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Sales Email Sequences, Templates, and Real-World Examples

Sales Training
Chris Orlob
October 5, 2023

Writing one-off cold emails might engage cold prospects here and there, but what about when a potential new customer actually shows some interest?

This requires a very different type of email—and often more than one.

This is where we start creating sales email sequences, one of the most important B2B sales skills you can master.

What Is a Sales Email Sequence?

A sales email sequence is a series of emails created to welcome and engage potential customers who have opted into something. When they’ve opted into receiving email content, it’s a clear sign that they are interested in your business or product, so it’s worth spending time creating a high-quality schedule of content. 

The end goal of a sales email sequence is to trigger an action:

  • Stay top of mind
  • Build trust
  • Offer a discount
  • Guide a prospect though a conversion path
  • Close a deal

Each of these desired actions calls for a different type of sales email sequence. 

Related Read: Cold Email Copywriting Best Practices for Sales Reps

5 Types of Email Sequences

1 - Engagement email sequences

Engagement email sequences are designed to do one thing: engage the recipient to the point of needing to reply and take an action.

Inside these, you might choose to embed blog posts, videos, webinars, or any content you deem relevant. Alternatively, and often more successfully, you can repurpose content or design new content specifically for email.

What works in one format may not work in this particular type of email.

The purpose of engagement email sequences is to demonstrate your authority and credibility in your domain. 

By sharing enough high-quality, concise content inside these, you lead up to the point of your recipient reaching out with genuine buying intent.

The first email in an engagement sequence contains three key items:

  • Clear introduction to who you are
  • Expectation of what is to come from these emails
  • A reason to stay subscribed (like a sneak peek into the next email)

The best engagement email sequences are those that are genuinely useful to the reader. Think about what makes them keep opening emails—what keeps them engaged.

2 - Nurturing email sequences

Nurture email sequences are those you use with existing customers or prospects. This could be the natural next step from a short welcome email sequence. I.e. The next step after welcome is nurture.

The goal of nurture email sequences is again to prompt the next step. In the example below, you can see someone has inquired about a DNA test but is yet to order their kit.

This is an example of a more direct nurture email, where the next step is beneficial to both the recipient and the sender.

You might also choose to send helpful resources (blog posts, PDFs, videos) to give your contact more information before they feel ready to make a purchase.

As the sequence gets longer, the resources naturally become lower in the sales funnel. By the end of your nurture sequence, your customer should have everything they need.

3 - Conversion email sequences

Conversion email sequences are designed to convert your prospect

These are emails that start off the back of results from your marketing team. Once a prospect declares their interest (by way of opting into emails), you commence a conversion email sequence.

As your sequence continues, you must introduce more reasons why the prospect needs your product or service.

As prospects open and engage with your emails, your goal is to describe the problem and paint a picture of their future better than they can.

By the time of the final email in your conversion sequence, your audience should have everything they need to take their first step to becoming a paying customer.

Pro tip: include a direct call to action to boost conversion. 

Simply ending the sequence with a final email is leaving dollars on the table.

Write a clear statement directing your prospect what they must do next. 

Try adding a button or linked text with copy like:

  • Start your free 14-day trial
  • Sign up to get started
  • Take action now
  • I’m interested
  • Book a call

4 - Demand generation email sequences

When you send a prospect a cold email, you have a limited window and a prospect who doesn’t know you and wasn’t expecting your email.

A demand generation email typically asks the question whether your prospect is interested in doing something that makes their life easier.

No beating around the bush. Do you have A? Then you’ll need B.

The trick here is that your product is going to be a catalyst for this better way of life. Knowing this, the role of the demand generation email sequence is to create a need for your product.

In reality, you’re going to relate the target audience’s issue they may need help with to how your product can help remedy that problem.

If you don’t get a response initially, these sequences can be short. Which is all the more reason to have a follow-up email sequence up your sleeve…

5 - Follow-up email sequences

A follow-up email sequence is used on the back of a sales outreach email to check on several things:

  • The recipient read your email (not just opened)
  • If you can provide more information
  • They’d like to opt out

While your contact may not respond to your first follow-up email, creating a sequence of follow-up emails gives you multiple chances of hearing back.

Each email you send must be different; not just “Did you receive my email?” 

The more creative you get, the more likely you are to get a response.

Creating Your Own Email Sequence Template

At each stage of the sales process, you must personalize each template. 

To begin with, take inspiration from some of these examples of effective email sequence templates:

Template Example 1:

Hi Josh,

Looks like you [insert personalized, relevant observation]

With your track record of unconventional growth, you know first-hand how difficult it is to [achieve X-goal without sacrificing Y].

It’s a lose-lose: You either [accomplish X goal with Y negative-effect], or [accomplish Y with X negative-effect.

We’ve helped [X customers] [achieve positive business outcome].

