Building a sales sequence is a powerful way to generate new leads. Once you have a predictable sales system, you can repeat the process and scale it up.

However, getting started can be tricky. You’ll need to choose the right sales channels, find the best tools for your needs, and figure out who to target.

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about building a sales sequence, so you can start building one that works for your business.

  1. What is a Sales Sequence?

  2. Benefits Of Organizing Your Outreach with Sales Sequences

  3. 3 Channels to Use In Your Sales Sequence

  4. Actionable Steps to Building a Sales Sequence in QuickMail

  5. 4 Best Practices for Creating High-Performing Sales Sequences

Let’s jump straight in.

What is a Sales Sequence?

A sales sequence is a series of emails, cold calls, or other outreach messages that you send to a sales prospect in order to start a conversation with them.

By building a sales sequence with multiple steps, you keep your sales outreach organized and give yourself the best chance of getting a response, compared to sending a one-off message hoping to catch a prospect's attention.

Benefits Of Organizing Your Outreach with Sales Sequences

1. 55% of Replies Come from a Follow-Up

We analyzed data from over 65 million emails sent using QuickMail.

It showed that 55% of replies to cold email campaigns came from a follow-up step in the sequence.

The data is clear – if you add follow-up steps to a sequence, you’ll get more replies, book more calls, and have more qualified leads in your pipeline.

 2. Add Extra Value Propositions to a Pitch

Having extra steps in your sales sequence means you can test new value propositions to see what’s most compelling to your sales prospects.

For example, you could mention the ROI of your service in your first cold email. 

In the second step of your sales sequence, you could bring up the time-saving benefits.

You could then reach out with a cold call and connect on a personal level with them.

As well as switching your value propositions, you can experiment with different subject lines and call-to-actions to stand out and get a reply.

Over time, you’ll gather useful data from your sales sequences that you can use to improve how you position your company and improve your interactions with prospects.

3. Lets You Test Different Outreach Channels

A sales sequence allows you to test different channels and identify the best places to connect with your prospects and future customers.

You might find that you’re only getting a 10% positive response rate on your cold calls and LinkedIn messages but are consistently hitting a 15% positive response rate in your cold email campaigns.

You can then alter your sequences to include more cold emails instead of LinkedIn outreach messages in order to get the best results.

Once you know the channels that work best, you can double down on those and get the best possible results from your sales sequences.

To help you find the best channels for you, we’ll look at some of our favorite outreach channels in the next section.

3 Channels to Use In Your Sales Sequence

Depending on your customer, you’ll have the best results with outreach on different channels.

However, here are the three main channels we’d recommend using in a sales sequence:

  • Cold email: Even the busiest CEOs, founders, and decision-makers check their inboxes at multiple times throughout the day. A personalized cold email can be a powerful way to get noticed and get a reply.

  • LinkedIn outreach: LinkedIn outreach can be highly effective. If your prospect is already using the platform and you send a message, there’s a strong chance they’ll notice it. You also have the benefit of social proof: a well-optimized LinkedIn profile will stand out and show them you’re trustworthy from the get-go.

  • Cold calling: Cold calling works best in industries where you know your prospect is likely to be in the office. If you can connect with someone over a call, it’s an excellent way to build trust with them and set up a meeting.

If your sales sequence is multi-channel and you use all of the channels you know your prospects spend time on, there’s a strong chance you’ll get a reply if your message is personalized to each prospect.

Next, let’s look at how to create a sales sequence – we’ll show you the exact steps you can follow to create one.

7 Actionable Steps to Building a Sales Sequence in QuickMail

1. Equip Yourself with the Right Tools

You can't send multi-channel sales sequences without the right tools in place.

  • Prospecting tools: Tools like UpLead and BuiltWith can help you identify qualified prospects to reach out to. They’ll also show you the email addresses of the people you’re planning to contact. They won’t always be accurate, but they’ll be the most up-to-date ones the tools can find or predict.

  • Email verification platform: Before sending an email campaign, you need to verify the email addresses. Prospecting tools can get emails wrong, but email verification tools like NeverBounce and ZeroBounce can verify if an email address is real with over 99% accuracy.

