You've set your S.M.A.R.T. goals, developed buyer personas, made an offer and created a conversion path. Nailed it! Well, not really. You've generated some leads already, but leads don't transition into clients automatically; they need to be nurtured. That's where workflows come into play.

Fun fact: Leads that go through an automated workflow have a 23% shorter sales cycle (Market2Lead)

What Are Workflows?

Workflows are a series of automated actions that can be triggered to occur based on a person's actions, behavior or contact information. Workflows are much more than email and go far beyond simple auto-responders. They allow you to automate emails, notifications, updates to contact information and even remove or add contacts to lists. The possibilities are almost endless and only your imagination will limit what you can achieve with workflows. One of the best ways to use workflows is to nurture leads through the buying process and improve your lead-to-customer conversion rate. For example, you can structure the workflow to provide the right information at the right time as your prospect is moving through the different stages of their buying process. The key to success and measuring your efforts is establishing a clear goal and designing your workflow / automated communication to achieve that goal.

Lead Nurturing Workflows

Effective lead nurturing workflows should correspond with the requirements of your targeted recipients (ideal customers) as they travel through the sales funnel. That means that different types of communication should be used for prospects based on whether they are at the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel. You can offer different content at each stage of the funnel for example:

  1. Performing Research: eBooks, Tip Sheets, Videos.
  2. Establishing Buying Criteria: Case Studies, Free Samples, and Product Overviews.
  3. Evaluating Vendors: Free Trials, Demos, Consultations

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Automated workflow software like the one Hubspot offers allow you to cater your content to leads based on the inbound marketing sales funnel model. They let you trigger certain actions based on information about your leads, meaning you can distribute the right kind of message to the right lead at the right time.

You can structure your workflows by:

  • Starting Condition: The workflow will begin for a lead based on certain criteria set beforehand, ie. begin when a form is submitted
  • Actions: You can initiate a number of actions to be triggered in your workflow, including sending emails or adding/removing a contact to a list
  • Time Delays: Workflows allow you to choose when each action will be triggered
  • Settings: These are additional options that include limiting the workflow to a certain time period or setting actions to occur only on business days

Workflows also allow you to precisely segment your leads based on criteria such as:

  • Lifecycle Stage: It targets the right messages to your leads based on their sales-readiness
  • Topic of Offers Downloaded: You can group leads based on the kind of information they're interested in
  • Contact Properties: Your workflow can be geared towards geography, professional background and more
  • Page Views/Lead Source: Allows you to segment based on the pages the leads have viewed on your site or the source they used to find your site

It's a matter of organizing and segmenting your workflows based on what your particular prospects are interested in. This optimizes the chances you have to convert visitors to marketing-qualified leads, and then into sales-qualified leads.

How are you using workflows? Have you added any additional steps or actions that we didn't mention? Sound off in the comments.

This is Part 5 of a 9-part series on The Key Elements of an Inbound Marketing Campaign.

  1. Setting SMART Goals
  2. Develop Buyer Personas
  3. Make an Offer
  4. Create a Conversion Path
  5. Develop Workflows
Daniel Kosir

Daniel is a Content Writer at Search Engine People. He is always experimenting with new formats and looking for creative ways to produce, optimize and promote content. He previously wrote for CanadaOne Magazine and helped create and implement online marketing strategies at Mongrel Media.

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One Response to “The Key Elements of an Inbound Marketing Campaign: Develop Workflows”

  1. Workflow is a very important element of inbound marketing. You have described each steps and actions of workflow in very well manner. Thanks for sharing :)