Mastering HubSpot Workflows Automation: Types & Best Practices

December 7, 2023
Ananda Kumar
Lazy Sales Reps is a myth

Smooth automated workflows are the secret weapon of growth-driven marketing and sales teams. But trying to build effective workflows from scratch in HubSpot without developer-level skills? This can be frustrating.

The complex workflow builder leaves non-technical users struggling with creating even basic automations. The result? Workflows so cumbersome they cripple productivity.

But don’t worry. This guide will empower you to finally master HubSpot workflow automation - without an engineering degree.

We’ll explore the different types of workflows, see real-world examples of automations, and have a simple step-by-step walkthrough to build workflows like a pro.

By the end, we’ll even tell you a whole different but easy and better way to create HubSpot workflow automation. Let's get started.

What are workflows in Hubspot?

HubSpot workflow automation. You've probably heard the term tossed around, but what exactly does it mean?

HubSpot workflow automation refers to the ability to create predefined sequences of triggered actions based on set conditions and events. You can also automate repetitive tasks to save time, improve accuracy, and focus on more strategic initiatives. 

In a nutshell, workflows allow you to create triggered sequences of actions that occur automatically based on preset conditions. It's like programming IFTTT recipes but for critical business processes instead of your smart home devices.

For example, you could use workflows to enroll qualifying contacts into email nurturing campaigns automatically. Or notify teams instantly when a high-value deal is marked closed-won in the CRM.
The key benefits of workflow automation include:

  • Work more efficiently by eliminating manual repetitive tasks.
  • Deliver personalized experiences through triggered actions based on behaviors.
  • Gain insights into marketing and sales performance.
  • Ensure key processes are handled uniformly at scale.
  • Accelerate growth by focusing on high-value activities.

In summary, workflows provide a flexible framework to automate, scale, and gain insights across your critical business processes. You can learn more about HubSpot automation in general with our guide.

5 Types of workflows in HubSpot

HubSpot workflows are like superpowered automations that can make your life easier. Need to send birthday emails to contacts? Automate it. Want to notify the sales team when a big deal closes? There's a workflow for that.
Whether it's repetitive tasks or timely alerts, workflows can take any standard process and turn it into an automated, scalable machine.
But not all workflows are created equal. HubSpot offers a few different types tailored to common needs:

5 Types of workflows in HubSpot

1. Contact-based workflows

Contact-based workflows focus on automating actions based on your contacts, allowing you to deliver more personalized, timely communication at scale. 

Common use cases include sending automated follow-ups to contacts who haven't opened an email in 30 days, enrolling new subscribers into onboarding email sequences, and adding contacts to segments based on preferences they submitted in forms. 

For SDRs and AEs, contact workflows help nurture and re-engage leads through automated outreach campaigns. Marketing managers and leaders can leverage contact workflows to track engagement and monitor campaign performance.

2. Deal-based workflows

Want your sales team to hear it the moment a game-changing deal is won? Deal-based workflows allow triggering actions like Slack notifications or follow-up tasks whenever deal properties are updated. No more waiting around for manual updates. 

For individual sales reps, these workflows provide real-time notifications on key deal milestones and changes, ensuring timely follow-up. For SDRs and AEs, deal workflows give visibility into approvals and changes needed to progress deals. 

Sales managers and leaders can use deal workflows to celebrate big wins and achievements. For RevOps teams, properly configured deal workflows help maintain accurate opportunity data in the CRM for reliable forecasting and reporting.

3. Company-based workflows

Workflows tailored to company records can be handy for account management. You can send an automated annual review request or trigger specific communications based on company attributes like size or industry.

For account managers, company workflows enable sending targeted communications and renewal alerts based on attributes like company size, industry, or tech stack. Customer service managers and leaders can also leverage company workflows to streamline tracking account status and history.

4. Ticket-based workflows

For customer service teams, ticket workflows help manage issues seamlessly. They can use ticket workflows to update priority, assignment, and status as issues move from open to closed. They can also get notified if a high-priority case isn't resolved within 24 hours or automatically escalate technical product complaints to the engineering team.

For customer service managers and leaders, ticket workflows provide greater visibility into issue resolution performance and workload across the team.

5. Quote-based workflows

Finalizing a complex deal often involves quote approvals. Quote workflows allow you to trigger notifications at specific milestones like 5 days before the expiration date. You can also automate sending discount approvals to ensure proper oversight of pricing.

