The make-or-break part of any deal is the second touch, as this is where you start turning leads and prospects into clients.
Email may be the most convenient and logical way to follow-up with your prospects after the initial intro or proposal, but it has one very serious drawback. How do you prevent your emails from simply disappearing into the ether of your prospect’s overflowing inbox?
We have the secret to dealing with almost any sales situation that requires follow through. By the end of this article, you’ll be armed with a collection of follow-up emails that will dramatically increase your prospects’ response rate, netting you more sales in the long run.
We’ve compiled 15 templates that you can use to cover almost any sales situation. We have also added some advice on when to send these, as your timing is often as important as the message. By tweaking, adapting and learning from these templates, you can dramatically increase your close rate.
Follow-Up Emails: How, Who and When
One of the greatest lessons every salesperson needs to learn is that customers will buy when they are ready to buy.
All salespeople love a hot lead, the kind that buys immediately and takes the least amount of effort, but hot leads will always be a small percentage of your total number of prospects. Real sales happen with warm or cool leads.
There are three rules you simply must adhere to when it comes to following up these leads:
- Patience will be rewarded. You need to play the long game and follow-up consistently over a long period of time.
- Make sure sales and marketing are aligned and have clear roles in follow-up.
- You need a system. A good sales CRM like Pipedrive will go a long way to preventing embarrassing situations like duplicate emails or making your prospects feel like they’re being spammed.
While point one and three above are fairly straightforward, many companies struggle with point number two. While marketing is usually tasked with generating leads and sales with closing them, follow-up can be confusing.
Teamwork Closes More Deals
Whose job is warming up the leads? We would suggest a system that uses some well-structured teamwork. Make sure that marketing and sales work together to warm up leads and keep the following in mind at all times.
- It is important that you send relevant, valuable information to every prospect regularly, relentlessly and frequently.
- Make communication with prospects efficient. If you have a huge list of prospects one-on-one contact simply becomes impractical and costly, hence our templated approach.
- Track and log. A system like Pipedrive ensures that every touch is logged and that the various follow-ups are correctly scheduled and executed. Spreadsheets and calendar reminders simply won’t cut it if you plan to scale your business.
- Have your materials prepared. Your team needs an arsenal of specific, useful and interesting information you can use to craft your follow-up messaging. There’s nothing worse than a follow-up email that has no content. Never nag.
When It Comes to Follow Up Emails, Timing is Everything
It pays to remember, while your prospects are in your mind every day, the same does not apply in reverse. You’re competing with rival companies, other deals, and the fallibility of human memory.
You need to make sure that you remind your prospects about your product or service at regular, well-thought-out and planned intervals.
‘Know your customer’ will always be the first commandment of sales and it is the golden rule when composing your follow-up strategy.
You’ll generally want to make the second touch shortly after the initial one. One or two days is ideal. Remind the prospect of who you are and what you discussed and propose or request a next step.
The trick lies further down the line. Do you know the cycle of purchase followed by prospective clients? Is there a budgeting or procurement window that you’re aware of?
Perhaps you have some inside information on expiring deals they have with one of your competitors? Make sure you thoroughly plot out these events. Many deals have been struck months or even years after the initial presentation through good timing and persistence.
Enough Talk: Let’s Get to those Email Templates
Use case: After the initial meeting
You met with the prospect and went through your sales pitch. You left the meeting feeling confident that you’ve just initiated a deal, yet here you are, three days later and you haven’t heard back from them.
This is the classic ‘gentle reminder’ or ‘touching base’ email. The key here is to move the conversation forward and provide a concrete reason for a response.
1. Subject line: Are you ready for a follow-up
[Name], I’m writing to thank you for your time and to find out how you’d like to move the
If you’re still interested, please suggest a next step.
I await your response
While it is important to give prospects as much info as possible initially, it is a great boost to follow-up if there was a question that remained unanswered or that needed consultation on your part. It may even be worth creating this situation in your sales pitch.
2. Subject line: Good news. I have that info you requested
[Name], I’m writing to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you on [day].
I have checked with our accounting department/my boss/our warehouse and they would be very happy to arrange [special request].
Please let me know how you would like to proceed from here.
When you’re selling a product or service that is very complex in nature or requires a bespoke proposal or price, you will most likely have some work to do after the initial meeting.
This is one of the easiest follow-ups to write, but many people still get it wrong by trying to stuff all the information into the body of the email. When a prospect opens an email and sees what looks like an entire novel’s worth of text, they will almost invariably hate you and your product. Give them all the info they need but allow them to discover it in their own time and you’ll get way more responses.
3. Subject line: Here’s that information you requested
I really enjoyed chatting with you earlier today and learning more about how you and [their company]
I promised you some more info and here it is. I’ve attached more information about [request] and [other].
