Sales

How to Write Email Sequences That Sell [Plus FREE Template]

December 20, 2021

Written byMixmax

How to Write Email Sequences That Sell [Plus FREE Template]
  • What is an email sequence?
  • When should a company invest in email sequences?
  • Types of email sequences
  • 15 steps to write a prospecting email sequence that works
  • Email sequence template you can steal
  • How to choose the right email sequence software

We’ve all been there. You spend hours crafting the perfect email, send it out into the ether, and…

Tumbleweed.


You’re too busy to follow up immediately, and by the time you get around to it your lead has gone so cold you need a blowtorch to thaw it out.


Learning to write email sequences is key to minimizing this pain. Sequences allow everyone from SDRs to AEs to CSMs to take a more structured, effective approach to generating demand, building pipeline, deal management, success, renewals, and expansion.

At Mixmax, it’s our mission to empower our users to start multiple fruitful conversations with prospects and customers. And keep them going.

In this post, we’ll take you through: 

  • What email sequences are 
  • How they benefit your teams and bottom line
  • When you should use them
  • Some different types of email sequences
  • How to write a prospecting email sequence that works 
  • How to choose the right email sequence software

Best of all, we’ll throw in a free prospecting sequence template.

What more could you ask?

Looking for a sales email sequence tool to help scale your sales processes? Mixmax helps you efficiently automate email sequences for all your sales teams.


Request a demo

What is an email sequence?

An email sequence is a series of communications that happen on a predefined schedule at different stages in the sales cycle to achieve a specific goal.

Basically, it’s a set of steps designed to move a prospect or customer from their current state to the desired state by motivating them to engage, respond and take the next step, whether that’s scheduling a meeting or demo, signing, or renewing a contract, etc.

Mixmax sequences for every stage of the customer journey

Email sequences can also be trigger-based. So, the prospect receives a call or email when they take an action, like downloading content or filling in a form. 

Let’s say you just nailed a demo. You sit back and wait for the orders to come flooding in, only to have your heart broken again.


Do you: 

A. Crowbar a follow-up reminder into your already overstuffed calendar? 


Nope. 

B. Waste precious time drafting multiple, zero-value “just checking in” emails?

Keep trying…  

C. Hook them back in by leveraging information from your discovery call to prepare a value-packed follow-up sequence addressing exactly which pain points your product solves? 

Now you’re talking! 

Email sequence software tools are an important part of sales automation, which allows reps to spend more time with customers by automating tedious or repetitive manual tasks like drafting email templates, updating your CRM, etc. 

The name’s kind of misleading, though. Sequences are soooo much more than emails. The best combine automated emails, manual email and call tasks, LinkedIn messaging, etc. to engage buyers where they’re active, in the right way at the right time.

Two boxes showing Mixmax email with embedded video and sequence stages

Using a sales engagement platform like Mixmax allows you to automate and personalize multichannel sequences at scale using email templates, CRM data, and insights. Not to mention leverage enhancements like calendar scheduling, calls to action (CTAs), and polls & surveys, that reduce friction and increase the chances of getting a response. 

What’s not to like?

When should a company invest in email sequences?

Are your reps quota-crushing productivity beasts? Do you have to keep the first-aid kit handy because they’re constantly scalding themselves on red-hot leads?  

If the answer is yes, stop reading and go do something else with your day.   

Also, what’s your secret??? 

If, however, they: 

  • Copy-paste the same sales pitch to every lead. 
  • Spend hours drafting, scheduling, and sending follow-up emails.  
  • Keep missing follow-ups. 
  • Have the niggling feeling their time could be used more productively. 

Stick with us.

You need email sequences anytime they would help achieve your desired outcome and improve results by freeing human sellers up to focus on high-value tasks like asking open-ended sales engagement questions and closing deals.

Even when you don’t have any sellers. 

Wait, what? 

That’s right, everyone from CEOs down can leverage email sequences to get your product out there and reach out to the right people at scale. 

To decide whether you could benefit, evaluate how much time your teams spend on manual or repetitive tasks. Could these be automated without losing the human touch? Try using our handy sheet to calculate the productivity gains from investing in sales or email automation.

