Knowing how to write a proper follow up email is crucial in B2B sales, since the decision making process often stretch over a long period of time. It is your job to keep the dialogue open and be top of mind for your prospects. Imagine you have had a sales meeting, there was interest from your prospective clients, you sent them an email, and you haven’t heard back from them? That can happen often, but it doesn’t mean your potential clients are not interested. It just means a follow-up email will be necessary.
Using the phone is the most direct and effective option, but it’s not always an option. Your potential clients might not like being contacted by phone, or you might catch them at a bad time. You’re also not leveraging a handy tool: the email tracking software. Combining emails and email tracking software is perhaps the most practical and efficient method, as we will see in this article.
Building on what we saw in a previous article, following up is both an inevitable and essential part of sending sales emails. And be ready to write because the initial follow-up is often not the only one you will need to write. Indeed, 80% of sales take at least 5 email follow-ups to materialise.
The question now is: what should you write, and how should you write it? You don’t want to come off as too insistent so as not to frustrate the client. But you don’t want to be vague either, as that might not trigger the action or response you are seeking.
There are many things to consider, and we will go over them. At the end of the article, you should have a better understanding of how to write an efficient follow-up sales email.
The content of follow-up sales emails
In terms of content, most of the general rules we established in the previous article hold true. We will discuss content again, but with an angle on following up.
Catch your recipient’s attention. You could do this by making a direct statement such as: “We can start helping you today.” You could also ask a question, like: “Have you reviewed our offer?” or “Should we discuss our offer?” which can reasonably entice the potential client to answer.
Choose the method that applies to your situation, your product, and your client, and write a subject line that fits. Remember: the goal is to attract attention and generate a response.
Content of a follow up email
Just like we discussed for the initial email, keep your follow-up sales emails short. There are many reasons for doing this.
Your potential client got your first sales email. If you have an email tracking tool, you can even know how much time they spent reading it. So since they already have that email, don’t send them content you sent them before. That might get redundant, and we want to avoid that to keep their interest level high.
There is no rule about the ideal number of words or paragraphs. Try to keep it on the shorter side but also relevant. If the email is short but devoid of sense, it will be useless. What’s more important than the number of words is to have a relevant email that engages the clients and results in action from them.
Now, let’s look at why you should follow up.
Determine your reason for your follow up email
You need a reason to send a follow-up sales email. It’s something you might include in your subject line, but it’s definitely relevant for the first paragraph of your email. There can be many reasons for this and it doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be anything from:
- no answer received to your initial email
- no news received from the prospective client despite promises to respond
- following up after a meeting or conversation
- following up after a follow-up that went unanswered
- seeing from a sales email tracking software that a client seems interested, has clicked on the links, but has not responded
You can also use an online email tracking tool to help you determine your strategy. This tool will tell you more about your client and give you more options to justify following up. The important thing is to state why you follow up and what you would like the potential client to do with the email.
You can be very direct to save everyone’s time and say in the first paragraph that you are following up, and explain why.
Follow up email example A
I’m following up on my previous email. There was significant interest on your part during the meeting, and I wondered if you had a chance to review our package.
Follow up email example B
I’m writing about our offer for [insert offer here]. I’m wondering if you considered what we discussed and if you wanted to know more about how we can help you.
The idea here is to transition from your subject line. You want to tell the client that you are following up to know whether they reviewed or consider your offer. This is simple enough, so keep it brief. If you are following up after a call or event, or if there is any other personal element you can mention, you should write it.
Determine your angle for following up
Now that you have determined your reason for following up, consider your angle. It’s essentially the argument you will use in your email to solicit an action or response.
In all the examples we give, you can also be proactive and suggest a time for a meeting if you think this can bring value and increase your chances of getting an answer:
- I have saved 1h for you for next Wednesday at 3 pm in case you are interested. We can also find another time if that doesn’t work for you.
Request an action from the client
If all you are looking for is an answer or action, don’t waste time writing lengthy paragraphs: after giving your reason for following up, ask your question directly. If your potential clients have time, they will provide you with a detailed answer. If they don’t have time however, you make their life easier by asking a question they can answer easily.
