Do you know what's probably the ultimate email outreach superpower?
Workflow automation. The ability to do things quickly and deliver highly targeted outreach campaigns.
Any growth marketer with solid experience will tell you they've started with a "get it done" attitude. No matter the challenge or a problem, our job is to figure it out.
Luckily, we also grow over time. We start understanding the value of having a process. We learn that by automating repetitive tasks, we bring the organization on a whole other level.
One such example comes when you unify CRM data and your outreach campaigns to better manage sales activities. For me, that's a beautiful relationship between Pipedrive and lemlist. 🔥
The article in front of you will show you how powerful workflow automation can be. And these are just the tip of the iceberg on what's possible.
They will help you put launch some serious sales email sequences and crush it.
Here's a quick overview...
Why CRM workflow automation makes sense - a quick little rant 🐺
I'm one of those people who believe in a "Tango and Cash" relationship between marketing and sales. Always used American football to describe it. There's defense and there's offense... and both wear the same jersey.
For over 2.5 years, I used to work for a company that was dominated by Sales. Marketing was very narrow, with 75% of work consisting of providing support to Sales.
It was there where I had a chance to test CRMs like SalesForce and Zoho, and use them for periodic email campaigns.
Nevertheless, all those tests helped accomplish one thing. I become an even more obsessed Google Suite user.
CRMs were just not my thing. Too complex, too enterprise looking. Being in lean and mean marketing crews all my life, I wanted something simpler. Respect for SalesForce though, it's the ultimate tool, if you know how to use it.
Plus, the LESS tools I use, the better I feel. It's my opinion that a lot of entrepreneurs lose themselves by allowing a tool overload and thus make their teams insanely slow. As if you put a heavy armor on a ninja. Makes no sense.
Now, you may ask, why would somebody like me talk about CRMs and workflow automation tools?
Since joining lemlist, I've invested quite a bit of time to understand how different users of ours operate. CRMs represent a big part of their process. It was obvious I needed to put myself into their shoes.
It didn't take long for me to discover automated workflows.
There’s an INSANE number of options to marry any CRM with email sequences. If you haven’t done this yet, you're making a big mistake.
To explain everything, let’s imagine the following scenario.
Let’s say I just moved to Valencia (because why not 🤤) and started to work as VP of Sales for company X that sells product Y. Since lemlist is my favorite cold email tool, it's an easy pick.
Although many of my colleagues prefer HubSpot, I’ve learned there’s a native integration between lemlist and Pipedrive, so I go with this CRM instead.
Need more info about this CRM? Here's the complete Pipedrive guide.
Wanna know your CRM alternatives? G2's CRM resources can help.
Now, allow me to show you all the ways I’ll be using these tools.
Keep in mind that you can leverage all of the mentioned workflows in other cool ways as well.
Let’s crack on.
How to set up a proper sales funnel
When creating a funnel, there a few things we want to pay attention to:
- Don't overthink your pipeline, make every stage meaningful
- Divide your customers across tiers to prioritize resources
- Listen to feedback from your team and get everyone on the same page
- Analyze and spot weaknesses early on
Keep your pipeline meaningful
Pipeline stages should be designed so they make sense for your business. There's no reason to copy blindly from other companies just because they had success with it. Trust your process.
I might decide to organize our pipeline like this.
Five steps in total. Here's the mindset behind them.
Target. Since the team will be receiving leads from different channels, I wanna have all prospects in one place. Potential future usage can be to send generic email campaigns + broadcasts. You never know...
Qualified. There's gonna be a dedicated person in the team who'll go through the leads and qualify them. We don't want to see wrong people moving down the funnel and then waste our time chasing them.
Contact. Already called this person? Sent a message? They're in our drip campaign? We need to know these things. Segment out leads we're trying to get in touch with, but who have yet to respond. Measure impact. Analyze our approach. Learn.
In talks. If a lead has shown interest in any shape or form (e.g. replied to an email or send an inquiry via my personal LinkedIn), we should have a dedicated space for them. They are already in the middle of the funnel and can be labeled as warm leads.
Signature. This is a stage for leads who we already met, talked to, sent over a business proposal? or are in a free trial. In other words, we're working on details and we have a good shot at closing them. It's also a place where we wanna agree on expectations and iron out any potential roadblocks.