Mixmax sheet with questions to calculate productivity gains from using sequences

Types of email sequences

If you’ve ever bought anything online, you’ll be familiar with eCommerce engagement emails like “limited time,” “unsubscribe” or “abandoned cart emails.” These are designed to land in your inbox at exactly the right time to convince you to hang in there and, hopefully, buy.

Fully-automated B2C emails like these are usually pretty impersonal (but they work). By contrast, the type of “manual” emails common to B2B sales are customizable for each recipient based on CRM data, buyer behavior, industry trends, and more. 

Here are a few B2B sequences we use a lot at Mixmax: 

  • Cold prospecting to someone you’ve never talked to before (SDRs) 
  • Reengagement prospecting to someone you already connected with but it wasn’t the right time (SDRs)
  • Welcome emails / Inbound follow-ups with new demo requests, signups or new trials, etc (SDRs / AEs)
  • Nurture sequences to educate prospects (AEs)
  • Deal management to keep them moving through the sales cycle (AEs)
  • Reinvigorating lost or gone-cold deals (AEs)
  • AE/CSM customer-handoff and onboarding emails for new customers (AEs / CSMs)
  • Renewal and expansion: checking in regularly in the run-up to renewal (CSM), or leveraging opportunities for upselling or cross-selling (AE).
       

Every sequence has multiple touches, and every touch leads you closer to your goal.

15 steps to write a prospecting email sequence that works

Here’s our killer recipe for email sequence success. Just add salespeople.

1. Understand, segment, and target your ICPs (ideal customer profiles) 

Define your ideal customer profiles and map out all the key stakeholders involved in the purchasing process. From their digital footprint, browsing or buying behavior, location, personal interests, career, demographics, and more, prospect data is your friend. Use it in combination with a sales engagement platform like Mixmax that streamlines accessing those insights by integrating with prospecting tools and your CRM.

Box showing contact being added to sequence in Mixmax

2. Define the buyer’s challenges, and how you’re going to solve them

Think of 3-5 challenges that persona/company/team faces and build them into your sequence. This will help you define your value proposition.

Check out industry review sites to understand your target persona’s pain, needs, and language. Use them in your communications. This helps you come across as someone who really understands them and their industry.  

3. Define your desired outcome and choose the right sequence to achieve it

Start at the end and work backward. What do you want to achieve? Establish a dialogue? Gather information? What actions will get you there? What value are you trying to transmit? This helps you plan out what to deliver at each step and aligns messaging with the appropriate stage in the buyer journey. 

In terms of goals, we don’t recommend asking for meetings or demos right off the bat. Use “interested to learn more?” CTAs instead until you’ve earned the right to ask for their time.

Here are 3 CTAs to start with instead our customer Gong recommends in their 7 laws of highly effective emails:

Three example sentences of how to write a better prospecting email

Don’t forget to think about what happens after your sequence ends. Where should the prospect go next? Take advantage of features like Mixmax rules to trigger sending them to another sequence or pass them to your AE or CSM.

4. Define the sequence length and number of touches

These will vary depending on your goals and the length of your sales cycle. The longer it is, the more top-of-funnel touches you may need to educate and raise awareness before actual engagement. It can take several just to understand all their challenges and establish trust. 

Expect an average of 8 touches for prospecting, though you may need up to 12 if prospects don’t get back to you.  

The target persona is also a factor: High-level decision-makers may need longer sequences with more personal touches and nurturing. 

Remember not to overload each touch with information. Stick to one purpose, goal, CTA, etc. at a time. 

5. Define the schedule and timing

Establish a schedule that’s appropriate to your sales cycle but doesn’t overwhelm prospects. Shorter cycles merit more frequent, close-together touches. For longer ones, you can spread them out to let prospects breathe.

There’s no hard and fast rule, but every 3 business days is a good start for cold contacts. If, however, you know a prospect is researching your product right now, you need to be more in their face. Like, same-day call+email or voicemail+call then next-day follow up.  

Timing, as they say, is everything. Weekends can be a good time to catch busy execs plowing through their inbox, though there’s no need to second guess it:  Mixmax features like smart-send let you pick the best time based on engagement analytics.

