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In the world of online marketing, automation software has become a critical component for any business to have. They are the engine through which a business can draw traffic to its website, obtain leads, and nurture those leads into customers who will make large and timely purchases.

A critical component of obtaining a return on investment from marketing automation is the use of lead workflows. If marketing automation is the engine, then lead workflows are the fuel through which leads are converted into customers. Simply put, lead workflows are a critical component of marketing automation ROI.

This article will explain what lead workflows are, why they are an important component of marketing automation, and how you can create a lead workflow that works for your business. Let’s get started.

What is Lead Workflow?

A lead workflow is a set of automated actions that you can program into your marketing automation software in order to trigger a response based on the behavior of particular leads. For example, you can design a certain set of actions to occur based on where a lead is located in the sales funnel or based on the actions that they undertake relative to your website (such as downloading brochures, providing contact information or watching videos). Lead workflows can consist of sending emails, editing email lists and updating contact information.

With lead workflows, you can take more control of your lead nurturing process and design your marketing automation software to send out content that is relevant to where your leads are located in the sales funnel. Later in this article, we will dive more deeply into how to create a lead workflow that is responsive to the behavior of potential leads.

Marketing Automation Software

As you are probably already aware, marketing automation software allows you to automate critical marketing functions that will affect the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Through marketing automation, you can develop a lead nurturing process (beginning with driving traffic all the way to lead scoring) that will allow you to convert more leads into customers.

Important parts of the lead nurturing process can be automated, such as the lead scoring mechanism and the delivery of content to your leads in a timely and efficient manner. You can even design email templates in advance that are tailored to specific stages of the sales funnel. Once a lead carries out an action that corresponds to a particular setting within the workflow, the software triggers the email to be delivered.

In a nutshell, lead workflows can be programmed into marketing automation software in order to maximize the return on investment.

Why Lead Workflow is important for Marketing Automation ROI

Having understood what lead workflows are and how they relate to marketing automation, we can now proceed to look into why lead workflows are important for marketing automation ROI. Some of the benefits of lead workflows include:

Generates more Leads for Nurturing

Effective lead workflows generate more leads for nurturing. In fact, statistics from the Annuitas Group show that companies that use marketing automation to nurture their leads report a whopping 451% increase in the number of qualified leads that they obtain.

In addition, leads that are nurtured into customers make an average of 47% larger purchases than leads that are not nurtured. And it seems like many businesses, especially those in the B2B space, are missing out on this massive potential. Only about 35% of B2B marketers are making full use of lead workflows in order to generate more leads for nurturing. Lead workflows are an engine for lead nurturing and more businesses need to jump on the bandwagon. 

Converts more leads into Customers

With more leads being generated, it goes without saying that lead workflows also improve marketing automation ROI by converting more leads into customers. Businesses that incorporate lead workflows report an increase in 30% of their visitors being converted to MQLs (Market Qualified Leads). This means increased sales and increased profits for your business.

How do lead workflows increase conversion rates? First of all, workflows give you the flexibility of segmenting your leads during the nurturing process, and tailoring your messages more effectively. You will be able to design more targeted content for your prospects depending on where they are located in the buying cycle. It has been established that targeted content is always better received by customers than generic content that is irrelevant to your prospects.

With workflows, you can categorize your prospects into segments that correlate to the buying cycle, and then automate the delivery of relevant and helpful content to them. The result is more leads being converted into customers.

Impact conversion rates

One of the most important things that have to be considered is the buyers’ journey. Considering the fact that customers prefer self-serving information, it makes it very important to map out the journey well before applying the marketing automation. This could affect the conversion rates as well as the leads leading to sales either positively or negatively depending on the plan. If done right, the plan will convert more prospects into loyal customers and hence will result in a higher ROI for the business.

Churn prevention

There are certain reasons that lead customers to churn, which are:

  • Lack of engaging content
  • Disinterest in the products
  • Customers lack the time to stay up to date with the brand

Considering the amount of work spent on attracting the prospects or engaging contacts, it is imperative to prevent churn. Managing all these contacts manually is not possible, which makes workflow and marketing automation critical in preventing churn. First, good design is very important but understanding and analyzing the workflow on an ongoing basis is just as important because areas that are prone to churn can be identified and the necessary changes made.

Customer loyalty improvement

Most customers rarely communicate with the company unless they have something to complain about or have problems with the product. This is something businesses cannot afford to do because if a business only communicates with the customers only when they want to make sales or solve issues then it will create loyalty issues with the customers. Customer churn can cost a business a lot more than prospect churn.

It is very important to maintain communication with customers so the business can understand their ongoing needs. This can be done successfully using workflow and marketing automation, which will lead to a larger ROI. Businesses can use customer satisfaction review, social media, and email announcements to maintain direct communication with customers and the workflow can be used to keep customers engaged with the services, products, values and the brand.