- We wanted to know if you are still interested in our solution.
- Are you interested in having a meeting to discuss our offer further?
- Should I plan some time to go over the benefits and a live demonstration?
Use email tracking information
- If you use an email tracking tool, refer to the tracking stats if they are meaningful. If you don’t use one, you should look into it now! Email tracking tools are highly useful and can tell you many things:
- if your potential clients looked at your initial email
- when they looked at the email
- how much time they spent on it
- which attached documents they viewed
- how they interacted with your sales content
- Following up on the email we sent after our recent presentation, we thought running a few plausible scenarios in our impact calculator [if you noticed they used it] might be interesting. Would you like us to go over certain scenarios together and discuss our options further?
- Considering your activities, we think [insert the element they reviewed extensively] may be particularly useful to you. Would you be interested in a meeting dedicated specifically to that?
Show off your product again or give a helpful tip
If you don’t have tracking information and don’t ask for a specific action, you can try showing off your product again by giving a tip. If you know your client’s operations well enough, you can do this by illustrating another way your solution will provide value.
Clients are sensitive to information or solutions that can help their operations. This strategy can convince them that you have their interests at heart and have the tools they require. You do need to know them well enough to provide a tip or insight that will actually be helpful.
Ask for a decision, even if it’s negative
This strategy can be useful if you have followed up a few times and simply want a yes or no. Its objective is to get you a quick answer, and it usually gets a high response rate. Clients will either seize the opportunity to stop receiving your emails, or be afraid to lose contact and answer to keep the conversation going.
If your client is still interested, they will likely provide you with additional information on what they want. You will be able to reorient your strategy based on their answer and continue sending more focused emails.
If your potential client is no longer interested, you will both know and be able to move on. There are several reasons why a company might not want to pursue a solution. It doesn’t mean they won’t be interested in the future either, so remember to keep these emails polite and courteous.
- I was wondering if you are still interested in the solution. Is this perhaps not the right moment for you? If you do not want to pursue the solution, please let us know so we can close your client account and stop contacting you.
- Are you still looking for a solution to address [insert issue or need here]? If our solution is not in your plans, please let us know, and we will stop contacting you.
- We are currently doing a quarterly review of our inactive files. We noticed there is no activity in your file and wondered if you would like us to keep it open or close it for now.
How to manage follow up sales emails
Managing follow-ups can pose another challenge. Should you opt for a system that manages them automatically? A drip email campaign is a great way to nurture prospects and leads and there are clear advantages in using this strategy. We recommend to complement this strategy with direct follow up emails. If you don’t already do it, you should consider working with templates.
Follow up email templates
Some systems allow managing follow-up emails automatically, saving time and effort. You have to be careful not to only think about saving time however. Quality is still critical. Most people can easily notice an automated email sent to every client, and salespeople will recognise them even faster.
As there are many reasons for following up, you should have a dedicated model for your most common situations. Of course, each model should be editable to add something specific about the client and make your emails genuinely bespoke.
Follow up sales emails for unusual situations
Templates are an excellent starting point for certain situations, but you can’t reasonably expect them to cover them all.
When you face an unusual situation, templates are not enough. Otherwise, you risk using an inadequate template that will miss the mark altogether. You might be able to recycle a template as a starting point, but it will still require a review.
Relevance is critical in follow up sales emails
In conclusion, remember that relevance should be your most important objective in writing a follow-up sales email. Your client must feel that your second or third email about the same topic is worth reading. If it’s not relevant or interesting, you will bring nothing new to the table, and your potential client will lose interest.
Find your objective and the angle you want to use. Ideally, use an email tracking tool to gather information on what your client wants. You can then know when they read your email and plan to follow up immediately after. Communicating when the offer is fresh in your client’s mind capitalises on momentum and yields better conversion odds.
By providing engaging follow-up sales emails using the tips covered in this article, your client is more likely to want to continue the conversation and consider your solution.