We often get the question, “how do I start an automation?” The quick answer is to make sure it is set to Active from Inactive. However, most often, the question is actually, “how do I set up a trigger so contacts will start going into the automation?”.
Please note that in this help article, the terms “automation,” “sequence,” “automated sequence,” and “drip sequence” are used interchangeably to describe the same thing: the Automations section of the CRM.
Outside of the CRM
Certain automated sequences are triggered on our team’s backend. For example, you will see two automated sequences named BA Flow and LA Flow (or variations of those names). These sequences ensure that the agent’s inspection count stays up to date and that they are routed properly when your scheduling system sends their information over.
Even though these sequences do not have start triggers, and therefore may appear not to be set up properly, it’s because they are being triggered on our team’s back end.
Triggering an automation within another automation
It’s possible to set up an automated sequence to include a step that starts another sequence. For example, let’s say you have a sequence built for new buyer’s agents (we’ll call it New BA), and if they still haven’t worked with you after going down the sequence, you want them to start a longer drip sequence (we’ll call it New BA Drip). Once you finish building New BA Drip and Activate the sequence, you can add a step in the New BA sequence that automatically adds agents to New BA Drip. Therefore, New BA Drip will not have a start trigger because it is being triggered by another sequence (New BA).
Triggering an automation within itself
The first block in an automation says, “Add a start trigger.” Clicking on this will bring up several options that can be used as triggers that tell the CRM to add a contact to the sequence. This section will cover the most popular and widely used start triggers.
Subscribes to a list – a contact will automatically enter this sequence if they are added to the list that is chosen when setting up the trigger. This may not be the best way to specify which agents should enter. For example, if you have a list created for agents you are prospecting, you could create a follow-up sequence that automatically enters agents when they are added to the prospecting list. But if you have different groups of agents that you will want to prospect differently, you may want to get more targeted with how they start an automation.
Clicks a link in an email – a contact will automatically enter this sequence if they click on a specified link with another email (whether as part of an automation or a one-time campaign). For example, let’s say you send out a mass email to all contacts that includes a link to your podcast. You could create a follow-up sequence with this start trigger that tells the system, “if they click on the link to listen to the podcast, enter them into the follow-up sequence.” This sequence can include additional automated emails to ask the agent what they thought of the episode they listened to and invite them to be a featured guest on the next episode.
Tag is added – a contact will automatically enter this sequence if a tag is added that matches the tag specified in the start trigger. This usually pertains to spreadsheet imports of contacts who need to be entered into a specific sequence. For example, if you have a follow-up sequence built for CE attendees and the start trigger is that the tag “CE Attendee” is added, when you import a spreadsheet that contains all of the attendees for your recent class, you would apply the tag “CE Attendee” to all agents on the spreadsheet. This would then automatically trigger the sequence after importing to the CRM.
Field changes – a contact will automatically enter this sequence if a specified field changes from one value to another. This trigger is most often used to start the milestone automations and considers the agent’s inspection count. For example, if we want to build an automation that recognizes when an agent does their 5th inspection year to date, we would set the start trigger as the custom field “# of Inspections YTD (as BA)” changing from 4 to 5.
Date based – a contact will automatically enter this sequence when a date field has reached a specified threshold. This trigger is most often used to start the Inactive Agent automations and considers the amount of time since the last inspection. Once the set threshold is reached (30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or other), the CRM automatically enters the contact into this automation. This trigger can be used with any date on the contacts profile and any custom threshold you want.
Manually adding contacts to an automation
It’s also possible to manually add contacts to an automation, whether individually or as a group. To do this individually, go to the contact’s profile, scroll down to the Automations section, click the “+ Add” button, check the box next to the automation you want the contact to enter, and click the “Okay” button. This will force the contact into the automation, and they will begin going through the steps.
To manually add a group to an automation, go to the Contacts section of the CRM, add any filters necessary by Tags, List, or Status, and then click on the “Edit All” button or individually select the appropriate contacts from the list and click on the “Edit” button. There will be a pop-up menu with an option for “Add to an automation.” Select the automation you want to add the contacts to, click on the “Add” button, and click on the “Apply” button.