Building outbound sequences that convert (Part 2)

Building outbound sequences that convert to pipeline takes a lot of planning, work, and testing. So much so we couldn't cover everything in just one event! This past July, we chatted with sales development experts and AEs to share their knowledge of building sequences, creating eye-catching subject lines, personalizing messaging, and writing the best CTAs. This time, we will dive deeper into all of the fantastic questions we had from our attendees and cover some new topics that we didn't have time for.

Jack Doheny

Account Executive, Full Cycle, Inveterate

Nate Robbins

Director of Sales Development, Gong

Joe Calabrese

Enterprise Sales Development Manager, LeanData

Joerg Koehler

VP of Marketing, LeadIQ

Watch on-demand

This webinar will teach you:

  • How to manage domain reputation and develop an inbox warmup strategy to improve email deliverability

  • Metrics for success: What you should be tracking to improve

  • Best practices for segmenting sequences based on persona, touchpoints, or sales triggers for targeted outreach

Table of Contents

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SaaS sales teams need to do everything within their power to capture the attention of prospects and keep them engaged. 

Yet in an era where workers are flooded with emails, it can be difficult to ensure outbound sequences do what they’re supposed to do: get recipients to engage and take the desired action.

To help sales reps increase the effectiveness of their outbound sequences, our VP of Marketing Joerg Koehler recently hosted the second part in a webinar series called Outbound sequences that convert (read a recap of the first part!) which featured:

In this post, we examine some of the top takeaways from the webinar to give you a better idea of some tips and tricks you can implement to increase conversions from your outbound efforts.

Don’t forget to warm up your email address

When you’re ready to launch a new campaign, you might be chomping at the bit to start building pipeline and bringing new opportunities to the table. That’s totally understandable.

But if you’re using a new email domain to send outbound messages, it’s critical to warm it up before firing off tons of prospecting emails. 

“If you really take a heavy outbound approach with an email address that has not been warmed up, you can run into domain credibility issues and actually have that email domain be sent to spam more often than not,” Jack explains.

Warming up an inbox is easy. All you need to do is send emails that aren’t sales-oriented to prospects strategically. Such messages might include introductions and links to helpful content. The goal here is simple: demonstrating to email service providers like Gmail and Outlook that your emails are legitimate. 

Once your inbox is warmed up, you can begin sending sales-focused messages.

While it’s already important to warm up your inbox, it will become even more important in a few months due to changing regulations coming to Gmail.

“If you’re getting tracked for spam already, it’s going to be a lot worse for you come Feb. 1, 2024,” Nate says. “You’ll only have a 0.3% spam tolerance starting then. So, if you’re getting kicked to spam a lot, it’s going to kill you really fast.” 

Optimize your signature with links — but not too many

When it comes to outbound sequences, every part of each message is a prime piece of real estate. That being the case, don’t overlook your email signature, which is the perfect spot to include a link to your calendar, making it as easy as possible for prospects to book meetings with you.

“I’ve always been a big fan of having my calendar link in my signature,” Joe says. “Sometimes when you’re writing a personalized email and doing a lot of heavy research, you structure your call to action in a way that piques some interest. It’s always good to have a way in that email for the prospect to book time.” 

While adding a calendar link to each message can be beneficial, Jack cautions sales folk against putting too many links in their outbound sequences, which could trigger spam filters.

“You have about three slots to put any type of extra content besides text — that could be something like a photo, a video that has a GIF image, and a hyperlink to a case study or something like that,” he explains. “I would encourage most people to reduce the volume of external content to three or less. If you’re including a link to your calendar in your signature, that’s taking up one of those slots.” 

While Nate also recommends including a booking link in emails, you might want to avoid it in the first message in your sequence.

“If you’re going outbound and sending them a link, it’s very unlikely they’re going to click on the first email,” Nate says. “You’re trying to get a response to that email. So, in the first email, I wouldn’t necessarily have a booking link unless you’re following up on a lead or someone else has shown interest before.” 

Test & iterate — but be patient

Every sales rep wants to accelerate pipeline and close more deals quickly. Unfortunately, getting new opportunities takes time, and you need to understand that.

The best sales reps are patient and use their own data to continuously improve their outbound sequences. While you might be tempted to search “what is a good open rate” on Google, you are best off focusing on your own sequences, getting data from them, and using that data to improve your messaging and cadence.

“Start getting some data points and just try to improve,” Jack says. “Benchmark yourself on the results that you’re getting and work on improving those. If you only have a 10% open rate, focus on trying to get to 12, to 15, and to 20 from there.”

Nate is a big proponent of A/B testing, but he advises sales teams to not overdo it.

“It’s important you only pick one variable to A/B test at a time,” he explains. “Get 250 people through it, pick the winner, and then pick another thing to iterate on” and repeat the process.

Understand which metrics matter most

The way Nate sees it, open rates are not as important as they used to be.

“Click-through rate and reply rate are really where it’s at,” he continues. “Spam bots are just way smarter than they used to be. They open emails, sometimes multiple times, which throws off the whole way you’re calculating. If you’re sending a couple of the same emails to the same company, they all get opened. That’s going to make your sequence look increasingly better, and maybe it’s not.” 

Plus, open rates don’t tell the whole story. 

If you have high open rates but low reply rates, it could indicate your subject line is solid but your messaging isn’t compelling enough to elicit a response, Nate says.

Seek out out-of-office replies

You might think that the last thing you’d want is for an email to bounce back with an OOO response, but you’d be wrong.

“Oftentimes, in and out-of-office reply, included in that prospect’s email signature is their direct mobile phone number,” Jack says. “So keep an eye out for those OOO emails because those are great to utilize for calling the prospect or even texting them.”

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Joe suggests trying this tactic.

“If you’ve got some prospects that you’ve been dying to try and get in front of, you might want to schedule some emails to be sent around Thanksgiving to see if you can scrape their mobile numbers,” he explains.

Optimize your outbound sequences today! 

As you can see, there’s no shortage of tactics you can use to iterate on your sequences and get incrementally better results over time.

While this post gives you a good overview of some of the tidbits our panel of experts shared in our webinar, the event was packed with tons of hidden gems we didn’t cover here.

To learn more insights into how to get better results from your outbound sequences, check out the full webinar above.