Create a contact-based workflow

Last updated: January 15, 2019

Applies to:

Marketing Hub
Professional, Enterprise
Sales Hub
Professional, Enterprise
Service Hub
Professional, Enterprise

Lead nurturing keeps your leads engaged with your company and shows them that you understand their specific needs. Your contacts might not yet be in the decision stage of the buyers journey, but they may be in the awarness or consideration stages and looking for educational content, such as eBooks or whitepapers. By understanding where your contacts are in their buyer's journey, you are better able to provide content that relates to their specific needs and thus move them down the funnel. The workflows tool in HubSpot can help you automate and scale this lead nurturing process.

HubSpot Academy

Best practices

Our HubSpot Academy team has created a project that can help you get a workflow set up specifically for lead nurturing. This project will walk you through performing the following:

  • Follow-up with your leads automatically
  • Nurture your contacts further into the buyers journey
  • Close leads into customers

Click here to dive into the project!

Read more

HubSpot workflows are not intended to blast all your contacts with the same, generic offer, nor are they intended to completely separate your marketers from the nurturing process. Instead, workflows are intended to help you automate and scale your marketing interactions to find out more about your contacts so that you can provide them with contextual information that relates to their specific needs and questions. By learning more about your contacts, you can better segment those contacts and entice them with more contextual content. Before beginning the setup of the example lead nurturing workflows below, you may want to review some of the 6 biggest lead nurturing no-no’s that you’ll want to avoid when designing and executing your lead nurturing campaigns.


In this article, you will learn how to set up a basic workflow. You'll be guided through choosing a starting condition, setting your workflow criteria, and adding actions and delays.

To illustrate how to perform these actions, the example workflow below is set up to send a follow-up email to a contact who fills out a specific form. Let's get started.

Navigate to Workflows

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Automation > Workflows.
  • In your Sales Hub Professional account, navigate to Automation Workflows

Create new workflow

In the workflows dashboard, click Create workflow in the upper right.

Please note: you can create up to 500 workflows in your account. If the New workflow button is grayed out, consider deleting some of your unused workflows. 

Name your workflow and select workflow type

On this screen, enter a name for your workflow at the top and select a workflow type. Since this example workflow will be based on a contact filling out a form, select Contact-based and Start from scratch. You can learn more about selecting a workflow type here.

When you're done, click Create workflow in the upper right.

Set enrollment triggers

Next you'll set up the triggers that will automate your workflow enrollment. Click Set enrollment triggers, then select the type of triggers you'd like to use to enroll contacts. There are several starting conditions you can choose from, all of which are outlined here. In this example, we want to enroll contacts who fill out a form, so we'll select Form submission

Once you select the type of trigger you'd like to use, you'll see options to refine this trigger, such as specific forms or meetings links submissions. In this case, we'll select which form we'd like to use to segment and enroll contacts into this workflow. When you're done refining your trigger, click Done, then Save.

You'll now see your enrollment options. There are a few things you'll want to review or consider here:

  1. Set triggers - Here you'll see any triggers you've already set. You can click the pencil icon to make edits.
  2. AND/OR - These buttons will allow you to set and/or rules to build out your workflow triggers. Click AND to set another trigger that a contact must meet in addition to the triggers you've already set. Click OR to set a trigger if you'd like contacts to be enrolled when they meet either trigger.
  3. Reenrollment  - Click Change re-enrollment options here if you want to allow contacts to be enrolled in this workflow more than once. 
  4. Enroll existing contacts - check the Enroll contacts who already meet these criteria box next to enroll contacts in your database who already meet the criteria you've set. 

When you've finished setting your enrollment options, click Save.

5. Add an action to your workflow

Next you'll add steps to your workflow. To add an action, click the + icon.

Next, select the action you'd like to add to your workflow. To learn more about each of the actions available, check out this article.

In this example, we want to send a follow-up email to a contact after they've filled out a form, so we'll select Send email (information on creating an email for use in workflows can be found here). Once you've selected an action type, set the details of the action you've chosen, then click Save to add the action to your workflow. 

6. Workflow settings

Click Settings at the top of your workflow. Here you’ll find a variety of settings you can use to change how your workflow functions, such as what days of the week you'd like actions to execute and if there are contacts you'd like to suppress from the workflow. Refer to this section for more information on workflow settings.


Once you've configured your settings, click Save settings at the bottom.

7. Test your workflow

You may want to test your workflow before taking it live to see how the actions will execute for enrolled contacts. Click Test in the top-right corner. To learn more about testing your workflow, check out this article.

8. Activate workflow

When you're happy with how you've set up your workflow, activate it to start the automation magic! To activate your workflow, first click Review in the top-right corner. 

You'll see an overview of your workflow settings for your review. Click Edit next to any of these settings to make changes. Once you've reviewed your settings and are ready to begin enrolling contacts, click Turn on.

You can modify this example to suit your needs. Later in this guide, you can learn more about analyzing the results of your lead nurturing efforts. Remember, for every business the number of contacts nurtured, the goal of the workflow, etc. will be different.

You can also take your workflows a step further by introducing branching logic to execute actions conditionally based on how a contact has engaged with your business. Learn how to use branching logic in workflows here.

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