Power user Hank Wells divulges three tips for follow-up sequences that close deals two weeks faster

Posted June 30, 2017

Chelsey feldman headshot

By Chelsey Feldman

Product Marketing at Outreach

Guest post by Hank Wells, Account Executive and Outreach Power User

We all know how sales demos work: you schedule a time to meet and every single stakeholder shows up on time and is one hundred percent prepared- hahahahahaha, just kidding. While we wish this scenario were accurate instead of hilariously ludicrous, there are a few key ways you can accelerate your deals significantly. The key is using the right mix of automation and customization in your email follow-up sequences to send the right message at the right time.

When used correctly, email follow up features become an intelligent email assistant for Account Executives, preventing any qualified sales leads from slipping through the cracks. In addition to keeping you in touch with your contacts, you can even accelerate the sales cycle and close up to 2 weeks faster.

We present to you: the art of the Account Executive follow-up sequence.

We sat down with Outreach AE and follow-up sequence power user, Hank Wells, to learn the top three ways he uses follow-up sequences, and how this feature changes the game not just for sales development reps, but also for AEs. The only sales platforms that matter these days are those that serve the entire sales cycle, from hunter to closer. After all, you can’t close without an open.

Follow-up email template 1: The Magic Meeting-Scheduler Sequence

Your contact agreed to meet, now it’s time to book a demo with them. “The hope is that you’ll get a response the first time, because somehow, magically, the time slot you suggested works for everyone involved,” said Hank. “Unfortunately this unicorn scenario is rarely the case. You have to reach out multiple times to get a ‘yes’.”

The perfect follow up:

Hank recommends creating a meeting scheduler sequence. “At this point, automation is the more appropriate choice,” Hank said. “There’s nothing strategic about putting a time on the calendar. Let the technology take care of this piece so you can start planning for the more personal interactions to come.”  

Using this approach, Hank has been able to see an outstanding 75% reply rate.  His sequence consists of six steps over 12 days, combining automatic follow-up emails with phone calls. Of those that reply, 84% reply by the fourth step. Boom! That’s what we’re talking about.

Here’s what Hank’s emails look like:

An illustrated graphic showing a follow-up email from Hank Wells. The email is displayed on a digital device screen with a light background. The email header includes Hank Wells' name and a timestamp. The email content is organized into sections, featuring a greeting, main message body, and closing remarks. Icons and visual elements such as checkmarks and bullet points are used to highlight key points, suggesting an organized and professional follow-up communication. The overall design emphasizes clarity and effectiveness in email follow-up.
follow up email template

Why it works:

The emails are short, and simple, no longer than three sentences. The first step always refers to the suggested time slots that were mentioned in the initial email. The goal is to let the contact know they haven’t been forgotten, and gently push them to respond with their availability. These work well because the emails are straight to the point and persistent, without being pushy. “Always put the focus back on what works best for the contact,” Hank said. “That’s the key.”

Follow-up email template 2: The Magic 8-Ball “Ask Again Later”

It happens - sometimes a contact thinks we’re the perfect sales engagement technology for their team, only to find out from those fun-killers over in accounting that they’re over budget this quarter. This doesn’t deter Hank, and it shouldn’t deter you.

The perfect follow up:

Hank recommends a follow-up sequence specifically designed for the contacts that tell him to reach back out in a few months. Our AEs have the best sales tools at their fingertips, so it comes as no surprise to us when we see this follow-up sequence has an impressive reply rate of 68%.

Similar to the scheduling sequence, there are only a few steps with a mix of automatic emails and phone calls, and the first step always references the last email received by the prospect:

follow up email template

Even better, when you combine our Chrome Extension, Outreach Everywhere, with Gmail, you can add your prospect to the sequence AND schedule the email for delivery at the date and time that’s most relevant to your contact’s request.

follow up email template

Why it works:

Hank knows that this works because most contact most likely won’t reach back out in a few months. It’s on the AE to take the initiative here, but it’s hard to remember the errands you need to run this weekend, let alone the emails you need to send in three months.

Hank said, “By scheduling a reply in the moment, you know this contact won’t slip through the cracks.” A personal message reopens the conversation, but Hank uses a sequence to make sure that message goes out at the perfect time. What takes this from good to great is that this sequence allows him to add a custom reply within the original conversation thread, giving his contact more context and reminding them how excited they were about his product in the first place.

Follow-up email template 3: Close the demo

Now that you’ve met and wowed your contact with your demo, it’s time to get together to talk contracts.

The perfect follow up:

These sequences require a bit more effort, with mostly manual email tasks to add some personalization about the discussion, and a summary of the business value. Hank also includes more phone call tasks, and each step is considered high priority, since this is when contacts most often go dark.

follow up email template

Why it works:

This strategic sequence helps Hank close the deal because, while the first two follow-up sequences are a little more automated, he created this critical set of emails to allow for hyper-personalization. Within Outreach sequences, Hank has the option to make his follow ups as automated or customized as he wants, depending on the situation and where he is in the sales cycle. Additionally, the ability to prioritize a sequence step ensures these late stage deals are top of mind and pushed through the pipe faster. Combining personalization with the automation of a sequence makes sure you never miss a touch point. This is a winning combo that helps Hank and the rest of our AEs crush their quotas.

At the end of the day, effective sales engagement depends on the solutions you have at your disposal. When you automate simple tasks like follow-ups while still maintaining the personal connection you’ve built, you will lose fewer deals by working smarter, not harder. With follow-up sequences and a few other tactics, you can close up to two weeks faster and keep ⅔ of your prospects engaged. What could you accomplish with two extra weeks in the month?


Read more

Discover the Sales Execution Platform
See how Outreach helps sellers close over 2 million opportunities every month.