Two boxes showing Mixmax send-later feature

6. Define your channels and the type of touches

There’s no better way to look like a robot than sending out three emails followed by three calls in a row. Real humans mix it up strategically depending on the persona and sequence. For sales VPs, for example, you want more email and social media touches, while phone may be better to catch people on the move.

Think about what type of touch is best for what you want to achieve, too. To share sales collateral or a CTA, email works well, while (no-brainer alert) discovery is best done over phone or video.

7. Lead with value

Unless you’re cold prospecting, they probably signed up to hear from you, which means they trust you. Don’t blow it by bombarding them with ROI or requests for their time before you’ve established trust.

Three example sentences to write a better prospecting email

Have a reason for reaching out in your very first paragraph, and focus on benefits, not features. Ask yourself, why you and why now? Why have you landed in their inbox? What will they gain by responding? 

If social proof matters in your sector, include this. Ditto testimonials, referrals, case studies, and relevant content to establish credibility.

8. Vary your value proposition and messaging

Never send an email repeating what you already said just to get bumped back to the top of their inbox. Provide added value and have a reason for reaching out every time.

9. Personalize, personalize, personalize

Know that friend who always talks about themselves and never asks how you are? How much do you love spending time with them?

Right, your prospects neither. Make it about them, not you. Don’t lead with a pitch or spiel about your company’s long and distinguished history. Show you understand them and their pain. Then quickly outline how you can solve it.

Remember, personalization is way more than just dropping their name into a template. Check their LinkedIn activity, career path, and online news, etc. to learn about them and their industry. Use those insights to choose the most relevant content to share.

It also goes both ways. At Mixmax, we love humorous gifs that put our personal stamp on messaging and a smile on prospects’ faces. Humor is a great way to make you seem more human and relatable.

10. Mind your language

Using words like “you/your company/team” etc. rather than “I/we” helps reinforce that it’s all about them. Ditch the marketing speak, too, and use decisive, confident language, contractions, and industry slang.

Keep your copy evergreen by avoiding language like “this year,” “recently,” etc. The same goes for any content you share.

Three examples of sentences to write a better prospecting email

Dust off your spellchecker! There’s no faster route to the spam folder than an email that reads “Hii XXX, Who are you doing today?” Team writing assistants like Lavender with Mixmax templates to show them you can walk and chew gum at the same time. And don’t forget to format and preview on different devices. Nothing dents credibility like a lazy copy-paste job.

11. Keep it short and sweet

If they want to read War and Peace, they’ll do it on their own time. Go postal on your sentences and annihilate all the fluff. Think about how it reads on a tiny screen, too. If you can’t get your message across before the first phone scroll, you could lose them.

12. Make it easy for them, and you

Use Mixmax enhancements like calendar scheduling links, polls & surveys, or video messages to give them a break from all that text and make it easier to respond.

Again, think about what helps achieve your goals. For yes/no questions, a poll is the easiest way for them to respond. If you’re demonstrating something, could you do it with a video or GIF instead of text?

Make CTAs clear and well placed so they don’t break the reader’s flow, and make sure they mirror the tone and purpose of your email.

Box showing Mixmax in-email poll

13. Test, trace and tweak

Track performance to identify the best templates, copywriting, lead magnets, CTAs, etc. Adjust sequences according to what works by leveraging Mixmax insights into open rates, clicks, forwards, individual rep and team performance, and more.

Whether it’s connect rate, meetings booked, conversions to a qualified pipeline, wins, or sign-ups to your webinar, establishing your goals in advance will make it easier to assess campaign performance.

Be realistic about what you can achieve with the resources you have, too. Large sales teams in enterprises may be able to rejig sequences on the fly. Smaller companies may prefer to schedule monthly or quarterly reviews than try to edit live. 

Chart showing email performance tracking results

14. Empower your teams

Sales teams can struggle initially to generate or personalize their own sequences, so focus sales enablement efforts on helping them find the right voice and copywriting style to get them started.

For more on how sales enablement differs from sales engagement, see our piece on sales engagement vs sales enablement.

