How to set up a workflow in HubSpot

Last updated: January 13, 2017

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Product: HubSpot Marketing
Subscription: Professional & Enterprise

Lead nurturing is about keeping your leads engaged with your company, showing them how you understand their specific needs, and building the trust that your company can help them. Your contacts might not yet be in "Decision" stage of their buyers journey -- ready to speak with a sales rep or buy your product -- but they may be in the "Awareness" or "Consideration" stages where they are looking for educational content, such as eBooks or whitepapers, or expert guides and case studies. By understanding where your contacts are in their buyer's journey, you are better able to provide quality, timely, and contextual content that relates to their specific needs, and thus the move them down the funnel to where they become a customer. HubSpot Workflows can help you automate and scale this lead nurturing process.

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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
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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, in an effort 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 into their respective persona and/or their location in the funnel, and entice them with more contextual content. Before beginning the setup of on 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.

There are many ways to nurture your leads. Providing quality content that engages leads takes thought and effort. Workflows can help you automate your lead nurturing by streamlining the process, with little setup time, so you can focus on delivering that contextual content that will help move your leads down the funnel.


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

To illustrate how to perform these actions, this article will take you through sending a follow-up email to a contact who fills out a specific form. So this workflow will enroll a contact after form submission then sent out an email to that contact to follow-up at a later time.

Let's get started.

1. Navigate to Workflows

From your HubSpot Marketing account, navigate to Contacts > Workflows.

2. Create new workflow

Once in your Workflows dashboard, click on the button at the top-right to a create a new workflow.

3. Name your workflow and select Standard as the workflow type

Since this example workflow is designed to send content to your contacts based on how they fill out your form, you will want to use a standard workflow so that you can engage with them relative to when they engaged with you, which is when they filled out your form. In the window that pops up after clicking Create new workflow above, name your workflow and select the Standard workflow type. Once named, and type is selected, click the Create workflow button.

4. Set enrollment criteria

First, you want to select what set or criteria your contacts need to meet in order to be enrolled in your new workflow.

There are several starting conditions you can choose from (all outlined here) - for this example, this workflow will enroll contacts based on form submission criteria.

Do do this, click Set enrollment criteria, then choose Form submission.

After you choose form submission, you'll be asked to decide on what criteria you are entering your contacts into your workflow. By default, the workflow will enroll contacts who filled the form out on any page, but you can filter down to only enroll contacts who filled the form out on a specific page.

Below the workflow options set are Contact has filled out form called Request a Quote on any page.

Once these decisons have been made and chosen, click Done to ensure you've set this enrollment criteria and can move forward building out your workflow actions.

After you've saved your step, you'll see a screen that looks like the picture below. There are a few things you'll want to review or consider here, as outlined below:

1. Contact has filled out "Request a Quote" (form) - this shows you the criteria you set in the previous step. It's good to review this portion to ensure you're happy with the criteria you've set so far.

2. AND/OR - These buttons will allow you to set and/or rules to build out your workflow criteria. Selecting one of these will take you back to the beginning of this step and decide on new sets of criteria to add to the criteria you've already selected.

3. Reenrollment  - you can click change reenrollment options here if you want your contacts to be reenrolled if they meet your criteria another time. This will let you reenroll based on all enrollment criteria, or even just on some.

4. Enroll existing contacts - check the box next to enroll contacts who already meet these criteria to enroll contacts who have already completed the action of your enrollment criteria before setting up this workflow. So in this example, if there are some contacts that already filled out this form before this workflow is activated, this workflow will be able to engage those contacts the same it will for anyone who submits on the form going forward.

5. Add an action to your workflow

Now that the enrollment criteria have been set to enroll contacts based on their specific form submission, you'll want to click the plus icon to add an action.

There are many actions from this menu that you can choose from, but this example workflow is going to send a follow-up email to someone who has filled out your "Request a Quote" form. So, in this case, there are three major steps when building this action:

1. Select an action to be performed upon a contact entering this workflow which, in this case, is to send an email.

2. Select an email - all emails that are saved for automation will appear in this dropdown and you'll want to select the appropriate email.

(Please note: if you have an email that isn't set to be used for automation, it will not appear in this dropdown menu. Make sure your email is saved for use with automation.)

3. Create email - if you have gotten to this step and you haven't created your email yet, no worries. This link will take you to your email tool so you can create your email before moving forward.

And, of course, make sure you Save your workflow action.

6. Workflow settings

Click into Settings on the left side of your workflow. In the workflow’s settings, you’ll find a variety of settings you can use to change how your workflow functions. Refer to the section of this guide on workflow settings to get more information about which settings to choose.

Once you have selected the settings you’d like to apply, click Save settings at the bottom.

7. Test your workflow

You may want to test your workflow before taking it live so you feel confident you've set up the actions just the way you wanted. To learn more about testing your workflow, check out this article.

8. Activate workflow

Once you're happy with how you've set up your workflow, you want to activate it so it can begin its automation magic. To activate your worflow, at the top-right, toggle the status switch to ON.

After you choose to turn on your workflow, there will be an activation summary that will pop up. This will go over the specifics of how you set up your workflow to act as a review before you take your workflow live. This window will allow you to enroll contacts who already meet your starting criteria as well as quickly edit your existing steps. Click Edit to make any changes.

Once you've decided your workflow is set up just as you like and you're ready to take it live, click Turn workflow on.

You can modify this example to suit your needs, and create other workflows based on information collected in your forms. You can serve contextual content to your leads to increase engagement and drive them towards a sale. Later in this guide, you’ll also see what the workflow results look like and how to view 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 could, of course, take your workflows a step further to introduce branching logic to execute actions, conditionally, based on how a contact interacts and has interacted with you in the past. This guide will, later, go over how to use branching logic in Workflows.

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