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Why email automation needs to be a part of your sales strategy

Sean Tinney

Email Marketing Guru

Automating sales emails header

Sales are all about communication. And the best salespeople know that consistency in communication is one of the most important factors in making a sale.

You (or your salespeople) are calling prospects, emailing them, and maybe even texting them. All in real-time. But this manual outreach can be time-consuming and exhausting.

Email automation is the key to consistently following up with potential customers, nurturing them, educating them, and still having time for what you do best.

In this post, we’ll give you a better understanding of what email automation is and how it can benefit your business, your sales team, and even your work-life balance!

What is email automation?

Email automation is a strategy that aims to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.

It involves writing emails in advance. Then, automatically sending those emails once a particular action occurs—like completing an information request form, after an outbound lead generation call, or downloading an ebook from your landing page.

You might set up automated emails for leads that just completed a form requesting more information. Once they submit their information, this triggers an automated email series that starts warming up the lead by sending relevant content on a regular cadence.

One of the best things about email automation is that it allows you to customize the messages you send.

Check out the following automated campaign from Gartner Digital Markets. This email gets triggered when website traffic to a company listing reaches a certain number:

Email automation example gartner

Email automation examples

There are three basic transactional emails that you may see frequently in your personal inbox:

  1. Abandoned cart email: If you ever shop online, you may add items to your shopping cart to check out, but leave before you complete your transaction. A few hours later you most likely receive a cart abandonment email reminding you that you have items in your cart.

  2. Welcome email: This type of automated email is sent when a new subscriber signs up for your email list. This is one of the best email marketing campaigns as welcome emails typically have the highest open rates of any email you'll ever send.

    According to Invesp, a welcome email can get 4x more opens and 5x more clicks than any other email you will ever send. Needless to say, a welcome email is essential in any automated series.

  3. Landing page view: If a potential lead visits a landing page you’ve deemed as an important part of the decision-making process, then send an automated email with additional information or an email with a Calendly link to set up a time to speak with a representative.

Benefits of email automation

If your company isn't already using email automation, now is the time to get started. Here are just a few of the key benefits of email automation:

Improves qualified lead flow

Your leads enter your sales funnel at very different stages. For example, new leads may be in the very early stages of their journey. They're simply looking for more information about a product or service you offer. Other leads, however, may be further along in the process. They may have an intent to purchase.

You wouldn't want to send the same email messages to each lead. By having an automated email series set up, you can send highly targeted content to your leads based on their location within the sales funnel. This improves your overall lead flow while boosting your sales potential.

Shortens the sales cycle

Nurtured leads close quicker than non-nurtured leads. Email automation can help nurture each potential new customer by sending timely and tailored email content, helping draw your lead through the sales funnel more quickly. And ultimately, delivering your sales team a more qualified prospect.

By adding videos and other relevant content to your emails, you can help shorten the sales cycle.

Convertflow email drip campaign

Works with your other tools

The right email marketing platform will also allow seamless integrations with your other marketing tools. You can integrate your email automation into your CRM or other communication platforms (such as Dialpad, AWeber, Shopify). From there, you can set up automation triggers to streamline your lead-nurturing process.

For example, you might set up triggered emails immediately after a sales call or video conference.

With Dialpad, you can set up Real Time Assist cards that are triggered when a certain keyword is mentioned during a sales call to help your team know exactly how to respond to leads:

Real time assist for calls

Once the call is completed, your email automation tool can immediately send an email thanking the client for their time and providing them with more information to complete the sale.

Gives your sales team high-quality leads

As the number of leads grows, your sales team's time becomes more valuable. Passing off leads that aren't ready to convert is a major time-waster. This, in turn, costs your business money.

Your automated email campaigns will continue to nurture leads at various stages in the decision-making process. Because your automated emails are doing the work for your sales team, they can spend more time converting those warm leads.

Improves lead scoring for better conversion rates

You can use how a prospect interacts with your automated email campaign to help gauge their interest level at various stages of the sales funnel. This information can then be used to assist in calculating your lead scoring.

So, depending on the content of the email, you can assign a higher score based on their interaction. You can increase a prospect’s lead score If they open and click a call to action in an email that closely aligns with purchase intent.

Here’s an example from ContentKing which was triggered once a prospect signed up to use the free version of their app:

Contentking email example

They’re using this email to drive leads to other resources. If that prospect attended the webinar or viewed the supporting resources, it would improve the lead scoring for that prospect.

