Marketing automation workflows: 5 concrete examples


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Relieve the marketing team of repetitive tasks so that they can focus on high value-added missions. Take your customer acquisition to the next level. Minimize human error. Improve the ROI of the marketing action and the sales function… that’s all you risk by implementing marketing automation workflows!

To inspire you, the Twilead team today offers a practical guide to marketing automation workflows, with five real-world examples to help you understand the value of workflow automation and incorporate it into your strategy. Let’s go !

What is a marketing automation workflow?

Workflow is a sequence of tasks that involves the processing of data between humans and machines to achieve a predefined goal.

In the business world, workflows are mainly found in marketing and sales, with workflows most often based on the funnel logic. These are marketing scenarios whose trigger is often an action taken by the prospect as part of an inbound strategy: repeated visits to your blog, spending a few seconds on the pricing page, downloading a white paper, etc.

In practice, the definition and functional description of the workflow (trigger, conditions, path to follow) are generally done with the objective ofautomation in order to save time. The workflow is indeed the granular unit of marketing automation. The goal here is to:

  • Relieve marketers (and salespeople) of redundant tasks so they can focus on higher value-added missions, including personalizing the customer experience.
  • Increase the speed of certain tasks, as the machine can work faster and outside office hours. Companies that target international markets and work in different time zones can continue to prospect and/or engage their prospects and customers without time constraints.
  • Limit human errors, which are common and costly in mass marketing campaigns.

The term marketing automation workflow is used when the workflow is designed, developed and optimized with the aim of being automated. When there is no interconnection or movement of data, we talk about task management rather than workflow. For example, the set of tasks “make the pay slips, update the stock, send an email campaign” is not a workflow, but a set of tasks with little (or no) connection.

What are the different types of marketing workflows?

Workflows occur several times a day in the company, especially on the sales and marketing side. Some of them are structured in a surgical way (because they are automated or intended to be), others are more random and remain manual for various reasons: too many uncertain variables, lack of in-house technical skills, etc.

There are generally three main types of workflows. As you will see, not all of them fit into the marketing automation framework.

#1 The process workflow

The process workflow is a sequence of tasks that is both predictable and repetitive. You know from the beginning the first task, then the second… until the last. Since they are linear sequences, the process workflows are easily automated.

#2 The project workflow

This is a relatively linear workflow, but one that occurs very rarely (one project rather than one process). As a general rule, it is not useful to automate it as long as it is not repetitive. Example: You want to redesign your website. Of course, you won’t do it every day, week, month or even year.

#3 The case workflow

It is a workflow whose path is not known at the beginning. The sequence of tasks is revealed as the data is collected. Support tickets and claims are typical examples of case workflows. These sequences can be automated, but they require the intervention of a human and/or an intelligent robot to discern the right path based on the data.

Generally, when we talk about marketing automation workflow, we are referring to process or case workflow.

The anatomy of the workflow: the trigger, the actions and the result

Before we present 5 examples of marketing automation workflows to boost your sales performance, let’s analyze the anatomy of the workflow.

#1 The workflow trigger

This is the event that starts the workflow: an action, a decision, a scheduled time, a response to a previously defined condition or rule, etc. Here are some common examples that trigger workflows:

  • The prospect fills out and submits a contact form on the company’s website;
  • Receiving an invoice from a supplier;
  • An employee submits a purchase requisition;
  • Recruitment of a collaborator ;
  • A weekly task coming due;
  • The end of the month triggers the payroll.

In marketing automation workflows, the most common triggers are:

  • Subscription to a newsletter or completion of a contact form;
  • Shopping cart abandonment on an e-commerce site;
  • The purchase of a product can trigger a workflow to request a customer review;
  • A client’s birthday;
  • When a customer becomes “inactive”;
  • When the customer’s purchase history identifies a future purchase intention.

#2 Workflow actions

This is the “body” of the workflow. This is the most complex part, as you have to define the tasks, the order in which they are performed, the time between one task and another, conditions, exceptions, etc. This phase of the workflow requires three elements:

  • The tasks to be performed to achieve the predefined result. Some can be automated, others must be done manually;
  • The “actors” who perform the workflow tasks. This can be employees, software, machines or various combinations of these actors;
  • Information. This is most often data extracted from the database (information from a contact form for example).

#3 The result of the workflow

It is the good, service or information that the workflow produces for the prospect or customer (in a marketing context), a candidate (HR), a supplier (purchasing), etc.

So much for the theoretical part, which remains essential to understand the basics and build your workflows in the right way. Let’s get down to business, with 5 examples of must-have marketing automation workflows to boost your sales performance.

5 must-have examples of marketing automation workflows

Marketing automation workflows can play three major roles in your marketing efforts: strengthening relationships with your existing prospects and customers, driving lead engagement, and improving your revenue. Here are 5 concrete examples of marketing automation workflows.

#1 The welcome email

Let’s start at the beginning! Your audience has given you their contact information (including email address) and has agreed to receive emails from you. This is the time to send them a welcome email to explain the next steps, move them through the sales funnel or simply make recommendations for complementary products (cross selling) if they have already purchased from you.

