When should you resume a sequence when a prospect returns from ooo?

Posted June 12, 2019

As we get closer to summer, I start thinking about warmer weather, playing shows with my band, and taking a vacation with my wife and 1 year-old daughter, Lucy. But I know that vacations are on my customers’ minds too, which has historically signaled the start of often-dreaded out-of-office (OOO) email season.

From Tedious to Time Back in My Day

OOO replies have always presented a challenge for reps, requiring a number of manual steps to pause the sequence and then remember to resume it again. Prior to Amplify OOO Reply Detection, when I received an OOO reply, I would have to go in to my CRM, update my task, and make a note of when they would return.

These workarounds cost precious time that I wanted to be using to support my customers, but I couldn’t afford to dismiss these emails since 88% of OOO replies have actionable information: return dates, referrals to other contacts, or even if my contact left the company. So, OOO replies were necessary tasks that I had to grin and bear.

But Amplify changed the game.

At Outreach, we get to test our products before they’re released, and when we got our hands on Amplify OOO, I was blown away. I no longer had to scan each OOO reply for info--Amplify extracted contact info and return dates for me, allowing me to pause and resume a sequence based off of the customer’s specific return dates, and make my sales feel even more personal.

When Should You Resume a Sequence?

With the ability to pause and resume a sequence off of a specific return date, we had the chance to finally answer to the age-old question, When should I resume a sequence after my prospect returns from being OOO?

Too soon and we risk getting lost in their deluge of emails waiting for them on their return, but wait too long and we risk the deal fizzling out.

Sweet Spot = Within 14 Days

After examining more than 384K emails, Outreach's Data Science team found that the longest we should wait was 14 days after the return date. If we resume the sequence within 14 days of the return date, we were 1.5x more likely to get a meeting than if we resumed a sequence after 14 days had passed.

If we resumed the sequence within 14 days of the return date, we were 1.5x more likely to get a meeting than if we resumed a sequence after 14 days had passed.

How Soon is Too Soon?

While we knew the opportunity’s expiration date, we still weren’t sure how soon to resume the sequence.

Our Data Science team found that there was no statistical difference in meeting rates if we resumed sequences anywhere between the day they returned and 7 days afterward.

For me, I like to wait at least two days before resuming the sequence. Why? This two-day buffer gives them time to re-acclimate, hit their stride, and dig out from their emails. I figure that if the stats are true and the average person receives 121 emails a day, I want mine arrive afterward so that it lands at the top of their inbox, and hopefully, on the top of their mind too.

I know it seems counterintuitive--How can a machine help me sell more personally?--but the feature acts exactly how I would act: a person who waits to resume a conversation after the individual returns, rather than a set of templates that send at certain intervals and ends up alienating my customers. Amplify’s OOO Return Date extraction has been a total game changer for me, automating OOO tasks so I can get back to building relationships with my customers.


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