3 Secrets to HubSpot Workflows to Kick Lead Nurturing Into High Gear

A lot of brands assume that to win you need more leads. But, if you don’t nurture those leads, your competitors will still win.

If you don't effectively nurture your leads, you leave a lot of money on the table. If you're not nurturing your leads, it really doesn't matter how many leads you convert, you’re not going to move a high enough percentage of them to the purchase decision.

HubSpot has a lot of functionality to hit home runs with lead nurturing strategies. But, a lot of brands are failing to use the tools to their potential. These secrets are the first step in kicking your HubSpot lead nurturing into high gear.

How HubSpot Workflows Bring Lead Nurturing Into High Gear

Create A Consistent Workflow Methodology

To kick butt on workflows, you start with a methodology. Here's ours.

Step 1: Set a Goal.

Each workflow needs a specific purpose. Ideally, when a user reaches the goal of one workflow, they are enrolled in another. Each workflow leads to another workflow.

For example, when a lead becomes a customer, they are enrolled in an onboarding, customer success series to fend off buyer’s remorse, and set them up for a successful customer experience.

Step 2: Align Goals With the Buyer Journey.

All workflows should align with the buyer journey. By matching content with the buyer's journey, you can address specific problems or objections your prospects have at each stage of the funnel.

If your goal is to deal with the most common objection or concern in the awareness stage, the goal of that workflow should be to convert the lead to the interest stage. Whatever piece of content you have that can move the lead to that next stage should be the objective of the workflow - get the lead to consume that piece of content. If that piece of content is aligned with the interest stage of the buyer journey, you can mark the lead as a middle-of-funnel (MOFU) lead, and enroll them in a consideration-stage workflow.

Step 3: Establish the start and finish.

Determine how users get enrolled into each workflow.

And, decide what should occur at the end of the workflow.

This is a part of aligning workflows to the buyer journey. Each workflow should have an intent, a single goal that serves to move a user through the funnel.

Step 4: Anticipate their Actions.

Not every customer is going to behave the same way. Consider what happens if a lead takes a few actions on the same day. No one likes it when their inbox fills up with messages from the same company or brand.

This is why we attempt to create all our lead nurturing based on two criteria: Buyer Journey Phase + Core Offer.

Some brands try to create lead nurturing based on each individual offer. The problem with this is when a contact downloads multiple offers, or even jumps down to the bottom of the funnel faster than most contacts. Some contacts buy faster, and you don’t want your lead nurturing to annoy them if they are ready to buy now.

Setting objectives, goals, and triggers based on the core offer (what they care about), and the buyer journey stage (where they are in the funnel), suppressing and removing contacts from workflows becomes much easier.

Step 5: Incorporate Smart Lists

Smart lists are the driving force to make your workflows perform. We use HubSpot smart lists to segment leads, and enroll them in a series of workflows when they meet our determined criteria.

For example, we use a pairing of lists to identify buyer journey stage based on core offer interest. If a lead downloads a top-of-funnel (TOFU) eBook on inbound marketing, we have a smart list called “TOFU Inbound Conversions” that adds everyone who downloads a TOFU eBook on Inbound Marketing. This is a conversion-based list, which logs everyone who has downloaded that awareness stage offer.

But, what if a BOFU lead downloads a TOFU eBook out of curiosity? Won’t that mess up the nurturing?

Yes, if you’re nurturing based on conversion. That’s why we don’t do that.

Instead, we create another smart list called “TOFU Inbound Identifier.” This list takes everyone who is on the conversion list, and matches them against buyer journey and demographic criteria. If a lead is a member of the TOFU conversions list, but is also a member of the BOFU conversions list, they are segmented out of the TOFU Identifier list.


Because now, if we produce a new TOFU inbound lead magnet, we don’t have to change our nurturing engine to match. We just add the new offer to a single list (the conversion list), and all new TOFU leads are automatically on-ramped into our inbound-focused lead nurturing funnel.

