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Create workflows

Last updated: August 26, 2021

Applies to:

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

With the workflows tool, you can automate your marketing, sales, and service processes to make your team more efficient. Set enrollment criteria to automatically enroll records and take actions on your contacts, companies, deals, quotes, and tickets. You can also take actions on associated records, such as updating the company associated with a contact enrolled in the workflow.

Please note: contact-based workflows have been migrated to use the same system as all other objects. There are still some differences between workflow types, such as settings. Learn more about the workflow migration.

Sequences are another automation tool which rely on one-to-one emails and follow-up task reminders to help sales reps automate their processes. Learn more about using sequences.

To get started creating a workflow:

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Automation > Workflows.
  • To create a new workflow, in the upper right, click Create workflow.
  • To copy an existing workflow, hover over the workflow, then click Clone.
  • To edit an existing workflow, hover over the workflow, then click Edit.

You'll then select the type of workflow you want to create.

Select workflow type

You can create workflows for the following objects:

  • Contacts
  • Companies
  • Deals
  • Quotes (Sales Hub Enterprise)
  • Tickets (Service Hub Professional or Enterprise)
  • Custom objects (Enterprise only)
  • Conversations
  • Feedback submissions (Service Hub Professional or Enterprise)

Learn more about types of workflows in the video below:

See the full HubSpot Academy lesson: Workflows deep dive

To select your workflow type:

  • In the left panel of the workflow setup page, choose whether you want to start your workflow from scratch, or from a template.
    • Start from scratch: to begin with a blank workflow, click the Start from scratch tab. Then select Contact-based, Company-based, Deal-based, Ticket-based, Quote-based, or Custom object-based as the workflow type. If you select Contact-based, you can choose to continue from scratch or center your workflow on a date or date property.

    • Templates: to start with a default set of enrollment triggers and actions, click the Templates tab. In the left panel, search or click the Type dropdown menu to file by template type. Select a template to preview the enrollment triggers and actions on the right.

  • Click the pencil icon edit to give your workflow a name, then click Create workflow

If you're creating a workflow from scratch, you'll then be taken to the workflow editor. If you're creating your workflow from a template, you'll be guided through a step by step creation process, and then will be brought to the workflow editor.

Set enrollment triggers

Enrollment triggers are a set of criteria that automatically enroll records in the workflow. If you only want to enroll records manually, leave the enrollment trigger box blank. Learn more about manual enrollment.

To watch an overview of this process, check out the video below:

See the full HubSpot Academy lesson: Workflows deep dive
  • In the workflow editor, click Set enrollment triggers. Learn more about setting enrollment triggers in workflows.
  • In the right panel, select a filter type for your enrollment trigger. Set up the trigger, then click Apply filter.
  • By default, records will only enroll in a workflow the first time they meet the enrollment triggers. To enable re-enrollment:
    • In the right sidebar, click the Re-enrollment tab.
    • Click to toggle the Re-enrollment switch on.
    • Select the triggers that you want to use for re-enrollment. Learn more about adding re-enrollment triggers to workflows.
  • Add more enrollment triggers if needed.
  • When you're done, click Save.

Add actions

Most workflow actions, such as Create task and Send email, can be saved without setting all of the details. This can help streamline workflow building by allowing you to add your actions first as placeholders, then set up the rest of the details later before turning the workflow on.

For example, you're setting up a workflow for an upcoming email marketing campaign. Even though you haven't finished creating the emails you'll be sending, you can add all the Send email actions you need, then add the emails once they've been finalized.

Placeholder actions must be filled out before you can turn on the workflow. Learn more about placeholder actions.

To add actions to a workflow:

Please note: the actions available to you depend on your subscription. Locked actions locked require an account upgrade to use. 

  • Set up the details of the action, then click Save. Or, if you're adding the action as a placeholder, click Save without filling out the action details.
  • Click the plus icon + to add more workflow actions.
  • If you're creating a contact-based workflow to send marketing emails, it's recommended to set a workflow goal to measure engagement with your content. Learn more about using goals in contact-based workflows.

After adding an action, you can clone or move it to streamline the workflow building process. And if you'd like to leave a note on a workflow action for you or your team's reference, learn how to add comments to workflow actions

When building larger workflows, you can use the workflow minimap for a quicker view of your workflow architecture and faster navigation. To use the workflow minimap:

  • In the upper left of the workflow. timeline, click Show minimap.
  • With the minimap open, you can hover over workflow actions to view the action name, and click an area of the minimap to navigate there.
  • To close the minimap, click theleftarrow icon in the top right of the minimap.

Manage settings

Click the Settings tab to manage the workflow's settings. On the General page, select days and times that you want actions to execute, enroll contacts from Salesforce, and associate campaigns with the workflow. On the Unenrollment and suppression page, set unenrollment and suppression criteria to automatically remove or exclude records from the workflow.

Learn more about managing your workflow settings.


Turn on your workflow

After setting up your workflow, turn it on to begin automating. If you've saved any placeholder actions, they must be completed before you can turn on the workflow.

To watch an overview of this process, check out the video below: 

See the full HubSpot Academy lesson: Workflows deep dive

To review and turn on your workflow:

  • In the upper right corner, click Review.
  • Choose to enroll records that currently meet the enrollment triggers or only enroll records that meet the triggers in the future:
    • To only enroll records that meet the enrollment triggers after the workflow is turned on, select No, only enroll [objects] which meet the trigger criteria after turning the workflow on.
    • To enroll existing records that meet the enrollment triggers, select Yes, enroll existing [objects] which meet the trigger criteria as of now.

    • If you have a Marketing Hub Starter, Professional, or Enterprise account, in contact-based workflows you can view a static list of contacts that meet the criteria by clicking Use lists to see these contacts. The list will automatically be saved and can be accessed from your lists dashboard.
  • Review the rest of your workflow settings, including connections and unenrollment, then click Turn on.
  • In the dialog box, click Yes, turn on.

After you turn your workflow on, you can view the workflow history to monitor the records that are enrolled.