9 min read
Welcome to HubShots Episode 289: Using Service Hub for Internal Business Processes
This edition we dive into:
- Are Ticket pipelines the real Operations Hub?
- Reminder about enabling betas
- Inline editing
- Using Service Hub for lead qualification processes
- Other uses for Ticket pipelines
- Association labels - pros and cons
- Questions: They Ask, You Answer
- Should I write Knowledge Base articles or blog posts?
- Knowledge bot benefits
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Recorded: Friday 14 October 2022 | Published: Friday 21 October 2022
Table of Contents
- Shot 1: Ticket Pipelines
- Shot 2: Enabling Betas
- Shot 3: Inline editing
- Shot 4: Association labels - pros and cons
- Shot 5: Lead qualification processes
- Shot 6: Other uses for Ticket pipelines
- Shot 7: Questions: They Ask, You Answer
- Shot 8: Quote Templates
- Shot 9: Knowledge Base article
- Shot 10: Quote of the Week
- Shot 11: Training of the Week
- Shot 12: Need help with your HubSpot portal?
🌱 Shot 1: Growth Thought of the Week
Are Ticket Pipelines the real Operations Hub?
This episode we dive into how growing companies are using Service Hub ticket pipelines for much more than just customer support.
As background to this: This year we’ve been narrowing our agency’s focus with clients to focus primarily on implementing business processes using HubSpot (as opposed to a wider digital marketing remit). Put another way it’s a focus on automation.
If we consider the automation and attribution journey our HubSpot clients go on, it all starts taking off when they are on a Pro suite (ie Marketing Pro, Sales Pro and Service Pro) platform.
Here’s the journey at a high level:
(Click here for full size image)
The key takeaway from this diagram is that Automation really shines at the Pro tier. And for Attribution, it’s the Enterprise tier where things really shine (more on that in a separate episode).
Digging into automation, here’s the areas of HubSpot where automation are unlocked:
(Click here for full size image)
The key takeaway from this diagram is the jump between Starter (trigger automation based on some stage changes) and Pro (trigger automation based on anything).
(For more on this discussion, make sure you watch our recent Automation in HubSpot episode)
What’s interesting to me about this is that Operations Hub doesn’t provide a new type of automation type (like Deals or Tickets), it only adds a few more actions that can be applied to existing workflows.
Which means that Tickets are going to be your default go to for any business processes that aren’t a fit for Deals or Quote (or custom objects).
But being called Tickets, and being part of Service Hub has the disadvantage of reducing their usage (in people’s minds).
Renaming ‘Ticket’ to something else…
I wouldn’t be surprised if HubSpot adds the option to rename Tickets in future eg to something like ‘Processes’.
One of the confusing names HubSpot has used is for their Operations Hub (essentially for data sync and management). I feel this is unfortunate, because Ticket pipelines are much more an ‘operations’ focus in my opinion.
Process objects in Operations Hub?
Or perhaps they add a completely new type of pipeline in Operations hub - similar to tickets, but with a broader focus on overall operations, and not just service related. Perhaps it will be a new type of object, called Processes. And a new type of workflow tailored to Processes objects.
Instead of Tickets we’ll use Processes, and we’ll use Process workflows to manage them.
Quick Anniversary Note
Last week we celebrated 7 years of HubShots! Our first episode went live on 06 October 2015. Time flies!
✨ Shot 2: Quick Shots of the Week
Here’s a few quick items of interest we noticed:
- Latest betas of interest:
- CRM Record overview
- And a reminder about the Inline editing across contacts, deals, companies, tickets etc
- Customer Journey analytics looks interesting (disclaimer: I haven’t actually used it yet)
- HubSpot’s GTM integration now supports GTM’s consent mode, so that cookie banner acceptances can now be sent to GTM (and GTM won’t load the cookies unless the consent has been given)
- Tip from Lee Wai at HubSpot Support - Add to List date column you can add to lists
Very handy! But you can’t sort by it (sad face).
Enabling Betas (Reminder)
A reminder of how to access this (if you are a Super Admin).
First go to your Product Updates area (top right):
And then the Betas section:
You can opt in to join Betas just yourself, or for your entire portal:
Which Betas should I enable?
This depends mostly on your company’s change management processes.
For our firm, we join all betas and enable for the entire account. But that’s us. We all know to look for potential issues.
