HubSpot workflows are a powerful tool to automate much of your marketing process to achieve greater efficiency. You can use workflows to automate your email campaigns, score and nurture leads, move leads to sales, track data, and more.
However, like most software, many users only scratch the surface with what they can do. This blog will focus on how you can get more out of your HubSpot workflows and optimize their impact.
The Challenges of Optimizing HubSpot Workflows
The sheer breadth and depth of HubSpot’s workflow capabilities and customizations can make them a huge asset to your organization. However, they can also cause problems if not utilized or set up properly. Conflicting or old workflows can send mixed messages to your audience or set leads down the wrong path. Opportunities can get lost in the shuffle and not make it to sales. Workflows may not work the way you intended.
If any of these sound familiar, you’re not alone.
Fortunately, you can utilize the proven strategies in this blog to help with sales enablement and make your HubSpot workflows more efficient.
First, let’s look at some of the more common use cases for workflow optimization you should utilize to maximize the value from your HubSpot workflows.
Common Uses for HubSpot Workflows
The uses for workflows are nearly endless, from automating team processes to taking action on deals or tickets. Marketers, sales teams, and support teams use HubSpot workflows for the following.
Deliver Content and Automate Follow-up
On top of driving more engagement with workflows, you can also automate the nurturing process. Deliver the content someone requested and promote related, helpful content through an email drip campaign to keep prospects engaged and drive them through the buyer’s journey to conversion.
Automate Webinar and Event Workflows
Use workflows to trigger an invitation to your guest list, send confirmation and reminder emails to attendees, and automate the follow-up emails after the event.
Send Alerts to Your Sales Team
Notify sales immediately when prospects take specific actions, such as booking a demo. When someone raises their hand to talk to sales, alert your sales team automatically that it’s time to engage.
Re-Engage Dormant Leads
Even the best leads can fizzle over time. Trigger re-engagement workflows for your dormant contacts that have become inactive or unengaged.
Automate Lead Scoring and Lifecycle Stage Graduation
Lead scoring is a powerful tool to quickly surface high-value leads and focus efforts on leads most likely to convert. By defining intent and applying predictive analytics based on engagement, qualifications, and online behavior, sales and marketing teams can prioritize leads and increase conversion rates.
Similarly, workflows can automate lead nurturing workflows that help manage buyer lifecycles. When prospects reach certain predefined thresholds, lifecycle stage graduation occurs automatically with workflows turning marketing qualified leads (MQLs) into sales qualified leads (SQLs).
Automate Contact and Audience Segmentation
By dividing your contacts into smaller groups (segments) based on shared characteristics or behaviors, you can increase the odds of providing relevant information at the right time in the buying cycle.
Marketers use buyer personas, based on personalities, interests, habits, and engagement along with demographic, industry, company size, and other shared traits to create more targeted messaging.
Segmentation offers a simple way of organizing and managing customer relationships for prospects and existing customers.
How Can You Increase Conversions with HubSpot Workflows?
Here are seven strategies you can employ to optimize HubSpot workflows and increase conversions.
1. Ensure Alignment and Consistency
In large organizations, multiple teams and people create workflows for their processes and needs. Too many cooks in the kitchen can lead to an inconsistent approach or misalignment on workflow goals and outcomes.
You should avoid these common mistakes:
- Having different strategies between departments about what workflows to create
- Creating multiple similar workflows
- Using the same triggers
- Using different naming conventions
When you’re not on the same page, prospects may receive irrelevant content and unsubscribe, your sales and marketing teams can suffer from alert fatigue and eventually ignore important notices that might lead to sales.
The bottom line? Make sure everyone’s on the same page and your outcomes are aligned before you start building or mapping anything, and more.
2. Map Your Workflows Before Building
Would you ever start an important trip without knowing your destination? Unless you decide to embark on a spontaneous road trip, probably not. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll likely have trouble getting there.
The same applies to workflows. You need to know where you're going before you start your journey.