Please let me know when you have had a chance to take a look at this info and would like me to give you a call to discuss. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have. Feel free to call me at [your number] any time.
Use case: Following a trigger event
We’ll assume that you’re using some form of tracking and analytics on your emails. If you’re not, go get a tool to do this right now, we’ll wait for you to get back before carrying on. Got one? OK, let’s keep going. If your analytics show that a prospect opened your previous email, clicked on a link and visited your site, you definitely need to strike while the lead is hot. There are two options and which one you use will depend on your sales style and personality.
4. Subject line: Do you want more information?
I trust that you have had an opportunity to read my previous email and look at our website, so I figured it’d be worth checking in with you again.
Have you given any additional thought to my proposal? I’d be happy to do a quick review of it on the phone and answer any and all questions you may have.
When would suit you for a quick conversation?
The other option is a lot more straightforward.
5. Subject line: I see you’re interested in [company name]
I hope this doesn’t seem creepy, but I see that you have read my previous email and visited our site (the wonders of modern technology). I think this will be a very good time for us to take the conversation further.
Please let me know when I can schedule time to come and see you and take you through my plan on how we could work together.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Use case: When a prospect has unfinished business
It will often be the case that the person you met with initially is not the final decision maker and needs to go away and consult with colleagues or their boss. You want to give them enough time to do so, but also keep the lead nicely warmed up and maybe even nudge them towards the follow-up. We suggest giving it about 4-5 working days before firing off the following.
6. Subject line: As promised, here is more info about [company name]
I’d like to thank you for taking the time to hear me out on [DAY]. I’m really excited about the potential of this relationship.
You mentioned that you would need to consult with [Person] before making a decision. I am really eager to hear what they thought of my proposal.
Is there a spot on your calendar I could claim to discuss how we can take this deal forward?
Use case: Trade show, networking event or conference
Trade shows and conferences are great places to gather leads. If you pick your events correctly you’re most likely hitting your target market right in the sweet spot. They’ve entrusted you with their contact details and shown an interest, so this follow-up email may be easy to write, but it’s also easy to get wrong. This is a great opportunity to give them some more information and background on your product or service.
7. Subject line: Here’s that information about [company name] you wanted
What a great show. I hope you enjoyed it and would like to thank you for your interest in [company]
I’m sure improving your [objective] is one of your company’s main priorities, so I thought it would be great to contact you sooner rather than later.
I thought I’d send [information] for you to review. If you’d like any additional information about this, I’d be more than happy to have a quick chat over the phone.
Just let me know if you have any questions or would like to have a more in-depth conversation. I’m ready and waiting.
Use case: Immediately after leaving a voicemail
Voicemail and email go together like bacon and eggs. The impact of following one with the other will often work in your favor. The secret here is to be quick. Send the email within minutes after leaving the voicemail to generate the full effect of this classic double act.
8. Subject line [I just tried to call you]
I just tried calling you but assume you are busy. I know how it goes.
Please give me a call back on [number] or let me know when it would be convenient to give you a ring again.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Use case: Mistaken identity
Sometimes finding the right person to talk to is half the battle. If you sent out a completely cold email after finding a prospect’s contact details online, it may be worth sending the following. They’ll usually affirm that they are indeed the right person, or at least refer you to the person you should be speaking to.
9. Subject line: I hope you are able to set me straight
I sent you an email a few days ago about [company or product] and it was only afterwards that it struck me that I might be barking up the wrong tree.
My company offers [service or product] which I think would be a perfect fit for [company].
Are you the right person to speak to regarding this? If not, could you help me find the relevant decision maker?
I look forward to your response
Use case: Following up the follow-up
This is where it gets interesting and tricky. When you’re following up a previously unanswered mail (or many of them) it is very easy to start sounding desperate or whiny. This is where your preparation and planning will pay off. Remember when we mentioned earlier on that you needed to develop interesting pieces of information that you could drip-feed to prospects? Now is the time to pull those out of storage and set them loose.
10. Subject line: A few things you may not know about [company name]
I sent you an email a while ago about [company name] and how I think we could be a great fit for you and [company].
Did you know that our clients report [a 43% increase] in [sales] when they use our [software]? We also offer [full training] and [a 20% discount].
If you’d like to hear about this in more detail, please let me know. I would happily spend 30 mins telling you everything you need to know.
I look forward to your response.
There’s a lot to be learned from successful social media campaigns. Give your prospect something they can share with their colleagues or staff.
11. Subject line: A gift for you and your company
I know how busy you must be managing your team and helping them increase [job function]. I sent you some information about [product or service] a while ago and I thought this might be a good time to give you a practical demonstration.