15. Don’t be needy

Know the phrase “They’re just not that into you”? If they’re not biting despite your best efforts, hit the pause button, take a step back, and reassess. With your self-esteem intact. We've created some sales email sequence examples to help.

 

Looking for a sales email sequence tool to help scale your sales processes? Mixmax helps you efficiently automate email sequences for all your sales teams. Request a demo

 

Email sequence template you can steal

Here's an example of what a prospecting sequence created in Mixmax would look like: 

Example of an engaging prospecting sequence s

Stage 1. A personalized email including a Mixmax poll to gauge interest

Subject: [PROSPECT COMPANY NAME] or [THEIR COMPETITOR #1]?

[FIRST NAME],
How often do you lose deals to [THEIR COMPETITOR #1] or [THEIR COMPETITOR #2]?

What would help your reps win those deals?
✅ [USE CASE #1]
✅ [USE CASE #2]
✅ [USE CASE #3]

If your AEs aren't successfully [PAIN] when they're actively comparing you with the competition, you are leaving money on the table.

We could help with this if you're interested?
 
[SENDER SIGNATURE]

 

This approach works because it:

  1. Shows you understand the persona and their challenges. 
  2. Leads with value. 
  3. Is all about the prospect, not your company.
  4. Makes no demands.

Here’s how it looks like when sent from Mixmax:

Example of a first cold email in a prospecting sequence sent with Mixmax sales engagement platform

Stage 2. Automated email targeting your prospect's pain with a CTA button


Subject: Re: [PROSPECT COMPANY NAME] or [THEIR COMPETITOR #1]?


[FIRST NAME],


I hope you're doing well!

Have you had a chance to consider the impact of [TOP USE CASE]? [INSIGHT SHOWING WHY THEY SHOULD].

By using [YOUR COMPANY NAME], customers like [CUSTOMER #1], [CUSTOMER #2], and [CUSTOMER #3] achieve [OUTCOME #1]. Plus, [OUTCOME #2].

Interested in how [POSITIVE OUTCOME] can help you [DESIRED STATE]?

📆 Schedule a 15min call

[SENDER SIGNATURE]

P.S. thought you’d find this helpful since you’re [PROSPECT COMPANY NEWS] now.

 

Why it works: 

  1. Promises value.
  2. Is helpful rather than pushy.
  3. Includes a calendar link for easy meeting scheduling.

When sent from Mixmax it could look like this, but with your brand colors:

Example of a follow up email in a prospecting sequence sent with Mixmax sales engagement platform

Stage 3. Personalized LinkedIn connection request sent from your Gmail

Hi [FIRST NAME],

I noticed that you are currently [PROSPECT COMPANY INSIGHT/NEWS].

I sent over a few ways to [POSITIVE OUTCOME] and would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Thanks and take care!
 
Why it works:  
  1. It's personalized.
  2. Promises value.
  3. You're meeting your prospects where they're active. 

And here's how it would show up in your Gmail if you were to send it with Mixmax:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Stage 4. Call task to be completed from Gmail

Add a call task in stage four of your sequence. With Mixmax, call tasks are easily completed directly from your Gmail and logged to Salesforce.  If needed, we also have tips to improve your cold calling scripts.

features-dialer-hero

Why it works:  
  1. Cold calling is NOT dead.
Stage 5. Manual email task to insert in-email calendar availability
 
[FIRST NAME],

I just called. Would any of the following times work better for you?
[INSERT YOUR AVAILABILITY]

I would love to hear from you if [PAIN #1] and [PAIN #2] are actually stopping you from achieving [DESIRED STATE].

Here’s why [YOUR CUSTOMER #1] loves [YOUR COMPANY NAME] in 1min:

[VIDEO]

Looking forward to connecting with you,

[SENDER SIGNATURE]

 

Why it works:  
  1. Prospects can book a call with one click.
  2. It delivers social proof.

Here’s how it looks like when sent from Mixmax:

Example of a follow up email after a cold call in a prospecting sequence sent with Mixmax sales engagement platform

Stage 6. Automated email sent on behalf of your leadership team

Subject: From one [DEPARTMENT] leader to another

[FIRST NAME],

My team has been reaching out to you, so I wanted to share why we want to bring you on as a customer from the exec perspective.

