What's the Difference Between a Sequence and a Workflow in HubSpot?

HubSpot's automation tools make it easy to program repetitive actions that guarantee execution and follow-up. Of these automation tools, the two standout stars are sequences and workflows. Both allow you to automate tasks, outreach and internal processes - in different ways.

Here's what you need to know about the differences between sequences and workflows.

What's the Difference Between a Sequence and a Workflow in Hubspot?

Sequences are designed to send semi-automated one-to-one sales emails, while workflows are more in-depth automation for complex tasks.

I'll explore more in depth below, but here's a quick reference of the key differences between the two.

  Sequences Workflows
HubSpot tier access

Sales Hub Professional, Enterprise

Service Hub Professional, Enterprise

Marketing Hub Professional, Enterprise

Sales Hub Professional, Enterprise

Service Hub Professional, Enterprise

Operations Hub Professional, Enterprise

What it does Automate one-to-one follow-up with leads or customers OR send task reminders to employees Guide a contact through a series of activities - this could include updating contact properties and/or sending emails based on properties or activities
Primary purpose

Nurture a lead and encourage further action.

Drive further engagement with your website, convert a contact into a lead or data clean-up
Branching and logics

Manual enrollment and simple linear execution

Automated enrollment with complex branching and logic

 

In short: sequences are primarily designed for sales teams, while workflows are primarily designed for marketing teams. I'm intentional here with the word "primary" as there are exceptions and different use cases, but if you're quickly trying to remember the difference between the two, think: sequences = sales; workflows = marketing.

What is a Sequence?

The sequences tool allows you to send targeted, timed emails to nurture contacts. It can also be used to create tasks automatically. 

Once a contact books a meeting, they are unenrolled from a sequence.

→ Related Content: What is Sales Enablement, and Can HubSpot Help?

Ways to Use Sequences

Here are some specific uses for sequences:

  • Make a task "Call Lead" if a sales-qualified lead has not progressed through the sales funnel within a set time period (example: three months).
  • Make a task "Connect on LinkedIn" that will remind your sales team to connect on LinkedIn with a contact once they become a sales-qualified lead.
  • Email a lead to invite them to book a meeting if they have not communicated with a sales team member within a set timeframe (example: two weeks).
  • Email a lead to invite them to take a specific next action in your sales funnel. For example, if you need a sales-qualified lead to fill out a form before you can mark the deal as closed.

➤ Get Started: How to create and edit sequences

What is a Workflow?

Workflows are a lot more complex, and can be used to automate your business processes. This includes working on your contacts, companies, deals, quotes and tickets. It also includes nurturing a contact into becoming a lead through marketing assets.

→ Related Content: A No-Nonsense Guide to HubSpot Hubs

Ways to Use Workflows

Because workflows are so advanced, there are a ton of ways to use them. For some great ideas, check out our blog: 5 Essential HubSpot Workflows to Copy.

Here are some general ideas for workflows to try:

  • Send a series of automated emails to a contact after they download an eBook
  • Re-engage old contacts by sending them emails or texts
  • Automatically segment users by activity and/or interest
  • Assign a lead owner to every new contact, round-robin style
  • Update a contact's lifecycle stage
  • Update a contact or company's deal stage

➤ Get Started: How to create workflows

Sequences and worklows are powerful tools within HubSpot that allow you to automate follow-up, set reminders and make your team more efficient. 

Get the Most Out of HubSpot

HubSpot is a significant investment. If not implemented and used properly, you're not getting the most out of this powerful tool. You can go it alone, but working with a HubSpot partner agency means you don't need to become an expert in HubSpot to get the most out of your investment.

HubSpot-Platform-Enablement-AccreditedBizzyWeb is a HubSpot Platinum Partner: we offer full-service HubSpot onboarding, enablement and strategy for all hubs. Our team has over 196 certifications in HubSpot (and constantly growing). No matter what your HubSpot needs are, our team is ready to handle them.

Plus, we are the only agency in Minnesota with a Platform Enablement Accreditation from HubSpot - sounds fancy, but it means we're top-notch in making HubSpot work within your business.


BizzyWeb is a Minneapolis-based digital marketing and web design agency that helps companies get the high-quality leads they need to grow and thrive. Our tactics include inbound marketing, SEO, advertising, web design, content creation and sales automation. We are an accredited HubSpot Platinum Partner and we offer full-service HubSpot onboarding, enablement and strategy for new and current users.

 

Dave Meyer
Author: Dave Meyer
Dave Meyer is President of BizzyWeb. Dave has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications and has presented digital marketing topics to thousands of people across the US and Canada.