Katie Douglas, Customer Success Manager
Katie's been a CSM at Outreach for the past three years, where she's worked with a variety of mid and large-size customers. Obsessed with helping customers succeed, her primary focus is to implement and drive sales engagement strategies. True to form, she is a Seattle native who loves anything outdoors and savors the sunshine!
Throughout my time at Outreach, I’ve witnessed my fair share of customers who struggle with their prospecting strategy. New customers are constantly seeking advice on how best to engage with prospects (e.g., call, email, LinkedIn interaction, etc.), what to say, and how often to reach out. No matter the size of the sales org, the challenges remain the same. Without a blueprint for their sequence strategy, keeping prospects engaged and hitting quotas is nearly impossible.
Enter in sequences - the foundation of a great prospecting strategy and the engine that should fuel your playbook. Sequences simplify engagement with net new prospects and existing customers ensuring your most important communications don’t slip through the cracks. With sequences being one of the most used features Outreach offers, I’m going to outline the three phases involved in sequence creation.
I’ll be presenting each phase as a stand-alone article, giving you some time to digest the information. Once you’re ready to jump to the next phase, click the link to the next article at the end of the current article. Oh, and be sure to keep an eye out for additional resources sprinkled throughout!
Ready to start building some kick a$$ sequences? Buckle in...
Scale is a word that's being used with increasing frequency these days. A phrase I hear often is "growth requires scalable processes." Creating a proper sequence structure allows you to personalize prospect engagement at scale while ensuring reps spend time focused on highly valued prospects. If you structure your sequences correctly from the beginning, reaching out to the right prospects, with the right message, at the right time, becomes a breeze.
I've broken out structuring your sequences into four key steps:
- Identify and Define Your Personas
- Design Your Blueprints
- Optimize Individual Sequence Steps
- Implement Governance
Let’s take a deeper look at each step.
Identify and Define Your Personas
A persona-based sequence approach will set the foundation for your sequence(s). When prospecting and connecting with current customers, your messaging and talk track will differ based on an individual's title and department within the account. For example, you would approach a VP of Sales much differently than a Sales Manager, right? This is because each role has a different set of challenges to overcome and problems they need to solve. Below is an example of which sequence approach to leverage when dealing with a specific persona.
Not sure who your buyer personas are? A good place to start is with your marketing team. Chances are high that your marketing team has already slotted these personas into cohorts to optimize marketing efforts. No luck with your marketing team or don’t have a marketing team? No worries! Another tip is to get a group of key stakeholders together to identify your buyer personas.
Need more help? Sign-up for our Content 2.0 university course, learn how to Configure Personas in our support portal, or read about How Outreach Uses Outreach to Sell Outreach in Outreach on Outreach!
Design Your Blueprints
The best way to jump start your sequence creation is to utilize one of the Outreach blueprints. These blueprints allow you to keep your sequences simple and follow a basic two-tiered, high-touch/low-touch, approach to outbound prospecting. Check out the image below for some general guidelines to follow when using these Outreach blueprints.
Want to take your sequences up a notch? Here are some pro tips from our very own Outreach Content Creator, David Plutschak.
Pro tips for creating a prospecting or first cold outreach sequence:
- Every sequence, with the exception of follow up and event-based sequences, should be a minimum of 8 touches spanning over a three week period.
- Create enough sequences to reach all target personas to allow for personalization at scale. This could be as simple as using the two-tiered approach outlined above or adding in a third-tier to reach more personas. For example, Outreach follows the 3-tiered approach below:
- Tier 1: Leadership Personas - This is a manual sequence, heavily focused on call steps. Reserve this tier for your highest priority prospects.
- Tier 2: Mid-Level Personas - This is a manual sequence with automatic reply steps and calls sprinkled in. Reserve this tier for your heavy influencers (those that have influence on the decision maker).
- Tier 3: Low-Level Personas - This is a 100% automated sequence. Reserve this tier for when you need to ask for a referral, who to best reach out to, or need to gain insight on company details/challenges.
Wondering what other sequences you can create? Learn about Outreach Workflows in our Ebook “It’s Not Who You Are, It’s What You Do: From Roles to Workflows” and browse our Outreach Workflows section in our support portal.
Optimize Individual Sequence Steps
The next step to think about are the types of steps you want to use throughout each tier. Should the first step be a call or an email? Should you follow up an email with a call? When should you have your reps complete a LinkedIn interaction? Questions on how to best engage with prospects through a multichannel approach is always at the top of our customers' minds. We’ve done an extensive amount of A/B testing and found the following to provide the best results.
- Start off strong with a one-two punch! Meaning, start your sequences off with multiple tasks together (e.g., have reps call and email on day one). After this initial punch, taper off slowly with more steps spread out over the course of the sequence. This method will help instill a sense of urgency to your prospects.
- Alternate your manual touchpoints. This way reps can complete a variety and varying amount of manual tasks, reducing monotony in their day-to-day.
- Use social touchpoints (e.g., LinkedIn interactions). Completing LinkedIn view tasks is so last year! Besides, if you’ve included call tasks, most reps will view the prospect's LinkedIn to prep before the call. Instead, have reps consume and interact with content a prospect has shared. For example, have them comment in the thread and follow up with a message the next day.
Want to learn more about writing emails? Sign up for our Content 2.0 university course and
Need help crafting your sequences? Check out our Galaxy partner - REGIE.
Want to incorporate more multichannel engagement? Learn more about which Galaxy Integrations can make this happen.
Alright, you’ve defined your buyer personas, designed your blueprints to target the personas, and optimized all the individual steps. You’re good to go, right? Not so fast...
The last step, but perhaps most crucial to structuring your sequence, is implementing proper governance around who can create and edit your content. We strongly suggest limiting the ability to create and edit content to a few team members or groups who’ve been trained and vetted. This ensures your content is high quality, meets your brand guidelines, and supports your sequence strategy.
Keep in mind: limiting content creation to a select group will enable you to compare sequences against one another and create meaningful benchmarks. This allows you to truly see what methods and messaging are driving your results, and iterate based on your data-driven findings. Without controlling content creation, this task becomes very difficult. Remember, it’s always easier to give permissions than take permissions away. Over time you may want to consider introducing content creation to a select group of reps (e.g., senior reps or a content committee).
Phew...that was a lot. But congrats, you made it through part 1! On to part 2, maintaining your sequences.