9 min read

Episode 294: HubSpot in 2023, Approvals functionality, HubSpot Meetings tip, Paid seat gotcha

Episode 294: HubSpot in 2023, Approvals functionality, HubSpot Meetings tip, Paid seat gotcha

Welcome to HubShots Episode 294: HubSpot in 2023, Approvals functionality, HubSpot Meetings tip, Paid seat gotcha


This edition we dive into:

  • Overview of HubShots hubs in 2023
  • Areas of opportunity with HubSpot for your business
  • Email Marketing Approvals
  • HubSpot Meeting tip for free/busy
  • Conversation Handoff process improvements
  • Impersonate a User in HubSpot
  • Gotcha: Deactivating a user who has a paid seat
  • Which tools have folders and sub-folders
  • 11 Things You’re Probably Not Using in HubSpot that You Should Be Online Masterclass

You can watch this episode on our YouTube episodes playlist (or just listen to it on our YouTube audio channel)

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We’re also available on Spotify or Soundcloud if that’s easier for you.

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Recorded: Thursday 26 January 2023 | Published: Friday 03 February 2023

Table of Contents


🌱 Shot 1: Growth Thought of the Week

An Overview of HubSpot Hubs in 2023

HubSpot has changed significantly over the past two years, and it can be easy to miss what’s available. So I thought it might be worth spending a minute or two to review the main Hubs of HubSpot and what they provide.

HubSpot Hubs in 2023

Here’s the HubSpot Hubs as of 2023:

  • Marketing Hub: A very mature suite of marketing tools covering all aspects of marketing campaigns (including forms, landing pages, CTAs, emails, nurture workflows, social media management, advertising integration, blogs, list and audience segmentation, attribution reporting). We’ve covered the marketing tools in depth over the years, but I’d recommend episode 278 on Best Practices for Marketing Campaigns as a good one to review
  • Sales Hub: Full CRM functionality for startups through to Enterprise sales teams, featuring deal pipeline management, quoting, call tracking, meetings/calendar scheduling links and forecasting. We discuss sales functionality every episode, but episode 271 on the Lazy Salespersons’ Cheat Sheet for HubSpot has been particularly popular
  • Service Hub: Full ticketing, plus knowledge base, customer portal and surveys (eg NPS) are the foundation (see episode 276 for a full deep dive). But Ticketing is much more than just support requests - it also enables automation of your business processes (we had a whole episode on this here)
  • CMS Hub: Often overlooked, many people don’t realise just how grown up the CMS (ie website) management tools in HubSpot are. Besides all the usual tools for building websites (ie Themes and drag-and-drop builders) that you can get in most modern CMSes these days, HubSpot also has smart content, personalisation tools, A/B testing, multi-language, SEO optimisation, protected content, content staging and reporting built in.
  • Operations Hub: The most recent Hub to be released and likely the most misunderstood. Think of Operations Hub as the hub for keeping data organised, whether that’s via syncing with other systems, or updating with data quality tools.

As a general rule, across all of the Hubs there is extensive reporting and dashboard functionality, as well security and permissions.

Areas of opportunity for your business?

If you’ve been using HubSpot for a few years you likely started with one of the hubs (perhaps marketing or sales) and perhaps haven’t explored some of the new hubs.

The two main hubs we are seeing growth in are:

  • Service Hub: there’s so much potential to use this to automate a ton of your business processes (it’s not just for ticketing)
  • CMS Hub: in 2022 we made the decision to move all of our websites over to HubSpot CMS Hub (many were still on WordPress, which we’d been using for the last decade or more). We now only build websites in CMS Hub - it’s that good.

If you’re confused about what’s available, or just have had a chance to look at what’s available, feel free to book in with Ian and me for a HubSpot QuickCheck - after learning about your business and current use of HubSpot, we can give you some guidance and recommendations on other areas you could potentially use HubSpot to grow your business results.

In the midst of chaos there is also opportunity

The ONE Thing

This week we’re starting a new ‘Shot’ (based on the ONE thing) and it is simply one thing we suggest you get in place this week (if you don’t already).

There’s so much to cover in HubSpot, and even these episodes can be a little overwhelming at times, so if nothing else, we want you to take away one thing from the show that you action and get in place. Each week we’ll feature a ‘ONE thing’ related to sales, marketing, service or CMS.

The week’s ONE thing relates to Sales, and is HubSpot Meetings.

Jump to Shot 4 for the details.

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✨ Shot 2: Quick Shots of the Week

Here’s a few quick items of interest we noticed:

  • Files Tool Partitioning (set at the File folder level)
  • Security Center is a new option for checking overall security in your portal. I’m struggling to recommend it though - more details later in the show notes.
  • Edit and create scheduling pages for other users - now available as an option if you are not a Super Admin. Sales Access
  • New Lists Navigation & Details Side Panel - this change was made to easily track the performance of a list without needing to leave your list.  This is a nice update.Lists Navigation & Details Side Panel


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🚀 Shot 3: HubSpot Marketing Feature of the Week

Email Marketing Approvals - Marketing Enterprise Only

Enterprise Hubs are starting to roll out approval process functionality, that allows requiring users (based on permissions) to request approval for an asset to go live (Eg web page, landing page, email, blog, etc)

We’ve started playing with it (it’s in public beta at the moment) and like it so far.

A few quick tips - to enable it you first need to turn it on in settings:

Email marketing approvals

Once that is enabled, you’ll then see an option in the right hand side of assets eg email:

requesting approval via the option in the right hand side of asset


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💰 Shot 4: HubSpot Sales Feature of the Week

How does HubSpot Meetings handle Free/Busy in Google Calendar meetings?

Most listeners will know that HubSpot has its own calendar meeting scheduling tool - called HubSpot Meetings - that allows you to share your Google or Microsoft 365 calendar availability via a nice web page or web page embed.