It’s essential to understand how all your workflows work together. Laying them out visually can help you envision the logic flow and ensure they work the way you want. If you jump into the deep end without a plan, you may find yourself with workflows that have missing steps or the wrong triggers. Without the right mapping, it’s easy to create workflows that don’t produce results — often because nobody ever got the right information or even got enrolled in the first place.
You can map out your workflows however it makes sense to you, from whiteboards to software such as Lucid Charts or Funnelytics (our personal choice). Every time you create a new workflow, you should refer to the chart to avoid conflicting workflows. Mapping should include each step in your enrollment, nurturing, lead scoring, and sales enablement process.
At Beacons Point, we build our workflows to nurture our audience through our Campfire Model (our version of the marketing funnel).
3. Determine Timing and Cadence
Make sure you spend time evaluating the cadence of emails, notifications, and other actions so workflows don’t inundate your audience with information. If you blast them with more emails in a short time frame than they expected when they subscribed, they may decide to opt out. Are your promotion and nurture emails set to only trigger during business hours? Do you have a few days in between each email in your drip campaign? Make sure to create these delays in timing to help avoid overload.
4. Build Workflows Based on Contact Segmentation
Contacts should be entering workflows contextually, which means your enrollment triggers will be key in identifying who belongs in each workflow.
You can set up your workflow criteria in a variety of different ways, but it all comes down to who they are in your database and how they’ve engaged with you. Meaning, you can enroll someone based on actions they took (behavior), or information about who the contact is (demographic).
The following can be classified as behavior, or how someone engages with your company:
- Form submissions
- CTA clicks
- Event registration
- Email engagement
- Page views
- Lifecycle stage
- Company size
- Job title
- Annual revenue
Knowing your buyer personas will help you understand what kind of criteria you should look for to trigger certain workflows.
Understanding your workflow enrollment triggers and making them specific as possible is also key. You don't want to be as vague as someone viewing a page one time, or their email being known. You need to understand why you are enrolling someone in a specific workflow to send the right message at the right time to the right prospects.
5. Set Goals (and Measure Them)
Once you’ve mapped your workflows and know what want to achieve, you need to set SMART goals to measure workflow performance.
First, you need to understand the desired action you want leads to take when they are enrolled in your workflow - that will become the goal of your workflow. Do you want them to download a whitepaper, fill out a form, request additional information, watch a video, or sign up for a demo? Focus on one goal specific to your desired outcome and set that as your workflow goal.
If you want a lead to take several different actions over a span of time, we recommend creating smaller, modular workflows rather than one very long workflow with a series of if/then branches. Once someone meets the workflow goal, they will be automatically unenrolled from the workflow and they'll miss out on your later-stage content that can drive conversions. Instead, create modular workflows so people can easily jump from one to the next based on the actions they take.
But remember, automation doesn’t mean set-it-and-forget-it. You should constantly monitor and measure performance to ensure prospects take the next step in the buyer's journey. If they aren’t, you need to re-evaluate your content or workflow structure.
6. Optimize Your Workflows
In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, the sales trainer played by Alec Baldwin said sales is as easy as A-B-C: Always Be Closing. In marketing, it’s more about ABT: Always Be Testing. At each stage of your workflows, you should be reviewing performance and A/B testing to optimize your results.
Measuring workflow performance will help you see what’s working and what’s not.
Reviewing Email Performance
Reviewing your emails to see which ones are performing and which aren't will show you where you need to optimize your content.
Consider your email and click-through rates. If one metric is high but the other is low, optimize the problem area. For example:
- High opens, high clicks: Doing great! People are interested in your subject line and content.
- High opens, low clicks: Your subject line is grabbing attention, but you need to optimize the body of your email since the content inside isn’t inspiring them to read on or click through.
- Low opens, high clicks: Optimize your subject line. Not enough people are opening it but those who do are interested in the content and are engaging.
- Low opens, low clicks: Fix this ASAP. Prospects aren't opening your email. Those that do aren’t engaging.