Saves on Marketing Costs

Your lead workflows are a critical asset for saving on marketing costs. With more businesses desperate to squeeze the value out of every marketing dollar, you can put your company in a position to save as much as 80% in your direct mail budget.

Lead workflows can also decrease your sales cycle times by as much as 70%, thereby shortening the period that you would need to continue injecting capital directed towards marketing activities. What’s more? The return on investment is higher, with many businesses reporting a 10% (or more) increase in revenue in less than one year of implementing workflows into their marketing automation.

Customize the Timing of Content Delivery

Workflows give you full control over your marketing automation activities. You can be able to take the extra step towards better understanding your leads and targeting them with content at the right times. For example, you can pursue your hot leads more aggressively by sending out content more often than what you send to your warm and cold leads.

You can also design your workflow to send out emails at specific times, like over the weekend for leads that tend to be too busy during the week. Workflows give you the flexibility to pursue your leads according to their specific behaviors.

Saves Time

Lead workflows allow marketers to save a lot of time and resources by only pursuing qualified leads. Rather than casting your net blindly out to sea, you can pursue a more targeted approach by pre-defining what your target audience is within your workflow settings. The marketing automation software will therefore only respond to actions that are carried out by qualified leads that are likely to be converted to customers.

For example, if you set up your lead workflow to only send out an email when a lead provides their contact information on your site, you can be able to design more effective emails that will fit your customer profile and stand a higher chance of being read.

The saving of time and resources also trickles down to the sales team, who will no longer have to pursue prospects that are not interested in buying.

Steps towards Creating an Effective Lead workflow

All the benefits of lead workflows mentioned above would go to waste if we don’t know how to create one. We will, therefore, walk you through the steps that are necessary to create a lead workflow that will prevent you from losing up to 79% of your marketing leads.


To benefit from a workflow, a business should engage leads as soon as they sign up to their offer. Lead engagement is normally higher at the initial generation of a lead. The longer a business waits, the lesser the chance that the lead will be available. With automated workflows that reach out to the leads, communication can be faster and the chances of them turning to customers much higher.

Targeting and segmentation

Even if a business reaches to a lead very fast but offers irrelevant content, it will not matter at all. The business needs to have a target that is relevant to the wants, needs, and points of the lead. This is what makes targeting and segmentation very important.

Segmentation- This is when leads are divided into different categories that are based on different criteria. Segments could be based on age, offers the lead downloaded or registered for, contact property or excising marketing lists.

With specific segments for each workflow, a brand has a higher chance of becoming more memorable to the leads that it would with mass emails. For each segment should be a nurturing campaign and the lead list should be tested for the business to gain a powerful tool that will make work easy for the sales team, bring in more sales and boost the ROI.

Identify your Target Persona

This often goes without saying. You should know whom you are sending your content to before you even create it and implement it into a lead workflow. Develop your buyer personas and know what elements you are targeting.

Outline your goals in Advance

What are you seeking to achieve with your lead workflows? Your answer should be more specific than just generating more leads. You should take some time to look more deeply into the desired outcome of the workflow. Goals can include to build trust, improve brand awareness, or to drive leads further down a particular stage of the buying cycle (for example you may be aiming to move leads from the consideration stage to the purchasing stage).

Layout your content in accordance with the Sales Cycle

Developing a plan for sending out your targeted content is equally as important as creating it in the first place. You should be aware of how your leads receive and digest information, at what time and in what form. This will allow you to deliver the content in a timely manner and in a form that is most likely to be received by your leads.

Effectively Design your Emails

Emails will be the main communication channel for your lead workflows. Take the time to structure your emails according to best practices and to send them out in a manner that maximizes open rates. How can you achieve this? Make sure your lead categories are clearly defined, your emails are personalized, and the content is relevant to each prospect.

Use Your Marketing Automation Software to Build your Workflow

Now that you have taken all the necessary steps to prepare your lead workflow, you can begin to build it into the marketing software. Marketing automation platforms such as Hubspot make it easy to design workflows. You can set the rules that will cause particular lead behaviors to trigger certain responses from the workflow. For example, you can set up your workflow such that an email is sent to a lead that downloads a brochure or fills in a contact form.

Launch the Workflow

Having set the rules and parameters of the workflow, launch it and let it get to work. Hopefully, you will be able to generate more leads and convert them to customers.

Analyze Performance and make necessary Changes

Select specific criteria for analyzing performance, and continuously collect data. Analyze click-through rates, response rates, landing pages etc. From here, you can tweak your workflow according to what works and what doesn’t.

In conclusion, lead workflows are critical components of marketing automation ROI. They provide a channel through which you can nurture your leads, convert them into customers and increase sales for your business. Through workflows, you can begin to realize the value of your marketing automation and reap the benefits of its implementation.