This allows people to easily book in time with you (eg here’s where you can book in time with us).  

HubSpot Meetings will look at your calendar and check when you are available.

We’ve discussed this a few times on the show, for full details check out episodes 261 (Shot 4) and 264 (Shot 4).

However, what should you do if you want to tentatively block out some time in your calendar (eg to work on a presentation) so that:

  • colleagues don’t invite you to meetings
  • but you do want to be available if a contact wants to book time with you

Ie you want HubSpot Meetings to consider that time as available, but you want to block it out from colleagues?

Turns out that HubSpot Meetings will look at the Free/Busy indicator in Google Calendar, and if it is Free, will consider that as available for contacts to book in.

This is really handy - it means I can block out time in my calendar like this:

Google Calendar availability indicator

My team will know I’m not available.

But HubSpot Meetings will consider the time as available.

To remove it from being available in HubSpot Meetings, I can just switch it to Busy:

Google calendar availability

(Aside: In case you are wondering, at XEN we use naming conventions for all our meetings - anything with a Prefix of ‘1’ means it is important and can’t be moved (eg a client meeting), but anything prefixed with ‘2’ means it is flexible. So, actually the meeting above is flexible - the team know that if there is something urgent it is fine to move this particular meeting. Nothing to do with HubSpot functionality - but just a little tip on how we name meetings.)

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👨‍🔧 Shot 5: HubSpot Service Feature of the Week

New feature: Seamless Conversation Handoff Across Inboxes

You’ve been able to move a Conversation out of one inbox into another for a while.

However, when doing so the conversation was set to Unassigned.

Now, as part of the move to another inbox, you can set who it is assigned to (can be a specific user or a team)

Conversations inbox

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🔧 Shot 6: HubSpot Admin Feature of the Week

Impersonate a User (Log in as User)

Since permissions can be tricky, trying to troubleshoot them can be time consuming - if you are working with someone who doesn’t have enough permissions.

One way to troubleshoot more efficiently is to impersonate a user. This is available in Enterprise hubs, for Super Admins, and can be accessed from the User’s action menu: 

Impersonate a user

You’d log in as a specific user in a separate browser instance (eg an Incognito window) and tweak permissions for the user (or their permission set) in your usual browser instance.

This is available for Super Admins, and you can only log in as non Super Admin users (ie a Super Admin can’t log in as another Super Admin)

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😕 Shot 7: Gotcha of the Week

Deactivating a User with a Paid Seat

Here’s a bit of a gotcha…

It relates to the process you use when deactivating a user (eg they leave the company).

There’s two gotchas:

  • Deactivating them won’t remove any paid seats they had allocated
  • Once deactivated, you can’t manually remove any paid seats

Instead, you need to:

  • Remove the paid seat
  • Then deactivate the user

Simple when you know, but easy to miss if you don’t. Working with a client this week we freed up a bunch of paid seats that were being consumed by deactivated users.

We had to reactivate the users, then remove the paid seat, then deactivate again.

Best Practices for Deactivating a User

If you have an Enterprise hub you can create Permission Sets that include/exclude paid seat details.

We like to create a permission set called: Remove All Permissions that has no permissions, and no paid seats.

When a User has left the company we switch their permission set to this first (which also remove any paid seats), and then Deactivate.

removing permissions

When wouldn’t you do this?

The only reason you wouldn’t do this is if you think there’s a good chance the user might return to the company - in that case you might keep their current permissions intact and just deactivate for the period.

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🎧 Shot 8: Listener Question of the Week

Which HubSpot Tools Have Folders and Sub-Folders?

Folders are a very handy way to organise your assets, but they aren’t available everywhere (yet).

Here’s a quick overview of where you can use them (as of late 2022 - this may change in future):

Which HubSpot Tools have folders and subfolders

Notice that landing pages have folders (and subfolders) but website pages don’t. Go figure.

However as HubSpot rolls out the Views approach to more areas (ie as it is in Web Pages, Landing Pages and Blog Posts) needing to use folders will be less of a benefit anyway.

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💡 Shot 9: Thought of the Week

Having an attitude of being thankful

Another reminder to take a few minutes out of your day to reflect on how lucky you are.

It’s easy to get caught up in the gloom of daily news stories (wars, layoffs, inflation), so remind yourself to focus mostly on the things you can control and not so much on the things you can’t.

Here’s a cute puppy to brighten your day. You’re welcome.


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✍️ Shot 10: Quote of the Week

 “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”

― Sun Tzu

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🏋️ Shot 11: Training of the Week

11 Things You're Probably Not Using In HubSpot That You Should Be

Last year Ian and I ran a private Masterclass for our clients, where we went through a ton of tips and new features using HubSpot.

We’re making the event recording available to our HubShots subscribers - you can access the slide deck and recording using the link in the show notes (not a subscriber yet? - you can sign up at hubshots.com/subscribe )

In the masterclass we go through 11 areas of HubShot across the hubs, highlighting the tools and features that we see most people miss.

11 things you're probably not using in HubSpot  that you should be

We’re planning another online masterclass in the coming month - look out for a separate email with details soon.

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🦮 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

You can view more details and book in your session here.



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🧲 Shot 13: Follow Us on the Socials

Connect with HubShots here:

Connect with Ian Jacob on LinkedIn and Craig Bailey on LinkedIn 

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HubShots, the podcast for marketing managers and sales professionals who use HubSpot, hosted by Ian Jacob from Search & Be Found and Craig Bailey from XEN Systems and XEN Solar.

HubShots is produced by Christopher Mottram from Podcastily.

We record using Riverside.fm (<= affiliate link)

Please share this with colleagues - it helps us improve and reach more marketers.




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