Individual sales reps can use quote workflows to get notifications when prospects open or view quotes. It can also help SDRs and AEs expedite pricing and renewal management for complex deals. Sales managers gain pricing oversight and maintain compliance using quote workflows that require approval for discounts beyond a defined threshold.

Bonus: Third-party app workflows

Tools like Luru enable building workflows that extend beyond the native capabilities of HubSpot alone. They empower creating multi-step workflows that interact with a variety of platforms beyond HubSpot including email, calendars, Slack, and more.

This flexibility enables process automation across your entire tech stack on HubSpot and well beyond. More on the tool, later.

Each workflow type has its own unique use cases and benefits. Choosing the right workflow type depends on your specific objectives and requirements. By comparing the different workflow types, you can determine which one best suits your needs and maximize the benefits of automation. Let's understand these workflow types in detail with real-world examples:

Best Hubspot workflow examples

HubSpot workflows are the superheroes of marketing automation. They can swoop in and save the day when it comes to tedious repetitive tasks. But like any superhero, you need to properly understand your workflows' powers before sending them off to work.

Let's explore some of the best HubSpot workflows users are leveraging:

hubspot workflows examples

1. Deal-based workflows

Of all HubSpot's supercharged workflows, deal-based ones seem to garner the most praise. Why? They can instantly trigger actions when key details are updated on opportunity records.

For instance, you can automatically notify the sales manager the moment a high-value deal crosses the finish line and gets marked closed-won in the CRM. No more impatiently waiting around for manual updates!

Other popular uses are sending the final contract to customers as soon as the deal stage shifts to completed, or requesting approvals from finance if a sales rep applies a discount over 10%.

According to HubSpot users, the ability to wire up instant notifications and processes to deal with progress has been a total game-changer. Workflows help ensure important actions aren't missed and opportunities don't slip through the cracks.

Luru supercharges such capabilities by enabling bidirectional data flows. Not only can you get real-time Slack or Teams notifications when a deal closes to celebrate wins, but you can also update deal stages right from Slack without needing to leave your chat/work apps.

2. Send follow-up emails using workflows

When it comes to HubSpot marketing workflows, sequenced emails are a game-changer for executing timely and personalized follow-up at scale. You can create workflows that send automated follow-up emails when certain conditions are met.

For instance, you can send a “Still interested?” follow-up message 5 days after an initial outreach email if the prospect has not replied. Or you can set up a workflow to automatically follow up 7 days after a product demo if the prospect has not scheduled a discovery call.

Another popular use case is sending a personalized discount email to dormant contacts who have not engaged in the past 30 days to try and reactivate them.

Workflows allow you to take the grunt work out of scheduling follow-up communications to keep prospects engaged. No more worrying about lost leads, just set it and forget it! HubSpot email workflows help you create personalized journeys at scale

3. Workflows trigger of task 

Beyond automating emails, task-trigger workflows have also been saving teams huge amounts of manual grunt work. You can swiftly create follow-ups, discovery calls, or demos and assign them to the right team members automatically based on events or form fills.

For instance, when a hot lead fills out a contact form, a task can instantly be created to have a sales rep follow up within 24 hours. Workflows ensure the ball keeps rolling by automatically teeing up timely tasks based on triggers you set. No more worrying about missed follow-ups!

4. Use trigger workflows off deal properties 

One of the most powerful features of HubSpot workflows is the ability to trigger actions based on changes to deal with properties or stages. For example, you can set up a workflow to automatically notify the sales manager via Slack anytime a deal worth over $10,000 is marked closed-won. This ensures quick visibility into big wins.

Other examples are creating a task to update the sales deck if the deal size decreases or emailing a contract template to the prospect when the deal stage moves to “closed”.

Basing workflows off deal property changes allows you to instantly respond to important events and opportunities throughout the deal lifecycle. This automation keeps revenue opportunities flowing smoothly.

While building such workflows in HubSpot natively can be complex, Luru makes setting up real-time deal alerts simple in just minutes using an intuitive drag-and-drop workflow builder. Creating instant notifications, follow-up tasks, and automated data syncs requires no coding with Luru's seamless Slack and HubSpot integration.

