In the sales world, nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes… and the majority of your carefully curated leads will never respond to your cold emails.
Truth #1: Most salespeople don’t send enough follow-up emails. Even for top performers, booking a meeting typically requires at least 5 touches. But most salespeople give up after the second email. See the problem?
We get it. Nobody wants to play into the “annoying salesperson” cliché.
Sending an initial cold email can feel unnatural; to send a follow-up email after no response can feel downright uncomfortable. A follow-up email is typically filled with more uncertainty than picking up the phone in the first place.
How many emails should I send?
Should I wait 2 days or a week?
Am I being annoying?
Truth #2: You are not annoying by sending follow-up emails. It’s called professional persistence. And you don’t have to resort to pushy tactics in order to send an effective follow-up email for sales.
So how — and why — do you follow up an email with no response?
To improve your cold email response rate and your sales prospecting process, we have a two-part guide: the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of sending a follow-up email and specific tips for writing an email that will get responses.
Why Should You Send a Follow-up Email for Sales?
Remember that stat from above — that a top sales performer still needs to make contact 5 times to make a sale?
That number jumps up to 8 touchpoints for the average sales rep. This includes leads who respond to your initial email, but should give you a good idea of the uphill battle you. Why not make cold email easier on yourself by creating personalized, consistent follow-up emails?
Follow-up emails (yes, plural) are the foundation for making multiple touches (without leaving 8 voicemails, that is). You can (and should) work in phone calls, social media and video, but make sure you’re not neglecting email. A follow-up to your initial cold email will garner you more responses over the course of weeks and months.
These are three of the major reasons why sending a follow-up email after no response is always a good idea:
- Stay top of mind for longer. Sometimes we just need our memory jogged. For busy decision-makers with full inboxes, a thoughtful follow-up can do the trick.
- Test out different messaging to see what sticks. If your first message was about a 15-minute call, a follow-up means you have the opportunity to try an interest-based CTA or shorten your subject lines. in your second message. Shorter your subject lines and write less in the email itself.
- Decrease your chances of falling through the cracks. Just 25% of sales emails are opened in the first place. It’s not necessarily that your prospect didn’t want to respond; maybe they just didn’t see your message. By sending multiple follow-ups (including via phone and social media), you increase your chances of being seen.
Don’t let potentially interested leads get away. Every sales rep should follow up at least a handful of times from initial contact. But how?
How Do You Send a Follow-up Email After No Response?
Now we get down to the nitty gritty. You know follow-ups are necessary, but how do you send the best follow-up emails?
Like many things in sales, the follow-up email is an art form just as much as a science. But here are the tried-and-true tips we use in our own outbound sales efforts.
1. Get your timing right
You don’t want to follow up too soon (or too late).
You’ll see numbers all over the map on this one. Some sales experts say 3 days for a follow-up, others say 5 days, and still others say a week or more.
The reality is when to send a follow-up email depends on the length of your sales cycle. Shorter cycles may need a first follow-up after 3 days and a second follow-up after 5 days. For longer cycles, adjust this to 5 days and 2 weeks (especially if you’re including other touchpoints in the meanwhile).
In general, you can’t go wrong by following up every 3-4 days.
2. Review and revise how you close your email
Cold emails are short — every little bit counts. Instead of keeping things the same for every email in your sequence, change up how you close out your prospecting emails.
Whether you’re selling enterprise software or a small business tool, there’s no need to stick to decorum. One of my favorite ways to close an email? “Stay awesome — I will if you will.”
3. Create a fresh email every single time
Replying to your original email with something like “Hi, just checking in” will make your follow-up emails more annoying than they have to be.
Instead, create a new thread each time you send a follow-up email. It gives you a fresh start and the prospect a new chance to respond without giving them the feeling that you’re bugging them.
Nobody wants a pity response. You’re looking for genuine interest, so build it anew in each email.
4. Don’t apologize
“Sorry to bother you again…”
Stop. Start again.
There’s no need to apologize to your prospects for following up. If you truly believe that what you’re selling is worth their time, make that belief shine in your message. Saying sorry reduces your authority and makes you sound desperate for the sale.
On that note, avoid generic language that screams ‘follow-up cold email’. No need to say “Just checking in on my last email,” when you can say “Hi Tim, what’ve you been reading this Tuesday?”
5. Add secondary touchpoints
If you’re reading this post, it’s likely because you’re focused on email outreach for sales. But an email sequence isn’t the only tool in your arsenal.
We highly recommend using multiple channels to change up how you contact prospects. Phone calls and LinkedIn connection requests will go a long way!
These don’t even have to be direct follow-ups. Before you send your next email or make your next call, take time to engage with your prospect’s content on LinkedIn or Twitter. Then reference it next time you get in touch with them.
6. Don’t get tricky
Make a subject line and first line worth opening, but no need to be dishonest. Adding multiple ‘re:’ tags to your subject line, for example, may get your prospect to open the email. But it will royally tick them off when they realize you don’t have an ongoing conversation.
Keep your message clear and your relevance abundant. Dishonesty will not be appreciated.
7. Change up your CTA
If you asked for a 15-minute phone call in your first email, ease up with an interest-based CTA in the follow-up email. (And let’s be real, no discovery call takes 15 minutes).
A great interest-based CTA reduces the action required of the prospect to just a handful of words:
“Is this something you’re interested in hearing more about?”
“Sure, let’s do it.”
If you’re still not getting any traction, add a link to an interesting piece of content (more on that below). And let’s be real, no discovery call takes 15 minutes.
8. Automate your follow-up
No need to make things harder on yourself. There are plenty of mail merge and email automation tools out there to help you with your follow-up.
Keep your outreach and follow-up consistent by scheduling your main (personalized) sequence all at once. You can always fill in the gaps with more timely communication throughout the outreach process.
9. Change up your message
It won’t be effective to write “Any thoughts on my last email?” two, three or four times.
Try some of these instead:
- “Thought you’d find this resource valuable…”
- “I appreciated your recent LinkedIn post on…”
- “Are you still using x to y? Would love to hear more about that.”
- “What kind of xyz are you seeing these days?”
How to Write a Follow-Up Email After No Response
Effective email outreach is not a matter of jumping through the hoops you think you should jump through. Sending two highly effective follow-ups are likely to perform better than 5 ill-conceived follow-up emails.
The copy in your follow-up emails will have a big impact on your success. For example, emails with at least one question are 50 percent more likely to get a response.
These are a few pointers to get you started writing a winning follow-up email.
- Start with your purpose. What do you hope to accomplish with this particular email? Get more specific than “book a call.” Lean into the more nebulous areas of sales, like piquing interest or building a genuine relationship.
- Write your first draft. Keep two things in mind: context and value. What’s the context of the first email: follow-up after a call or the 5th email you’re sending? What’s the value of this particular email: are you sending a resource or a personal thought?
- Create a subject line. Make sure it fits the context you’ve defined above. You have a million options for subject lines, so test out your ideas and keep the ones that perform.
- Edit your first draft. And not just for typos. Put yourself in their shoes. Have you focused the email on them instead of you? Have you made the CTA and value clear?
- Track your results. Sales emails should never just be sent out into the ether. Be sure to track the opens and replies of each new sequence. Adjust future follow-ups according to which kind of copy performs best.
What cold email tactics do you use for follow-up emails? We’re all ears!