|With the Visual Workflow Builder, SharpSpring offers an interface for you to develop and visualize the journeys for your leads.
This article will provide information on the various aspects of the Visual Workflow Builder.
Understanding Visual Workflows
With the Visual Workflow Builder, you can build simple or complex automation workflows using a combination of triggers and filters to fire off actions or action groups. This means that you can use the Visual Workflow Builder to construct visual diagrams of your leads' journeys to control the paths they are taking toward conversion. These diagrams are called visual workflows.
In turn, a visual workflow is a sequence of triggers, filters, and actions:
An event that happens as a result of an action group running.
An example of an action is a trigger immediately sending an email.
An optional part of an automation that is used to narrow the
An example of a filter is when a contact has the Industry field
An event that results in an action group running. Only triggers
An example of a trigger is when a contact fills out a form.
Refer to Understanding Triggers, Filters, and Actions in Automation for more information on automation terminology.
Creating Visual Workflows
Visual workflows will be blank when they are created. You will need to add triggers, filters, and the like to workflow branches in order to have the workflow function.
To create new visual workflows, do the following:
Editing Visual Workflows
Once you have created a visual workflow, you can open it and edit it when you need to.
To edit a visual workflow, do the following:
Adding Triggers to Workflows
Every visual workflow must begin with a trigger, which is the initial event that begins the workflow.
To add triggers to workflows, do the following:
While workflows can be simple and have just one main trigger, they can be as complex as necessary.
When you create a trigger, you start a branch within the workflow. Workflows can have many different branches, with each branch doing different things.
A single workflow can have many different things that occur alongside or separate from each other, with the results of their interactions each setting off different things.
For more information on workflow triggers, refer to Understanding Visual Workflow Branching.
Note: To delete a trigger, click Delete. Deleting a trigger will delete all content directly following it.
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Adding Branch Content to Triggers
Triggers are only part of what makes a workflow function. While triggers start a chain of events in a workflow, those triggers depend upon branch content—actions, filters, delays, and action groups—in order to continue or finish that event. As such, creating strong workflows requires utilizing branch content to tell triggers what to do.
To add branch content to triggers, do the following:
Like triggers, branch content can be as simple or complex as necessary. Just as a trigger starts a workflow branch, the branches can split off with different branch content.
For example, one branch can have many different actions that stem from a single trigger, with each doing different things. Those actions can, in turn, have multiple filters or delays that follow them, with each setting off more actions.
Refer to Understanding Visual Workflow Branching for more information on workflow branches.
Note: Click Delete to delete branch content. Deleting content higher in the workflow will delete all content directly following it.
Note: Click Make Repeatable to set a created branch as repeatable within the workflow.
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Previewing and Editing Assets
You can preview sites, emails, forms, pages, and certain media assets from within the Visual Workflow Builder and quickly jump to them to edit those assets.
With a visual workflow, you can see every aspect of your automation from a single interface, which makes this an ideal centerpiece for your marketing strategy. Workflows have the following available assets:
Important: The Visual Workflow Builder is not supported in Internet Explorer 11. Use one of the other browsers supported by SharpSpring to create visual workflows.
• Click the send the email action or visits from the email trigger
• Click the form trigger or filter to see a preview of the form that
• Click the Media Center trigger or filter to see a preview of that
• Click any site trigger or filter to see a preview of that website,
Copying Visual Workflows
You can make copies of visual workflows. This can save time, as you now need only to create one visual workflow to have several copies. These copies can be as complex as necessary or have just one or two minor modifications.
To copy a visual workflow, do the following:
Copied workflows open in a new window with all of the copied branch content. From there, you can modify the copied workflow as necessary.
Exporting Visual Workflows
You can export visual workflow contents.
To export and download a visual workflow as a .PDF file, do the following:
The process for downloading .PDF files can vary based on browser type and .PDF reader application.
