Start multiple Playbook runs at once with Batch Triggers

Thijs van As
Thijs van As
Founding Head of Product

Last week, we launched a highly requested feature in the Iterator. The Iterator is a practical tool to use as part of your a Playbook when you need to perform actions for multiple items inside a list – for adding each of the invited guests of a newly scheduled Calendar event to a CRM like Saleforce or HubSpot.

Since we launched the Iterator, various customers have been telling us they’d also love to have a related feature: the ability to trigger individual runs for multiple resources in batches. For example, you may use batch triggers to set off mail merge campaigns, or kick off a playbook on a weekly periodic schedule that checks in with the Account Executives for all stale Deals in a sales pipeline in HubSpot.

To help customers automate use cases like these, we launched the ability to start runs in batches. You can find two variations of these triggers in the Trigger menu:

  1. Start a batch manually every time
  2. Start a batch periodically on a recurring schedule
Batch Triggers in let you start multiple runs of a playbook at once

To illustrate how to use batch triggers, here’s a short guide on how to set up a simple mail merge playbook based on Gmail and Google Sheets. Of course you’ll be able to replace any of these tools with other/similar tools like Outlook, Airtable, Notion or SmartSuite.

Creating a mail merge using Gmail and Google Sheets

Let's say you want to send every person that attended our webinar a follow-up email based on a template. Here is how to do that.

1. Prepare your spreadsheet

First, create a basic spreadsheet in Google Sheets with one row for every invitee of the webinar. Make sure that your spreadsheet has columns for at least their ‘Email’ address, their ‘First name’, and whether they attended or not. Also add an empty column where we can mark whether we’ve sent them an email. Leave the cells in this column blank.

You may optionally add more columns with variable information that you want to use in the email you’ll be sending to each person. In this example, we’ve added a ‘Company’ column.

Create a spreadsheet for your mail merge with columns for email, first name and other variable values

Next, create a Playbook in with only a couple of steps.

2. Add a manual Batch Trigger

Configure the trigger by selecting the Spreadsheet you created earlier, and select ‘Only trigger runs for rows that match filters’ in the dropdown.

Now, configure two filters:

  • The first on the ‘Attended?’ column, to only pass rows where the value of that cell is exactly ‘Yes’
  • The second on the ‘Email sent?’ column, to only pass rows where the value is not ‘Yes’

The latter filter is to avoid that we’re sending folks an email twice.

Configure the manual batch trigger to trigger on rows in the Google Sheet where only certain column values should match

3. Add a ‘Gmail - Send email’ step

Next, set up a Gmail action to send an email. Select the ‘Email’ column from the spreadsheet row as the recipient of the email, and use the other columns to personalize the message template in the Body section.

Pro-tip: did you know you can use the ‘@’ key on the keyboard to get in-line access to the variable/field picker in

Configure a Gmail - Send email step using the templated values from the mail merge spreadsheet

4. Add a ‘Google Sheets - Update row’ step

Finally, add a step to update the row that triggered this run. Specifically, you’ll want to update the value of the cell in the ‘Email sent?’ column and set it to ‘Yes’.

This will allow you to track who received the follow-up email.

Update the row in the Google Sheet and set the column value for 'Email sent?' to 'Yes'

That’s it! All you need to do is kick off the mail merge by clicking the ‘Start run’ button in the Trigger header.

Start a batch of runs by clicking on 'Start run'

Do more with batch triggers

The periodic batch trigger works very similar to the manual batch trigger. The key difference is that you’ll specify the frequency by which the playbook will automatically kick off runs for resources that match the specified filters.

Lastly, we also added a useful ‘Trigger runs of a batch playbook’ action to the Flow Control menu in the step list. This lets you kick off a manual batch trigger in an automated way as part of a playbook.

You can automatically start a manual batch trigger via the 'Trigger runs of a batch playbook' action in the 'Flow control' menu

What will you automate?

Sign up and get started with your first playbook today.
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