a good backup is like having a time machine. (literally)

Or, the sleepless nights troubleshooting mysterious workflow issues before we fully embraced using a workflow delay action at the beginning of our workflows.
Timeframe: Too long ago to remember.
Lesson Learned: One of the hardest types of workflow problems to troubleshoot is intermittent where platform performance fluctuations alone cause symptoms to change.


Truth is ...
We're always experimenting, so honestly can't remember a time when we weren't making 'mistakes'.
- see slide


HubSpot Culture Code Slide #105/128HubSpot Culture Code Slide #105/128

Difference now is that we build best practices and 'safety measures' -- e.g., backups, workflow delay actions, internal notifications, Databox alerts, etc. -- into our process to help us better mitigate mishaps when they inevitably do occur. "Wouldn't leave home without 'em!" 🙂


Excellent post @eeghbal4. Thanks for sharing all.


Note: The date of each post here is increasingly important as HubSpot evolves to be the #1 CRM platform of choice world-wide.

-- Visit


Hope that helps.


Be well,

HubSpot's Hiring World-Wide!

Key Advisor

Thanks for the tag @jennysowyrda!

We've all messed up @eeghbal4!  

Issue #1
The criteria:  Product purchase is xyz
The action: Send "Thanks for your purchase!" email
The problem: We pushed updated SKU's to HubSpot via our line item sync and it updated all the orders as expected... but also orders from 3-4 years ago causing a bit of confusion with previous purchases Smiley Sad

What we did:  Set date criteria around these types of workflows before doing data clean up pushes.  Eg:  Product purhcase is xyz, and last order date is less than 1 day ago.

Issue #2
The criteria:  Active list for black Friday / Cyber Monday announcements
The action: Send "We've got deals" email
The problem: This was a date based workflow to send on black Friday which users were already enrolled in, we updated the active list criteria which was before HS sent notifications that altering list critera would alter the enrollees in the workflow.  So our list went from 20K to 150ish.  Big problem for Black Friday / Cyber Monday as the email didn't go out to the rest of the recipients till that night.

What we did:  Triple check list criteria, and only enroll users after we are sure the list is right.  Spot checking a few contacts helps too!

Issue #3
The criteria:  Update user types from a SAAS software in app based on which list they are on
The problem: This was before HubSpot had active lists.  We would run in app upsells to get users to upgrade their accounts but needed to pass that to the contact record but also put them on a list so we can send specific onboarding messages to them.  The problem was we weren't removing them from their old lists when we did this 😞  causing multiple onboarding emails to go out.

What we did:  Add in remove from list actions, but also killed the workflows when HubSpot released Active lists 🙂



Those are just a few, good thread!

Chris Bryant | Your Dedicated HubSpot Expert
Key Advisor | Diamond Partner

Oof. This is very therapeutic, thank you @jennysowyrda!

About an hour before a scheduled email was to go out, we decided on a design change. So I cloned the email, made the design change and then archived the unwanted emails. Because I did this in bulk, I was not presented with the opportunity to Archive and cancel send. So I archived them assuming the send would be canceled. 








At the appointed time, two emails went out: the old version and the updated version. 


LESSON: Don't archive scheduled emails in bulk.


1. If you must do this in bulk and aren't going to use the email again - Delete them from your account permanently.








2. Archive the emails one-by-one and you'll be presented with the opportunity to Archive and cancel the send. 



Top Contributor

Couldnt agree more. Mistakes and mess ups happen!! 

My team once sent out emails to a european list and turns out instead of sending to "opt-in" they sent to everyone in Europe "except" opt-ins !! Small mistake technically but a pretty big problem to have in the GDPR era! 
Had to send out apology emails and pray that we dont get into trouble! 

You are not alone @eeghbal4 ! 




Hope this helps
Thank you.
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Top Contributor | Platinum Partner

I can definitely relate. I find that as automation gets more complex and layered, I need a therapist on the front end to deal with the anxiety before I turn things on. I go through my checklists dozens of times, but there are so many moving parts, that I can never shake the feeling that I am missing a setting or a scenario.

Top Contributor

@eeghbal4 we once sent out an email with links to four different product demo webinar time slots. Unfortunately, the time slots hadn't been updated since the previous month, so we sent everyone four times that were in the past.