Gated and Open Triggers
The Visual Workflow Builder includes options for triggers to have them fire if the trigger condition was met. This condition interacts with the referenced item originating in the specified workflow and action group. Gated and open triggers are available for any branching trigger. These trigger options are as follows:
|Gated Triggers||Only fires the trigger if the trigger's condition is satisfied by the contact already being part of the parent workflow.|
|Open Triggers||This trigger is satisfied by anyone who meets the trigger's condition, regardless of if they are already in the workflow.|
Gated and open triggers allow you to create multiple scenarios within the same visual workflow. These triggers allow for the option, on a trigger-by-trigger basis, to choose whether conditional logic should apply, or whether any lead action that meets that condition should fire the trigger.
For example, a trigger for visits from the email with a parent action that sends that email will only fire if a visits from that email was sent from the parent action group, and will not fire if that email is sent as a Smart Mail, to a list, or through another action group.
To utilize open and gated triggers, do the following:
You can start a visual workflow with multiple triggers. However, it is important to note that these triggers will be evaluated as an or condition. Meaning a lead could fulfill trigger A or trigger B or trigger C, and be added to an action group. The option for and triggers is not available in the visual workflow builder. Instead, use a single, more generic trigger combined with filters to create unique communication branches.
Note: When selecting Remove from Parent Action Group, the workflow will branch off and will no longer be connected to the original workflow. The lead will no longer be associated with the original workflow and will now receive actions on this new branch.
Deactivating and Reactivating Visual Workflows
Visual workflows cannot be deleted. They can, however, be deactivated. Deactivated workflows will not fire.
Setting Activity Status
You can set a visual workflow's activity status from within an existing workflow.
To deactivate or reactivate from within the visual workflow, do the following:
Deactivated visual workflows will have the Inactive toggle status. Activated visual workflows will have the Active toggle status.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I save a visual workflow?
A: Triggers, filters, and action groups are saved automatically once they are added to the visual workflow.
Q: What are the differences between action groups and branches?
A: Reusable action groups are a collection of standalone events that can be referenced within a visual workflow or be manually scheduled to a list. Branches are not action groups. Branches refer to a collection of actions created for use only within a visual workflow. As the name implies, this collection of actions branch out from the action group and are dependent upon additional criteria in order to function. Branches will not be added as reusable, standalone action groups.
Q: Will my visual workflows and action groups display in the normal Action Group page, and vice versa?
A: Visual workflows will remain separate from the pre-existing action groups. These will not be accessible on the same page.
Q: Will visual workflows fire based on changes made through imports or bulk editing?
A: No. Visual workflows will not fire based on these changes.
Q. How do I make changes outside of an action group?
A: The action group must be saved prior to making any changes outside of the action group.
Q: Can I rename the branches in my visual workflow?
A: Yes. To rename the branch, simply click on the green bar above your action group and type in a new name. The name will save automatically.
Q: How can I see how far a lead is in a visual workflow?
A: On the Memberships tab of the lead record, the visual workflow name will display, followed by the name of the specific branch a lead has taken part in. You can see aggregate usage, including the last time the visual workflow ran, on the main visual workflows page.
Q: Can visual workflows be repeatable?
A: Both visual workflows and action groups can be set as repeatable. The repeatable status of the branch itself sets whether or not all content within the branch is repeatable.
Q: How do time delays work in visual workflows?
A: Time delays in the visual workflow builder are structured around the timing of the prior event. The Visual Workflow Builder does not use from start time delays. When adding time delays to a visual workflow, that delay is timing iterative from the previous event.
Q: How do time delays work when using action groups?
A: Time delays with action groups are structured around the timing of when the lead enters the action group, and not when the lead completes the action. In a workflow with a referenced standalone action group, time delays placed ahead of subsequent actions or action groups in the same branch will start before the actions or action groups.
Q: How do I know how well my visual workflows are performing?
A: You can view the performance of your visual workflow, including the total number of times the visual workflow has run, on the main visual workflows page.
Q: What happens to leads who enter automation before actions are added or removed?
A: When a lead enters a visual workflow and you add or delete actions from that action group, the changes will not reflect upon that lead. This is because when a lead enters the visual workflow, the events present at that time will write to the lead's individual contact record. Additional actions or edits will not occur for those leads.
Q: Do workflows fire retroactively?
A: No. Workflows are intended to operate from the point of creation going forward. For newly created workflows, this is to prevent both accidentally enrolling leads and, subsequently, sending unsolicited emails to those leads.