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What is a Sales Sequence? [Examples Included]

Aug 19, 2020 8:13:00 PM

A Sales Sequence is a series of automated tasks, emails, notes, call reminders, or actions that can convert leads to potential customer prospects in roughly 5 to 7 steps. 

If you support a Sales Team or are starting one, it is important to set up Standard Operating Procedures that your team leans on to be successful in their day to day. Every successful Sales Team has Sales sequences for every potential lead source and varies because of the differences between each reference. Sometimes you have to have every tool in your tool belt accessible every time. You never want to fall under the expression of bringing a knife to a gunfight when the big guns are needed. Your team's success depends on how well prepared you are.

Let’s dive in and break down some of the important steps and frameworks needed to make a  Sales Sequence effective. What we are trying to do is avoid mistakes and common problems with client outreach. You don’t want to make the same mistakes. Instead, stand on top of the years of experience that is passed down from others. 

 

Having an awareness of the audience and purpose when creating email sequences

Every Sales sequence needs to start with these two questions: 

Man speaking to diverse crowd of people
  1. Why do they need this product? 
  2. What pain points does it solve?

The reason to provide answers to those questions is to find the intent behind the emails. Who is the audience? What is the purpose of this email that we are trying to communicate with them? The purpose and intent can change the direction of the email campaign you send out.

An email is a form of marketing, and you are a marketer for your company and product. Knowing your audience and purpose allows you to focus on the intention behind each email and sequence. It also provides for personalization so you can hit the touch points that specific audiences will connect with. Each section of your sequence should not be isolated from the others.  Each should complement each other and set up a theme for that sequence. It should be like telling a story versus individual statements.

Knowing whether you are trying to sell a product directly, get them to subscribe to a newsletter, or refer a friend or family member, the purpose and intent behind your emails are the name of the game. Never waste an opportunity to continue establishing rapport. Strangers will tend to react differently than well-established followers or fans when receiving niche emails about you and your services. Adding content that helps build trust is very important. Testimonials will help your audience connect to your emails’ content and is a high social proof of what your company is capable of doing.

If you know your audience, then timing when to send specific email sequences will be vital for a successful email marketing campaign. A customer who just visited your site and filled out their information to receive a newsletter or support needs to be addressed immediately. Building a sequence that triggers based on an event from your website like filling out a form allows you to cater to that specific type of audience. It also allows you to send them accurate information in your sequences with a definite purpose because they are so new. Some CRMs will allow you to set the parameters for such trigger events. Hubspot allows you to create a workflow that will trigger emails to send out with other potential tasks that your sales or marketing team can take in between each email. Here we have an example of how to cater to each individual or prospective client that visits your website or new contact you create.

 

Here are a few things you should include in a Sales Sequence.

Before creating successful Sales Sequences, you will need to begin leveraging your marketing activity to align sales and marketing efforts to achieve sufficient sales enablement versus friction. You want your teams to be on the same page when deploying a new Sales Sequence for the best results.

Another important thing is to know what part of your sales cycle the potential customers are at which will determine how your email outreach should approach them. Automation will help you reach more customers, but it is important that even with automation, there needs to be some personalization involved.

Regular email services do not allow you to send so many emails at a given time, so you have to find an email client or software that will enable you to send at a corporate volume. Specific  regulations on email services allow only a certain amount of emails to be sent, but you can pay for more significant numbers.

You will also need tools to do so. There are a lot of different software services companies out there that offer just email marketing. In contrast, others provide a full Customer Relationship Management tool, aka CRM with email marketing tools. Accessible versions of such that come to mind are: 

  • Hubspot
  • Salesforce
  • Zendesk
  • Zoho

There are many other options available that you can search online. HubSpot is the best option for its capabilities at the Free-level software and its ability to scale with the company as you grow.

Here is a helpful article: The Top 5 CRMs.

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Be sure to check that your CRM has a sequence tool to utilize and how many multiple sequences you can create. Creating an email template will save you time when creating similar emails. It will also allow you to segment your email list based on where they are in your sales cycle. Email is an important tool when prospecting. There are plenty of other options but Email still has a decent rate of success that it is worth being a part of your prospecting.

 

There are many types of sales sequences 

Here are a few to keep in mind:

Welcome sequences 

Every relationship starts somewhere, and with Welcome sequences, we try to build one from the ground up. It’s important to share about yourself and what you are looking to offer in value.

Nurturing sequence 

This is a series of emails that build value with each email and begin to move the subscriber along the customer journey. Unlike the other types of sequences, this one intentionally takes its time and adds value to the previous emails sent in the sequence.

Engagement sequence 

This sequence builds off of previous sequences with added calls to action or activities suggested for your audience to complete independently. 

Conversion Sequence 

At its natural progression, this sequence is asking for the sale from your audience. You have already established a relationship and continued to add valuable information that they are already starting to work on. Now it is time for them to take serious action in most cases with a purchase.

Follow-up Sequence

A customer should remain engaged even after purchasing. This sequence continues the relationship by thanking them for taking part in your services and leaves them with additional value that they can continue using. This also creates an opportunity to share other potential services and offerings that would supplement their recent purchase.

