The Best Keyword Research Tips with HubSpot and Google Web Master Tools

Back in October of 2017 I did some research on the Google queries in the United States where our home page appeared in the search results.

At that time, had appeared in 12,721 search results across 610 different keyword phrases over a period of the past 90 days. Intrigued, I went a step further…

I took a few extra steps to analyze our results:

  1. I took the top 100 queries (based on the number of impressions) and added them to our HubSpot portal. I then pulled our ranking for each of those 100 keywords, which to no surprise wasn’t stellar, but on par with what I expected.
  2. Next, I took a list of the keywords where we appear in the top 4 search results and compare that with the list of top 100 queries over the last 90 days.
  3. What I learned was that we have 1 keyword phrase that appears in the top 100 queries it’s “mobile video ssp”.
  4. We currently rank #2 for “mobile video ssp” and we only showed up 91 times in the past 90 days (just a hair over 1 per day). The search volume is pretty low for that phrase.
  5. In the end, the words ‘mobile’, ‘ad’, and ‘video’ appear the most in the top 100 queries, each of them counted individually:
    • mobile = 42 appearances
    • ad = 63 appearances
    • video = 33 appearance
  6. I broke down the top keyword phrases into two-word combinations to see if there were any hits in the top 100 queries and to my delight there were three winners.
    • mobile video = 12 appearances
    • mobile ad = 22 appearances
    • video ad = 23 appearances

Note: The data can be seen at the bottom of this page.

Optimizing Top Post Pages

Right now, AerServ sees more clicks on technical queries like “list of IAB categories” or “video autoplay on mobile”. As a first step, I’m optimizing the posts we rank highly for in the following ways:

  • Update the publish date to be a more recent date for the top traffic post (/why-does-video-autoplay-on-mobile-devices-not-work/)
  • Add new CTA’s and text links that drive back to our website

When comparing 10/16 – 10/26 to the same period prior 10/6 – 10/15, we saw a substantial increase in impressions and clicks.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 5.20.50 PM

I’ve now updated the /mobile-device-identifiers/ and /brand-based-vs-performance-based-ads/ posts with new dates and CTAs. We’ll see if the results are similar.

To further improve our SEO, we’ll need Pillar Pages…

Pillar Page 101

A Pillar Page has 5 core elements:

  1. Broad, not exhaustive content
  2. Evergreen
  3. Optimize for Questions
  4. Update consistently when appropriate
  5. Distribute Page Rank over time

The new website should/will house our “Pillar Pages” that we want to rank for. By linking the high ranking blog posts to our pillar pages through specific phrases that are directly related to the page, we’ll help teach Google that we’re an authority on the keywords. It will see a high CTR on search queries that drive to our blog and ideally begin to crawl our pages for internal links (deep links) to our website content and other pages.

Here’s what a Pillar Page with Sub Topics might look, but we can explore improving this:

How to think about Pillar Content

According to the HubSpot team: “A pillar page is the basis on which a topic cluster is built. A pillar page covers all aspects of the topic on a single page, with room for more in-depth reporting in more detailed cluster blog posts that hyperlink back to the pillar page. Pillar pages broadly cover a particular topic, and cluster content should address a specific keyword related to that topic in-depth.” src.


Here are some examples of good pillar pages:

Pillar Page – Tool:

Pillar Pages – Content:

Things to keep in mind:

Our new website and future content production need to focus on a healthy mix of what users are searching for and what we want to rank for. To optimize the content we want to be ranked for, we’ll need a web page targeted toward a keyword phrase and a core audience. For instance, building pages like “Programmatic Advertising” or “Mobile Ad Mediation” will help improve our chances of showing up for queries with those terms, but we also need to build blog posts and additional sub-topics related to each of those “Pillar Pages” that help improve our authority on each topic.

How to Create a Topic Cluster Plan

NOTE: This is a re-post of the research and amazing content on HubSpot’s blog found here.

Before you get started creating new topic clusters of your own it’s important to determine if this is the right approach for your site. You can figure this out by asking yourself three simple questions outlined in the chart below.