  • Sales engagement platform: A sales engagement platform like QuickMail enables you to reach out to prospects at scale. You can send personalized cold emails, make cold calls, and create tasks for your team, such as reaching out to someone on LinkedIn.

  • CRM: When your prospects reply, you need to track and nurture them through your sales process. When someone replies to your sales sequence, you can add them to your CRM and log all of their details and the conversation history you have in their records. It’ll act as your sales team’s source of truth. Good options include Pipedrive and HubSpot CRM.

Most good sales tools offer a free trial, so you can test a couple of options to find the best one for your business.

2. Warm Up Your Inbox to Improve Deliverability

Before sending any sales emails to cold prospects, you need to warm up your inbox. This process will show ESPs like Gmail and Outlook that you’re a trustworthy sender, as they’ll see the engagement in your inbox.

The easiest way to do this is by using an email warm-up tool. QuickMail offers native integration with MailFlow's free email warmup tool for its users. 

Once you connect your inbox, you can set the number of emails you want it to send per day. MailFlow's Auto Warmer will then automate the email-sending process and generate replies to your emails from other real inboxes in our network.

Over time, this will ensure you have reliable email deliverability and that your sales emails always land in the primary inbox.

We recommend leaving the MailFlow Auto Warmer running for around two weeks before sending a sales sequence, and checking your Auto Warmer report – if you see the majority of your emails landing in the primary inbox, you know it’s safe to start sending your sales emails.

3. Formatting Your Prospect List Correctly and Import It Into QuickMail

The next step in your process will be formatting your prospect list.

This is important because when you import your prospects into tools like QuickMail, you’ll use the different information in your spreadsheet columns to personalize your outreach emails.

To speed this process up, use our free prospect list template to get started.

As well as having these columns, it’s also a good idea to add an ‘Opening Line’ column.

Here, you’ll add a fully unique opening line that you’ll include in the first cold email of your sales sequence. As soon as your prospect reads it, they’ll know you didn’t send this email template to anyone else.

For example, an opening line could be:

  • “Just read your blog post on sales enablement - will test some of those this month.”

  • “Saw you just secured a new round of funding, looking forward to seeing what you do with it!”

  • “Loved the podcast snippet you shared on LinkedIn yesterday about [topic], sent it straight to my team in Slack”. 

When you import your prospect list into QuickMail, you just need to make sure the attributes are correctly mapped from your spreadsheet.

When you’re writing your email templates, you can add these unique snippets of information on each prospect using attributes.

Your email template will be automatically populated using the attributes, so each email will be personalized.

It’s an excellent way to send your emails in bulk without compromising on personalization.

4. Creating Your Sales Sequence Steps in QuickMail

Next, it’s time to create your sales sequence steps.

In QuickMail, head to your Campaign tab and create a new campaign.

Next, you’ll add the steps you want to include in your sequence. In this example, we can start off with an email.

You can write out your email template – including any attributes you’ll want to include from your prospect list spreadsheet. 

Each email will be personalized to your prospects and your emails will instantly show that you’ve done your research into them.

Once your email is done, save it and move on to the next step. 

5. Add Your Follow-Up Steps to the Sequence

As we mentioned above, following up is key to getting replies.

In QuickMail, you can add as many follow-ups as you need to your sales sequence, both with emails and extra steps.

For example, we can add a Cold Call step. In this step, you can add a cold call script or notes on your prospect. When it gets to the step in your campaign, you or your team will already know what to say, making the process simple. 

QuickMail also integrates with Aircall so you can make calls directly from your campaign dashboard. If you make notes on a prospect, it will sync straight back to your Aircall account.

You can also create steps in your sequence for:

  • SMS

  • Tasks, like sending a message on LinkedIn

  • Send Slack messages

The result will be a multi-channel sales sequence that’s personalized to every prospect in your list.

6. Bring Your Team to Manage Your Sales Sequence

To get the best results, you’ll want to involve your team in your sales process. QuickMail lets you add as many team members as you need to your account without charging you for every new person added to the platform.

You only need to pay for new inboxes you send campaigns from.