If a person visits your website and provides their email, it is an opportunity to share value. Call out problems that your customers have, empathize with them that you've also been in similar situations, and share how your product or service will help solve those problems.

One thing you want to be sure of is the pacing at which your emails are being sent out. The worst thing you can do is come off as SPAM and lose any chance of a relationship with some of those contacts ever again. Ask yourself if you were to receive this email from someone else, how would it make you feel?

A sequence could be looked at in a few different ways from the basic text, or a mix of imagery and text, or a fully functioning HTML formatted email. Depending on what part of the sales process, the email is sent to dictate the format needed. Imagine an email onboarding sequence versus a contract renewal sequence, the more you know the intent, the better the choices in words and imagery.

Here is an example by Samantha from ActiveCampaign of a Welcome Email sequence:

  • Email 1: Welcome 
    Welcome your new subscriber to the community and share with them what to expect from your next emails to come.
  • Email 2: Nurture 
    Here is the opportunity to really connect with your customer by introducing them to your team, your history, and why you do what you do.
  • Email 3: Engagement 
    Now that they are aware of who you are, this is the time to share value, build authority, and offer some free tips or actions that they could apply now.
  • Email 4: Conversion 
    Having added valuable information in previous emails you’ve established various solutions to potential problems your subscribers are facing. Now is the time to offer even more value with your service or product that aligns with the need you have already positioned to them over the course of multiple emails. Ask for the sale.

Emails alone can carry high value for your subscribers. Taking the time to mail over materials and to reach out by phone will exponentially increase the chances of conversions. It is important that with each step it is personalized to the client to be more impactful. It also will help you stand out amongst any competitors.

When creating sequences, you will be adding additional tasks or follow-ups that are physical versus just an email. This is referred to as Grounding, which is a technique that helps keep someone in the present. So imagine a personalized gift sent by you to the client. After receiving it, anytime, they see that gift or something like that gift they will think of you, which is the type of impression you want to leave on them with such a gesture.

 

Another effective Sales sequence is the Soap Opera Sequence.

“A Soap Opera Sequence is typically a series of 5 emails that are sent out over the course of 5 days to an email subscriber initially upon subscribing. It tells an emotional story similar to a tv soap opera but for emails with the purpose of warming up a lead to eventually sell a product.” David Sandy

Here’s typically what the 5-day email sequence looks like:

Day #1: Sets The Stage

This first email will set up the expectations for what the subscriber will experience with the next set of emails. One of those expectations is to share something super valuable and might even call it a secret. You will describe how the secret positively affected you then you will convey how excited you are to share what that secret is soon and then cut the email short with a teaser.

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Day #2: High Drama, Backstory, Wall

Now catch your reader's attention with a severe dilemma or backstory with high drama involving you and your business. Perhaps even something devastating enough to almost fail the business. You end it with the revelation that you somehow saved the day and that you’ll explain how in the next emails to come.

Day #3: Epiphany, The One Thing

This email will be the big reveal as to what it was that you did to ultimately save the day. Reveal a technique or set of resources to share with your reader and how you came about the solution. Be sure to also promise other tips and solutions that they will benefit from in your next emails.

Day #4: Hidden Benefits

This email will explain your products and services that came out of the solution or secret from your previous email. Don’t go too deep in how you got from point A to point B but that your products or services were serendipitous to what you figured out to save the day.

Day #5: Urgency Call To Action (CTA)

Each email will have a CTA for them to continue reading up to this email. Now is the direct Close and Ask for the sale that would motivate them to act now rather than later. Create a sense of urgency to take advantage of your services or products while it lasts.

No matter what type of sequence you create, it is always essential to have a Call To Action in every email. Whether in the form of a question or recommendation, it should be clear to the reader what you are requesting.

illustration of different notifications

Why is a Call to Action so important in a sequence?

When you have the opportunity it is important to give your audience work to do. Without asking them to follow a link or reply with a specific answer then how can you know they are engaged in the material you are writing? This confirms they are engaged and allows them to walk away with something in hand, perhaps a solution to their problem, or just solid advice that they act on to solve another problem. For a sequence it can qualify them as an active prospect.

Here are a few more examples of Call to Actions.

Sales Sequences help increase open rates from Cold starts

A cold email is an email sent to a contact’s email address without any prior interaction. They are a stranger to your company and what you do. This is to be clearly stated  to be sure you are sending them pertinent information for someone who knows nothing about you or your business. What might those first emails look like? It is imperative always to provide value with your content and to build rapport with Cold Contacts. A cold email should be sent out an average of 4 to 6 emails when sending it to any new cold contact. All the sequence we’ve shown previously would still fit for a cold contact just

As you have read already, there is a lot that can go into a successful sales campaign. I’m sure you are just as excited to jump in and get started. We are here to help people like yourself when it comes to learning new tools and scaling as you begin to grow. Whether you choose to embark on this journey alone, know that we will always be here to help.

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