With the majority of professional communications happening over online mediums, email makes for an important part of sales operations. Most of which comes down to following-up and nurturing, which when executed using email sequence, can generate great results.
It’s been observed that 96% of deals close after the 5th touch, indicating the amount of persistence required in follow-up emails. Email sequences are a great way to set up personalized, automated emails to be sent to your prospects to nurture them throughout the sales funnel.
With this article, we’ll learn what an email sequence is and how to set up your own email sequence, along with examples.
What is an Email Sequence
An email sequence is a set of automated emails to be sent out to leads and prospects throughout their time in your sales funnel. They’re sent so as to follow-up, provide value and nurture your leads to help them reach their goals using your products and services.
These email sequences will be different based on the different stages of the customer journey, for different goals and objectives.
Email sequences can be set to go out at certain trigger events — like signing up or downloading an ebook. For outbound sales outreach, email sequences can be sent by manually enrolling fresh leads in your email sequence in batches. More on that towards the end of the article
As the first step, we’ll learn how to set up an email sequence to nurture and convert the most leads.
How to nurture leads using Email sequence
1. Research your leads
In order to set up an effective email sequence, you will first have to research and get to know your leads. This will help you tailor the email sequence specific to your leads and their problems. It also enables you to personalize your emails with fields that make up for your lead’s data, which will help them relate with your content better than a made-for-all template.
You can research your lead by simply Googling them or by looking up their Linkedin for details that might be useful for the deal. While gathering information, also try and anticipate how they might benefit from specific features on your product or service.
2. Define goals and timelines for the deal
Once you know your lead well enough from your primary research and know what you’re going to sell, decide on a timeline for the deal. Depending on other factors such as the size of the opportunity and LTV, you should also set expectations on margins, service terms, etc.
These deadlines will help you steer the conversation towards your set goals and keep the deal on track towards closure. Imposing strict timelines helps you both create a sense of urgency and make sure the deal doesn’t get stretched past the cycle.
3. Layout templates for a sequence
Once you have decided your goals with a particular lead or deal, you can then proceed to create an email sequence. The purpose of this email sequence has to be tied around achieving your goals with the deal within the timelines you have set. Each individual email in your email sequence functions to nurture your lead’s intent towards a closure.
Here are a few best practices to help you layout email templates for the most conversions.
Share social proof
Sharing case studies that demonstrate the product’s value and efficacy on an existing customer is one of the best ways to gain trust. If you have users from popular and well known organizations, sharing the facts will lend you their credibility, and make it easier for your leads to make a decision.
Depending on what your leads’ priorities and needs are, focus on specific parts of case studies that are likely to appeal more. For example, if a lead is looking to increase their revenue by using your product, emphasize the results of the case study that clearly outline the revenue growth for existing customers.
If you’ve set timelines for the deal, it is important that you communicate it across to your leads in your emails. In B2B sales, your leads are likely to be busy and not have your deal at the top of their minds. Setting deadlines will help them prioritize your deal, speed up the decision-making process and avoid the deal getting stuck in the pipeline.
It is indeed hard to create and communicate urgency, as mentioned by Jason Lemkin. Apart from Time-sensitivity, you can also pitch your product to give your leads a competitive edge, warn on changing markets and economics, etc., to expedite the process.
Sell solutions, growth, and stories
In addition to social proof – you should set the narrative of your product around what priorities of your target audience are. In B2B sales, these usually are growth, innovation, and value creation. Setting up stories and pitches around your leads’ ability to grow with your product, move faster, be more competitive, etc., will be deeply appealing. This will give you the best chances at starting conversations around a potential purchase, or whatever actions you need your lead to take to move them to the next stage of the funnel.
A/B test subject lines and content
When creating email templates for your sequence, you shouldn’t limit yourself to writing a single version of each one. Create different versions of each template with a certain hypothesis or approach in mind, and later test the content on live sequences to measure its effectiveness.
Different email content can perform variably, based on how it’s filtered by ESPs(Email Service Providers) and sorted in specific folders of your inbox. Once an email clears ESP filters and lands in the primary inbox, open rates heavily depend on your subject line, which is one of the most important parts of your email. Hence both email content and subject lines need to be A/B tested.