I’ve created/attached a few guest logins/free samples/vouchers that you can use to access/sample [product or service]. Feel free to share these with your staff and colleagues. I’d be very interested to hear what they think of it.
I would really like to have 30 mins of your time as I feel we can really add value to your [area of operations].
Can we book a call or a meeting?
12. Subject line: Still hoping to connect with you
I’m sorry we haven’t been able to connect. When we last spoke, you seemed very interested in [objective of product or service].
I realize that you are most likely incredibly busy, so I am happy to schedule a call with you at any time, even if it falls outside regular office hours or on a weekend if that makes it easier for you.
I really don’t mean to harass you, but would appreciate some indication on your decision either way.
Thanks in advance
If you do any form of content marketing like blogging or publishing, you have a great excuse to send a follow-up email.
13. Subject line: [10 ways Pipedrive boosts your bottom line]
When we met recently it became clear to me that you are very interested in [subject of blog].
When I saw that our publishing team had put together [blog or article name plus hyperlink] I immediately thought that you would enjoy reading it.
I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this and discuss how we can help you achieve [objective].
Could I give you a call some time? When would be convenient?
User case: The bitter end
Sometimes the best way to get a response is to threaten to end the relationship. At worst, this email allows you to do a nice clear-out of your pipeline and let go of deals that are simply not happening. Sometimes it is better to lose a deal than to keep flogging a dead horse. At this point, you also have very little to lose, so there’s no harm in a being a bit cheeky as long as you keep it respectful.
14. Subject line: It’s really lonely out here
I’ve tried to get in contact with you several times over the last few months without success, which leaves me thinking that:
- You’re not interested. That’s OK, I won’t take it personally.
- The timing is wrong. This happens. I’ll happily get back to you in a few weeks or months, although years might be a stretch too far.
- You’ve been abducted by aliens: Please let them know that I am happy to come along and tell them where to find me.
I won’t contact you again but you can keep my info on file if you ever need [service].
The classic ‘Good Housekeeping’ email works a charm and gives you a perfect excuse for making contact.
15. Subject line: Can I close your file?
My boss has asked me to clear out my sales pipeline and I thought it would be good manners to let you know that your name is on my delete list.
If you aren’t interested, do I have your permission to close your file?
If you’re still interested, what do you recommend as a next step?
Thanks for your help.
How to create response rate boosting follow-up processes
Before writing a single email, you’ll need to create a bulletproof follow-up process (or tighten up loose steps in your existing one).
Let’s start by covering four essential steps your follow-up process must include. Then, we’ll take a look at mistakes to avoid along with ways to optimize your process.
How the follow-up fits into your sales pipeline
According to Robert Clay from Marketing Wizdom, only 2% of leads close after the first meeting.
Therefore, the purpose of your initial pitch is to set the foundation and start the discovery process. This means learning who else is involved with the buying process along with how they make decisions.
Similarly, even if you receive a flat out “no,” the game’s not over yet.
Why does this matter? Simple: the way you follow up will depend on the stage of the sales pipeline your prospect sits at.
Your sales pipeline needs a follow-up sequence at each stage. Typically, these can be broken down into the following steps:
- Lead Acquisition: When a lead first fills a form or takes the first action to begin a relationship with you. Here, you must respond quickly to strike while their motivation is hot. Here, you’ll need to follow up if an appointment or next steps aren’t confirmed.
- Lead Prioritization: Your follow-up messaging will depend on what information you have on the prospect, as well as any actions they take. For example, you’ll want to lead with a strong call-to-action for those who visit your pricing and feature pages several times.
- Discussions Begin: How you start the relationship will depend on several factors. For example, a senior decision maker will need more strategic insights, while more “tactical” roles value technical specs. Match your follow-up messaging based on who you’re talking to.
- Opportunity Progression: After the initial conversation, you’ll want to schedule a presentation or a pitch. From there, you might arrange a second call or meeting to discuss any objections and understand timelines. You’ll need to lead the prospect from one step to another, and this often requires following up.
Don’t be afraid to ask your prospects for guidance on what the next step should be. You can even go as far as asking how they’d prefer to be followed-up with.
While they can sometimes be hard to lock-down, you should always aim to end the call with a clearly defined next-step. Do this at the end of a meeting or conference call, as you can compare schedules right there and then.
Finally, always summarize your initial meeting. This provides a great reason to send a follow-up email immediately after the call. The bonus of doing this? It keeps you at the top of the prospects’ mind (and inbox) until your next call.
Understanding how follow-up fits into your sales pipeline, it’s time to talk about one of the most critical elements: timing.
