The product you were selling six months ago is not the product you’re selling today. Not if you’re improving it correctly.
The team that was selling product six months ago is not the same team out there hustling leads today — not if you’re hiring and training right.
That’s why targeting people who were interested enough to sit down with you, but never pulled the trigger is the perfect way to pull leads and big wins out of your existing database.
This is what we call the Recycle Sequence. And it helped our team improve their conversion rate by 5%!
The Origin of the Recycle Sequence
We were neck-deep in some of our toughest months — mid-pandemic, April and March. Our back was up against the wall, and we were really looking for something, anything, that could help us milk a couple extra deals with the resources we currently had.
In a last-ditch effort, we came up with a plan: get in touch with people who took a demo 6+ months ago who said no at the time and haven’t heard from us in at least four months.
We should have done it so much earlier, but this is where the Recycle campaign began for us.
Salesforce made it pretty easy for us to figure out who these people were. We have demos set as an events object. And those events are coded by type with the date the demo was held. That means if the person is still a lead (and not converted to a contact), we know they’re a demo who never converted.
We added a buffer based on the “last activity” field (a default field in SFDC) to make sure the lead hadn’t been contacted within the last four months. That way, we knew that a rep was no longer working the lead.
Once we had the list, we moved them from Salesforce over to Outreach and added them to the new sequence.
Setting Up the System
The sequence had to come across as highly personalized. So, we opted to have AEs run the campaign, rather than SDRs since the AEs had usually met with the prospects already and had some kind of relationship.
We wanted it to come across as, “Hey, we chatted a few months ago. Where are you at now?”
In fact, we even created a custom field that converted the month of the last demo with that prospect into plain language so we could use it in our campaign. So “05/07/19” became, “I’m not sure if you remember our meeting about Sisu back in July.”
If it was over a year, it became, “I’m not sure if you remember meeting about Sisu around a year ago.”
This was pretty easy using a formula in Salesforce. We then ported that field over to Outreach to plug in as an email merge field.
I think that opening line really helped us stand out. It made the outreach seem much more personalized.
Starting the Conversation
I go back and forth as to whether I prefer kicking off sequences with a call or an email.
Email is nice because you can fish out a few people in mass right off the bat and save your team some effort.
Phone, on the other hand… well, we sell to salespeople (realtors). I think there’s a level of respect from one salesperson to another when you pick up the phone.
Again, we were running this sequence with AEs, not SDRs. So, we needed to be aware of the time commitment. We decided to kick off the sequence with two auto emails before mixing in a call.
Our sequence was as follows:
Day one: This is when you send your first auto email. The goal here is just to re-introduce yourself and work towards getting a meeting.
Notice the 11% reply rate and 91% open rate on the subject line “Reconnecting.” By the way, no one demanded the coffee 😂.
Day three: Schedule the second auto email for two days after the first. This is just a follow-up email that’s designed to be fun and personalized. Again, our goal here is just to get that meeting, and we’re making it as easy to schedule as possible.
By the way, we picked up an extra 5% reply with this email.
- Day four: On the fourth day, we call and reference the other two emails. These first three touches did most of the heavy lifting for us.
- Day seven: If they haven’t responded at this point, it’s time for a manual email. This email is much more heavily researched. Make sure this research is easily accessible. Our reps left notes in the CRM so they could reference it in a future step. The subject line of this email was simply “Voicemail,” and it referenced the voicemail we left in step 3.
- Day eight: On day eight, it’s time to move to another channel. Connect with them and reach out on LinkedIn, just to remind them that we exist.
- Day nine: Here, we give them another phone call.
- Day sixteen: Finally, if they still haven’t responded, we give them one final email a week after our last contact.
Because we spent time making sure these emails were very personalized (the intro especially), open rates were in the 80%+ for every email.
We also got very few negative responses.
We got more responses like, “Hey man! Not quite yet, follow up in a few months,” than we did, “Please take me off your list.” Although we definitely got both.
We sequenced 127 leads.
Of those 127, we booked ten demos, which resulted in five new accounts — so far. There are still a few follow-ups set for people who want to take a look again at a future date, or for demos that are still on the calendar.
If you consider that we might pick up one more account from this sequence in the future (to make six total), that would mean a roughly 5% boost to our demo close rates from just this one campaign.
This is a cycle that we’ll be running perpetually moving forward.
As soon as a lead matches the criteria (6+ months since a demo and 4+ months since last contact), we kick them into the campaign , and we expect to see an extra 5% conversion on those leads already existing in our CRM.
Do it Better Than We Did
This should sound good enough on its own, but what’s even better is that I’m sure it can be improved.
Here’s how you can make this an even bigger hit for your team than it was for ours.
Do it earlier. We should have done this forever ago. There is really no reason not to try this. It takes no new resources, and if you automate it the way we did, it’s very little work.
Capture more data. Once your leads take a demo, get as much data as possible. That way, you can reference it easier later to provide more personalized outreach (our reps spent a lot of time researching in some of the later steps).
Use Social Media. Mixing in some social media targeting to complement the campaign can be a great way to boost this even further.
Try it on enterprise deals. We have a pretty quick, transactional sale. It would be interesting to try it out at a company with longer-cycle enterprise deals.
Experiment with SDRs. Because we were leveraging the relationships we had already built, we had our AEs run the campaign. But it might work better if you run it with your SDR team — they’re usually more motivated to book calls and might stay on top of it better. However, you can’t let this come at the expense of personalization.
It’s important to remember that just because a prospect said no once, doesn’t mean they’ll say no forever.
Maybe, back then, you were missing that one key feature.
Maybe, back then, your team just couldn’t make the right connection.
This sequence is really easy to pull off, and it requires almost no extra investment. So, start recycling, and capitalize on the opportunities that are growing stale in your pipeline right now.