  1. Does the topic you want to rank for have enough search volume to be worth the time and effort?
  2. Do you already have content covering the topic? If so, you may be better off using what you have and adding internal links.
  3. Is the topic something you want to cover in detail? If you’ve made it this far and the answer is “yes”,  you can start creating your own topic cluster.

When it comes to actually mapping out topic clusters, there’s a general process that works particularly well. Follow these steps to create your own pillar page:

  1. Map out 5-10 of the core problems that your buyer persona has (use surveys, run interviews, and do some secondary research within online communities).
  2. Group each of the problems into broad topic areas.
  3. Build out each of the core topics with subtopics using keyword research.
  4. Map out content ideas that align with each of the core topics and corresponding subtopics.
  5. Validate each idea with industry and competitive research.
  6. Create, measure, and refine.

This is a simple overview but should help you to begin to prioritize content ideation and production. Following this process will help you to structure your editorial calendar for the topic cluster content model.

But how do you figure out what content to focus on? This is where keyword research comes into play. Keyword research is a helpful way to determine what content your target audience already is looking for so you can reach them in a way that is relevant and impactful to them.

To get started, create a list of broad topics that are important to your business. Then fill in each topic with potential keywords you think your audience will search for. It’s better to not self-edit during this stage and write out as many keywords as you can think of. For example, if your main topic is Instagram marketing, your subtopics might include Instagram business accounts, Instagram captions, Instagram hashtags, and Instagram analytics.

Once you have your list, search for these terms or use a tool such as Ubersuggest to find related keywords and terms you may not have initially included in your list. Make sure you have a mix of long-tail and short-tail keywords.

Now that you’ve finalized your keyword list, see how your competitors rank for each of them using a service like SEMRush. This will allow you to find gaps in their search strategy as well as single out important words and phrases to aim for in the pillar content you create. After all of those steps are complete, use Google’s Keyword Planner or HubSpot’s keywords tool to narrow down the keyword list.

Once you’ve developed your pillar topic and cluster content, create a tracking document to keep track of your existing content and cluster strategy. Tracking documents can help organize your clustering process to make sure all of your content has been linked correctly. For HubSpot customers, you can automate clustering using HubSpot’s content strategy tool.

What is the Role of Marketing Operations?

NOTE: This post was originally shared on*

The television series Mad Men portrays the bustling world of advertising in the 1960’s when it first rose to prominence as its own driving force. Over the last ten years, a similar seismic shift in marketing has taken place. For decades, many corporations had their own marketing departments, often relegated to the end of the supply chain and then responsible for moving products designed by engineers and executives who were often out of touch with the market.

Marketing Operations (MO) is a next-level concept engaged in the actual process of creating, manufacturing and promoting products. A marketing operations department is likely to be a wild blend of creative left-brain thinkers and buttoned up right-brain statistic ninjas, all working in harmony towards a common goal.

1.  Various Roles of Marketing Operations

As a department, Marketing Operations is involved with much more than just ‘marketing’. At Estée Lauder, for example, marketing operations start with creative teams conceptualizing new beauty products in anticipation of both demands and trends. From the initial concept, Estée Lauder’s MO team then oversees materials sourcing—such as finding fair trade ingredients or new non-allergenic materials—as well as product testing, brand naming, and design. The team also gauges demand by polling retailers and sets projected inventory and delivery dates. From there, each project is handed off to manufacturing, accounting, and various other departments until it arrives in warehouses for shipping. Meanwhile, the MO plans product launches and brand promotions.

At some companies, MO plays a bigger role at the end of the production process—but nearly every department is involved at some stage of the company’s brand process. Other roles include strategic planning, lead management, process improvement, budget management, stakeholder analysis, quality testing, and data management. MO thus has a much broader sweep, taking care of the ‘business of marketing’ and not just the creative aspects.