Won/Lost. Pretty straightforward stuff! Our losses are our losses and they tell us what part of our sales game needs fine-tuning. In Pipedrive, as with many other tools, you just label a prospect as a win or loss at some point in time with a tap of a button.
Understanding different client tiers
Another key thing to define - client tiers. What we're looking to accomplish is to segment leads into buckets and then organize our time, resources and product deals to suit each tier accordingly.
- Tier 1: big accounts, who require more time, where we need to work on paperwork, use more resources and that will earn us more revenue
- Tier 2: money accounts, larger markets we should penetrate and where we don't need as many resources as with the previous tier
- Tier 3: accounts that we wanna close fast and with minimal resources spent
By putting a good tier structure in place, our execution will remain smart and efficient.
Value team's feedback + reporting
It was more than once that I saw sales team managers set up a funnel, pick a CRM and never use it. They let their team do the work instead without asking them a single thing. It's a strategy destined to fail.
It was right then where I took a note and decided to never let the same mistake happen to me. Why do I bring it up? Two reasons!
- Never be a manager who talks strategy and acts as a consultant. Especially if you're lacking PRACTICAL and UP-TO-DATE knowledge. Be in the front lines and later transition into a person who's job is to correct mistakes and make others successful.
- Listen to your team. They're the ones grinding with loads of ideas on how to make the process better. Never turn your back on them.
After all of this is taken care of, it's up to us to work hard and try to close as many leads as possible. Keep analyzing our performance, be metric-driven and embrace mistakes we make down the road.
Ready for a cliche?
Wins bring us joy, whereas losses valuable lessons. The trick is to not make a habit of them.
4 workflow automation examples
I've decided to focus on four specific workflows. Two of them I'm looking to implement in lemlist's strategy as the matter of fact.
Here's a quick overview:
- Targeted campaigns for specific pipeline stages
- Automated sequence for decision-makers
- Outreach campaign for lost leads
- Process for reaching out to leads from events and conferences
Recommended read: Automated and hyper-targeted leads for sales outreach
Let's address each bullet separately, starting with...
Targeted campaigns for specific pipeline stages
Remember how we talked about creating pipeline stages that make sense for your business?
Yeah, well, this is where it all comes to play.
For us, the key focus will be given to three stages:
- In talks
In the Qualified campaigns, the goal is to divide leads across buckets. Depending on the type of business, buckets may differ. For us, a company that sells software, we'd be dividing them across verticals.
These are "Marketing agency", "HR company" and "SaaS service". Of course, yours will depend on your business strategy.
Our goal is to have clearly defined verticals and put leads that have more than one thing in common together. As far as the criteria go, we'd be using their main pain points and the industry they operate in. In other words, I don't want to have the entire pipeline stage in my email list. I'd rather go more in-depth.
To do this in Pipedrive, we need to set up a custom filed. Go to Settings/Customize fields, then select the People tab below the green button and click on "Add people field".
Select Single Option. Why? Because you wanna make things as fast as possible for your team and avoid any spelling mistakes. Type your verticals in there.
After that, the person who owns the Qualifying will assign Audience status to every single lead.
To do that, go to the individual lead and pick the right option in the Details section.
This person needs to create a filter that will segment out leads that have the right audience type + they're in the "Qualified" stage. We don't wanna email folks who are in other stages. That would be bad.
Click on your username in the top right corner and choose "Add new filter". All I did here was select the right pipeline stage and audience type. It's also a good idea to set Visibility as Shared, so others can use this filter as well.
The ball then goes to your email outreach person who needs to set up the campaign and pick the mentioned filter in lemlist.
When we're talking about the campaigns, it's important to notice that you want to have one campaign per vertical. In our example, we'll need to set three.
An additional tip is to leverage lemlist labels, a feature that helps you group campaigns per vertical. This is in case I end up setting five different campaigns for one vertical and wanna have quick reports and comparisons.
Here's an example from my live SEO outreach campaigns.
The same logic applies to "Contact" and "In talks" stages. We'd set up custom fields that are defined according to types of campaigns we aim to run.
Campaigns would be focused on building connections first since these are most likely to be cold leads. We need to send email sequence that speaks about how OUR product solves THEIR problem. Most likely, in a fun way without sounding sales-y.
For "Contact", we might consider segmenting out leads the same way. As we know they're in "Contact" and not "In talks" stage, which means they haven't replied or booked a meeting yet.
