The sales follow up email. We’ve all done it—and we’ve likely all cringed every time we send or receive one of those notorious Just Checking-In or Following Up with You emails. We can avoid getting into this situation in the first place by always securing a next action commitment with your prospect, however, realistically we know that you will not be able to get a calendar commitment from your prospect every single time.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to sending a cliché sales follow up email to your prospects – here are four of them.

7 Ways to Fix and Capitalize on Sales Follow Up Emails

  • Timing is everything
  • Pick up the phone and call
  • Do your research
  • Craft clear and compelling content
  • Send relevant resources
  • Try A/B testing
  • Interact on social media

1. Timing is Everything

Once you’ve hit send on an initial email to a prospect, wait two to three days before reaching back out. Give them time to read your proposition and respond. If they don’t, it might be for a few reasons. 

In your follow-up email, try to send it at a different time than the initial outreach. Consider over lunch or nearing the end of the day when they are more likely to be looking at their inbox with fresh eyes or wrapping up admin duties. Consider adding the condition of a read receipt to your sent emails, which will tell you if and when someone has opened them. 

If you don’t hear back from them after the second email, you can wait a few more days before sending another message. Alternatively, you could pick up the phone.

2. Pick Up the Phone and Call

Billions of emails are sent and received every single day. With differing priorities and preset filtering, it’s no wonder the check-in emails get lost in the shuffle or not returned. While there are email techniques you can implement to increase response rates, calling your prospects is one of the most effective ways to get back in touch with them.

If the prospect doesn’t pick up, try calling during an alternative time or leaving a voicemail. Prospects receive more emails than ever, so calling them can increase the likelihood of an instant response, and differentiates you from competitors.

3. Do Your Research

Reaching out to re-engage with prospects should include all possible channels. Whether calling or sending an email, be sure to do research beforehand to bolster your message. The research should focus on what has changed in the prospect’s world.

Use that research to develop a reason for them to commit to a subsequent action beyond the cliche sales follow-up email. Remember: When developing the messaging, it needs to be about solving their challenges and what’s in it for them—not what you want or need. The only thing worse than a tired follow-up email is one that transparently offers to “check in” just because the quarter is ending. Justify your message through the eyes of the prospect.

4. Craft Clear and Compelling Content

Take the research you’ve conducted and improve the messaging in your sales follow-up email. Ask yourself what would speak most to them:

  • Have new products or features been introduced recently?
  • Did your product or service win a new award?
  • Are there upcoming changes to the prospect's industry?

It is important to speak directly and leverage features as benefits that your product or service can provide to the prospect’s business. As a general rule, avoid adverbs unless necessary. Even if something is “very” efficient, explain why that is, rather than relying on empty descriptive words. Here are some other aspects of the content to consider: 

  1. Improve the subject line—don’t solely rely on the RE: with your previous subject to grab attention.
  2. Adjust the email length as needed. Write an initial version of your sales follow-up email, and then read it out loud to remove repetitions and shorten it if possible.
  3. Have a clear call to action, and be thoughtful about where you place it. Some prospects won’t read through the whole email, but if your CTA appears bold and prominent, they won’t be able to miss it.

5. Send Relevant Resources

After doing additional research, another alternative to check-in emails is to send them relevant resources from your company. This could include case studies, blog posts, white papers, webinars, eBooks, etc.

The key here is to send them resources that address what they are trying to fix, accomplish or avoid, and ask for commitment afterwards. For example: “The last time we spoke, you mentioned challenges around XYZ, other people with similar challenges have found this eBook helpful.

6. Try A/B Testing

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is an indispensable tool in the arsenal of anyone looking to maximize the effectiveness of their sales follow-up emails. We’ve touched a little on some ideas for this methodological approach, but let’s go into more detail on how to boost your sales follow-up email’s impact.

Subject Lines: Test different subject lines to gauge which one captures your recipients' attention more effectively. For instance, try contrasting a straightforward subject line with a curiosity-invoking one.
Content: Experiment with variations in the main body of your email. Test different lengths, tones, and writing styles to find out what resonates best with your audience. 
Call-to-Action (CTA): Your CTA is a crucial element that drives recipients to take a specific action. Test different CTAs, such as variations in wording, color, or placement.
Visuals: Visual elements, such as images and videos, can significantly impact engagement. Test different visuals to ascertain which ones enhance your email's effectiveness. 

7. Interact on Social Media

In addition to making phone calls, leaving voicemails and sending relevant content to your prospects, the fourth alternative to sending a sales follow-up email is to interact with them on social media. The purpose of interacting with them on social media is not to pitch—it’s to stay top of mind with your prospects. Liking a post or leaving an insightful comment can help nudge your prospects to respond to emails and phone calls.

Change the Negative Stereotypes

As sales professionals, it is our responsibility to change the negative stereotypes prospects have of salespeople. Replacing a hollow checking-in/follow-up email with more innovative ways of connecting through messaging can mean the difference between requesting a demo for more information and silence without knowing why. Take time to craft your sales follow-up emails the same way you would a deck. After all, helping prospects see the value in your product or service early on is a great way to strengthen and refine your sales techniques. To learn more about prospecting emails and how to improve upon them, explore our eBook below.