We then sent out an "oops we made a mistake" email with links to the correct times. We had 20% more registrations generated from that follow-up email than we normally got from that type of email when they went without a hitch! (and at that stage we were sending those emails on a weekly basis to segments of a ~200K list, so it was a statistically relevant difference).


We then decided we'd try working in a routine "mistake" and follow-up into our nurture series. That continued to produce the same sort of results week after week!

So some "oh **bleep**!" moments can have unexpected upsides 😄

Thought Leader

LOVE this thread. Ok, so 'LOVE' may be too strong a word.
[No. It's not.]

LOVE how experienced, seasoned martech pros share mistakes here.
Beginning martechs can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer power of HubSpot. We all go through it.


The platform is HUGE. Even big brands make big mistakes.

- see 8 of the Biggest Marketing Mistakes We've Ever Seen by Amanda Sibley, Global Marketing Director, HubSpot for Startups


LOVE the @kaious example of an unexpected fail-turned-success.

[Wait. Did I say, "LOVE IT". haha 🙂 ]
Even seasoned martechs can be discouraged by failing. Most people are.

Here's the thing, there will always be failures. The big differentiator is finding successes in those failures.

- see How Brands, Teams, and Agencies Turn Marketing Fails into Successes from the Instapage blog


Note: The date of each post here is increasingly important as HubSpot evolves to be the #1 CRM platform of choice world-wide.

-- Visit


Hope that helps.


Be well,

HubSpot's Hiring World-Wide!


I love this example and all of the other ones! Makes me feel better about the two mistakes I made within a week. Thanks, @kaious and everyone else! 

Thought Leader

Maybe remember that HubSpot is like having an F1 in your driveway. Yes, others may argue that "it's just a car". But is it really?

Most of us work with people who've been driving for years. DECADES, in some cases. That being said, not sure any of those people could jump behind the wheel of an F1 and not crash within the first few seconds of gearing up to over 200 Mph.

When we activate HubSpot workflows against a segment of contacts, not unlike an F1, HubSpot goes from 0-60 Mph in less than 2 seconds while exerting more G's than a space shuttle launch. Yes, "it's just driving". But, again, is it really?

That perspective allows us to be much more dilligent in our testing before setting HubSpot workflows to active.

Maybe a good solution for you is to use HubSpot Smart Lists as your primary enrollment criteria for workflows. That way, you can SEE the impacted contacts (in your list) BEFORE they're impacted by your workflow actions.

Just a thought.


Note: The date of each post here is increasingly important as HubSpot evolves to be the #1 CRM platform of choice world-wide.

-- Visit


Hope that helps.


Be well,

HubSpot's Hiring World-Wide!


Happened to me last week! 


Out of the blue, I got an email saying that I was missed because I didn't attend a 2019 government funding webinar. After a moment of confusion, it turned into a moment of panic because I thought, "what did I miss and where did this come from?!" 


Turns out the workflow that was associated to a cancelled webinar was not turned off. So about 20 people got a "sorry we missed you at the 2019 webinar" February 2020. And the best part is, because the webinar had been cancelled well before it was supposed to go live, the follow-up email wasn't updated and the content was completely different than what it would have been should the webinar had happend. (since I'm a serial cloner in HubSpot)


Thank goodness for being able to see contact history to tell me what workflow triggered that email. 


So as everyone has done, we quickly sent a "we messed up, sorry" email. And then I turned off the workflow 🙂 

Top Contributor | Diamond Partner

This thread just made my day. Not that I am happy that you all made mistakes but that its normal.
With over 5 years experience on HubSpot I still get very real anxiety before hitting send on an email or turning on a workflow - the anxiety is so real!

One of my biggest blunders was where I created a workflow and while building it I created the sample email as a placeholder - I then built out beautiful emails to our supplier database to ask them to update or confirm their details. Hours went into perfecting this and we had over 50 personalisation tokens in the email and then I switchen on the workflow with the sample email attached.


I ended up emailing our suppliers, and our partners an email that said "This is a sample email.."

I got a call from the CEO of one of our big partners asking if it was a joke.

#LifelongLearners still make mistakes at times 🙂

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Kind regards,
Nicole Sengers