Writing a sales follow-up email might not be your idea of a fun time – but perhaps it should be.
A diligent and repeatable follow-up process may be the biggest factor in getting opportunities to convert into deals. Depending on the size of your average deal, you could add millions to the bottom line. All it takes is a quick sales follow-up email or five.
About 80% of sales require five emails after the initial contact.
And yet, nearly 50% of sales pros cop to letting it ride after just one single email.
Of course, it’s vital to build relationships before, during, and after any email campaign. When leads know you and trust your brand, they’re more likely to take the plunge. That might mean connecting on social media or making a call, especially at the start of the relationship.
Still, the power of individual emails to move things forward shouldn’t be underestimated.
There’s beauty in a good sales follow-up email:
- It’s not interruptive, so you can’t catch prospects at a bad time – or waste time.
- You can add value in different ways, including with links to content or news.
- It only takes minutes to develop a useful message with strong personalization.
Here’s how you can do it.
1. Send Out Relevant, Timely Information
Sales and marketing teams should partner closely in the inbound era. When you’re out there getting your sales groove on, you can rest assured your marketing compadres have been building plenty of useful, informative web content for your prospects.
The overall purpose of that content is to foster a connection, but there’s much more to it. It’s also to help you, the resident sales master. Good content prequalifies buyers, answers their common objections, and helps them get excited for what you have to offer.
Sadly, very few of your leads will be avid readers of all your content.
Knowing that, always look for content that will be immediately useful to your leads – by helping them solve business problems – to sprinkle into your emails. Even emails that don’t succeed in moving the sales process forward right away are valuable if they strengthen trust.
2. Align Your Emails With the Buyer's Journey
If you have analytics and cross-platform attribution chugging along on your digital properties, you can get keen insight onto where your leads are in their personal buyer journey ... yes, even if they go quiet.
When you understand where leads stand in their quest for a solution, you can make your sales follow-up emails much more useful. Not only does it empower you to select the right content, but you can also craft your messaging more effectively.
The buyer journey stages are:
The lead becomes aware there’s a problem to solve and starts doing some initial research.
The lead gathers a number of potential solutions and starts to research selection criteria.
The lead narrows down possible solutions to just a few and decides which will work best.
Most leads will be at the Consideration phase, but if you use warm email or social prospecting, you could have many who are only dimly aware of the problem. By striving to educate leads a little with each email, you make it more likely they’ll engage you in the sales process.
3. Always Start with Context
Who the heck are you – no, really?
There’s nothing more awkward than having someone stop you at the post office and start rattling off details about the big game or the office holiday party – and you can’t put a name to the face.
Your leads are a lot less sensitive to social embarrassment, but they won’t even spare a click on the “search” box if they can’t figure out who you are. So, make it as easy for them as possible.
Until you’ve been in a lengthy, recent conversation or spent face-time with a prospect, lean toward the assumption they may not recognize your name right away in their email inbox.
Luckily, you can get context out of the way quickly in any sales follow-up email.
Remember to mention:
- Who you are.
- Where you met or when you last spoke.
- A key takeaway from that last encounter.
These three points will jog a lead’s memory fast so you can get down to the brass tacks.
4. Ping Contacts About Their Successes
What happens if you lose touch with a lead? It’s bound to happen now and then.
If you have the time to put in a little elbow grease, punch in your contact’s name and see what new information comes up. Opening your sales follow-up email with quick kudos not only makes the lead’s day a little bit brighter but shows you’re willing to put time into the relationship.
This is the same concept that makes warm prospecting so powerful.
As a quick reminder, warm prospecting uses trigger events – such as a new product launch or a store opening – to recognize when changes in a lead’s business mean new opportunities for sales.
Warming up your relationship this way isn’t just for the first contact, however. You can use this method to get back on a lead’s radar any time the conversation lapses. If you’re monitoring your sales pipeline metrics, you’ll recognize long “age in stage” so you can take corrective action.
5. Prepare for the Long Haul
Only about 2% of leads who come in contact with your business will be ready to buy from you right away. The rest hang on, usually for three to five months, while they feel out their options.
With that in mind, the best thing you can do is hunker down for a long wait. If it’s true that most sales take five emails – and the latest data sure looks that way – you can rest assured that only about 8% of sales professionals will make it to the end.
One simple idea can guide your follow-up strategy:
Get prospects to say “no” – five times.
“No” comes in all kinds of flavors. Sales pros have heard them all before. Whatever it sounds like, though, you’ll recognize a no when you hear one. Younger sales experts in particular need to get used to rejection so they can keep moving forward.
But, yes, there is such a thing as “enough” – it’s five.
Always get to five!
6. Track Your Messages and Results
Nothing makes you sound more like a robot than sending a follow-up email that covers the same topics in the same words as last week. While a template-focused approach saves time, a good Customer Relationship Management suite is crucial for maintaining visibility into lead touches. It’ll maximize your emails’ impact – and keep the taste of shoe leather out of your mouth.
7. Always Ask About Next Steps
“Does it make sense to schedule a quick call?” will become your best friend. Use it.
Put these seven points on a Post-It above your monitor and you’ll soon see exciting results. It won’t happen every time you write a sales follow-up email, but the magic of follow-up will lift your sales revenue fast.