5. Edit custom contact properties in workflows 

Keeping contact data updated and accurate is critical. However, manual data entry can be cumbersome at scale. Workflows help by automatically updating contact properties based on certain triggers like form submissions, email opens/clicks, or website visits.

Some examples are:

  • Changing the lifecycle stage to “Marketing Qualified Lead” if they submit a contact form.
  • Setting the industry field based on categories the contact selected in a form.
  • Adding contacts to specific nurture lists based on their expressed preferences.

Intelligently updating properties saves manual effort while also ensuring your data is accurate for targeting and personalization.

6. Enrolling contact in workflows 

One powerful use of HubSpot workflows is to automatically enroll contacts into email nurturing sequences based on their behaviors. For example, you can create a workflow that enrolls contacts into a 7-day educational nurturing sequence when they request a demo or download an asset like a whitepaper.

Or you can enroll previously active contacts who have gone dormant for 30 days into a re-engagement sequence with promos and content. Workflows make it easy to get contacts into the right sequenced journeys to nurture them over time whether they are new, active, or need re-engagement.

How to create workflows in Hubspot?

Building workflows from scratch in HubSpot is straightforward once you get the hang of it. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough to create automated workflows like a pro:

how to create workflows in hubspot

Step 1: Access workflow builder

First, log into your HubSpot portal and navigate to the “Workflows” tool under the Automation tab. Click on “Create Workflow” to launch the workflow builder.

Step 2: Select the workflow type

Now choose the type of workflow you want to create – deal flow, email, or create tasks. Select the one aligned to the process you want to automate.

Step 3: Define trigger criteria

Next, you’ll define the criteria or event that will trigger the workflow. For example, you may select “Deal created” as the trigger. Configure when and how often the trigger criteria need to be met.

Step 4: Add workflow actions

This is where you’ll add the action or series of actions that should occur when the trigger criteria are met. For instance, you may want to notify the sales team, create a task, or send a sequence.

Step 5: Set enrollment expiration

Optionally set an enrollment expiration to stop the workflow after a defined time period. This prevents workflows from running indefinitely.

Step 6: Test extensively

Thoroughly test the workflow in a sandbox before activating it. Verify it works as intended for different scenarios. Fix any issues.

Step 7: Activate and monitor

Once testing is complete, activate the workflow. Monitor its performance and impact. Tweak and refine it over time as needed.

Pro tip: Enlist experts as needed

For complex workflows involving multiple systems and steps, enlisting a technical HubSpot resource or agency partner can be worthwhile to ensure proper setup. Or you can check out HubSpot workflow alternatives.

HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows

Sequences in HubSpot allow you to set up pre-configured, scheduled email campaigns that will be sent out automatically on an ongoing basis to specified contacts. For example, you can use sequences for sending educational nurturing emails, promotional offers, newsletters, and more.

hubspot workflows vs sequences

Key differences between sequences and workflows

At first glance, HubSpot sequences and workflows may seem similar - after all, they both aim to make your life easier through automation! But once you peek under the hood, some key differences emerge between these two tools.

Think of sequences like an automated email course. All you have to do is add contacts, and the sequence will nurture them through a preset journey of timed emails. It's perfect for onboarding new subscribers, delivering email courses, or sending regular newsletters on an automated schedule.

But sequences only handle one task - scheduled emails. This is where workflows come in.

Workflows are versatile. They don’t just automate emails, but a wide array of actions across your data. For instance, you can automatically update contact properties, route leads, create tasks, send notifications, and more based on triggers you configure.

The key difference is sequences are manually triggered and time-based, while workflows react in real time whenever configured conditions are met.

For example, you can use workflows to instantly notify your sales team when a hot lead completes a form, or automatically enroll someone in a course when they click a link in an email. Workflows respond dynamically based on behaviors.

To sum it up,

Table Comparison: Sequences vs Workflows
Dimensions of Comparison Sequences Workflows
Trigger Manually when a contact is added Uses property rules
Actions Only send emails on a schedule Update records, create tasks, notify teams, etc based on triggers.
Use Cases Welcome and onboarding email series
Drip campaigns with timed nurturing emails
Newsletter or alert subscriptions
Updating records when a change occurs
Routing leads automatically based on attributes
Creating tasks when events happen
Notification alerts upon property changes

