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HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows: What You Need to Know

Whether you’re a new HubSpot user working with the platform for the first time or you’re an old hand at using HubSpot tools, it can be a challenge to know which tool on the platform is the absolute best for your needs. Especially when there are two tools that can serve similar purposes.

Take, for example, HubSpot sequences and HubSpot workflows. Both of these tools are often used for communicating with customers. However, there are some significant differences between how these tools work and the use cases they’re best for.

Curious about how these two tools differ? Let’s dare to compare sequences and workflows in HubSpot so you can identify which one is the right tool for your needs!

Understanding HubSpot Sequences and Workflows

Before exploring the unique uses cases of these tools, it’s important to define what the sequences and workflows tools are in HubSpot and what they can do.

HubSpot Sequences: Automating Your Outreach

Sequences is a tool in the HubSpot platform that allows users to send automated messages from email addresses they’ve connected to their HubSpot inbox. This tool is available to any HubSpot subscribers with a paid seat on a Sales Hub or Service Hub account at the Professional or Enterprise tier.

The big benefit of the sequences tool is that it helps your sales create personalized message sequences that are specific to a particular contact’s recent interactions with your company. For example, you could create a template that leaves a space for a sales rep to cite a specific dollar value for a deal, mention a particular concern from a recent call, or attach a quote.

This helps your sales reps create personalized and specific messages faster so your hottest leads aren’t left waiting for more outreach.

They can also generate internal messages to users on the HubSpot account or be used to assign tasks for sales team members to complete. For example, say your team has an initial sales call with a new prospect. You could create a sales sequence that has a task or internal memo for the sales rep to follow up with the prospect by connecting on LinkedIn or sending them a message on a platform not integrated with your HubSpot account.

When a contact is enrolled in a HubSpot sequence, they’ll be automatically unenrolled from that sequence if they book a meeting or reply to an email sent in the sequence. Why? A sales email can track these interactions while a marketing email cannot.

HubSpot Workflows: Streamlining Marketing Automation

The workflows tool is a way for HubSpot users to automate a variety of actions within the HubSpot platform. It is available to any user with workflow permissions on one of the following subscription types:

  • Marketing Hub. Professional or Enterprise.
  • Sales Hub. Professional or Enterprise.
  • Service Hub. Professional or Enterprise.
  • Operations Hub. Professional or Enterprise.

In a workflow, you create enrollment triggers, specify actions to occur when a record in a in your HubSpot platform meets those criteria, and add actions until the workflow is complete. Some of the action you can add include setting if/then logic branches, unenrollment criteria, creating tasks for different users in HubSpot, assigning contacts to owners, creating deals, altering properties on a record (such as modifying a contact’s lead score), creating new records, modifying your lists, sending emails, and more.

The great thing about HubSpot workflows, and the thing that makes them so hard for many to master, is just how flexible the tool can be. there are scores of enrollment triggers that can be applied to nearly any kind of record in your HubSpot database—including custom records that you create yourself if you’re on an Enterprise-tier subscription! The potential applications for automating your sales, marketing, and service processes in workflows is virtually limitless.

You can even use workflows to trigger sales sequences. Yes, that’s right, workflows can be used to add another layer of automation to your HubSpot sequences and even generate follow-up actions for when a contact completes a sequence.

The workflows tool is an incredibly versatile resource that every HubSpot user should learn sooner rather than later. It can help you save a lot of time on repetitive tasks, improve follow-up with your contacts at all stages of the buyer’s journey, and keep your teams on track with important tasks.

Use Cases for HubSpot Sequences

So, what are some specific uses for the sequences tool in HubSpot? Here are a few examples of how you could use sales sequences:

Engaging Prospects in Your Sales Outreach

The most prevalent use case for sales sequences is for reaching out to your sales prospects. For example, say that you’re a sales rep. You could create a sequence for reaching out cold prospects that you’ve identified through personal research or from a vetted list of prospects in your industry.

You could create an initial cold introduction email that uses personalization tokens, then a series of cold outreach follow up emails to guide the prospect into signing up for a sales call. Then, you could add tasks for yourself to check in with any leads that don’t respond to the emails initially to ensure that you’re leveraging that cold list to the fullest.

When cold prospects do respond to an email, you’ll get a notification through your HubSpot and can set up a task to trigger to follow up with them as soon as possible.

Nurturing Leads Through the Buyer’s Journey

Another way to use sales emails sequences is to create a post-demo follow up email (or follow up emails for any interaction with a prospect) to nurture them along your buyer’s journey. Here, you might create a sequence of templated emails that leave some spaces for you to insert details relevant to the demo meeting. For example, you might have a template that reads something like:


Thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I wanted to follow up with you about [SUBJECT]. I know that [SUBJECT] was a big concern of yours. Here’s some additional information for you:

[Section to be edited based on notes from the demo call].