As long as the target audience has just consented to receive your communications, the welcome email usually gets a high engagement rate. This study shows, for example, that the open rate of welcome emails is almost four times higher than that of regular promotional emails. Also, their click-through rate (CTR) is almost five times higher.

On average, welcome emails generate 320% more revenue than regular promotional emails. The commercial stakes are therefore enormous, provided that the welcome email is sent immediately after registration. By automating the welcome email workflow, you are sure to send your communication at the right time, i.e. immediately after the action.

  • Trigger: subscription to a newsletter or purchase of a good or service;
  • Action: send a welcome email. Its content depends on your objective. If your sales cycle is long (B2B), take advantage of the welcome email to redirect your prospect to content likely to interest him, your FAQ page, a video or any other resource likely to consolidate his choice. If your sales cycle is short (B2C, especially e-commerce), take advantage of the welcome email to recommend complementary products, give coupons, etc.

#2 The lead magnet workflow

Your marketing team has produced a high-value white paper. By leveraging SEO, SEA and social media posts, you have ensured the visibility of your content. Leads come in and give you their contact information (and an opt-in) to download the lead magnet. The following workflow is then triggered:

  • Trigger: Completion of a form to download an ebook;
  • Actions: immediate sending of a thank you email. Afterwards, the leads must be added to the contact database by specifying their area of interest (according to the white paper’s theme). After a few days, you can launch a series of emails around this theme: additional content, explanatory videos, etc. You can also schedule an email to ask your readers for feedback, or offer a webinar to discuss the content of the white paper;
  • Expected result: do lead nurturing and move prospects through the funnel.

#3 The abandoned cart workflow

The workflow associated with abandoned carts is central to e-commerce-based business models. The idea here is to give a boost to prospects who are known to be interested in your products in order to encourage them to go the distance.

According to a study conducted by the Baymard Institute, 69.82% of shopping carts are abandoned. In other words, for every 10 customers who fill up a shopping cart, seven don’t make it to the end for one reason or another. According to the study, online stores lose up to $18 billion in revenue annually due to shopping cart abandonment.

Theoretically, your workflow associated with abandoned carts can help you recover nearly 70% of your sales!

This workflow is based on the activity of potential customers on your website after adding one or more items to their cart. As a general rule, you should wait 24 to 48 hours after the prospect’s inactivity before calling again. This will be your trigger.

  • Trigger: “no transaction” 24 or 48 hours after adding a product to the cart;
  • Action: send an email to follow-up on the prospect’s shopping cart. If you wish, you can offer a coupon or any other incentive to purchase, creating a sense of urgency if stock is limited, for example. Attention: discounts should not be systematic. Otherwise, customers who realize this will abandon their shopping cart every time to benefit from a lower price;
  • Expected result: purchase.

#4 The “free trial” workflow

If you’re running a SaaS business, you know that the free trial is a key touch point. Prospects who decided to try your solution rather than the competition’s were likely convinced by your pitch and value proposition. They have reached the very last step before the purchase.

When they sign up, send them an automatic email to start the onboarding. The aim is to give them all the keys to success so that their experience is fruitful and leads to the subscription to the paid version of the tool.

  • Triggering element: the subscription to a free trial of the solution;
  • Action: send an email to launch the onboarding phase. These can be educational resources such as video tutorials, how-to guides, or a CTA to talk to a Customer Success manager. You will also need to send a follow-up email if the prospect does not use the solution a few hours or days after subscribing to the trial version;
  • Expected result: use the trial version in the best conditions and purchase the paid version.

#5 The lead scoring workflow

Lead scoring allows you to segment your prospects to identify those who are closest to a purchase decision. In short, it’s about assigning points to prospects based on their behavior in the funnel to better direct your resources and prioritize your efforts.

Example: 10 points for creating an account, 5 points for visiting a page, 10 points if the prospect visits the pricing page, etc. The lead scoring workflow can be part of a larger workflow to automate nurturing.

The lead scoring workflow automatically awards points to prospects as they complete pre-defined actions. You will first need to define the “actions” that count in the buying journey, and then assign points to them according to their importance. You can take an empirical approach and trace your actual customers’ buying journey to identify actions that indicate purchase intent. Once this is done, you can create this workflow, then attach it to your other marketing automation workflows.

  • Trigger: as soon as an “unknown” visitor becomes a lead, according to the criteria specific to your activity;
  • Action: automatic allocation of points to prospects based on their behavior in the funnel;
  • Expected result: streamline marketing actions to prioritize the prospects most likely to buy.

Marketing automation workflows: to conclude…

We hope these 5 examples of marketing automation workflows have inspired you to start your own workflows!

By automating these marketing scenarios, you can offload redundant tasks and focus on high value-added missions. You’ll also shift into high gear on acquiring new customers and strengthening the relationship with your existing customers. You will finally reduce the cost of marketing while minimizing human error.

Convinced? Build powerful workflows now with Twilead, the all-in-one platform for marketing automation, sales pipeline management, contact management and e-reputation. Ready to launch your sales performance into orbit? Book your demo now!