While automation has been used in marketing for a long time now, sales automation hasn’t quite seen the same trend. Research from HubSpot indicates that sales people spend a significant portion of their day on administrative tasks, which is madness considering the tools out there designed to make their lives easier.
Don’t waste your sales team’s time on admin, they need to be spending that time moving deals forward, especially in these ‘unprecedented times.’
What are email sequences and how can they help?
Sequences are a series of one-to-one, timed email templates you and your sales team can use to nurture contacts over a fixed period of time. You can enroll a prospect into the sequence and they’ll receive personalised, contextually relevant emails without you having to do anything manual. You can also add tasks into the sequence between the various emails, such as nudging a sales rep to make a phone call to the prospect.
For example, you might have a sales sequence with 5 activities. A simple email sequence could look something like this:
Email 1: Introduce yourself and your product or service
Email 2: Follow up to see if they’re interested in what you offered in email 1
Task: Call prospect
Email 3: Let them know you called and see if they want to schedule time for a call
Email 4: The ‘ok you’re probably not interested but here’s where to find me if you are’ email
End of Sequence
If at any point the recipient replies to your email, the sequence will automatically end for that contact so you don’t end up sending them any unnecessary email.
What are the benefits of using email sequences in sales?
Time spent on admin that could easily be automated is time wasted! Sequences allow you to save the time that you would have spent manually following up with prospects one by one and use it on something much more productive. Instead of putting reminders in your calendar to follow up with X, Y and Z over the phone or via email, you’re automatically reminded at the appropriate time in the chain of communication.
Prevent prospects from slipping through the cracks
If your marketing team has spent time and effort generating leads, the last thing you want is these leads slipping through the cracks. News flash - humans aren’t perfect! Things can slip your mind especially if you’re dealing with quite a few prospects at one time. This can lead to some valuable prospects feeling unloved and potentially into the hands of one of your competitors. Sequences automate the process of following up on leads, and send you reminders to complete tasks, giving you the peace of mind that all your prospects are being dealt with.
You can continue to use personalisation
In much the same way as marketing automation can be personalised, so can sales sequences. Use your buyer personas to inform the content of your email templates. For example, you can tweak your tone of voice and the content in your email to match the persona you’re targeting.
As long as you continue to refine and improve the content in the emails you send out and do more of what works well, you should be able to strike the perfect balance between an email that feels personal but which also addresses the shared goals and challenges of a number of your potential prospects.
What different types of sequences could you set up?
Here are a few different sales sequences you could set up.
Behaviour based (e.g a form fill on your website)
If a lead has downloaded a guide on your website which implies high purchase intent, you might choose to follow up with a phone call. In that phone call, you’ll want to create rapport and try to dig into why they were interested in that particular resource. For example, if the topic covered in the guide is linked to a particular service you offer, you could provide them with a little more information about that service and give details of pricing.
Of course - we all know how rare it is to get lucky and connect with a prospect on that first call, so as the next step in the sequence, if your sales rep doesn’t get through on the phone, an email follow up is automatically sent. If that email isn’t replied to within 3 days, then the rep is reminded to call. If the rep doesn’t get through, another appropriate, slightly different personalised, templatised follow up is sent from the rep, automatically - and so on.
Event follow up
If you had a trade stand at an event and your sales team were capturing contact information from potential leads, you could use sales sequences to nurture those new relationships! Send an email where you ask your new contacts what they enjoyed about the event and try to book in a meeting where you can go into more detail about the product or service you offer.
Set a series (or sequence) of calls, emails and LinkedIn reminders so your sales team don’t just reach out once.
Re-engagement with a contact
In sales it’s very common to reach out to someone who’s interested in what you have to offer but it’s not the right time for them to buy. They might say something like ‘reach out again in 6 months and we can talk’. This is a cue for you to enroll them into a re-engagement sequence! In the email template (which automatically gets sent in 6 months), remind them who you are and the problems that you can help them solve so you can start to build that relationship back up.
There may be circumstances where you decide to do cold outreach. These contacts will be difficult to engage with a cold email sequence but with a good level of personalisation and a subject line that they just can't ignore, you should be able to get cut through with some leads. The good part about automating outreach to these ‘colder’ leads is that you then have more time to spend on those prospects that have shown a bit more intent.
How a sequence can work in HubSpot
An example of a HubSpot Sequence the Noisy Little Monkey team use
Here’s an example of a sales sequence the Noisy Little Monkey team set up for prospects. (We haven’t gone into detail on how to create a sequence, as HubSpot explains it perfectly here.)
You can see we’ve included personalisation tokens in the subject line and body of the email and created a time delay of at least 2 days between each task.
Tips for creating seriously good sales sequences
1. Not everyone should be put into an email sequence
Sequences are great for automating the sales process, but not everyone is appropriate to be put into a sequence. For prospects who are in the bottom of the funnel who might be ready to purchase, it’s often better to pick up the phone, or send totally unique emails. If there is a chance to win a big account that into which you have carried out research, account based marketing might be a better option.
2. Review what works!
Make sure you’re constantly reviewing what brings you the most engagement. From the email template that gets the most replies, to the time delay between each point of contact, you should be able to optimise your sequences based on the success of previous ones.
3. Don’t put too many tasks in a sequence which you plan to enroll a large number of prospects in
If you’re enrolling a large number of prospects into a sequence, you’ll want to make sure you’re not too heavy on the number of tasks you include. You’ll be overwhelmed with notifications and it’s likely that quite a few will become overdue.
4, Keep them short!
Bombarding someone with 8 emails and phone calls in a row when they’ve shown no engagement is likely going to annoy them. You don’t want to leave a sour taste with any business because you’ve crossed the line and pestered them. Keep things short and sweet and when you don’t get a reply say goodbye and end things on a good note.
Sequences really transform your business and provide your sales team with the opportunity to use their precious time and talents elsewhere. Want to learn how leveraging HubSpot for more efficient sales could transform your business?Get in touch now - we’re a Diamond HubSpot partner!