HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows: How to Maximize Revenue Using Both

Published on: | Updated on: | Trisha Miles

64% of US marketers say email automation is a top priority, but do they properly distinguish between different types of email? 1

HubSpot enables marketing and sales teams to deliver emails through multiple systems – each with its own benefits and best practices. But most companies lump all emails together, meaning they don’t take full advantage of the special features offered by HubSpot Workflows and Sequences.  

In this article, I’m going to explain exactly where these two tools differ – and show how each should be used to produce maximum ROI for B2B brands.  

What are HubSpot Sequences? 

HubSpot Sequences is a tool that helps you send emails directly to a single contact from a single team member with the goal of reducing manual and administrative work for sales.  

A popular use case for Sequences is email automation, which lets you send personalized, time-sensitive emails for a range of purposes – from sales call follow-ups to scheduling a prospect’s first demo using calendar links. But Sequences can also be used to set up a range of task reminders, including: 

  • Manual email tasks to remind a user to send an email at the right moment 
  • Call tasks to remind a user to call a contact enrolled in the sequence 
  • InMail tasks to remind a user to send a LinkedIn InMail (this is exclusive to users with a LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration) 
  • Connection request tasks to remind LinkedIn Sales Navigator users to send a manual connection request 
  • General tasks to remind a user to complete a manual task relevant to the sequence 

The net result? Sequences enable sales teams to create seamlessly personalized and perfectly timed emails, calls and social media messages that move prospects through the funnel faster. 

Sequences can either be built from scratch or from templates: 


Source: Hubspot

And each sequence can be programmed with logic so that recipients automatically unenroll when certain trigger actions occur.  

Note: Sequences is only available to users with a connected personal inbox, which means it is exclusive to Professional or Enterprise users of Sales or Service Hub. 

 What are HubSpot Workflows? 

HubSpot Workflows is a system that triggers tasks, information and emails based on specific rules. It is a popular way of automating marketing, sales or customer services messages and administrative processes. This could be anything from automating property updates to notifying app users of a change to your software. But for this blog’s purposes, we’ll focus on workflows to send marketing emails to segmented groups.  

Rather than manually sending hundreds of marketing emails, you can simply build a list within HubSpot and mass-send the message – which enables a level of efficiency otherwise unthinkable. Workflows lets you: 

  • Enroll contacts either manually or automatically based on pre-defined criteria 
  • Select individual actions to include in your workflow, from sending an email to triggering an SMS message 
  • Use advanced settings to create custom logic within your workflows, such as only delivering emails during working hours 
  • Analyze your results using goals to see how your workflows are performing and leading contacts to complete the desired action 

HubSpot Sequences vs. Workflows: 3 Crucial Differences 

While Sequences and Workflows share similarities within the HubSpot environment, they also have distinct differences. 

1. Audience and delivery logic 

The primary difference between these two tools is their delivery logic: while marketing emails in Workflows are delivered in bulk (one-to-many logic), Sequences are a personalized form (one-to-one logic). 

Think of it like the difference between a billboard and handwritten note: both are valuable in specific contexts, but they require very different tones of voice and strategic approaches to produce results. Workflow emails are likely to feature more design elements and broader messaging, whereas Sequence emails should appear as if written directly from one person to another – which explains why the two tools have different... 

2. Goals and measurements

Workflow emails are most commonly used by marketing to build brand awareness and nurture existing leads to drive them down the funnel faster. In contrast, Sequences are used by sales to create a personal connection – and ultimately convert leads.  

These differences are reflected in each tool’s conversion criteria: while Sequences are measured purely in terms of replies and meetings booked, Workflows emails feature a range of metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates (CTRs) or form completions.  

3. Automatic enrollment and unenrollment

One of the great benefits of HubSpot is the ability to create automatic status changes. With Sequences, this is built into the system: when a contact either replies to an email or books a meeting, they will be unenrolled from the sequence – which ensures you don’t send unnecessary messages. 

However, Workflow emails must be manually configured using goal criteria. This allows you to set specific exit triggers for each workflow: when a contact hits that exit trigger, they will be unenrolled from the workflow. Examples of such goals could be changing lifecycle stage or filling out a specific form on the website. 