How often should you tweak your workflows if they aren’t hitting your goals? It depends on the intention of the workflow and your needs at the moment. For nurture flows, reviewing monthly or quarterly may be fine. If your workflows are time-dependent (for example, a webinar registration flow), check on them more often. You will be checking for send-time optimization, content accuracy, the level of personalization, and more. Check out our webinar workflow checklist for the full list.
For newer workflows, you may want to check in on them weekly until you are satisfied they function properly.
7. Conduct Workflow Audits and Maintain Hygiene
Regular audits are vital for reviewing workflows on a high level and cleaning up your database. You need to fully understand the purpose of each workflow and how it is impacting your database. Old workflows may be wreaking havoc by:
- Creating lists you no longer need (or worse, adding contacts to lists that will trigger other workflows!)
- Sending emails that are no longer relevant
- Assigning contact owners that no longer work at your organization
- Setting incorrect contact properties (which can also impact your reporting)
A workflow audit should focus, first, on your active workflows to understand what they do along with your high-risk workflows. This includes the workflows that send messages to prospects, add them to lists, or set properties that may have their own triggers.
If you have any workflows that aren’t triggering properly, such as workflows with zero people ever enrolled, you’ll need to dig into what’s happening. If you have a workflow you aren’t currently using, turn it off or delete it if you won’t need it in the future.
You can help maintain workflow hygiene by setting up workflows to alert your team when it's time to review and clean up key workflows (meta, right?).
8. Set and Stick to Naming Conventions
This may not seem like a big deal but trust us, it is — especially if you have a lot of hands in the pot. When using standard naming conventions, you can see at a glance what workflows you have moving (nurture vs. engage vs. cleaning, etc.)
If you have 3+ people all creating their own workflows and using a title like “Nurture” or something vague, or not naming workflows at all, you will have a really hard time auditing your workflows. Again, the more people you have creating workflows, you run a higher risk of having multiple people using the same triggers for different workflows - thus, creating chaos for the contacts on the receiving end of these workflows.
9. Integrate Workflows with Sales and Marketing Communications Platforms
For high-intent actions on your site, such as a demo request, you can set up a workflow to trigger a notification to your sales team so they can review the lead as quickly as possible and reach out while they’re still warm and have your company on their mind.
10. Integrating Offline Marketing with HubSpot Workflows
From sales enablement to lead nurturing, there are countless ways to leverage HubSpot workflows to automate your marketing, sales, and service processes to make teams more efficient. However, the increased reliance on digital channels has made it more difficult than ever for go-to-market teams to scale meaningful communications.
Offline Marketing Automation solutions such as Postal enable teams to integrate gifts and experiences into HubSpot workflows to reach others when digital channels have reached critical mass. When combining offline marketing with digital channels, Postal customers have experienced a 3x response rate increase, conversion improvement by 55%, and 35% more meetings are booked. Here are some tips on how to utilize gift-sending across marketing, sales and service:
- If your event isn't generating enough interest, consider offering the first 15 people who sign up a $10 gift card to grab a coffee.
- Struggling to get people to download your content? Host a giveaway with messaging like "Download our eBook and enter to win one of three Happy Holiday Care Packages from our marketing team."
- Automate gifts from sales reps by triggering sending a gift when a prospect opens an email and include a kind message on the gift acceptance page reminding the prospect about your call to action.
- Send a thank-you note with AI handwriting, so you can put a more personal touch on a follow-up message after meeting with a prospect.
- When your prospect turns into a customer, send a thank you gift of a bottle of champagne or a gourmet hot chocolate kit.
- If your client has a work anniversary or a birthday coming up, use that event date as a trigger to send a thoughtful gift from your team.
- Consider sending gifts to your client's office on the anniversary of your professional engagement together.
Virtual outreach alone won't always yield the results you need when B2B companies deal with more noise from competitors than ever before. If you're looking for an easy way to boost your workflow conversions, consider leveraging offline marketing to integrate seasonal gifts and experiences.
More Conversions, More Revenue
HubSpot workflows allow you to employ an effective, automated approach to your marketing, sales, and customer service. Use these strategies to optimize your marketing and sales efforts to create more conversions, help your leads along their buyer’s journey, and generate more revenue.