If you have any other questions, please reach out to me by scheduling a call or replying to this email.”

Having a templated sequence email like this helps you save a bit of time on following up after a call and also helps to standardize your communications so there’s less risk of missing something important in your follow-ups.

Since you can hold a sequence email until you’ve had a chance to manually edit it, this allows for extreme customization of messages that wouldn’t be available for a fully-automated email from a workflow.

Use Cases for HubSpot Workflows

So, what are some unique use cases for the workflows tool in HubSpot? As mentioned earlier, you can use workflows for almost anything. Here are just a small handful of examples that are worth noting:

Automating Lead Nurturing

One of the challenges for marketing departments is knowing which leads to hand off to the sales team and when to do it. To solve this particular challenge, you could create a workflow that helps you automate the process of assigning leads to sales reps based on meeting lead score criteria.

Here, you could create a workflow with a trigger based on a contact’s lead score that, when they hit a value that would mark them as a sales-qualified lead (SQL), assign them to a sales rep, give that rep a task or message alerting them to the new prospect, and generate a series of lead nurturing emails or enrolling them in a sales sequence from their new contact owner.

You could also create different lead nurturing emails that would trigger when a contact meets specific criteria. For example, say that you have a content offer on your site about Persian rugs. When a lead downloads the Persian rug guide, you could have a workflow that starts sending that lead a few emails about featured Persian rugs you have on offer, tips for maintaining a Persian rug, or encouraging the lead to reach out if they have any other questions about Persian rugs after reading the offer.

This helps keep your leads moving along the sales funnel so you can have a steady pipeline of SQLs to send to sales.

Enhancing Customer Onboarding and Retention

Workflows are useful for more than just pre-sales marketing. You can also set up workflows to help your business manage its existing customers and more consistently meet your service level agreements (SLAs).

For example, you could create a new customer onboarding workflow that generates task reminders for your customer service team to complete once a service contract is signed. Having tasks with due dates helps ensure that employees don’t miss important tasks. This, in turn, helps to improve the customer experience and improve retention by creating more satisfied customers who get the services they expect.

Choosing the Right HubSpot Tool for Your Needs

So, which tool is the best for your needs? That depends largely on the specific use case you have in mind. When comparing HubSpot sequences vs workflows and choosing which one you should use, it can help to consider the following:

What You Need to Do

One of the first things to consider when choosing whether to use sequences or workflows is what it is that you need to do. Are you sending highly customized emails and creating task reminders? If so, then you’ll probably want to use a sequence.

Do you need to change a contact’s marketing status, add them to or remove them from a list, automatically send them a lead nurturing email, or change their contact owner based on trigger criteria? In these cases, creating a workflow would be necessary.

Complexity and Flexibility

How intricate does the message sequence you send to the prospect need to be? Do you need to heavily customize each and every message heavily to account for recent discussion points? Could you set up if/then logic branches to account for different actions by the prospect?

When choosing to create a series of emails as a sequence of sales emails or as a workflow of marketing emails, it’s important to balance the complexity of each tool versus the level of flexibility you need.

If you’re creating a set of emails that need to be heavily individualized to account for unique characteristics of your past interactions based on your notes, then a simpler sales sequence might be the best choice. If you’re looking to create a more standardized response that you can automatically trigger without having to review or change the particulars of each (outside of personalization tokens based on data from the contact or company record that can personalize each email automatically), then a workflow might be the better tool.

Also, if you want to create a branching set of actions, then the flexibility of the workflows tool will be preferable.


How many emails do you need to send? If you’re only responding to prospects whom you’ve had a meeting with, then the sequences tool should be more than enough—and you’ll benefit from being able to change the messaging of your template to create highly customized messages.

However, if you’re wanting to send a series of emails to hundreds (let alone thousands) of prospects, then a sales sequence won’t be scalable enough. Here, you would benefit more from creating a workflow that can automatically enroll the desired contacts to receive the emails or setting up a static list in HubSpot and just doing a one-time send to that list if sending a one-off email that won’t be repeated.

Workflows are much more scalable than sales sequences. So, if high volume is necessary, then Workflows are more likely to be the best tool for the job.

Need Help? Reach Out to a HubSpot Expert!

Do you need help managing sales sequences and workflows in HubSpot? Reach out to the experts for more information and advice on how you can maximize your ROI from your HubSpot platform!

Douglas Phillips

Douglas Phillips

Former military brat, graduated from Leilehua High School in Wahiawa, Hawaii in 2001. After earning my Bachelor's in English/Professional Writing, took on a job as a writer here at Bluleadz.