2.  Factors Driving the Creation of Marketing Ops

The term ‘marketing operations’ was originally coined by analyst firm IDC in early 2005 but only entered the mainstream corporate lexicon around 2011. Several factors contributed to the rise of MO as an integrated unit in company culture. Savvy corporations began consulting the marketing department before introducing new ideas to get important insights on demographic trends, competitive pressures, and customer feedback.

What was once considered a revolutionary idea—including the marketing team from the beginning—created a loop that improves and informs company branding from concept to delivery. Now, with ever-increasing pressure on companies to provide transparency and guarantees, MO departments have also moved into designing company workflows, providing training, and establishing company standards.

At Thomson Reuters, the most widely used news distribution network in the world, the Marketing Ops team was intensely involved in crafting the company’s branding mission. The marketing team at Thomson Reuters is responsible for clarifying its values to clients and employees in the realms of journalism and intellectual property rights, as well as the finance and legal industries to which it provides proprietary software.

3.  The Real Purpose of Marketing Operations

The word ‘operations’ in the title is just as important as ‘marketing’. Marketing Operations evolved as a way to help companies be more transparent, efficient, competitive, profitable, and accountable. Early adopters of this over-arching role include Cisco Systems, Symantec, and Adobe. Today, hundreds of companies across multiple industries draw their employees and recruits from backgrounds in branding, finance, technology, accounting, and sales.

The defining purpose of Marketing Ops is to create alignment and order within a company. MO teams are often responsible for creating work systems and workflows through every business unit, as well as overseeing deadlines and cooperation. In essence, although the MO team is often involved in tactical analysis and deployment, its main mission is that of strategy. A strong Marketing Operations department becomes the hub of the company, where people, processes, metrics, and goals are brought into alignment.

4.  Oversight of Long-Term Goals

One of the key roles of Marketing Operations is to help define the company’s long-term goals and then provide the oversight necessary to keep a company on course. This involves everything from making sure the company is following through on marketing strategy, to ensuring a strong return on investments. As with traditional marketing teams, this means a continual focus on key performance indicators (KPI’s). MO may also be in charge of those KPI’s related to budgets, distribution, data flow, and procurement. Another key role is ensuring that the company stays ‘on brand’ at all times.

The word ‘branding’ used to mean what colors represent the company’s product, and what values are included in a (frequently vague) mission statement. Today, branding is a complicated and powerful field that affects the very essence of a company’s identity. Some MO departments will review everything from the company’s mission statement to its year-end investor portfolios to ensure that a company’s overall brand remains intact.

5.  Planning for Market Penetration

Of course, despite its many responsibilities, Marketing Operations is still about marketing. While overseeing a multitude of tasks, MO will also have a flourishing creative department working on print collateral, media campaigns and event planning. The integrated nature of Marketing Operations allows it to assimilate information and feedback from multiple company modules that were once in their own silos. MO can see which products sell faster than others or have seasonal fluctuations, enabling the team to anticipate demand for inventory. Coordination with accounting helps MO analyze which products are most profitable, and why. Data from warehousing and distribution can identify bottlenecks. MO can then work backward from an anticipated launch date to include more time for possible delivery glitches.

6.  Responding to Changing Market Trends and Requirements

Marketing Operations is also the catcher for the company’s tech awareness team. MO keeps abreast of improvements and competition in CRM, data analysis, and marketing and then translates that knowledge into actionable improvements.

Agility is key when it comes to staying ahead of the competition in 21st-century marketing. Online commerce means most companies are selling globally 24/7, which requires highly responsive customer service teams, real-time traffic and revenue reporting, an understanding of advertising exchange algorithms, and the ability to spot fresh opportunities.

As an example, Estée Lauder’s trend-setting MO Department gave one of its more mature brands, Bobby Brown, a digital makeover in 2013 by launching a YouTube channel called ‘I Love Makeup’ targeted at millennials. As Forbes reported at the time: “As the first brand to take such a step, it will be watched closely by everyone.”

7.  Identifying New Markets

The marriage of data and strategic planning make it easier for a company to identify and evaluate a variety of new opportunities like exports, franchising, additional product lines, and mobile advertising. However, the growing impact of digital marketing also has complications: every country has different legal and political concerns regarding data privacy, and it’s MO’s job to sort that out.

