Workflows vs Sequences in Hubspot | What’s the Difference?

HubSpot is a leading CRM platform that offers a wide range of automations to streamline marketing, sales and customer service processes. The two primary tools for setting up automation in HubSpot are workflows and sequences.

Let’s explore the main differences between workflows and sequences, and when to use each one.

The Ways Each Are Triggered:

One of the key differences between workflows and sequences in HubSpot is how they are triggered.

Triggers for HubSpot sequences: Sequences are typically triggered by manual enrollment by a sales representative, or any user with a Sales Pro seat. The user can enroll up to 49 contacts at a time into a predefined sequence of actions. For example, they might enroll 20 contacts into a 5-email follow-up sequence. HubSpot will automatically execute the steps that were set up in advance. These steps may include: automated email sends, and/or creation of tasks to send emails, make phone calls, or engage via LinkedIn.

Triggers for HubSpot workflows: Workflows are usually triggered by actions that happen in background, and are set up by an administrator ahead of time. Examples of how workflows are triggered: 

  • a form was submitted
  • a property was updated
  • a deal was moved to a specific pipeline stage

Workflows are the best fit for promotional and other bulk email sends because thousands of contacts can be enrolled at a time (unlike the 49 contact enrollment limit in sequences). HubSpot will automatically execute multiple steps timed across hours, day, weeks, or even months depending on the workflow’s settings. 

A broader range of steps are available with workflows. Examples of workflow steps:

  • if/then branches
  • send internal or external marketing email
  • send in-app notifications
  • create or delete records
  • add or remove contacts from lists
  • set/copy/clear property values
  • adjust email subscription settings

Which Hubspot Subscriptions Are Required:

Another important distinction between Workflows and Sequences is the way emails are delivered.

Emails sent via sequences will look just like they were sent from Gmail or Outlook. These emails have the same formatting options you’ll find in a regular email editor (ex: bold, italicize, highlight, insert images or hyperlinks), plus optional personalization tokens. Benefits for sequence email delivery:

  • These emails don’t require unsubscribe links, which can make them look more personalized.
  • These emails are delivered straight to primary inbox – no promotions tabs.
  • Sales users are empowered to start sequences themselves without leaving Gmail or Outlook.

Emails sent via workflows can be plain-text, but they are usually branded with some design elements. They always require a footer with company information and a link to unsubscribe. Benefits for workflow email delivery:

  • Thousands of emails can be sent at once, and/or sent automatically based on user engagement.
  • Emails designs can be fully customized for branding and visual appeal.
  • Email journeys can be customized for the recipient to receive different messages depending on their engagement with the organization.

The main downside for using workflows is that the emails are considered promotional, and they can get stuck in promotions tabs. This is a worthwhile trade-off when it comes to bulk sends, design customization needs, and adding if/then branches. An interested and engaged audience will still open the emails they want to see in their promotions tabs.

The Ways The Emails Are Delivered:

To access the sequence and workflow tools in HubSpot, different subscription levels are required.

Sequences: Sequences are available with the Sales or Service Pro subscriptions, and those are currently priced at $450 per month.

Workflows: Workflows are included with the Marketing Pro subscription, which is currently priced at $800 per month. The Marketing Pro subscription opens up the broadest range of marketing automation features, including the ability to create and execute workflows.

Both sequences and workflows are valuable automation tools within the HubSpot CRM platform. Sequences are ideal for smaller-scale personalized outreach and follow-up, while workflows are the best fit for executing actions in the background, and for larger-scale sends.

Interested in using HubSpot automation for your organization? Lead Love can help! Schedule a time to discuss your projects with us.