Put simply, Workflow and Sequence emails offer different kinds of communications for different audiences – and require different management approaches. But there are still several best practices that emails should follow regardless of which tool they are sent through... 

3 Things Every High Performing B2B Email Needs 

1. List segmentation

 B2B audiences are generally: 
  • Very small: You may be targeting just a handful of key influencers with a given email campaign 
  • Time-poor: They are interested exclusively in information that is relevant to their most urgent goals and pain points 
  • In high demand: Hundreds of marketing emails are likely to end up in their inbox each day, making it difficult to stand out from the clutter 

As a result, list segmentation is an essential part of any email campaign. You need to zero in on the most specific group possible and send messages that are highly relevant to their pain points to grab the audience’s attention and position your product or service as the perfect solution.  

2. A/B Testing


Expertise in email marketing can lead to impressive open rates, engagement and conversions on the first run of a campaign. But the reality is, every business must refine how it communicates with buyers over time. Regular A/B testing across every aspect of your emails – from subject lines and copy to design elements – will quickly produce insights that help improve every Workflow and Sequence email you send. 

Pro tip: avoid A/B testing too many elements simultaneously. It’s important that you run individual A/B tests to accurately gauge effectiveness. 

3. Integrated campaigns

No email campaign is an end in-itself, yet many B2B marketers don’t take care to ensure they map how each email will connect with their larger goals. From tracking performance to ensuring there is a natural flow from your email to landing pages or sales meeting links, thinking of emails as a part of a larger strategy is crucial to maximize results.  

3 Overlooked Best Practices in HubSpot Sequences 

While email automation is a great way to save time and standardize your messaging, its true value is strategic: it allows you to fill gaps in your buyer journey. There is simply no way to deliver timely, relevant messages at every important touchpoint – especially given how many interactions the average marketing and sales lead will have throughout their engagement with your brand.  

Automation through HubSpot Sequences allows you to create pre-existing tailored email cadences and deliver them exactly when they will have the greatest impact. Yet many businesses still don’t do this – and are therefore leaving money on the table. 

Here are 3 Sequences every B2B marketing and sales team should have set up: 

1. Immediate demo request follow-ups

Research shows that sellers who respond within 5 minutes to a request are 21x more likely to land a sale. However, this principle stands across all areas of the sales process. If a buyer requests a demo and you wait a full business day to confirm it, they will likely already have lost interest. 

That’s why we ensure every client uses Sequences to automatically create a task for the contact owner to call and follow-up on any demo request within 2 hours. This helps you capitalize on the initial interest, which can then be consolidated by a combination of phone and email-based outreach. 

2. MQL outreach sequences 

Once a lead reaches a certain threshold of engagement, they become a marketing qualified lead (MQL). However, they generally require further nurturing in order to book a demo or sales meeting - but this will often be most effective coming from the sales team.  

We recommend every B2B business creates specific Sequences tailored to these prospects, offering them valuable pieces of content and extending the offer for a discovery meeting. This helps your sales team deliver more specific messaging and move buyers through the funnel seamlessly.  

3. Closed lost opportunity sequences 

Most B2B businesses understand the value of reengaging qualified leads that didn’t close in the past, but few allocate the time to focus on such outreach – because sales are now focused on fresh leads.  

HubSpot Sequences is the perfect tool to close that gap and deliver personalized messages 3-6 months after the deal is marked closed lost asking if they want to revisit the conversation. However, note that the time period and tactics will depend on your product and industry. 

Pro tip: You can even use workflows to automatically enroll contacts in such a sequence when they meet the pre-defined criteria, eliminating the need for the sales team to remember to enroll them at the appropriate time. 

Use HubSpot to Its Full Potential with a Platinum Partner Agency 

Workflows and Sequences are complicated, and realizing their true value takes deep expertise – which is exactly why ProperExpression exists.  

As a HubSpot Platinum Partner with over 30 years’ combined experience on the platform, we have a proven track record of using Workflows and Sequences to deliver exceptional ROI for B2B businesses across a range of industries. One recent client increased inbound-generated revenue by 466% with our HubSpot revenue operations services. 

Want to find out how we could help your brand produce similar results? Book a consultation.