Strategy & Lead Gen

Don’t Let Your Workflows Fall Flat! Why And How To Maintain Them

Setting up and turning on your workflows isn't enough. By keeping an eye on key metrics, you can make sure they're performing as best as possible.

January will be here before you know it, and all of the sudden, your gym is going to get really crowded. You know why: Tons of folks will set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get more exercise.

By April, the gym will be back to normal. Many of those resolution setters will have given up.

This happens to everyone, and not just at the gym: Losing sight of a goal or prioritizing other initiatives happens in marketing frequently. And in inbound, many marketers end up in this spot with their automated workflows.

You likely spend lots of time strategizing and setting up your lead-nurture workflows. Which is great — according to a report by ForresterB2B marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales pipeline contribution by an average of 10 percent.

Unfortunately, many marketers will spend hours preparing the workflow, turn it on, just let it flow, and move on to the next one — without ever looking back.

But in reality, that’s just the beginning.

Why you can’t forget your workflows

Like any other channel in your inbound marketing strategy, workflows are never done. They need to be continually improved until they meet your goal.

Key word there: goal. It’s like the New Year's resolution-setters at the gym. Those who have a vague goal (i.e. “work out more”) are the ones who will cancel their gym membership by March. On the other hand, if those who set a SMART goal (i.e., run 30 minutes 3 times a week for 3 months or lose 15 pounds by June) are likely to maintain their resolution all year long.

Your workflows should have equally measurable and attainable goals.

The goals you set for each workflow should relate to the next step the recipient should take. Let’s say a contact is enrolled in a workflow after downloading a top-of-the-funnel offer. The next step you want them to take could be to download a middle-of-the-funnel offer. Set up your measurable goal around that: Maybe you want 30% of workflow enrollees to take that next step.

If you set lofty goals (which is a great motivator), simply letting your workflows roll just won’t help you get there. The workflow might only get 10% of those enrollees to take the next step — and if you don’t do anything about it, you’ll fall flat.

How to maintain those workflows

Clearly the best practice is to continually analyze the workflow you’ve created, checking in on key metrics to see where it’s succeeding and if it’s coming up short anywhere. Every month or so (set a recurring calendar reminder so you never forget to check in), take a deep dive into the workflow’s analytics.

What metrics should you be looking at? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all metric, because the metrics you’ll care about will depend on your goal.

Regardless of your goal, a few other metrics that will likely interest you are:

  • The conversion rate on the workflow as a whole. This high-level metrics tells you, overall, if the workflow is effective.
  • Email open rates. If nobody opens your emails, there’s a good chance something is off with the email timing, the subject line or something else.
  • Click through rates. Even if the reader doesn’t take the next step you intended, click-through rates can tell you about what’s piquing their interest or if a landing page isn’t performing well.
  • Unsubscribe rates. Lots of opt outs could mean that your emails are coming too frequently or that they’re not relevant to the audience.

Don’t just look at these numbers individually, either — they’re all interconnected. If you have a low open rate but a high conversion rate, it could be the subject line that’s throwing off your goal. A high open rate but low conversion rate could be a sign that you’re not delivering relevant content.

Finally, remember to look at both individual emails in the workflow and the sequence as a whole. If your workflow teases a bottom of the funnel offer has high engagement but no conversions on the offer, maybe that signals the prospect is interested, but still not ready to convert--so, the entire workflow might need to be longer.

Analyze, then act

And, of course, after analyzing the metrics, you need to make adjustments to remedy the problems. You could simply change whatever you’ve identified as the problem (like the subject line or the offer), but you could also get more creative with your workflow approach.

  • Use A/B testing. If you can’t figure out what’s really hindering the workflow, run a few A/B tests to figure it out. Or, if you’ve determined the problem but you’re not sure how to fix it, run a test with multiple options to help you figure out the best approach.
  • Use smart content. HubSpot customers can create workflows that customize the message based on contact’s characteristics or responses to form questions. This targeted messaging can address a variety of issues and can speak more directly to the recipients.


Every lead nurture workflow has (or should have) a specific goal in mind, and to meet those goals, you need to do more than simply writing the emails and setting up the flow. After all that hard work, you need to frequently monitor each sequence’s successes and failures until you’re meeting the objective consistently.

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