How to Setup Workflows in HubSpot

August 9, 2015

How to Setup Workflows in HubSpotYou have worked so hard to generate high-quality leads that fit the description of your target audience; make sure you don’t squander those efforts by failing to nurture your leads intelligently.


Lead nurturing is the practice of engaging with contacts via automated touches to build relationships, with the end goal of closing more educated and qualified customers faster. Rather than bombarding leads with calls or non-targeted emails on a daily basis, use workflows to strategically bring your leads closer to a purchase-ready mentality.


Completing the following 10 steps will allow you to follow-up automatically to nurture leads further down the sales funnel, shorten the sales cycle, and convert more of them into customers.


Step 1: Plan out the steps of your workflow

First, you have to decide who you are trying to nurture. The success of your workflow is dependent on your ability to properly segment the contacts with whom you will be communicating.


After gaining an understanding of who it is you are trying to nurture, you need to determine what you are nurturing them toward. What is the action you would like them to complete in response of the nurturing efforts? Is it a content download? Maybe a consultation? Whatever it is, there should be no confusion as to whether or not the contact has been successfully nurtured.


During step 1, you must also decide how many emails you want to send. Lead nurturing typically involves sending more than one email in an attempt to build trust, establish a relationship, and provide an offer that is educational, contextual, and relevant.


You also need to determine the goal of each email in the lead nurturing sequence. Remember, even though each email may have a different primary goal, every email should be driving contacts towards the destination selected earlier in this step.


Lastly, decide how long the delays will be between each email in the campaign, and name the workflow appropriately.


Step 2: Visually map out your workflow

By visually mapping out your lead nurturing sequence/workflow, you will gain the perspective of how all of the individual pieces come together into a final product. Include a list of the people you are trying to nurture, what action you are intending to nurture them toward, the number of emails you plan to send out, and the delay that will occur between each email.


Step 3: Build the list of people you would like to nurture

In step 1 you segmented your contacts into relevant groupings. Now it is time to create the list of specific contacts that will be used for the workflow. Be sure to appropriately name the contact list to avoid any potential confusion.


Step 4: Build your goal list

Create a smart list in HubSpot that will populate all of the individuals completing the action you are nurturing your contacts toward. Once again, be sure to appropriately name the contact list.


Step 5: Write emails and save for automation

Now it is time to write the nurturing emails for the workflow and then save for email automation. After writing the emails in HubSpot, select “Send Email With Automated Workflows” to activate them for sending.


Step 6: Select your workflow type

When creating the new workflow in the Workflow app in HubSpot, you must choose the type of workflow you would like to setup. The three choices are listed below:



  • Standard – designed to trigger once a contact meets the starting criteria of the workflow. This will most likely be the type selected for the majority of lead nurturing campaigns you will activate.
  • Fixed Date – designed to trigger based on a specific date like a product launch, webinar, or holiday.
  • Property Based – designed to nurture contacts based on a date that is specific to that contact, like their birthday, trial expiration date, renewal date, or date they became a customer.

Step 7: Build your workflow

Now it is time to actually build out your workflow within HubSpot. First, select the starting condition of your workflow. To do this, click the drop-down in the box that reads “When active, the workflow will enroll contacts who…” and select the option Join the list. After making the selection, a new dropdown will appear with all of your lists in HubSpot; find and select the list you constructed in step 3.


Here, you will have the choice to enroll the list’s existing contacts if you would like to enroll contacts already populated in your smart list. You can either check the box or elect not to check the box. If you don’t check the box, it will only enroll future contacts that join the list after the workflow has been activated.


This is also when you will add in your goal list. To do so, click Set a Goal and select the constructed goal list from step 4.


Next, choose Add action or delay to begin adding your emails. When you select Send an email, select the correct email you saved for automated workflows. Continue adding actions and delays for the remainder of the emails in the lead nurturing sequence.


Step 8: Configure the settings of your workflow

You can access the workflow’s settings on the left sidebar of the workflow builder in HubSpot. This is where you get to decide on the following stipulations:



  • If a contact should be allowed to enter this workflow more than once.
  • If a contact should be removed from the workflow if they enter a different established workflow.
  • If you want to select a contact list to suppress from the workflow actions.
  • If the workflow should only execute actions on business days.
  • If the workflow should only execute actions in a specific time period.

This is also where you can tag the workflow to a particular Campaign and Buyer Persona in HubSpot.


Step 9: Test your workflow and turn it on

Select the Test button in the top right-hand corner of the workflow builder and test it using your own information. After testing, activate the workflow.


Step 10: Analyze your workflow results

Continuously monitor the success of the emails in your workflow and refine when necessary. This is a step that is often incorrectly overlooked even though it is crucial to the continued success of your brand’s lead nurturing efforts.


Happy Nurturing!

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