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Video: Why Should You Use the Sequences Tool? (2:14)

In this video, you'll learn about the importance of following up with your contacts.

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy, and I’m going to teach you about HubSpot Sales Sequences. Why should you use Sequences?

Well, as you shepherd people through their journey toward becoming your customer, there will be intermediate destinations you want them to arrive at. Some of these are the milestones represented by your deal stages. Others might be important in getting sidetracked prospects back on course. Whatever the case, there are a variety of circumstances your leads might find themselves in, and it’s your job to help them keep moving forward.

But some people need a lot of help. Whether you’re making contact with a new lead, or following up with an opportunity that’s this close to closing, you’re going to find that even highly motivated people need some gentle encouragement from time to time.

Check out this statistic: 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting before they close. That’s a lot of following up. The trouble is, people are busy. And while it’s your full-time job to sell your products, it probably isn’t anybody’s full-time job to buy them.

So you’ve got to find ways to keep people on task--even if that means following up five times. But who’s got time for that? The answer is--nobody. Which is probably why 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. If you’re in that 44%, you’re losing a lot of sales.

But don’t worry--thanks to the magical world of modern technology, there’s a pretty painless way to fix this problem. And that’s Sequences.

A sequence is a series of email templates that get sent to a contact at set intervals. When you enroll a contact in a sequence, you personalize all of the steps in a single sitting. This way your contacts still get emails that have been personally tailored to meet their needs. And if the person responds, the sequence terminates and hands the conversation back over to you. This way, you’re in control when people are engaging with you, and you can offload the followups with people who are less engaged.

So using Sequences is kind of like having your own business development rep to help keep your leads moving. Then you can focus more on high-impact activities, like advising people who are ready to close.

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Quiz: Why Should You Use the Sequences Tool?

Take a quick quiz to test your knowledge.

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Video: How to Use Sequences to Motivate Your Contacts? (4:31)

In this video, you'll learn how to design a sequence to help your contacts keep progressing.

Let’s talk about how to use Sequences to motivate your contacts. There are actually two different things the word “sequence” can mean. In the general sense, a sequence is an outreach strategy designed to get a person to take a certain kind of action. In the context of HubSpot Sales, Sequences is a tool that automates emails and tasks. For now, let’s focus on the general sense--a strategy to encourage people to take a certain action.

As you work with your contacts, your main goal will be to help them find a solution to a problem they’re facing. As you do this, there will be smaller steps you want them to talk along the way. Think about your deal stages. For each stage, ask yourself--how do people get there? If you ask this questions about each deal stage, you’ll start to discover a list of steps you want every prospect to take. For each of those steps, you need a strategy to keep people moving forward--and that’s a sequence.

Here are five tips for creating an effective sequence:

First, start with a single, specific goal. What is it you want people to do? Maybe it’s scheduling a time to meet with you. Or it might be following through on a commitment they made previously. Whatever the case, pick a goal and make sure you focus just on that one goal. If you chase more than one objective, you’re just going to confuse people, and that’s kind of the opposite of what you want.

For example, if you’re first deal stage is Appointment Scheduled, and your second deal stage is Appointment Completed, you might start with the goal of helping your leads complete the appointments they schedule.

Once you have a goal in mind, identify common obstacles your contacts encounter on their way to that goal. Where do they get stuck? How do you help them get unstuck? Chances are, there’s more than one thing that can go awry during any given step of your sales process, but Sequences can help you combat each of problems as they arise. So ideally, you’ll have a sequence for each problem--or at least each kind of problem.

Going back to our previous example, when you’re helping people move from Appointment Scheduled to Appointment Completed, what bumps might they encounter along the way? Well, some people who schedule appointments don’t actually show up. So you might have a No Show sequence to follow up with those people and encourage them to reschedule. On the other hand, some people might show up to the appointment and then realize that there are other people from their organization who ought to be present. So you might have a Buy-In sequence to support them as they try to champion your solution internally.

Now that you’ve identified a goal and an obstacle to that goal, you’re ready to actually start designing your sequence. As you do, there’s one rule you must follow: Always be helping. You don’t want to sound like a kid in a car: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Nobody likes that kid. So in every step of your sequence, make sure you’re reaching out in a helpful, friendly sort of way. If you’re calling, be sensitive to the fact that you’re probably interrupting their day. If you’re sending an email, keep it short and to the point. And whenever possible, give people additional resources to help them achieve their goals--anything you can do to remove friction from the buyer’s journey.

As an aside, a key to helpfulness is personalization. Whether you’re sending an email or making a call, make sure you reference each person’s individual context. So if you are following up with a no-show, provide them with information you intended to cover during your meeting. If you’re helping someone get buy-in, provide them with talking points or shareable content that’s relevant to them and their organization.