8.  Optimizing Marketing Channels

MO allows a company to exercise both versatility and specificity in its choice of marketing channels. A department can put different people or teams in charge of direct selling, wholesaling, digital marketing, print media, mobile advertising and so on. This allows each team to drill down into what works (or doesn’t) in each channel, while still functioning as part of a cohesive department that collates and analyzes data from all channels.

9.  A Typical Month in Marketing Operations

While the scope of the department’s role can be quite involved, individual responsibilities are generally clearly defined. The ultimate responsibility is supporting other teams or individuals. A data analyst would likely lend support to the sales team and working the CRM, then move on to A/B testing and analysis of email campaigns and finally, refine data and feed it into current ROI reporting.

At least twice a week, data teams might meet with their creative counterparts to get their input and answer questions. Data teams can share which types of franchise leads respond most favorably, and ask creative teams for tailored messaging to those demographics — or Creative may ask Data to assess various mobile advertising exchanges and pick the best ones for geo-targeting and fill speed.

Twice a month, both teams might meet with a larger strategic planning group that reports directly to decision makers. These meetings may focus on preparing year-end reports, assessing new markets, or creating workflow templates and training materials across the company.

10. The Future of Marketing Operations

According to a 2009 Lenskold Group study, companies with a marketing operations department are twice as likely (11% vs. 5%) to enjoy more “effective and efficient” marketing and are more likely to outgrow their competitors. In a survey conducted by the CMO Council and software company Alterian, 60% of respondents said the transformation of marketing operations is an essential area of focus, regardless of company size. In the Lenskold study, 59% of respondents reported having a dedicated Marketing Operations person or team.

For those seeking a career in marketing, MO may be a very smart choice—new hires are likely to get intensive experience in the discipline of their choice, while still being exposed to, and working with, teammates in other disciplines.

For companies small and large, Marketing Operations provides the integration and insight necessary to compete in a world of rapidly accelerating data and intelligence.


*approved for sharing with my audience by Ira Padilla

Setting Default Values for Personalization Tokens in HubSpot Emails and Website Content

“Dear ,”
( We’ve all seen that before! )

Due to a little problem with my email tokens this past week, I recently reacquainted myself with the “Content Settings” section within the HubSpot “Contacts” menu.

A few days ago we sent an email out to our customers with a {{contact.firstname}} email token in the intro to the email. Some of those emails were delivered and a handful of our contacts who were missing a “First Name” in our CRM ended up getting an email that said “Dear ,” which makes us look awesome… not.

What I failed to do was two things:

  1. I normally send emails with a different intro, something like “Hi”, “Hey”, or “Hello” which doesn’t look bad when the First Name field is empty.
  2. If the intro requires a default value I’ll typically set the value to “friend” since this seems to be the best alternative for a missing First Name field value.

So, to stop this problem from happening again, I decided to ask HubSpot support (which is awesome) for a little help. This time though, I taught the support rep a little something, which I thought you should all learn too.

Replacing email tokens in HubSpot emails:

By default, HubSpot emails give you the option to “Review” your email before you hit send, it’s actually one of the steps you will hit if you continue to use the “NEXT” button in the email interface. The “Review” section will actually show all the personalization tokens you’ve used (among other things) and what their default values are.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.32.15 AM
The screen shot here shows that I don’t currently have a value for “FIRSTNAME”

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.36.49 AM.png

By clicking the link “Edit default value” from the review section in HubSpot, you’ll be able to put a default value for the First Name field (or whatever personalization token you’ve used). Make sure to read the tool tip for more information.

After you fill in a value here, all future emails you send will contain a value for “First Name” if the record in the CRM is missing their First Name. Neat.

This is a great solution to a silly problem, but there is a better way to solve this as an administrator and make sure the entire company is setup for success.

Globally replace email tokens in HubSpot emails:

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.22.34 AM

This is particularly useful if you are an administrator of the HubSpot platform and want to allow other members of your organization to send emails without you double and triple checking each email send. Setting a token within these settings will give you some piece of mind.