As you’re sending campaigns, you can also use QuickMail’s inbox rotation to automatically send emails from multiple inboxes at once.

By spreading your sending volume across team members’ inboxes, you’ll ensure you never have deliverability problems and no one person is ever responsible for managing hundreds of replies per week.

7. Tracking Your Replies

Once your sales sequence has started, it’s time to measure performance.

The easiest way to do this is QuickMail’s built-in cold email metric tracking.

As your sales sequence starts generating opens, clicks, and replies, you can track these in your campaign dashboard.

On average, you can expect to see a reply rate of 10-20%.

Our data shows that the best 25% of sequences see a 20% response rate or more.

As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that we recommend avoiding open and click tracking, particularly in the first email of your sales sequence.

Open and click tracking adds tracking links to your email, which means it’s more likely that ESPs will view your email to a cold prospect as suspicious.

By tracking your metrics, you’ll be able to tell what’s working and what’s not based on real data.

4 Best Practices for Creating High-Performing Sales Sequences

1. Build a Highly Qualified Prospect List

The better targeted your prospect list is, the more replies you’ll get to your sales sequence.

It’s always worth spending more time than you think you should on this part of the process.

Even if you end up reaching out to fewer, but more qualified prospects, you’ll see the benefits in your response rates.

If a prospect can instantly see that they’ll be a good fit for your product or service, they’ll be happy to start a conversation with you over email or have a short call about how you can help them.

2. Verify Your Prospect Email Addresses

Email deliverability can make or break your sales campaigns.

If even 10% of your emails land in the spam folder, a significant number of prospects will never even know you reached out to them. 

Before starting a campaign, always verify your prospect’s email addresses. You can do this on a platform like NeverBounce, or directly inside QuickMail if you already have an account on an email verification platform.

As well as verifying your emails, always keep the MailFlow Auto Warmer running in the background to maximize your chances of landing in the primary inbox.

3. Use Personalization in Each Step

In the past, you could get away with basic personalization like {{prospect.first_name}}. Today, that’s table stakes, so you need to go deeper with the personalization in your sales outreach.

One way to do it is with the cold email opening line that we looked at above. Another way would be to leave a custom P.S. note at the end of your email template.

If you’re making cold calls, make sure to start with an icebreaker showing that you’re already familiar with their business and it’s not an out-of-the-blue call.

Your prospects need to see that you haven’t sent this email template to hundreds of other people, and instead, you’ve put time into researching their business and unique pain points, which is why you’re reaching out.

4. Start Slow, and Scale When You See Results

Once you have automation tools like QuickMail in place, it’s easy to scale up your sales outreach volume.

But, you’ll see the best results if you start slow.

Once you figure out:

  • Which value propositions your prospects care about most

  • Which cold email template delivers the best reply rate

  • Which channels are most effective for your business

Then, you can start increasing your sending volume, knowing that you’ll get a great response rate.

Even though this method is slower than reaching out to your entire prospect list in one go, it’ll stop you from burning through a list before you’ve fully understood what works.

5. Use Zapier to Automate Manual Tasks

Staying organized becomes critical as you start getting replies to your campaigns and scaling up the sending volume.

If you miss a reply from a prospect or don’t follow up on time, that could mean losing out on a new customer.

The easiest way to automate manual tasks is with an automation tool like Zapier.

It’s a no-code tool that lets you connect your sales tools together. For example, you can quickly build automated workflows such as:

  • When a prospect replies in QuickMail, a new record in your CRM is created

  • When a new campaign starts, notify your team in a designated Slack channel

You and your team can run your sales process and know all of the manual tasks are running in the background. Whenever you check your QuickMail account, your CRM, or any other tool in your stack, it will be up to date with the latest information pulled straight from your sales sequences.

In Summary

Building a sales sequence gives you a predictable way to grow the number of leads in your pipeline.

If you can find prospects that are a perfect fit for your business and reach out with a personalized message, it won’t be long before you start seeing replies.

Once you have a process that works, you can start to scale up your outreach volume and bring in automation to help you hit your sales targets.

When you’re ready to start sending your sales sequences on autopilot, you can use QuickMail to manage the process. Start your 14-day free trial today.