We don’t trigger many workflows off of conversions. We trigger almost all of our workflows on our identifier lists, which we have in place for every stage of the buyer journey.

This helps us with goals as well.

Once a TOFU lead, in a TOFU workflow, converts on the objective of that workflow (the contact meets the goal) they will be added to the MOFU conversions list.

The MOFU conversions list triggers the MOFU Identifier list which checks to see if this lead is really MOFU. And, if that lead is truly a MOFU lead, they are added to the list. Then, our MOFU lead nurturing workflows trigger off a lead added to the identifier list.

We may have several MOFU workflows that trigger off each other, continuing to nurture MOFU leads until they convert on a BOFU offer. So, our first workflow triggers off of the identifier list. Then, if the lead stays MOFU, they do not reach the goal objective of that first workflow. At the end, if they are still MOFU, the HubSpot logic triggers the second MOFU workflow.

Each workflow is triggered automatically by both the logic of “complete X workflow” AND “is not a member of the BOFU identifier list.

Our Favorite Types Of Email Workflows

It’s essential for brands to create different types of workflows. So, we use a few workflows with very specific intent and messaging, that range from brand introductions to content that focuses on re-engaging cold leads.

By testing out a few essential nurturing workflows, you can effectively nurture the leads you already have within your funnel.

The Indoctrination Series

The indoctrination series is an introduction to your brand story, and a heads-up to what your subscribers should expect. You want to set the tone, and start the narrative of the brand story you are going to tell.

  • Why is your brand unique?
  • What injustices in the market are you attempting to solve?
  • What should they expect, now that they have given you permission to email them?

These are questions that should be answered in your indoctrination series.

The Engagement Series

The engagement series is the most common type of email series we create. The objective of these series is to move the contact to the next stage of the buyer journey. For example, if a user downloads a TOFU inbound marketing eBook, the engagement series will try to get a visitor to download a MOFU inbound marketing piece.

If they don't convert on the MOFU offer, a brand can send another engagement series for a different MOFU offer. All TOFU engagement series have the objective of offering MOFU content or offers. The number of engagement series stacked on top of each other depending on how many MOFU offers you have, or how many different series you want to use to pitch the same offer.

We try to limit our engagement series workflows to single offers. If we have 5 different MOFU offers around the contact’s interest (inbound marketing, for example), we can have 5 different engagement series lined up, one after the other.

The overarching goal is to get a lead from TOFU to MOFU status. So, if they don’t like the first offer, we drop them into a second engagement series with a second offer. If they don’t convert on that offer, they are enrolled into the third series, and so on.

The Re-Engagement Series

This is the series to re-engage cold leads.

Don't just change topics, aim to bring the lead back into engagement with the brand. Content can include special deals, flash sales, "here's what's new at X company,” and so forth.

In this series, the goal is to hook contacts that haven't opened/read an email or visited your website in a long time, 30-90 days.

The objective of these series is to get them to respond in some way, to engage. If they haven’t been opening your emails, that objective might be to get opens. Or, it might be to get them back on the site, at least for a few seconds.

HubSpot Workflows: The Secret Weapon of Successful Lead Nurturing

HubSpot won't do the work for you. However, when you use HubSpot to establish these workflows, you can align them with best practices to convert more leads. HubSpot's ability to track customer information consistently makes it easy to set up smart lists and base workflows on more accurate user behavior.

Businesses are always looking to leverage the contacts they already have. Rather than bring in even more leads, brands can get more customers, sooner, by investing time in setting up impactful workflows and better engagement strategies. In the long-term, you can turn your website into a sales vending machine.

That's why we love HubSpot. We have everything we need to build workflows and establish stronger connections with leads. As your business grows, you can go back and use all of the information gathered using workflows to help build even more effective strategies.

If pricing is getting in your way, we've actually put together a way to save up to 60% off during your first year of HubSpot. That's more than enough time to get started with workflows. Check out our HubSpot Savings Guide to learn more. 

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