Ironically, the HubSpot support team didn’t realize these settings were available in the email section of “Content Settings” – that’s why I’m sharing it with you now.

Here’s how to get there:

Step 1: Head on over to your “Content Settings” section found within the Contact menu in HubSpot.

Step 2: Click “Email” on the left navigation on the page

Step 3: Scroll to the bottom and look for the section “Default Values for Email Personalization” (screen shot below)

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.40.19 AM.png

From here, you can manage all the default values for any Contact or Company Properties in your CRM. Really neat.

Pro tip: These settings are ONLY for the email personalization tokens, so if you want to manage how these default values appear when using personalization on your landing pages and website pages, you’ll need to go back to “Content Settings” click on “Page Publishing” and scroll to the bottom where you’ll see the same type of box but this is specifically for Page Personalization.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.44.05 AM.png

The Marketing Operations Playbook – aligning Sales and Marketing in one document

The Marketing Operations Playbook – aligning Sales and Marketing in one document

Alignment across the company is one of the most valuable and important elements to organizations succeeding. It’s just like the rowing team in the featured image of this post … if you don’t have the team rowing together you’re not going to win the race. I know this article specifically called out “marketing and sales alignment” in it’s title but in reality this is applicable to the entire organization.

Staying aligned within an organization is hard — particularly if you’re in a fast-paced environment where every day feels like a fleeting moment — and supporting alignment within a rapidly growing company (particularly the marketing and sales teams) can be extremely fulfilling and challenging at the same time.

One of my favorite activities to improve marketing and sales alignment is to build the Marketing Operations Playbook [MOP]. The remainder of this post is to share what that is to me and how I build them… let me know what you think in the comments!

What is a “Marketing Operations Playbook”?

The Marketing Operations Playbook is meant to serve as the organizations official document on the processes, procedures, and tools for handling all the people that move through the Marketing & Sales funnel.

The Marketing Operations Playbook should also act as an anchor for the organizations lifecycle program. This means all new and existing employees should be able to refer to the MOP to have a clearer understanding of how a record will move through the lifecycle stages of the business.

Tip: Because every business will have unique departments, roles, tools, and terminology it’s important to build out the MOP with stakeholders from across the organization to ensure nothing is missed.

Why Build a Marketing Operations Playbook?

One of the reasons I build MOP’s in my organization is to support employees. The Marketing Operations Playbook clearly defines all the tools, systems, and processes a new (or existing) employee should know. The clearer an employee is on the systems and processes that are in use, the easier (and faster) it will be for a the new employee to ramp up.

Ultimately, It’s all about ramping up with speed and efficiency. Any good manager or business owner will tell you to spend time training your employees and get them ramped up quickly. The sooner they are more autonomous the better.

What’s in a Marketing Operations Playbook?

There are some pretty common questions that come up when a company is growing, particularly if you are growing fast. Some of the ways a MOP can help is when employees need answers to common questions like:

  • What is the difference between an iMQL and MQL?
  • What tools do we use for CRM and Marketing?
  • How do we manage marketing campaigns?
  • How are lead sources attributed to records?

Although every organization is different, I believe there are at least 9 key elements that should always exist in the standard MOP.

  1. Demand Generation Tools
  2. Sales Tools
  3. Internal Communication Tools
  4. Lifecycle Management
  5. Lead Source Attribution
  6. Opportunity Source Attribution
  7. Marketing Campaign Management & Reporting
  8. Internal Document Management
  9. Definitions / Index

Below I’ve expanded on what goes into those 9 elements (in no particular order) that I have often placed in my MOP.

The Standard Marketing Operations Playbook Elements:

Demand Generation Tools

Use this section to define any and all demand generation tools your organization is using. Include as many tools as your organization has in place and be sure to ask your team and other colleagues if you have missed something.

Once you have them all listed, take the time to individually define what the purpose of the tool is and how your organization is using it.

