When you think of nurturing leads, you probably think about tools and tactics that live primarily in the world of marketers. But as valuable as automation tools can be to marketers, they can be similarly useful in the hands of your sales team. That’s the thinking behind Sequences, a feature for Gmail that is one of the latest additions to Sidekick for Business.
But if these tools and this approach are new to you, you’ve probably got some questions. As a sales rep, how can tools like these make my sales process more effective? As a manager, how can I set my sales team up for success? How do we get started, and how do we know if our approach is working? Here, we’ll dive into some quick tips and best practices for putting this powerful new tool (and tools like it) to use.
Sales nurturing - Lower volume, higher stakes
Before we get into the details, it’s helpful to take a look at the big picture of how sales folks nurture their leads, and how that compares to other parts of the funnel.
Even if you aren’t using a tool like Sequences, chances are that you or your sales team are “nurturing” your prospects. Trying to connect with a new lead. Sending a resource to a prospect who is still a few months out from a decision. Following up with a customer who is approaching their renewal date. These are all activities that can benefit from the help of a tool like Sequences.
That being said, there are some pretty big differences. A marketer using a tool like Workflows is usually dealing with a higher throughput of leads who are (in most cases) earlier on in their process. For sales folks, things are different. The number of contacts they are nurturing at any given point in time may be smaller, but the stakes are higher. In a lot of cases, there is more background - a past email exchange or conversation - that increases the expectations for how specific future follow-ups will be.
This is one of the biggest differentiators of Sequences - in contrast to the tools a marketer might use, using Sequences starts when a sales rep manually enrolls one of their contacts in a highly specific flow. More on this in a minute.
Common ways that Sequences can be useful
Depending on your sales process, there are a lot of different ways that a tool like Sequences might be helpful. Here are some common starting points to consider -
- Automating follow-ups. This is the obvious one. You’ve ended a call with a prospect who is weeks, months, or a quarter away from taking whatever the next step is. Using Sequences, you can tee up your follow-up for the appropriate day and time.
- Illiciting a response. You are hoping to get in touch with a new prospect and plan to reach out several times over the coming weeks. Sequences makes it easy to kick this process off once, and not have to keep track of where many different prospects are in your process. If someone replies, the sequence stops.
- Nurturing prospects over the long term. If your sales process typically spans many weeks or months, chances are you’ll be reaching out to stay in touch with your prospects at various points along the way. Nurturing them over time with useful content is a great way to build trust and a rapport, and Sequences can take care of the actual sends.
While time savings is a big part of what a tool like Sequences can offer, you shouldn’t overlook the ways in which a tool like Sequences can help you step up your effectiveness, too.
- A shared library of approaches - Sharing a sequence is a great way to make sure everyone on your team benefits when someone find an approach that works.
- Scheduling messages when the details are most fresh in your mind - Chances are that if you write and schedule a follow up when the details are freshest in your mind, the end result is going to be more relevant and targeted to the individual prospect than it would if you are writing a follow up from memory three months later, or operating off notes you had to dig up.
A quick tour of the tools
One of the best things about Sequences is that it’s a relatively straightforward tool to set up and use. Getting started with Sequences begins with creating your templates, and weaving them into a series of steps.
Finding and creating the content is the time consuming part of getting started. For a lot of teams, the best way to go about the task is to start by building out a few sequences based on some of the best emails they’ve already used and proven in the past. It’s easier to build up your library over time as you iterate, test new approaches, and find new uses for Sequences at different stages of your sales process.
Once you’ve got a few flows built out, you can start using them when sending emails from HubSpot CRM, or in your Gmail inbox. In Gmail, it’s as simple as filling in a recipient, and choosing the sequence you want to enroll them in.
Sequences vs. Workflows: When to use each tool
When you select a sequence, you’ll then have the opportunity to customize the timing and the content of the individual steps in the flow. This is a valuable opportunity to make each email specific to your prospect in some way, and it’s a big aspect of what makes Sequences better suited for use during the sales process vs. Workflows.
That begs the question - on a high level, when is it best to use a workflow vs. a sequence? While the answer depends on the individual situation, here are a few guidelines that can be helpful -
How do I know if my sequence is performing well?
Depending on the goal your sequence is aimed at helping you achieve, what success looks like may be different. The Sequences Enrollment Status Screen, a recent improvement to the tool, can help you keep track of what the outcomes have been from the recent contacts you’ve enrolled in different sequences.
In looking at sequences that have finished, you’ll start to get a sense of whether or not Sequences is helping you toward your end goal. Are sequences that aim at illicting a response consistently ending in replies? Are sequences that aim to nurture & educate a prospect over time resulting in more educated conversations when you next connect?
Giving Sequences a try
Have you or your team been using Sequences? Have you found any use cases or particular approaches that work well? Let us know in the comments - we’d love to hear about what is working for you. (If you want to learn more about Sequences, you can check it out here.)