July 14, 2017 | Holly Yalove

Workflow Automation: Your Secret Weapon for Sales and Marketing

Workflow automation provides in-house marketing and sales teams a much-needed weapon in the ongoing battle against wasted resources and inefficient processes. It can help to reduce time spent on manual tasks, simplify execution on complex projects, and ultimately increase sales. Automated workflows can be set up for a wide range of objectives: from nurturing online leads and triggering internal notifications, to automating database clean up tasks.

The extent of your workflow automation capabilities depends largely on what's available in your marketing automation software package. Not all app solutions will offer the same amount of functionality. The examples provided in this post are some of the many options available with HubSpot, the platform we've used for automation since 2013. 

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation leverages marketing software to set certain selected tasks on autopilot. It's most often used as an element of email marketing, but that can vary depending on the automated task. Automatic lead nurturing emails are a popular workflow choice, but there are several others you may want to add to your arsenal.

Sales Notification Workflows for “Hot Leads” 

You can set up workflows to automatically trigger email notifications to your sales team based on visitor behavior. This is especially helpful if your people only have limited time and resources for vetting inbound leads. When a visitor’s behavior indicates an increasing interest or sales readiness, an internal notification will help sales focus on leads showing the most promise

Step 1: Set up lead scoring. 
If you haven’t already put lead scoring in place, use your software to score leads based on specific behaviors. For instance, with HubSpot’s manual lead scoring option, you can choose to add points or take them away for a multitude of behavior triggers, including:

  • Number of website visits or page views
  • Specific CTAs clicked 
  • Visits to specific pages
  • Number of emails opened (or not)
  • Number of forms or specific forms completed
  • Whether or not the lead has opted out of emails or had emails bounce
  • And much more!

Setting workflow enrollment criteria in HubSpot

Step 2: Set initial workflow enrollment criteria based on lead score. 
Since everyone’s point system is different, review your contact records of recent customer conversions. Then determine a good numeric trigger that indicates when a lead is looking "hot.” Let’s say you decide that’s a score of 20 -- you can set that as your workflow enrollment criteria by creating a “smart list” that will automatically add leads once they reach a score of 20 or more.

Step 3: Add any additional enrollment criteria or exclusions. 
Of course there are certain types of contacts you don’t want included in your “hot leads” notifications, like existing customers or job applicants. If these factors aren’t considered in your lead scoring or segmentation lists, you can also choose to exclude them when setting up your automated workflow.

Workflow internal email notification option in HubSpotStep 4: Create the internal email notification to send sales. 
When crafting your internal email, include a catchy subject line, a brief introductory paragraph explaining the context of the notification, and add key personalization tokens from the lead's contact record to provide helpful details, like:

  • Contact name
  • Company name & domain
  • Original traffic source
  • Lifecycle stage
  • Annual revenue
  • Recent conversion event

Step 5: Customize your workflow settings, activate, and monitor.
Talk to your sales team about any special parameters that should be set for notifications. Do they need them around the clock or only during workweek office hours? Sales people need sleep, too, no matter how many cups of coffee they drink. As with all workflows, once you've activated monitor performance, check to ensure it's working as intended. 

Internal Notification Workflows for Email Opt Outs and Bounces

While your email marketing platform may keep track of which contacts have email bounces or opt outs, individuals on your team may not be immediately aware of email problems when they occur. Similar to the first example, you can set up workflows to automatically notify key team members when their assigned leads have triggered these events. 

Rotating Leads With Workflow Automation

rotate leads workflow option in hubspot

Manually distributing new leads to your sales team members is time-consuming and will only become more difficult as your team grows. Use workflows to take care of this task by assigning leads automatically to sales owners. You can do this based on territory-related geography triggers, or by automatically distributing across your sales team if your automation system offers this option.


Creating CRM Tasks and Deals Using Workflows

It may only take a few minutes for a sales team member to add a manual follow-up task or new deal to your CRM, but these minutes add up over time. Workflow automation can cut down the need for manual steps and save your sales team time better spent on tasks that can't be automated. You can trigger a new deal automatically, for instance, when certain contact forms are submitted -- setting the deal name, owner, pipeline, stage, etc. You could also trigger follow-up tasks automatically based on various criteria specific to your sales process. 

Nurturing Customers With Workflows

Your relationship with existing customers can also be improved with workflow automation. Whether they purchase services that expire on a specific date, or just need ongoing TLC, using automated workflows to deliver the right message at the right time will help you retain relationships and upsell to potential new needs. 

These are just some of the many ways workflow automation will improve your sales and marketing. If you have other ideas to share, post in the comments section below! 

Want to know more about using workflows in your inbound marketing campaigns? We've got you covered...

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Holly Yalove

Holly Yalove

As VIEO’s chief strategist and one of our principals, Holly Yalove serves as the head digital and inbound marketing strategy for our clients. She has used her extensive management, sales, and marketing experience to dramatically increase our digital marketing business, helping us become the well-rounded agency we are today.

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