I think we can do the same for you. Up for a chat?

QuotaSignal Example

Subject: Decrease sales mishire rate to single digits

Hey Kevin, 

Looks like you’re hiring across the board in the rev org. Congrats.

As a serial VP Sales having grown Superman, Inc. by 765%, you know first-hand how difficult it is to hit aggressive headcount targets without sacrificing your high bar for AE talent.

It’s a lose-lose: You either hire fast, hit your targets, but let a few weak sellers sneak through. Or hire slow, bring on STRONG AEs, but miss your targets.

We’ve helped over 100 VPs of Sales in the Super Hero industry decrease their miss-rate on sales hires from ~30% to single digits.

Is eliminating sales mis-hiring for this fiscal year worth a chat?

BI Example

Subject: Beat Tableau

Hey Rachel, 

Looks like Domo and Tableau are in a fierce competitive battle.

Rachel, as a seasoned BI exec, you know first-hand that even though you might have a better product, you can’t rely on it alone to win competitive deals with Tableau.

Buyers will grind you down on price if your sales reps don’t have bullet-proof selling skills.

To beat Tableau, you know insanely great competitive deal skills. I think we can help.

Up for a chat about winning this horse race?

Case Study: Cold Email Examples That Booked 100 Meetings In 6 Months

Crafting Your Sales Email Sequence

There are four key things to address when you’re ready you write your first sales email sequence…

1 - Identifying Your Target Audience

The key to identifying your target audience is creating a buyer persona.

This could be a formal buyer persona document, where you plan meticulous details about your intended buyer’s life.

Or, in smaller businesses, it’s more efficient to understand the basics. Things like: 

  • Where they hang out online
  • What keeps them up at night
  • What their biggest project is
  • What happens if they don’t take action
  • What technology they use

Either way, the importance of understanding your target audience when creating email sequences can’t be understated.

Without knowing who you’re sending emails to, it’s a shot in the dark.

2 - Planning Your Sales Process

In any sales process, there should be a playbook for a series of emails that guide prospects through a sales funnel.

To the contact, this funnel is invisible. They receive more and more helpful information that eventually guides them to a point where they are informed enough to make a decision.

Behind the scenes, your sales email process might look like:

  • Welcome email
  • Asset templates
  • Nurture email campaigns
  • CRM integration
  • LinkedIn integration
  • Follow-up emails

At each stage, you’ll need specific assets, copy, and the next step in the sequence planned out.

The end goal of this process is to move potential customers from the point of initial email to the end of the sales funnel, where they make a purchase.

Want to learn six 'underground' sales techniques Gong used to grow $200k to $200M in five years?

👉 Get lifetime access here 🔥

3 - Writing & Sending Your First Email

The very first thing you’re going to work on is your email subject line.

Without a killer subject line, nobody is going to open your email. The rest of the email is redundant.

To find the perfect subject line, try out these techniques:

  • Start with the problem the customer has
  • Include the benefit of opening the email
  • Keep the subject line brief
  • Introduce emotion
  • Personalize with recipient name or company name
  • Use an AI automation tool like ChatGPT to suggest alternatives

Once your email has been opened, your body copy must do three things:

  1. Provide value
  2. Agitate the pain point
  3. Generate a reason to take the next step

If you’ve got your target audience right here, work on describing the problem better than your potential customer can. When you do this, you build trust and your contact sees immediate value.

All your good work is for nothing if you fail to include a strong CTA, however.

Your CTA is the door to the next part of the email sequence, the trial, or even the sale.

Using language like “Get the book” or “Download the report” is more powerful than offering the product. But it has to be the right time and the right audience.

In email marketing, when you have a strong CTA, you’ll soon realize cold emails open the door to a new revenue stream.

Create compelling CTAs using this framework:

  • Make your CTA time-based (create urgency)
  • Offer a benefit not a product (solve problems)
  • Talk directly to the reader (personalize)
  • Use emotional words (trigger action)
  • Add an offer (monetary incentive)
  • Give a direction (take next step)

Want free access to the exact, word-for-word email template I've used over 100,000 times?

👉 Download it free here 💰

4 - Planning the Follow-Up Sequence

When a potential customer fails to take action, you must plan for follow-up emails that take the next step. 

The planning element here is just as important as the emails themselves. Having them ready to send, instead of waiting for no reply then working out what to send, pays dividends.

There are several factors to think about when planning follow-up emails…

Timing and frequency

Bombarding contacts with lots of emails isn’t an effective strategy.

Instead, lean on your email marketing software to tell you an optimized time to send your follow-up email. They use their own data and algorithms to suggest the best time to send emails for specific time zones and contacts.

As for frequency, err on the side of caution here. If contacts haven’t opened or responded to your previous emails, that’s for a good reason. Sending more emails is rarely the best course of action.