Tip: If you have multiple tools and managers and maybe multiple stakeholders, it’s also helpful to add the Manager of the tool and the stakeholder(s) involved. Something like this:

[Name of Tool]
Manager: Mike Rizzo, Marketing Person
Stakeholder: Bob Smith, VP of Marketing

Sales Tools

Be clear about the tools you’re using in the Sales organization. This is the same methodology used in the “Demand Genration Tools” section but specific to the Sales team.

It’s extremely important to be thorough, so if you’re not sure what tools are being used by the sales team, ask the head of sales and any of the sales reps what they use to do their job.

Some examples of tools you might list are:

  • CRM (Salesforce, SugarCRM, HubSpot)
  • Prospecting Tools (Salesloft, etc.)

Tip: Even if you think you’ve covered all the tools, don’t hesitate to ask a few sales reps what they use. You might be surprised and discover some overlapping tools within the organization. Your technology budget will thank you when you find those 🙂

Internal Communication Tools

Although this doesn’t feel like something that should be in the MOP, I would argue that a full understanding of the ways people communicate is essential to aligning the team (and the company).

I personally like to list the tools used at my company for internal communications. Some of those tools that fall into this section might be:

  • Skype
  • Slack
  • G-chat
  • HipChat

Again, more clarity around what people should be using for specific actions means less friction between the organization.

Lifecycle Management

Be clear, be thorough. Explain each stage of the potential customer’s lifecycle like you were talking to a five year old…. okay maybe not 5, but try to make it really easy to understand. I like the way HubSpot describes their lifecycle stages so I often use their descriptions.

Lead Source Attribution

Every lead comes from somewhere. Use this section to define how you’ll attribute leads to the source they were driven from. Each company will have a different approach to lead source attribution so it’s important to take the time discussing how leads will be counted against their source. You’ll probably want to involve a few stake holders to make sure this is accurately captured. Those involved are often leading Sales and Marketing and a few mid managers from each department.

Opportunity Source Attribution

Although this is more commonly outline in a Salesforce implementation, it’s still valuable to clearly define when an Opportunity should be left at it’s old originating source or changed to a new source.

Marketing Campaign Management & Reporting

I use this section to clearly outline where campaigns will be managed (in more depth than the “demand generations tools” if they overlap). I also cover the following:

  • Naming conventions
  • Conference and Event Lead Management
  • Multivariate Campaign Tracking
    (for later stage companies typically)

Tip: It’s never too late for a good naming convention. If you haven’t established naming conventions for your campaigns yet (or anything for that matter) I strongly recommend doing so.

Internal Document Management

I like to use this section to make it really easy for the organization to understand where to locate files within the Sales and Marketing org. Sometimes this section of the MOP is a more complex digram that explains when documents should and should not be shared with external vendors and customers (and how to do so). While other times this section can just simply outline where to find certain types of files for certain types of activities.

Some directions and links to the folders you might have in this section could be:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Box
  • etc.

I’ve been fortunate to use Google Drive for all of our internal file organization so internal linking between the Google Doc and the Google Drive file / folder has been a breeze.


This is probably one of the most beneficial sections out of the entire Marketing Operations Playbook. I leverage this entire section to place all of our definitions and links to important documents. I’ll even repeat the definitions I had previously placed in other sections like “Lifecycle Management” just to make it easy for anyone to jump in and find what they’re looking for.

In most word documents you’ll be able to have a Table of Contents at the top of the page to link to the elements within the document itself. If you’re using Google Docs it’s as easy as “Insert > Table Of Contents”


Most importantly: Don’t forget to update the MOP!

Over time the MOP should be updated with any changes/updates to the processes and tools your organization is using. These updates are crucial to maintaining one source of truth for all employees to reference.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

Tracking Sync Time In HubSpot and Salesforce

There’s a ton of research on how impactful ‘speed-to-lead’ is on the sales process. The faster your leads end up in the call queue, the more likely you are to convert them to an opportunity and customer.