Warms cold leads

A smart digital marketing strategy means respecting different customer journeys. Not all of your leads will be ready to convert at the same time. Still, it's important to keep these "lukewarm" leads engaged. You can do this by sending out carefully timed and curated emails.

The content of these emails should be informational, relevant, and engaging. The idea here is to keep your brand at the front of your reader's mind. This way, when they are ready to make a purchase, they'll think of your brand first.

QR Code Generator does a good job of sending an email at precisely the right time to try and create interest in their product before the trial period ends:

Qr code email notification

Establish trust

Trust plays an important role in the buying process. That's no secret. The more trust somebody feels in your brand, the more likely they will be to give you their business.

Your email automation workflow can help build trust with your prospects by sending custom-tailored content that addresses their pain points and provides them with valuable information.

Getting started with email marketing automation

There are five steps you should follow to begin automating your email campaigns:

1. Define your goals

To get the most out of your email automation, it helps to have a clear idea of what you want your emails to accomplish. Defining your goals will help you structure your email flow and content.

Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) when defining which SaaS metrics to measure.

2. Choose an email provider

Research email marketing providers and find one that will help you achieve your goals and which fits within your pricing structure. Look at review sites such as Capterra to help in the decision-making process.

Have an idea of the features that will not only help with email marketing automation but also streamline your overall strategy by integrating with your existing sales and marketing tools.

3. Build your email strategy

This step will take some time. Think about the various stages of your sales funnel and ask yourself:

What information will help move my prospect to the next stage?

We recommend keeping it simple in the beginning. Start by creating a series for three stages:

1 - Hot Leads

2 - Warm Leads

3 - Cold Leads

Now start thinking about the number of emails and the timing for each stage.

Again, keep it simple to start. But also keep in mind the stage a lead will be in. For example, the automated series for your hot leads may only need to be two to three emails with those emails being timed one day apart.

The warm leads may need a little more content, we recommend starting with a five email series, timed a couple of days apart.

Cold leads, by their very nature, will need to be catered to a little long. This group is not ready to make a purchase yet, so space the timing of your emails. If you send this group too many emails in a short period of time, you run the risk of turning them off from your brand. So start with one email a week for six to eight weeks.

Your automated series doesn’t need to be perfect at this stage. Keep it simple and start off by following email marketing best practices. The strategy you begin with will most likely change as you learn how your leads start engaging with each email.

Once your automated campaign is live you can start testing the timing of when prospects receive your emails, the content of each email, and the number of emails.

4. Start creating

Once you have the automated campaign flow built out, it’s time to start writing your email content, creating your email templates, tweaking subject lines, and building your automated email campaign in your email marketing provider.

Aweber email nuture creation

And always remember, using automation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to elevate your sales campaigns. By sending out more personalized emails to the right leads at the right time, your brand benefits in many ways, such as:

Email marketing best practices

When creating your automated series, it’s best to follow a few basic email marketing best practices:

Personalize your emails

Create a tailor-made experience for your recipients by personalizing your emails.

Personalization is more than adding their first name. It’s understanding your potential customers and catering the content to meet their needs. Use data such as lead magnets downloaded, landing pages visited, or conversations you’ve previously had, to create dynamic content within an email and make it feel like it was written just for them.

Allow leads to respond to your emails

Never use a no-reply email address when sending your emails. A no-reply email is often set up as “noreply@companyname.com”. These emails do not allow the recipient to reply to your emails. They do not allow for two-way communication and are considered bad practice.

Write emails with a purpose

Each email should be written with a specific goal in mind. That goal could be setting up a meeting, placing an order, or educating the reader. If you don’t have a reason for sending an email, then don’t.

Add social proof

Do you have testimonials from current or past clients? Do you have company ratings from Google or another third-party review site? If so, including this information in your emails can help build trust and confidence.

Start automating

If you're ready to maximize your email marketing ROI, it's time to start using automation. You don't need a lot of marketing experience to start automating your emails like a pro. All it takes is the right email marketing tool. For example, with tools from AWeber and Dialpad, you can start streamlining your communications today.

Look for features that will not only help with an email automation tool but streamline your overall marketing strategy by integrating with your existing sales and marketing tools.

Take Dialpad for a spin

Sign up for a 14-day free trial to get phone calls, video meetings, and instant + SMS/MMS messaging in one place. It takes just a few minutes to get started, and you'll be set up with a virtual phone number too!