Next, put some serious thought into the cadence. How much time do you want between the steps of your sequence? As you think about this, keep in mind that you’re trying to help people. So while it might be tempting to follow up with a person every single day, ask yourself whether that will encourage them to take action or just scare them away.

The final tip is related: know when to stop. In most cases, if you’ve followed up 5 or 6 times, it’s probably best to cut your losses and move on. But don’t just drop people--tell them you’re going to stop contacting them. In many cases, this will spur them to action, but at the very least it will keep them informed about the status of your relationship.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to create sequences that help your contacts overcome the obstacles they face. And if you use the HubSpot Sales Sequences tool, you can automate this whole process. Which means you’ll be able to provide all of this support and encouragement to your contacts without having to do any additional work.

Workbook

Worksheet: Design a Sequence

This worksheet will guide you through the process of designing an outreach strategy using the best practices covered in the previous video.

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Video: Sequences in Action (1:22)

See how Bob uses sequences to help his contacts keep moving forward.

Let’s take a look at how you might use Sequences to keep your contacts moving forward. For this example, we’ll use a fictional sales rep, Bob at Groundskeeper, Inc. Bob sells landscaping services to small property management companies. Because he works primarily with business owners, it’s pretty common for his contacts to get sidetracked by other projects. Bob uses Sequences to follow up with them and keep them on task.

Today Bob was supposed to have a call with Ricky at Prosperity, Inc. But the call was scheduled for 10:00, and it’s now 10:07. It’s looking like Ricky is a no-show.

But Bob doesn’t panic. He knows business owners are extremely busy people, so he’s developed a Sequence just for these sorts of occasions. He goes to Ricky’s contact record and enrolls him in the No Show sequence.

Bob’s No Show sequence is a series of three emails with the goal of getting people to reschedule the meetings they miss. If they don’t respond within a week, Bob gets a task reminding him to move any deal the contact is involved in to Closed Lost. As he enrolls Ricky in the sequence, Bob quickly customizes all four emails. He adds information about the topic of the meeting and the problems Bob was helping Ricky address. And now Bob can use this sequence, knowing that each email will be custom tailored to Ricky’s needs. He enrolls Ricky in the sequence, then lets the tool take care of the follow-up while he focuses on more pressing matters.

Way to go, Bob!

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Tool Walk-Through: Creating a Sequence (2:07)

A brief demonstration of how to create a sequence in HubSpot Sales.

To create a Sequence, select Sequences from the Sales Tools drop down and then click the Create Sequence button.

On the left side of the screen, you’ll see a list of steps you can add. These can be either email templates or tasks. To add steps to the sequence, drag and drop them onto the main part of the screen.

When you add an email template to a sequence, you can edit it by clicking on it. Keep in mind that the changes you make to the templates here will be reflected every time you use this sequence. So don’t make any changes that are unique to a particular person you plan to enroll in this sequence. Instead, think about the goal of the sequence, and modify the templates as needed to make them focus on that goal. When you’re done, click the “Save as new template” button if you’d like to save this as a new template, or click the “Overwrite original template” button if you’d like to update the original template.

When you add a task, you’re given a list of common tasks to choose from, or you can create a custom task. Tasks are a great way to add variety to your outreach, so if you want to include phone calls as part of this sequence, tasks are the way to do it.

You can also use tasks to remind yourself to take internal actions. For example, if there’s a property you need to update, such as Lead Status, a task can help you remember to do that.

Between each step of a sequence, there’s a delay to give your contact a chance to reply. You control how long this delay is. To do this, decide how much time you want to give, and then select the appropriate number of days or weeks. The next step of the sequence will then be triggered if your contact hasn’t responded within that time.

Once you’ve added all the steps you need, click the Save button and give the sequence a name.

This sequence is now ready to use.

As you enroll contacts in the sequence, they will be listed on this page. You can also see everyone who has completed the sequence. These are the people who made it all the way through the sequence without taking action, so you can use this list to figure out next steps for them.

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Tool Walk-Through: Enrolling Contacts in a Sequence (1:07)

A brief demonstration of how to enroll a contact in a sequence.

There are two main ways to enroll a contact in a sequence.

On individual contact records, click the Email tab and select Sequences. Here you can see a list of your sequences and select the one you want to use. Be sure to customize the emails in the sequence to tailor them to the contact’s situation.

You can also select what time you’d like each step to be executed. When you’re ready, click the Send button at the bottom of the screen to enroll this person in the sequence.

If you’re using the HubSpot Sales email extension, you can also enroll people in a sequence from inside your email. To do this, click the Sequences button and select the sequence you want to use, and then customize it the same way as you would inside the CRM.

Whenever a contact is enrolled in a Sequence, you’ll see this red bar on their record and the option to unenroll them.

The contact will automatically be unenrolled if they respond to the sequence or book a meeting with you using the Meetings tool.