Our team is always attempting to measure how long it takes our leads to make it to the sales team. So, I built a way to track that. If you want to copy what I’ve done feel free! Alternately, if you have suggestions on how to improve on this tracking or suggestions to improve the speed at which sync occurs between HubSpot + Salesforce please let me know in the comments or send me a message on my contact page.

Before we get started I think it’s important to note that our organization used the “inclusion list” functionality of the HubSpot and Salesforce integration. This causes additional snags in sync time so we wanted to measure what our average was…

In order to get this going you’ll need to setup some things in both HubSpot and Salesforce:

  1. Multiple HubSpot Workflows
  2. Custom Salesforce Fields (For calculations)
  3. Smart Lists (HubSpot)

Ready to track your speed to lead with HubSpot and Salesforce? Let’s go!

Step 1: Build Custom Field in HubSpot

First you’ll want to build a custom NUMBER field in HubSpot. You can call it whatever you like, but I chose to call mine “HubSpot to SFDC Delay”.


Step 2: Build Custom Lists in HubSpot

I built one list in HubSpot called “Workflow List | Leads Created Today – On Inclusion List – Not Synced”. We’ll call it “Workflow List” from now on.

The name of this list is pretty clear on it’s purpose but to break that down further here is what it does:

  1. It looks for leads where:
    • Create Date is less than 1 day ago
    • Is a member of the Inclusion List (the list where leads go to be sent to Salesforce)
    • The Last Salesforce Sync Time is unknown (this is a field provided by the integration)
    • The contact property Lifecycle Stage is not equal to Sales Qualified Lead or Opportunity. (I don’t need to find newly created contacts that have gone beyond MQL b/c MQL is the primary trigger for our leads to go to Salesforce. This could be different for your organization.)
  2. Once the lead makes it onto this list, the workflow I built will be triggered automatically. That workflow is called “Administrative | Step 1 Sync Delay Counter (0-5 minute)” As long as the lead stays on my list, they stay in my workflows.

This list is really valuable for both our Sales team leads and Marketing Managers / Ops Managers. They can use this list to quickly view who is still not synced with Salesforce and either use manual triggers to push leads that seem to be stuck or troubleshoot what might be causing the problem.

The other day I actually caught an integration error before HubSpot had time to publish any alert about it…. I know because I was on the phone with support when they told me a bug had been found during our call. 🙂

Step 3: Build Workflows in HubSpot

I have multiple workflows built to calculate how long a record is on my Workflow List. I did this to limit the number of steps in each workflow because it’s much easier to see the performance of a workflow when there are fewer steps.

The workflow uses the “increment a numeric property” functionality to incrementally count how long the lead is a member of the Workflow List. I set 1 minute delays between each step starting at 0 up to 5 minutes. After the completion of that workflow the lead will be enrolled into the next workflow and continue incrementing numerals of 1. I repeat this process through 9 workflows. This takes me all the way to 45 minutes. In the 10th workflow I increase the delays to 5 minutes and stop counting after 70 minutes.

So this means I have the following workflows active:

  • Administrative | Step 1 Sync Delay Counter (0-5 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 2 Sync Delay Counter (5-10 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 3 Sync Delay Counter (10-15 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 4 Sync Delay Counter (15-20 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 5 Sync Delay Counter (20-25 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 6 Sync Delay Counter (25-30 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 7 Sync Delay Counter (30-35 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 8 Sync Delay Counter (35-40 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 9 Sync Delay Counter (40-45 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 10 Sync Delay Counter (45-70 minute) | 5 Minute Intervals now

Can you tell I’m a fan of naming conventions?

Step 4: Build Custom Email Alert

Once a lead reaches the 15 minute mark on the third workflow, I built an automated email alert to tell the team we may have a problem with sync delays. This email allows the team to quickly jump to the Workflow List in HubSpot and manually sync records or troubleshoot any problems.

Sample of the email alert we send to the team. Hint: It has a GIF.

Step 5 (optional): Build Formula Fields in Salesforce

If merely alerting the team isn’t enough, you can also build a calculation field in Salesforce to produce average speed-to-lead dashboards. To do this consult your Sales Operations Manager to help or if you’ve got an inquisitive / adventurous side give it a shot yourself… I did!

