How to Troubleshoot and Fix HubSpot Workflow Errors

Written By Sean McGauley
May 11, 2023

Marketing automation has revolutionized the way we engage with our customers, and HubSpot workflows and sequences are an essential part of this automation process. Organizations everywhere are creating workflows designed to help save time and streamline their marketing efforts. However, setting up workflows can be challenging, and even the most experienced marketers can make mistakes.

There’s nothing worse than logging into HubSpot on Monday morning to find out that the great new workflow you set up last week is now causing HubSpot to alert you about errors. It can cause your day to come to a screeching halt.

Errors can bring your workflow to a halt

Now what? 

Errors in workflows can cause a range of problems, such as triggering the wrong actions, delays in triggering workflows, or even complete failure of the workflow. This can result in a negative impact on customer experience, wasted time and effort, and ultimately, lost revenue.

But don’t fret – you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re new to HubSpot workflows or an experienced user, this post is for you. We will cover the most common HubSpot Workflow errors and how to fix them, how to troubleshoot HubSpot workflow errors, and the best practices for setting up and maintaining successful workflows. Let’s dive in!

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5 Common HubSpot Workflow Errors and How to Fix Them

It’s likely that an error from your workflow is what brought you here. So first, let’s take a look at some common examples of HubSpot workflow errors, what the errors mean, and how to fix them:

Error 1 – “Unable to send email notification”

What does this error mean?
An internal notification email was unable to be sent to the specified user.

How to fix this error
This error indicates that there may be something blocking internal email notifications. To fix this error, make sure your specified user is able to receive internal email notifications:

Error 2 – “Action was skipped because it would execute in the past”

What does this error mean?
Your workflow is using the Center on a date property and the contact was enrolled after the selected date for an action has passed.  

For example, if your workflow has been set up with a Center on a date property to send an email on September 13th, but the contact is enrolled on September 14th. In this example, the contact enrolls after the selected date to send the email. 

How to fix this error
If you’ve set up your workflow with actions that are meant to be triggered on a specific date, you can ignore this error. 

If your workflow is designed with a recurring purpose, such as to trigger an email on a customer’s birthday, set the workflow to recur annually. This will enable the customer to enroll in the workflow and execute all workflow actions regardless of when they were enrolled and get their birthday wishes from you every year.

Error 3 – “Recipient was suppressed due to low engagement”

What does this error mean?
HubSpot knows that continuing to send emails to contacts who haven’t opened or clicked will lower your sender score. That’s why they do such a great job of trying to limit Spam and Graymail for you. In this case, the Graymail suppression has been enabled in either the specific email included in your workflow or your account’s marketing email settings.

How to fix this error
To send the email to unengaged contacts, ensure that graymail suppression has been turned off.

To check the email you’re trying to automate, go to the Send tab of your email and ensure the Don’t send to unengaged contacts checkbox is cleared.

To check your account’s marketing email settings, go to your Subscription Settings and ensure that the Don’t send to unengaged contacts switch is toggled off.

Error 4 – “This email wasn’t sent because it is being blocked by HubSpot”

What does this error mean?
This error indicates that the email you’re trying to automate violates HubSpot’s Acceptable Use Policy

How to fix this error
To remedy this error, review and update your email to remove any content that may violate HubSpot’s Acceptable Use Policy

Error 5 – “Email to this recipient has previously bounced”

What does this error mean?
This error indicates that previous emails to this contact have hard bounced. Again, this is HubSpot trying to help with protecting your sender reputation.

How to fix this error

The first thing to do when you encounter this error is to verify that your contact’s email address is correct and valid. If it is valid, you can manually remove the hard bounce from the contact record. HubSpot offers step-by-step instructions on manually removing a hard bounce.

Don’t See Your HubSpot Workflow Error Listed?

Are you encountering an error that’s not listed in this post? No problem, HubSpot has a handy resource with even more remedies for common workflow errors.

How to Troubleshoot HubSpot Workflow Errors

So, what do you do when your HubSpot workflows aren’t working as they should be? Even well-designed workflows can experience issues, and it’s crucial to identify and resolve them as soon as possible. Here are some tips to help you troubleshoot your HubSpot workflows effectively:

Fixed it

  1. Verify that the correct contacts have been enrolled: Check the History tab to ensure that contacts (and the correct contacts) have been enrolled in the workflow. If not, check the Starting Criteria box in the Actions tab to see if existing contacts that met the workflow criteria were not enrolled. If that’s the case, create a list with the same criteria as the starting condition, and manually enroll contacts from the list into the workflow.
  2. Enable reenrollment: If you want to reenroll contacts, make sure that function is enabled within the workflow. Contacts can reenroll when a property gains value or changes, such as a contact’s lifecycle stage. But note that contacts only reenroll each time they experience an update that matches a re-enrollment trigger.
  3. Check for suppressed contacts: Review suppression lists and criteria to identify contacts that were mistakenly suppressed, which could be keeping them out of your workflow.
  4. Verify if contacts have met the workflow goal: If you’re losing contacts somewhere within the workflow, check if they’ve already taken the intended action or goal. Contacts that meet the goal during a workflow will be unenrolled from the workflow, while contacts that meet the goal before the workflow begins won’t be enrolled. If too many contacts are falling out of the workflow, review your goal list or criteria to see if they need updating.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to quickly identify and resolve common issues with HubSpot workflows. It’s also important to document your workflows and regularly conduct audits to ensure they’re functioning as intended. 

5 Best Practices for Error-Free HubSpot Workflows

Setting up your workflows using best practices will help minimize the number of errors you encounter. Here are 5 best practices to create error-free workflows:

  1. Define your workflow goals: Before setting up a workflow, clearly define your goals and objectives. Determine what actions you want your contacts to take and what triggers will initiate the workflow.
  2. Keep it simple: It’s important to keep your workflows simple and easy to understand. Avoid overcomplicating your workflows with too many actions or complex branching logic.
  3. Test thoroughly: Thoroughly test your workflows before activating them. This will help you identify and fix any errors or issues before they impact your contacts.
  4. Segment your contacts: Segment your contacts based on their behavior and preferences. This will help you create more targeted workflows that are tailored to their specific needs and interests.
  5. Monitor and optimize: Monitor your workflows regularly to identify any areas for improvement. Use the data to optimize your workflows and make them more effective over time.

By following these best practices, you can set up HubSpot workflows that are effective, efficient, and tailored to the specific needs of your contacts.

Infographic Exploring the Best Practices for HubSpot Workflows

Putting it All Together

HubSpot workflows are a powerful tool for automating marketing processes and improving customer engagement. However, errors can lead to a negative impact on customer experience and even lost revenue.

In this post, we covered the most common HubSpot workflow errors and learned tips to troubleshoot and fix them. When setting up your next workflow, make sure to use the best practices for setting up error-free workflows, such as defining goals, keeping it simple, testing thoroughly, segmenting contacts, and monitoring and optimizing workflows regularly. 

More Workflow Examples? Check out these 5 for keeping your HubSpot database clean

Sean McGauley

About the Author

Marketing is more challenging than it’s ever been - but, I’m committed to finding new and creative ways to succeed. By day, I’m a digital marketing enthusiast with a passion for connecting brands with their target audience. I have over a decade of experience in creating and executing successful campaigns with a proven track record. I specialize in Strategy, Copywriting, SEO, and social media marketing - always staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. By night, you'll likely find me adventuring with family and friends. I enjoy nature, photography, mountain biking, fly fishing, and trying new foods. I want to connect with other like-minded professionals to learn from and work with.