Best practices for creating workflows in HubSpot

Workflows are incredible productivity tools, but thoughtfully planning and optimizing them is key to maximizing value. Follow these best practices:

creating workflows in hubspot
  • Strategize objectives upfront: Before building workflows, clearly define the goals you want to accomplish. Understand how each workflow aligns with your overarching marketing and sales strategies. Identify the tangible outcomes you want to drive through automation.
  • Set precise enrollment triggers: Select triggers that accurately identify the specific situation or criteria that should kick off your desired workflow. If the trigger isn’t right, the workflow won’t activate as intended.
  • Map relevant actions: Choose actions for each workflow that directly help you achieve the goals outlined. Only include valuable steps - don't automate for automation's sake.
  • Review and refine regularly: Continuously analyze workflow performance and fine-tune as needed. Look for ways to optimize through testing and adjustments. Don't "set and forget."
  • Avoid over-automation: While automating repetitive tasks is great, also balance workflows with personalized human touch when appropriate. Don't completely remove the human element.
  • Organize with folders: Use folders to categorize workflows by function like marketing, sales, and services. This keeps them easy to manage as your collection grows.
  • Document thoroughly: Record workflows, triggers, and actions in detail. Include screenshots and guidance for future reference. This retains operational knowledge.

By investing time in planning, organizing, and optimizing workflows, you can ensure they deliver maximum value to your marketing and sales processes over the long haul.

Why HubSpot workflows are not well adopted

While HubSpot workflows are powerful, some key limitations lead to poor adoption:

  • Uni-directional alerts: Workflow alerts only go outbound from HubSpot to tools like Slack. There is no way to update HubSpot records from the notifications.
  • Complex setup: Building workflows requires learning HubSpot's framework. The workflow builder UI isn't the most intuitive, creating a steep learning curve.
  • Expert assistance often needed: Many companies enlist developer partners to help build and maintain complex cross-platform workflows.
  • Slow setup: Even straightforward workflows take hours of initial configuration and testing before going live.
  • Frequent breakages: Users report workflows failing to fire or triggering incorrectly quite often, requiring ongoing maintenance.
  • Hidden costs: Advanced workflow features only come with expensive upper-tier Enterprise HubSpot plans.

Build powerful HubSpot workflows outside of HubSpot, inside Luru

While HubSpot workflows are powerful, we’ve seen how limitations like complex setup, limited bidirectional data flows, and unreliability curtail adoption for many teams. There’s got to be an easier way to do workflow automation.

That’s where Luru comes in.

Build powerful HubSpot workflows outside of HubSpot, inside Luru

Luru makes robust sales process automation accessible for everyone - no developer skills are needed. Intuitive drag-and-drop builders, pre-built templates, and seamless access within your existing tools like Slack and Teams help overcome the common headaches of workflow adoption.

With Luru, you can:

  • Set up workflows in minutes with an easy visual builder
  • Get notified in Slack when a deal closes and update HubSpot, enabling true bidirectional workflows
  • Automate sophisticated multi-step processes across tools eliminating data silos
  • Build reliable workflows that run flawlessly every time
  • Access workflows directly within the apps you use daily, saving countless context-switching hours
  • Expand workflow capabilities beyond the limitations of HubSpot alone

Don’t settle for convoluted workflows that hamper productivity and kill adoption. Luru streamlines workflow creation enhances cross-tool functionality and boosts reliability - unlocking the true potential of workflow automation for your team.

Experience the difference firsthand. Visit our website to learn more and schedule a personalized demo. Let's explore how Luru can help you capitalize on the immense power of workflows.


  1. What is a HubSpot workflow?

A HubSpot workflow is an automated sequence of actions in HubSpot based on configured trigger criteria like contact, deal, or email events. Workflows streamline repetitive tasks.

  1. What are the 3 types of workflows in HubSpot?

The 3 main workflow types in HubSpot are:

  • Deal workflows triggered by deal property changes
  • Email workflows for sending sequenced emails
  • Task workflows for assigning tasks upon record updates
  1. Why use workflows in HubSpot?

Workflows boost productivity by reducing manual tasks. They ensure consistent handling of large volumes of records. Workflows also allow coordinating processes across multiple systems.

  1. What types of workflows can you build in HubSpot?

HubSpot supports different workflow types for sales, marketing, and services teams - from sequencing emails and updating records to assigning tasks and notifying teams. The workflow builder provides a wide range of triggers, conditions, and actions.

Articles on Sales, RevOps, automations, life and more