HubSpot Workflows versus Sequences


This is a comparison that often confuses users – when to use Workflows versus using Sequences.

We’ve discussed this in previous shows (listen to episode 110 for a good overview) but it’s worth revisiting.

BTW shoutout to Sera at HubSpot who reminded me about this when we caught up recently.

As she noted, we’re all busy, and thus automating (appropriately) where possible is a path to growth.

So, given we want to automate as much as possible, where do Workflows and Sequences fit in?

Here’s the quick rule of thumb: 

  • Workflows = Marketing = 1 to many
  • Sequences = Sales = 1 to 1

Workflows are predominantly a marketing function, whereby you communicate (eg with email) in a 1 to many approach (eg email nurture sequence to a segment of your database).

Sequences are predominantly a sales function, communicating in a 1 to 1 manner, using a connected Inbox.

The confusion typically arises when a new HubSpot user discovers they can bulk enroll contacts into a Sequence. Ie essentially turning it into a 1 to many approach (and thus similar to Workflows). At that point they question which to use – after all, they just want to automate a series of emails to a segment of their database…

So, I understand the confusion.

At which point we drill into some of the additional features of each.

Here’s some scenarios for each:

  • For automating email sending to a large segment (eg 1000s of contacts) you’re almost always going to be using Workflows
  • For using smart content (and the advanced personalisation options it provides), you need to use Workflows – since they use emails built using the full email editor. 
  • Sequences have a much simpler editing interface and any personalisation is managed on a case by case basis when reviewing the emails to be sent to recipients
  • For sending highly personalised/customised messages to a small size list (eg 100s) then Sequences are a good option, because you are prompted to review for each contact you send to
  • If you want the series of emails to stop if a recipient replies, Sequences have this built in

Further reading from HubSpot is here.

Ian and I chat about this in detail in episode 242 of HubShots.

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By Craig Bailey