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Use goals in contact-based workflows

Last updated: September 28, 2021

Applies to:

Marketing Hub Professional, Enterprise

When you create a contact-based workflow, you can set a workflow goal to focus the objective of your workflow and measure the success of your workflow in nurturing contacts.

If you're a Sales Hub or Service Hub Professional or Enterprise user trying to unenroll or exclude contacts in contact-based workflows, learn more about unenrolling contacts in contact-based workflows with goals instead.

Please note: because of changes related to Apple's recently announced iOS 15 privacy features, your email opens may appear higher than usual. You can consider using clicks or replies instead of email opens for your workflow goals instead. Learn more about how to navigate these changes in HubSpot.

How workflow goals work

A workflow goal is the ultimate objective of your contact-based workflow. When an enrolled contact meets the workflow goal criteria, they are automatically unenrolled from the workflow before the next action executes. Common workflow goals include:

  • Moving contacts to a new lifecycle stage (e.g., the contact's Lifecycle stage changes to Customer).
  • Contacts taking actions that indicate engagement (e.g., the contact submits a specific form, clicks a specific call-to-action, etc.).
  • Contacts reaching a number of interactions with your marketing content (e.g., the contact reaches a certain number of page views, form submissions, email clicks, etc.).

When a contact is first enrolled in a workflow, HubSpot checks if the contact meets the goal criteria. If they do, they will not be enrolled in the workflow and will not count towards the workflow's goal conversion rate.

When a contact is active in a workflow and meets the goal criteria, they'll be unenrolled from the workflow. If they've been sent a marketing email in the workflow, they will count towards the workflow's goal conversion rate. You can identify active contacts that were unenrolled from a workflow as a result of meeting the goal criteria in the workflow history.

Please note: clearing all goal criteria will reset the number of contacts that have met the current goal and will reset the workflow's conversion rate to zero. Updating goal criteria or adding new filters will not reset the workflow's goal data.

Use goals in workflow enrollment criteria and list filters

There are two ways to enroll contacts in a workflow or list based on whether they met a workflow's goal criteria. 

For workflows that use goal criteria and send marketing emails, use the Workflow status filter Contact has met the goal. This will enroll any contacts who count toward the workflow's goal conversion rate. Since the filter enrolls based on goal conversion rate, this method won't work if the workflow doesn't send marketing emails.


For workflows that have goal criteria but don't send marketing emails, use the Workflow status filter Contact has been enrolled in. Then, use AND separators and add the workflow's goal criteria. This will enroll any contacts that enrolled in the first workflow and then met the goal criteria. 


Difference between workflow goals and suppression lists

While workflow goals and suppression lists both unenroll contacts from workflows, they serve different purposes:

  • Goal: used to measure the success of your workflow in nurturing contacts. For example, your goal criteria might include contacts who become a customer or submit a specific form while enrolled in the workflow. When a contact meets your workflow goal and was sent a marketing email in the workflow, they will count towards the workflow's goal conversion rate. A contact can meet a workflow goal while currently enrolled or any time after completing the workflow. It's recommended to use goals only when the workflow contains a marketing email send.
  • Suppression list: used to suppress contacts you don't want to enroll in the workflow. For example, your suppression list might include your competitors, contacts who are already customers, or current employees. It's recommended to use suppression lists instead of goals when the workflow does not contain a marketing email send.

Set a workflow goal in your contact-based workflow

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Automation > Workflows.
  • Click the name of your contact-based workflow.
  • In the upper left, click goal Set goal.
  • In the dialog box, select and set the goal criteria. Then, click Done.

  • To add multiple criteria to the goal, click AND or OR. Learn more about AND vs OR logic.

  • When you're done, click Save.