Variety of email content

If your contacts have been opening emails in your sequence but not taking action, think about including different content types.

Instead of a text-only email, try mixing it up. You could add:

  • Images
  • Downloadable assets
  • Personalized videos
  • Product videos
  • GIFs

By adding different types of content to your sales email sequences, you appeal to people who are more likely to watch a video or study an image than ready lines of copy.

Narrative consistency

Think about the last message your contact received. How does the follow-up email relate to that?

Shock and awe is a great tactic when it comes to triggering responses. But you need to remain consistent.

Sending your third email in a sequence with a totally different subject line might get a click but is it counterintuitive to what your brand is trying to achieve.

Refer back to your buyer persona and value proposition each time you create a new follow-up email in your sequence.

Automating Your Sales Email Sequence

Creating sales email sequences at scale is impossible if you rely on manual processes.

Email Marketing Automation Basics

Email automation is when you let software do the menial, time-consuming tasks. 

This frees up time for you to dedicate to value-adding, human-only tasks. It also frees up other resources in your business and provides them with tons of data and information about your contacts and content.

Benefits of email automation for sales and marketing teams include:

Table of Benefits of email automation for sales and marketing teams include

Should You Buy Email Lists?

Only if you plan on using the data responsibly. Spamming your way into demo meetings is unlikely to happen given today’s hyper competitive environment. It’s no longer a pure volume game where whoever sends the highest number of emails wins. 

Optimizing Your Automated Email Sequences

So you’ve built your email sequences — now the next step is to optimize them.

Key Metrics for Optimization

Arguably the three most important metrics for optimizing your email sequences are:

  • Open rate: the % of subscribers who open your emails
  • Response rate: the % of subscribers who respond to your emails
  • Conversion rate: the % of subscribers who make a purchase from your emails

Open rate tells you more about your subject lines than it does your email content. If you’re doing a good job of writing openable subject lines, your open rate is a foot in the door of your customer’s inbox.

Response rate shows you that the content inside your emails is resonating. Or not.

If contacts respond positively, like asking for a demo, a trial, or for more information, you know your emails are working. 

If contacts respond negatively or unsubscribe, you learn about your email content and your target audience. If this happens more often than not, it’s time to revisit your buyer persona.

Stop losing deals to “No Decision” and increase first to second meeting conversions.

👉 Take the Killing The Maybe online course here 🤷

Conversion is the most important long-term metric when it comes to sales email sequences.

If nobody is taking action from your email sequences, it’s a clear sign something needs improvement.

That’s where A/B testing comes into its own.

A/B Testing Email Sequences

Here are five tests you can start on your email sequences without the need for any technical help.

When you have results from your A/B testing, focus on what drives the most opens, responses, and conversions, and apply them across your segments, leads, and paying customers.

Email marketing platforms for SaaS sales teams

The marketplace for email marketing platforms is overwhelming.

Here are some specific to SaaS sales:

Setting up Automated Email Workflows

Here’s how to set up automated email workflows:

  1. Prepare content (subject lines, body copy, CTA, asset templates)
  2. Plan a timeline for sending
  3. Add triggers to stop sending emails (e.g. a demo request)
  4. Add triggers to send the next email (e.g. opened but didn’t request a demo)
  5. Create A/B tests for content and timing
  6. Optimize from your learnings
  7. Analyze platform data to continue learning
  8. Apply information gained to other marketing and sales areas

When setting up your automated email workflows, think about the other channels your potential customers are also visiting.

Just because contacts are opening your emails, it doesn’t mean they’re not also following you on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.

Creating a consistent multichannel approach provides a message across all channels that is always reinforcing what you stand for and how you help solve customer problems.

Steal These Email Sequence Templates

Let’s make your life a little easier with the introduction of email sequence templates.

Importance of Email Templates

When you’re busy generating leads, running sales demos, and negotiating contracts, you need a way to create effective email sequences without sucking all the time out of your day.

But you can’t send the same email to every contact. And personalization and customization is the name of the game.

So you’re going to use email templates alongside your sales email copywriting skills to make this process more efficient.

Want access to three PROVEN cold email templates?

👉 Get instant access here

Master Your Sales Email Sequences Today

Sales email sequences are one of the most important weapons in your armory.

Without proper planning, and just firing out emails, you’re literally throwing sand into the wind. 

So, the next time you go to send an email, think about all the principles, templates, and sequence examples in this blog post.

Once you’ve set up your first sales email sequence, it’s crucial to embrace ongoing optimization and testing. 

Those who test have unique insights ahead of their sales competition. If you’re the most-informed salesperson in your sector, you have the highest chance of generating pipeline and closing deals.

In pclub’s latest course, you can break through the noise and generate predictable pipeline by mastering your sales email sequences.

Sign up for your next email training course here.

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