It won’t be appropriate for most enterprises. For most clients we recommend:
- Selectively enabling betas (ie ones that seem very useful), for only yourself (ie not the entire account)
- Reviewing over the coming days
- If no issues, then enabling for all users
As a general comment we haven’t had any issues so far with beta features - the quality is high.
But if you are cautious, feel free to hold off and wait until the feature officially rolls out.
🚀 Shot 3: HubSpot Marketing Feature of the Week
As we record this episode, inline editing is still in beta, but by the time you read this it may well be live for everyone.
This is one of the beta features that we are recommending most portals enable - it’s soooo good!
Essentially, it allows you to edit list Views inline eg a Contact, Deal or Ticket view - here’s an example of editing tickets inline:
Make all your changes inline (Eg just like you would in Excel), and then Save (bottom left) when you are ready. You can easily cancel, if you don’t want to save your changes.
💰 Shot 4: HubSpot Sales Feature of the Week
Association labels - Pros and Cons
One of the challenges with updating Deals from Contact workflows is that it’s hard to update specific deals associated with a contact.
- A contact has two deals associated with it - one for Product A, one for Product B
- Both deals are at the Interest stage
- The contact fills out a form on your website for a one-to-one demo for Product B
- How to easily update just the deal for Product B (eg to the next deal stage)?
This seems like a simple scenario, yet is hard to manage.
To date you’ve probably done things like update a custom property on all associated deals, and then have a Deal workflow trigger and check whether the custom property relates to the deal pipeline it is in.
This is where Association labels can be useful.
Whilst most examples of association labels mention relationship (eg Influencer, Decision maker, etc), another option is to mention the type of Deal as an association tag.
And then from the Contact workflow you can specify only Deals with the association get updated:
Which after saving will show like this in your workflow actions:
Note: I’ve added Product A and Product B into our Association links purely for the purpose of this example (ie this ISN’T naming convention guidance!)
Here’s the problem
OK, that looks handy. What’s the catch?
The problem at the moment is that there’s no way to automate adding association label on objects (eg deals, tickets, etc).
Instead you have to manually add them.
There’s numerous Community threads (here, here and here) begging for the ability to automate adding associations (eg as part of a workflow action such as when the deal is created). The good news is that it is now Being Reviewed.
👨🔧 Shot 5: HubSpot Service Feature of the Week
Using Ticket Pipelines as Contact Qualification process
One of the things we’re seeing more lately is companies using Service Hub ticket pipelines for managing a ton of different business processes.
This isn’t surprising, since Tickets have the benefits of:
- Full customisation of properties used and shown
- Full automation of processes (when using Service Hub Pro or Enterprise)
- Full reporting and dashboard functionality
In many ways they are superior to using Deal pipelines, even for things like lead qualification.
Here’s some recent examples from clients:
- Using tickets to qualify leads, and ensure necessary properties are filled out, before syncing over to Salesforce
- Using tickets to manage the interactions with leads, and update lifecycle stages, before sending to Dynamics CRM
You might be thinking that Deal pipelines are better for this - but here’s the main consideration that made Tickets a better process for these cases: they didn’t want the lifecycle stage to be updated to Opportunity (which a Deal pipeline does by default, although the new HubSpot Lifecycle setting allows you to change this now) - since that stage is something that is only set in their other CRMs (Dynamics, Salesforce).
They then sync back opportunities from Salesforce to Deals in HubSpot.
These are interesting scenarios, and using Tickets for them isn’t a hack or workaround - it’s a perfectly appropriate place for the business process to sit.
Some other considerations (pros and cons):
- Pro: Tickets can have SLAs attached to them (if initiated by a conversation), which is compelling in some cases
- Con: Tickets don’t have dollar amounts by default however, which may be a disadvantage (eg for things like sales forecasting, and quick totals on Deal stages)
Other options could be to have separate Deal pipelines just for lead qualification, but this can be confusing when looking at a Contact - there will be the qualification deal, and the synced back Salesforce deal. See the Ticket against the contact can be easier to manage.
🔧 Shot 6: HubSpot Data Confidence Shot of the Week
Using Tickets instead of a growing list of Custom properties on Contacts
Another area where ticket pipelines are useful is when updating items on a contact numerous times.
For example, if you have contacts attending your Events, you might currently be adding a custom property of Events on the Contact and updating it each time.
Another option is to simply create a Ticket for the event against the contact. Then you can easily see a list of their Events (and the stages of each).
Just another idea around business processes.
