Sequencing: How To Automate Business Development Outreach

July 7, 2024

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

“Sorry, I know you’ve been trying to get a hold of me. I’ve just been busy,” he told me.

“No worries! I’m excited that we finally got something on the calendar for you. I’ll talk to you on Thursday,” I said.

“Sounds good. Thanks again for following up.”

We both hang up.

This was the end of a phone call with a prospect that I had been chasing for months.

Emails.
Voicemails.
Phone calls.
LinkedIn messages.

Then one day, he finally picked up his phone. And it turned out that he was really struggling. Their team of about 10 architects had been using a whiteboard for years to manage projects and (unsurprisingly) it had become unsustainable. So we booked some time to talk about a solution.

They’re a happy Monograph customer to this day.

But what I haven’t told you is how many touchpoints it took for me to book a meeting.

Like I said, I was chasing them for months.

It ultimately took 26 touchpoints before I booked a meeting with them.
26 attempts via calls, emails, voicemails, and messages.
26 seemingly empty responses until I finally got through.

It’s the most times I’ve ever had to attempt to reach a prospect before successfully booking a meeting.

Get this: On average, it takes 8 touchpoints to get an initial meeting with a new prospective client.

If you’re a top-performing salesperson, it still takes 5 touchpoints, on average.

In the past, I’ve shared growth hacks for cold calls, cold emails, and warm emails.

But I’ve been less clear about the amount of those that are required to successfully create an opportunity with a prospective client and book a discovery meeting.

Suffice it to say that it’s more than one.

What you need is a sequence.

What is a sequence?

A sequence is a series of planned, sometimes even automated, steps you take to get in touch with potential clients. These steps, called touchpoints, can be emails, phone calls, LinkedIn messages, or social media interactions.

Sequences are useful for both warm and cold prospects:

  • Warm Prospects: These are people who have already shown some interest in your services, like by downloading a lead magnet or chatting with you at a networking event.

  • Cold Prospects: These are people who don’t know you yet but could benefit from your services.

Be sure that you’re using a lead pipeline to manage both types of prospects.

Why is sequencing important for architects?

I ran my own architecture design studio for 2.5 years but truly had no idea how many touches it took to book a meeting until I was in a formal sales role.

If you’d asked me before, I would’ve guessed one or two.

But 8? No way. Yet, that's the reality.

It takes more work than you think, and that’s not a bad thing. Why?

Because now that you know, you have a leg up on your competitors that might only be putting in one or two attempts. You can build a healthy pipeline and set realistic expectations.

Sequencing allows you (or your business development team) to focus on action without overthinking. It enables you to book more meetings and build your pipeline simply by identifying potential clients and sticking to a plan.

How to implement a sequence

Here’s how you can set up an effective sequence to book more meetings:

01 // Manage outreach and tasks with a CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system helps you keep track of your contacts and automate the outreach process. They will help to save you a tremendous amount of time by automating business development tasks and allowing you to focus on higher-value activities.

Here are some popular options:

  • HubSpot: Easy to use and great for small to medium-sized firms. It offers tools for email marketing, sales automation, and contact management. It’s my personal favorite and the CRM that I recommend most often because I think it’s the easiest to use.

  • Salesforce: Powerful and customizable, ideal for larger firms. It offers comprehensive tools for sales, customer service, and marketing. I would highly recommend having an operations manager in place if you want to implement Salesforce.

  • Zoho CRM: Affordable and versatile, suitable for businesses of all sizes. It offers a wide range of features including email marketing, sales automation, and analytics.

  • Pipedrive: Simple and visually intuitive, good for smaller teams. It focuses on sales pipeline management and automation.

02 // Identify your channels

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Everyone prefers a different mode of communication so it’s best to diversify. Use a mix of channels to reach out to your prospects.

Here’s the value of each:

  • Email: Great for detailed information and follow-ups. You can share case studies, useful resources, and introduce yourself.

  • Phone Calls: Personal and direct. It’s a good way to build a connection and answer questions in real-time. In my experience, it’s also the most effective way to book meetings by a factor of at least 10.

  • LinkedIn Messages: Perfect for professional networking. You can connect, share content, and engage in conversations a bit more casually. It’s a great way to get on someone’s radar and show them that you’re paying attention.

03 // Build your sequence

Mix and match each step to keep your prospects engaged. Depending on your ideal client profile, you likely want a 10-20 step sequence that spans anywhere from 30-45 days.

Here’s an example of a 30-day, 11-step sequence:

  • Day 1: Email 1 – Send a proper cold email or warm email. Mention a specific problem they might be facing and offer to discuss a solution.

  • Day 2: LinkedIn Connection Request – Send a personalized connection request OR don’t include any specific message with your request (it will have a higher chance of being accepted).

  • Day 3: Phone Call 1 – Use the cold call script if they pick up. Leave a voicemail if they don’t answer, referencing your email.

  • Day 7: LinkedIn Message 1 – Follow up on your connection request with a short message providing value.

  • Day 10: Email 2 – Share a case study or success story that’s relevant to their current situation. Mention you could help them do the same.

  • Day 12: Phone Call 2 – Another call attempt, referencing the case study or success story.

  • Day 15: LinkedIn Message 2 – Provide a helpful article or resource from your website or social media channel.

  • Day 18: Email 3 – A short follow-up. “Any thoughts?” or “Curious if you’ve seen my messages?”. The shorter the message, the higher the reply rates.

  • Day 21: Phone Call 3 – Another follow-up call to check in.

  • Day 25: LinkedIn Message 3 – Send a message highlighting a recent achievement or project.

  • Day 30: Email 4 – A final follow-up offering value and asking them if you should stop reaching out.

Now, remember, your CRM will manage and automate these steps. All you (or your business development team) have to do is set time aside each day or week to execute the tasks.

Each step should provide value, whether it’s advice, a compliment, or useful information. The goal is to warm up your prospects and get them comfortable enough to engage with you.

TL;DR

Sequences are an essential part of modern sales strategy, especially for architects. They allow you to systematically engage with potential clients and significantly increase your chances of booking meetings and building a healthy pipeline.

  1. Manage outreach and tasks with a CRM

  2. Identify channels that you want to utilize

  3. Build a 30-45 day sequence

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