Here is how I’m calculating the values with a formula field in Salesforce:

Field Name:
“HubSpot Created to SF Created Delay”


IF(HubSpot_Create_Date_Time__c = NULL, NULL,
IF(HubSpot_Original_Source__c = “OFFLINE”,NULL,
IF(CreatedBy.Id = “[USER ID GOES HERE]”,
(CreatedDate – HubSpot_Create_Date_Time__c)*1440)),NULL)))

This essentially calculates the difference in minutes between when the record was created in HubSpot vs Salesforce. Calculated when create date in HubSpot is known, lead source is inbound (meaning generated by our marketing team), and Salesforce Created Date is after the HubSpot Created Date. (which means the lead was new)

Field Name:
“HubSpot MQL to SF Minute Delay”


IF(HubSpot_Became_MQL_Date__c = NULL, NULL,
IF(HubSpot_Original_Source__c = “OFFLINE”,NULL,
IF(CreatedBy.Id = “[USER ID GOES HERE]”,
(CreatedDate – HubSpot_Became_MQL_Date__c)*1440)),NULL)))

This essentially calculates the minutes it took to be created in Salesforce after being created in HubSpot. Calculated when the minutes are less than one day, when the record is generated by an Inbound Lead Source (not imported from our APP), and first conversion is known.

The HubSpot dashboard I built looks like this:


Using HubSpot’s Reporting Addon, I am showing the average time (in minutes) it takes to create a record in Salesfore when the lead becomes a Marketing Qualified Lead broken down by the month they became an MQL. Cool huh?

More Help:

Looking for more help on managing the HubSpot + Salesforce integration? Jump over to some of these help articles posted by the HubSpot team:

Sometimes you’re working with a single contact record and you need to put them through some kind of workflow.
There are plenty of ways to enroll contacts into HubSpot workflows (Pro & Enterprise plan only), but here is a quick lesson on adding contacts to workflows from the new contact layout.

How To Enroll A Contact In A HubSpot Workflow

  1. Visit the contact profile in HubSpot by searching for his/her email address
  2. Scroll down and look for the section “WORKFLOW MEMBERSHIPS”
  3. Click the drop down menu and select the KPI Survey
  4. Click “Enroll”
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Landing Page Background Images with Rich Text On Top [HubSpot Hack]

Landing Page Background Images with Rich Text On Top [HubSpot Hack]

Have you ever wanted to build a landing page with a custom background image? How about this… have you ever wanted to build a landing page with a custom background image that your team can change on-the-fly? Well I have! And now I can!

About six months ago I saw a growing set of problems.

  1. I’m the only one that can do dev work in HubSpot.
  2. Our design team keeps making awesome stuff that HubSpot isn’t set up to handle out of the box.
  3. Our content production is increasing rapidly and needs to get out the door just as fast.

This observation led me on a quest to find a solution, one I was certain would exist in HubSpot given my initial understanding of their platform.

So I took it upon myself to look into HubSpot custom modules (this was after lots of research on how the code base works in HubSpot).

I spent a considerable amount of time learning how to build a custom module, and then more time learning how to implement it on a landing page (with custom CSS to help).

So, to get to the good stuff, here is what our new page can do:

In the hero of our landing page, we can now edit everything!
See the GIF below or watch my YouTube clip – make sure you have sound on 🙂

The custom HubSpot module contains the following fields:

  • Text Field x 2
  • Rich Text Field x 2
  • Image Field
  • Choice Field (this was for fun but turned out to be very useful)


With our new module in place and HubSpot’s friendly responsive (bootstrap) framework, we’ve got a fully mobile-ready landing page template for our team to use.

Mobile Response

This means no more custom templates and CSS files for every new landing page design! WOO HOO!

If you’re looking to get started with this little HubSpot Hack, I’ll save you some time… I’m happy to show you how to build out the module but first, I’m going to go home and get an IPA… I’m a little tired from all this dev work 😉

Stay tuned.