You can use tools like SalesHandy to send out email campaigns with each template that need testing and analyze the open rates to determine a winner.
Optimizing templates isn’t a one time process and can be iterative throughout the life of your email sequences to help you keep improving and counter updates in ESP filtering algorithms.
4. Enroll and engage with leads
Once you’ve settled on your sequence after testing and finalizing your templates, you can start enrolling your leads in these sequences. Based on your customer journey, you can set up these sequences to be trigger based on your lead’s activity, or manually enroll them after qualifying them as sales leads. You can set up your entire sales cycle to have multiple such email sequences to hand-hold your leads throughout the product experience and maximize your conversions.
Next, we’ll learn how to save sequence templates and enroll leads into them using SalesHandy
How to Send Email Sequences
1. Sign up and Download SalesHandy’s Chrome extension
Download the Google Chrome extension for SalesHandy and Sign up using your Gmail account.
2. Create a new sequence template
After completing Sign up, Sign in to SalesHandy web app and navigate to Email Sequence Menu on the left side of the screen.
Click on the New Sequence button on the top right corner of the screen.
Upon clicking, you’ll open the sequence editor.
In the editor, you’ll have fields to add the body of your templates and stages to the email sequence template.
You can also set up each email to be trigger based on your lead’s engagement. This can be done by setting up the time interval between emails, based on their opens or responses.
After adding all stages of the sequence in the sequence template, click on save template. You can now use the sequence template and enroll leads into your sequence from your Inbox.
3. Attach and send
To attach your newly saved sequence template to an email(i.e. Enroll a lead in your sequence), you can directly attach the template from your inbox through Gmail’s compose window. You can access your list of templates by clicking on the sequence button in Gmail compose box. To proceed, select the sequence you want to attach to your new email or existing thread.
Now that we’ve seen how to create and send email sequences, let’s look at a few examples of email sequences.
Email Sequence Examples
Onboarding Sales sequence
Onboarding email sequences go out after registrations and sign up, to guide the leads through the product’s features and usage. Let’s look at an onboarding email sequence from Adroll
First Email, Day 0
Second Email, Day 3
Third Email, Day 5
Fourth Email, Day 13
Cold sales sequence
Cold sales sequences go out to outbound leads who are yet to come across your product. These emails should capture your lead’s attention and then direct to a CTA. CTAs could drive leads to book a meeting or opening a pitch deck, which eventually leads to a conversion. Let’s look at a cold sales sequence example from Gusto.
First Email, Day 0
Second Email, Day 3
Event invitation sequence
Event invitation sequences work for leads that need to be nurtured outside emails. These emails go out to inactive leads who could derive value from your content and events. It helps you to keep them engaged and restart purchase conversations. Let’s look at an event invitation email sequence from Gong.
First Email, Day 0
Second Email, Day 12
Third Email, Day 13
Triggered sales sequence
A trigger-based sales sequence goes out when your lead completes an action on your website or product. For example signing up, filling up a contact form for pricing, downloading an ebook, etc. You can then set up the email sequence to follow-up with your leads and move them further into the funnel. Let’s look at Zoom’s example, where they send an email sequence for leads who fill up a contact form.
First Email, Day 0
Second Email, Day 2
Third Email, Day 7
Upsell/Demo sales sequence
Upsell email sequences work to pitch your regular or daily active users to upgrade to higher tiers of the product. It helps you upsell and generate more revenue from your existing customer base. Stripe’s email sequence is a great example of this.
First Email, Day 0
Second Email, Day 5
Third Email, Day 10
Credits: Good Sales Emails
Capture, engage and convert
As we learned, email sequences make for an important part of the sales cycle by enabling touchless nurturing. It also helps you guide your leads throughout their customer journey and make the most of your product. Make your email templates personalized and engaging based on your goals with the sequence. This will help you relate with them better and direct them towards a purchase decision. It is an extension of your sales and passively enables your team to start more conversions with their leads.
Do you have a best performing email sequence? How did you go about designing and testing it? Let us know about it in the comments below.