When to send your follow-up messages
Good follow-up emails rely on timing. Knowing how long to wait, time of day and days of the week to send your follow-up emails will help you generate a more generous response rate.
Here are the different types of follow-up emails you should be using (and when to send them):
- After the pitch: Send a follow-up one to two days after your initial presentation. Use this as an opportunity to review their pain points, thank them for their time and include a call-to-action for the next steps.
- Reviewing with the decision maker(s): If there are other stakeholders involved in the buying process, the sales cycle can take a little longer. Email four to five days after the pitch (you’ll need to learn about the buying process during this call) to give them enough time to speak with the rest of the team.
- Unanswered follow-up: You’ll need a follow-up sequence for when your emails go unanswered. Here, you can offer additional resources, ask them if they’re still interested or the best way to move forward.
- The break-up: If you’re still not getting a response from your follow-up emails, the last thing to do is to wrap things up. You can either tell them that you’re closing their file, or use it as one last ditch attempt to find a better time to talk.
The perfect day and time to send follow-up emails will depend from industry to industry. The best place to look? Your own CRM.
Look at which emails generate the best response rates. Analyze the days of the week and time of day they’re sent. Use this to plan the timing around your follow-up process.
This article will show you all the email templates and samples you need for each of the scenarios above.
Five follow-up mistakes to avoid
Just by developing a consistent follow-up process you’re already well ahead of the game.
But there are several problems you need to prevent if you want to avoid the common cracks that your leads can slip through.
Out of all the follow-up mistakes that salespeople make, here are the five that tend to catch sales teams out:
- Not following up quickly: Many thought leaders believe that you should follow up on leads five minutes after they send an inquiry through. But this is unrealistic, as you’re not sitting by the phone all day, and you may be serving an international audience. However, it’s important to follow up quickly. The longer you leave them, the less chance you’ll get a response. Put systems in place to ensure you’re responding as quickly as possible.
- Not focusing on the company: Many salespeople make the mistake of putting all their energy into the prospect. If you’re selling into large organizations, you need to be engaging with multiple people. Always find out as much information about other stakeholders and the buying process in order to accommodate all decision makers.
- Not following up often enough: A study by Velocify found that 93% of converted leads are reached by the sixth attempt. Make sure that you’re following up enough when the relationship has begun. You’ll learn how to do this by adding value later in this guide.
- Not using preferred channels: Anecdotally, 90% of the time prospects will want to hear from you by email. But some may prefer a phone call or other form of communication. If they’d prefer a phone call over email, ask them what time is best to reach them.
- Not tracking your metrics: Without measuring your sales performance, you won’t know if what you’re doing is working. Use a CRM to measure the open and response rates of each of your emails to see how each follow-up email performs.
Analyze your existing sales process. Look out for any of the following. Create a plan to fix them and roll them out, making sure you train your salespeople where necessary.
Optimizing your follow-up emails to boost response rates
Before we move on to the templates, let’s talk about how you can make your follow-up process even better.
By optimizing your sales process in this way, you’re more likely to see a more generous response rate (and thus conversions) from your follow-up efforts.
- Begin with value: As soon as a new lead enters your pipeline, it can be tempting to jump right into the pitch. Instead, add as much value as possible up front. New leads are unlikely to trust you at first, and by guiding them and acting like an advisor, you’re more likely to build the trust crucial to closing the deal.
- Use data and insights: Back everything you say up with third-party statistics and anecdotes from industry thought leaders. You should also use testimonials and case studies, showcasing the results you’ve generated for clients just like them.
- Avoid automation: Automation can be a powerful tool for streamlining certain processes. But when it comes to the follow-up, you need to be as personalized as possible. As you’ll see from the templates and samples below, many of them require you to understand your prospect’s company. You can’t get this in a timed, automated sequence.
- Keep them coming back: Depending on the complexity of your offering, you’ll need more than one call or meeting to close the deal. This is especially true if there are several stakeholders within the company. Therefore, be sure to keep the conversation open and lead to the next step as quickly as possible.
- Add your personality: People do business with people they like or respect. You should always be yourself during the entire sales process, but especially during your follow-ups. Even if you’re polarizing, many senior decision makers will respect you for holding up to your own beliefs.
Conclusion: Adapt and Learn
You’ll notice one thing that all of these templates have in common: they are not very long.
Your prospects are most likely busy and human nature dictates that anyone opening an email and spotting a wall of text is going to close it almost immediately. If you’re lucky and they’re really interested, they plan to read it later.
In most cases however, they will never look at it again. Get to the point and either attach or link to any large pieces of info you need to send.
Of course, these are only a starting point. You’ll need to adapt these templates to suit your clients and market, but they should serve you well in improving the response rate to your follow-ups.