Companies like [PROSPECT COMPANY NAME] are our happiest customers. [YOUR COMPANY NAME] was truly built for [DEPARTMENT TEAM] like yours.

We select companies of your size, industry, and growth phase because we are sure we can add the most value to your business and keep on doing so in years to come.

Happy to answer any questions.

[SENDER SIGNATURE]

With delegated sending, Mixmax enables you to send emails on behalf of your leadership or anyone else who grants you permission to do so:

Example of a follow up email from the exec team in a prospecting sequence sent with Mixmax sales engagement platform

Stage 7. Manual email task to insert a personalized Vidyard

Subject: Video

[FIRST NAME],

Here is a quick video for you and the Team explaining how you can beat [COMPETITOR #1] and [COMPETITOR #1] in [OUTCOME #1] and [OUTCOME #2] with [YOUR COMPANY]:

[INSERT VIDYARD]

Would you be interested in scheduling a demo to learn how [YOUR COMPANY] can [DESIRED STATE]?

[SENDER SIGNATURE]

Why it works:  
  1. According to Vidyard, videos book 2-4x more meetings
Here’s how it looks like when sent from Mixmax with our Vidyard integration:
 Example of a video follow up email in a prospecting sequence sent with Mixmax sales engagement platform
 

Curious about what I say in the video? Here's a video example as well.

Stage 8. Automated email with the next steps poll and a farewell GIF
 
Subject: Re: Video
Alright [FIRST NAME],

I'm not trying to jam your inbox. Let me know how to proceed.

What would help your reps win those deals?
✅ Yes, let's book some time
✅ Can you follow up next month?
✅Just not interested. Sorry sales pro 👋
 
 
I'm happy to see myself out…
 
[SENDER SIGNATURE]
 
Why it works:  
  1. If it is not the right time, you are making it easy for your prospect to reply with one click

Here’s how it looks like when sent from Mixmax:

Example of a farewell follow up email in a prospecting sequence sent with Mixmax sales engagement platform

 

How to choose the right email sequence software

The holy grail of automation is that it never feels automated. Personalizing communications at scale takes work, but if you don’t do it right your prospects will see right through you. Make sure you choose a tool that fits your users’ roles and needs. Platforms like HubSpot make it easy for marketers to send out mass email sequences, but fall short when it comes to the level of personalization required for SDRs. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Does this solution fit our sales cycle? 
  • Does it help us achieve our goals?  
  • Does it fit my team’s roles and challenges? 
  • Why do they need it? Prospecting, deal management, customer success, or all three? Is it scalable enough to answer all our needs?  
  • Does it integrate with my existing tech stack for easy onboarding and use?  

Think about the size of your company, too. Enterprise sales teams probably have the admin support to leverage platforms like Outreach or Salesloft. Very small teams, however, may find it easier to get started with email tracking using Yesware, though it falls short of true sequencing that leverages a CRM integration. 

Busy sales teams from SDRs to sales VPs using Gmail and Salesforce in fast-growing companies will love Mixmax. It comes as a Chrome download that sits on top of Gmail so reps can perform all essential functions right from their inbox. It also has a powerful rules engine for workflow automation and is packed with enhancements to make your messages stand out from the crowd.

The finishing touch

Email sequences help your reps crush quota by making it easier to move prospects through the pipeline in a timely manner. 

There’s no silver bullet for success, though. Automation takes the grunt work out of setting up sequences and drafting emails but it’s up to you to customize each and every one to your business, prospects, unique value proposition, and goals. You’ll hear sales gurus claiming they’ve developed the perfect sequence, but what they mean is perfect for their company

To find your own secret sauce, you’ll need to put in the hours in the kitchen. Assisted by the right technological sous chef, of course.

 

There are a few things robots still can’t do, like building trust and nurturing relationships. For everything else, there’s Mixmax.

Looking for a sales email sequence tool to help scale your sales processes? Mixmax helps you efficiently automate email sequences for all your sales teams.


Request a demo