Nurturing Leads: Email Lead Nurture vs. Sales Sequence

06.12.24 // Aleisa Miller

Nurturing leads, at its core, is such a valuable aspect of any marketing strategy. It allows you to show value to a prospect, moving them further down the funnel, all while building a rapport with them and leading to the ultimate goal of winning their business. 

There are a lot of ways to nurture a prospect, including, email (lead) nurtures, sales sequences, sales calls, social media, direct mail, etc. And there are pros and cons to each of those approaches, but a question we keep hearing is: “what is the difference between an email lead nurture and a sales sequence?” 

Although there are some commonalities between the two, they are different approaches in how leads are nurtured. Let’s explore how.


Email Lead Nurture

An email lead nurture is usually owned by the marketing team and is the process of creating a series of automated emails with valuable content, a clear call to action, where leads are automatically qualified or disqualified based on predetermined criteria. 

The beauty with an email lead nurture is that they can be as simple or as complicated as needed for your business. For example, we worked with a medical device client that was looking for a scalable lead nurture strategy and needed help outlining, implementing and launching it from start to finish. This project spanned several months, included 22 unique emails, 36 unique email paths, new scoring logic, unique criteria for entrance/exit of the nurture, as well as unique criteria for transitioning between nurture streams. 

Email Lead Nurture Example

It’s also important to note that email lead nurtures are automated, so other than initial set up and periodic spot checking and email updates – it’s mostly hands off. 


Sales Sequence

Sales sequences on the other hand involve more of a ‘hands on’ approach. Sales sequences are typically utilized by the sales or SDR teams and consist of multiple steps with a mix of different types of outreach such as  calls, LinkedIn messages, emails, etc. The objective of these sequences is to set a  meeting and/or speak directly with a prospect to win their business. 

Sales Sequence Example

Just like with email lead nurtures, sales sequences can be as long or short as you’d like.  We’ve worked with clients that have anywhere from 5 to 20+ steps ranging from a week to several weeks. The important thing to keep in mind is ensuring you’re providing value.

Sales Sequences do differ from email lead nurtures when it comes to how emails are sent. You have the option to make emails automated or manual. Automated emails relieve some of the manual process, while manual emails allow for more personalization. 

That’s not to say you couldn’t set up an automated email to pull in pieces of detail (name, company, etc.) that can be found on their contact record. But the personalization of automated emails is limited based on available information and platform capabilities. 

Although LinkedIn messages and calls can’t be automated, to ensure consistent messaging, most sequence platforms allow for notes and/or suggestions for each step, where you can add suggested message copy, call and/or voicemail scripts, etc. 

Understanding the difference between Email Lead Nurtures and Sales Sequences can be helpful when trying to figure out which approach would work best for you and your business. 

So, to recap, if you’re looking for a more hands-off automated approach to nurturing leads and moving them down the funnel, email lead nurture is the way to go. Or, if you have the availability or are open to a more hands-on approach with different outreach tactics, use a sales sequence. Remember, you can always use both too! 

If you’re still unsure which approach to use or how to build, implement and launch either a lead nurture or sales sequence, let us know! We have experience working on both within different platforms/tools. 

About Aleisa Miller

Aleisa is a Senior Customer Success Manager at Obility, based in Orlando, FL with 10+ years of experience in Marketing, Communications and Project Management; and 5+ years in Marketing Operations/Revenue Operations. View all Aleisa Miller’s posts >