So what we want to do is deliver a different campaign. Since the previous one didn't make them reach back to us, we need to change our approach.
Of course, this type of strategy can be applied to any of your pipeline stages. It's just important to think it through and make sure you know at which stage of the funnel your prospects are.
Automated email sequence for decision-makers
The bigger the lead, the more likely you'll encounter a situation where you'll be speaking to multiple people in the same company.
It's also highly probable to have two or more members from your team talking to different people within that company.
No matter how big or small a lead is, it's critical to find the person who has decision-making capabilities.
Because if I'm selling software to HR people, I don't want to waste time with their marketing team. It's okay to sell to recruiters, but if I'm looking to book a meeting where I wanna close the deal, I want their boss.
Otherwise, I'll just get a typical response - "Your product looks interesting, but I need to talk to my boss/team."
If the goal is to get a meeting, I want the right person on the call. Respecting other people's time starts by respecting yours first.
How do we use this in Pipedrive?
This situation will usually happen with Tier 1 clients. Maybe Tier 2, but that should be it.
Go to Settings/Customize fields.
We need to create two fields. One to organize leads across Tiers, the other to add a Key Decision Maker role. For Tiers, you can pick the Single Option again, just make sure you create it under the Organizations tab.
For the later, autocomplete will be enough. Add this one under People tab.
Assign the right Tier to all leads. Also, for each company in which you have multiple contacts, make sure your team assigns the "Key Decision Maker" title to the right person.
All that's left to do now is to filter out Key Decision Makers from the right Tier and pipeline stage.
Once ready, go to lemlist, select your filter and start cold emailing. In case you need inspiration for the campaign itself. 👇
Outreach campaign for lost leads
We already talked about the importance of analyzing the leads you lost. You assess the reasons why they've passed on your product.
The good thing about CRMs is that they will ask you to write down the reason why you didn't close a deal. Pipedrive is no different.
Imagine a scenario where people outlined a missing feature and a lot of them agreed on it too. By passionately inputting reasons into our CRM, we now have proof we need a certain feature.
Once we release that feature, I'm gonna go to Pipedrive and segment out all the leads who were disappointed in us for this particular reason.
We can send a proper campaign announcing the feature, along with a specific offer or a piece of content, or whatever the heck we wanna test to convert these people.
An excellent thing about CRMs is that they will give you pretty cool stats that you use to spot weaknesses in your funnel.
Process for reaching out to leads from events and conferences
Final workflow has to do with conferences and events. To be honest, I found one article on Pipedrive's blog that really inspired me.
Plus, in October I'm gonna be heading to Dublin to join SaaStock conference, so you never know.
Now, I'm not a big fan of printing tons of material that people will throw away or make paper airplanes from. Unless it's something super creative, there's no reason to ever spend money on it... at least if you ask me.
But, for the sake of this article, let's continue with the flow and not have me write another rant.
Let's create a scenario in which, as a Sales VP, I'm going to New York to attend an important conference. Two strategies start flowing in my mind.
The first one is fairly typical.
Meet as many people as I can and get their email. After the conference, add all to our CRM, qualify them and launch proper campaigns.
For this, I can create a custom field called Source and add conference name in it. But you do you.
Number two is to do the mission impossible - get a list of attendants.
Or, more likely, meet as many people on day one and get their email. Then, that very day, I can create a campaign about a special thing we're gonna do on the second day of the conference.
Like, free beer and "an exciting topic" I'm gonna talk about. Of course, it would need to be cool and non sales-y. If I'm doing a keynote, it can be around that. If my product is famous and we rarely give discounts, we can announce a special deal and throw some cool activity around it.
There are a million ideas to do this. Not sure how they would work, but would be eager to test it. I just have to steer clear from sales expectations and make it about them.
These 4 workflows I'd really love to test. Of course, there are many others that we'd eventually come to and that you can play with instead.
Workflow automation tools represent a terrific way to put boring stuff on autopilot and free more of your time for the most important tasks.
They're really easy to set up and will help you step up your sales game, that's for sure.
The important thing to remember is to make them work for you. In other words, adjust them so they blend in what you're trying to accomplish.
If you're already deep into automation, would love to hear all the ways you're using workflow automation in comments... or drop an email to email@example.com.