What is a Nurture Sequence?
Outreach’s most successful customers leverage Nurture Sequences to stay in touch and ensure they’re top-of-mind when the time is right.
A Nurture Sequence “drips” out relevant and helpful emails over an extended period of time. If you’re familiar with the concept of a “drip campaign” in Marketing, the Nurture Sequence is the equivalent Sales play and a great addition to your customer journey.
Perhaps a prospect has ignored your rep’s messages because the timing was off, or the content came on too strong for their tastes. A Nurture Sequence is intended to be a more long-term, conversational, and value-add approach. By maintaining a light level of contact and focusing on building rapport, you’re ideally positioned to be the first choice when the prospect reconsiders their needs.
Bonus Tip: Read to the end to learn about automatically routing prospects into your Nurture Sequence using Triggers!
How do I write a Nurture Sequence?
As always, we recommend designing your content around core segments - such as by Persona and Industry. For more on that topic, see this strategy article.
A few core considerations specifically for Nurturing Sequences include:
Be Conversational: The big difference between the typical Sales and Marketing approach is the rep - the human being who is personally reaching out to the prospect. While you can fully automate your Sequence, the content should be written as if the rep is reaching out manually.
Allow for Longer Gaps: Most successful Nurture Sequences span an extended period of time: anywhere from 60 - 90 days, or sometimes longer, depending on your sales cycle.
Add Value: When possible, developing content to contribute value for your prospect shows that you are a provider and partner. Free (non-gated) white papers, useful industry information, or even “checking in” during impactful current events are all examples of a customer-first mindset.
At Outreach, we’re constantly experimenting and adjusting our methods. We’ve included an example of one of our Sequence structures for you to use as a foundation, but always recommend customizing to your needs.
- This Sequence begins 21 days after the end of an Intro Sequence. Notice how much time we’re allowing between messages - we don’t want to drive opt-outs or unsubscribes.
- The resources we reference are generally not from our own blog, but 3rd parties that corroborate our approach. This both acts as a reference and allows for Marketing to own branded content delivery.
- We don't start with CTAs to reconnect until well after 90 days. We want to send the message that our goal isn’t to sell our product, but to help our customers.
- Auto Email - Day 21
- A short message that shows an understanding that it isn’t the right time, but that you want to stay on their radar.
- Auto Email - Day 51
- An email showing off some recent company news (a profile of Outreach in Forbes), including some of the best quotes in case they don't want to click through.
- Auto Email - Day 86
- A value-add message providing an article with helpful information about the habits of successful sales reps, and how Outreach can help the whole team develop those habits.
- Generic Task - Day 96
- A check-in point for the rep to determine if they should be re-prospected or continue in the Nurture sequence. The rep will need to manually complete this task, but it ensures someone does a review.
- Auto Email - Day 138
- Another value-add message, highlighting an article about “strategic dialing” coupled with an Outreach case study about a customer’s success with that strategy.
- Auto Email - Day 172 - this is the first time we include a genuine CTA
- Another value-add message, this time with a CTA: an article about the how thought around sales process touchpoints are changing. CTA: It's been a few months, is now a good time to re-connect?
- Auto Email - Day 200
- An email highlighting an article about how to write a great sales email. Another CTA: It's been 6+ months, is now a better time?
- Generic Task - Day 203
- Another check-in point for the rep to review and determine if they should stay in the Nurture Sequence.
- Auto Email - Day 213
- An email highlighting a popular Outreach integration and how it adds value to the sales process.
- Auto Email - Day 221 - winding down
- A message that references the information we've shared over the past few months, and some of the major pain points we can solve for our customers. Also includes a link to a video demo, and a strong CTA to restart the conversation if they revisit us.
- Generic Task - Day 225
- When workload permits, we usually recommend ending Sequences with a Generic Task, to function as a final check-in for the rep. This allows the rep to decide what to do next with the Prospect - whether that is re-prospecting, disqualifying, or another tactic.
Technical Setup for Admins:
- Ensure you have Stages in Outreach (and your CRM) for prospects who finish a Sequence without replying. “Unresponsive” is a common choice and the example we use.
- Likewise, we recommend having a Stage like “Nurturing” so reps know which of their prospects are actively being nurtured.
- Ensure your intro Sequence ruleset(s) update the Stage to “Unresponsive” when the prospect finishes without replying.
- Create a unique ruleset for your Nurture Sequence (you can have multiple Rulesets):
- Applies the “Nurturing” stage when the prospect is added to sequence
- Has “Should active prospects be exclusive to this sequence?” set to “Yes”
- Set “Marked as Finished, No Reply” to “No Update”
- “Prospect can be added to this Sequence” to “Only Once”
- Ensure “Unresponsive” is not a Stage Change selection - this will cause trigger looping.
Sample Trigger: Automatically Add Prospects to Sequence - Unresponsive
Triggers allow you to define rules so that Outreach will automatically perform specific actions on your behalf. A great use of this feature is for routing prospects from one Sequence to another.
It’s not uncommon during a Prospecting motion for a potential buyer to go silent or fail to respond to your initial engagement efforts.
Name: Add Prospect to Nurture Sequence
Event: “Prospect Updated”
(We are specifying “Updated” because no net-new prospects should be put in the Nurture Sequence)
(We don’t need to update the Account)
Trigger only once per target: Unchecked
(We want the Ruleset to determine if a prospect can enter the Sequence again - see above Admin Setup section)
Prospect Conditions: Stage = “Unresponsive”
(This should be customized to your configuration. Additional conditions may be relevant to your segmentation strategy)
Account Conditions: None
(customize if applicable)
Trigger Actions: Add to “Nurture Sequence”
Sample Trigger: Automatically Add Prospects to Sequence - Opportunity Date
You can use an Opportunity Close Date to automatically add Prospects into a Sequence. This is especially useful for instances where you wish to nurture a closed-loss opportunity, or use a Renewal Sequence based on a customer’s Renewal Date.
As always, please adjust to your needs.
Name: Add Prospect to Nurture Sequence
Event: “Opportunity Close Date”
Trigger Date Offset: Customize to your strategy
(For example, add the Prospect to Sequence 7 days after the Close Date to allow them time to change their minds. Or use the start of the renewals cycle.)
Target: Primary Prospect or Prospect Roles
Trigger only once per target: Unchecked
(We likely want the Ruleset to determine if a prospect can enter the Sequence again - see above Admin Setup section)
(Optional) Opportunity Type: Customize to your Setup
(If you have multiple types of Opportunity, make sure to specify the Trigger to only fire against the appropriate type - ie., “Renewal”, “New Logo”, “Expansion”, etc.)
(Optional) Account Condition: Customize to your Setup
(If you have multiple account segments or wish to target a certain type of account, complete this as needed - ie., exclude “Cancelled Customers”, etc.)
Trigger Actions: Add to Sequence
(As appropriate to the strategy)