Another idea to consider
Also, how do we keep track of contacts that move between companies?
💡 Shot 7: Insight of the Week
They Ask, You Answer
Ian and I have both been re-reading Marcus Sheridan’s excellent book (btw if you originally read the first edition, make sure you get the revised edition and re-read it). Hopefully when you read it you’ll think to yourself: this is so obvious! That’s always a good sign for me - something that in hindsight seems obvious usually indicates it has an underlying truth to it.
One of the thoughts in the book is around listening to the common questions you are asked by prospects, customers and repeat customers.
To that end, here’s a simplification of a process you can implement in your business:
- Over the next month, make a list of every question you are asked by prospects and customers (eg just jot them down in a doc or spreadsheet)
- At the end of the month, categorise the list by department (marketing, sales, customer success, etc)
- Mark quick questions that are commonly asked and are candidates for a documented answer that everyone in the team can use
- Write simple knowledge base articles for each of these questions (remember: done is better than perfect)
- Create Snippets/Templates for these questions (that link through to KB articles), which people can easily add to emails or support queries.
The benefits includes:
- SEO benefits: your articles rank for those questions (although this will depend on the competitiveness of your industry)
- Efficiency: your team save time with email replies (a bit benefit)
- Effectiveness: your prospects and customers get better content (a massive value for your customers)
BTW, for more on They Ask, You Answer, check out ImpactPlus - they have a whole service offering and training programs around the topic.
Yes, using the HubSpot Knowledge Base tool in Service Hub Pro is ideal for this.
🏈 Shot 8: Sunset of the Week
Legacy templates are being disabled at the end of the year.
No need for tears though - the new templates are much, much better - make sure you are using those instead. There’s tons of benefits, but if you only need one it’s this: host the quotes on your own domain. Enough said.
📚 Shot 9: Thought of the Week
Should I write a Knowledge Base article versus a Blog post?
Things to consider:
- What versus How
- How it will be consumed (eg people signing up for blog posts)
- Including in Chatflow bots
 What versus How
General rule of thumb (but your mileage may vary):
- What to do (guidance, strategy) => blog post
- How to do (implementation, questions) => KB article
You’ll likely find you write blog posts that then refer to your KB articles and vice versa.
BTW That’s not to say a topic can’t be put in both at times. And also combined (eg a single blog post detailing a collection of the most commonly asked questions).
Think also: since people often subscribe to blog post notifications, ask yourself: will publishing this as a blog post provide value to readers, or is it better put in a knowledge base because it is quite specific?
 Chatflow Knowledge Bot
Chatflows have a nice Knowledge Bot option that allows the chatbot to pull answers from your knowledge base (but currently it can’t pull from blog posts).
Check out our XEN Knowledge Base here for how we use it.
✍️ Shot 10: Quote of the Week
"Success is making those who believed in you look brilliant." - Dharmesh Shah
“Enjoyment is an incredible energizer to the human spirit.” - John C. Maxwell
🏋️ Shot 11: Training of the Week
HubSpot Service Hub Resources
- HubShots: We covered Service Hub in depth in episode 276. You can also watch the episode on our YouTube channel
- HubSpot Academy: Service Hub Software training
🏋️ Shot 12: Need help with your HubSpot Portal?
HubShots HubSpot QuickCheck
Our new HubSpot QuickCheck service has been popular with companies who are looking for a quick review of their HubSpot portal to understand:
- Are there parts of HubSpot I’m not using yet that I should be?
- Am I using best practices in the key parts of HubSpot (eg Workflows, Forms, Emails, Landing Pages, Lists, Deals, Reports)?
- Are there any ways I’m using HubSpot that are cause for concern that I need to address?
- Are my processes efficient (eg qualifying new leads, creating tickets, managing Marketing Contacts, etc)?
- My renewal is coming up - is my HubSpot subscription giving me good value?
- Should I consider upgrading my Hub or adding new Hubs into my portal (eg I’m using Marketing Hub, should I consider Service Hub)?
If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, our QuickCheck call might be ideal. Here’s the details:
- We organise a 90 minute Zoom or Teams call with you
- On the call we start by getting a brief overview of your business, your goals and how you currently use HubSpot
- We then guide you through our 50 point checklist through your portal, to gain a high level understanding of how well you are using your portal
- We provide recommendations for improvements, features to use, and processes for increasing efficiency
- Pricing is available on the site
🧲 Shot 13: Follow Us on the Socials
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