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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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