What 1M+ Cold Email Replies Reveal About Sales Follow Ups

Follow-up sales emails are an essential part of generating opportunities.

A majority of buyers won’t immediately be in-market, so every sales touch you make should add value, showcase the problems you solve, and keep your brand top-of-mind.

As buyers move from unaware to finding a solution, they’ll remember the relevant, compelling messages that influenced their thinking.

If you target the right sales leads, then it’s only a matter of time until qualified buyers will be ready to engage with you.

But how should you send follow-up emails? When should you send them? Lack of data has made it difficult to solidify best practices around follow-up sales emails.

To help shed light on the data behind follow-up strategies, Jeremy Chatelaine from Quickmail shared insights from a review of more than 1 million cold email replies.

Follow-Up Emails & Reply Rates

You’ll likely reach buyers that are not looking for a solution, aren’t interested in you, or are too busy to get back to you at the moment.

However, you shouldn’t neglect prospects just because they don’t respond.

An analysis of 1M+ cold email replies found that 69%+ of replies come from a follow-up email while barely 31% of replies come from a first touch.

Timing is everything in outbound sales.

If you’re not sending more than one email, then you risk missing out on 2/3 of the total conversations you could potentially be generating.

With multiple well-timed email touches over an extended period, you increase the chances that you catch qualified buyers at the right time.

Follow-Up Cadence & Reply Rates

Based on more than a million cold email replies, it’s advantageous to send more than one outbound message to start a conversation with prospects.

How much time should you leave between your first cold email and follow ups?

While there is no best answer for every target persona, market, and selling situation, data shows a faster sending cadence greatly correlates with higher response rates.

For example, a follow-up email sent 2 days after the 1st email would likely generate a higher response rate than a follow-up sent 6 days after the original message.

The correlation between follow-up cadence and reply rates exists because you’re staying top-of-mind and leaving less time for recipients to forget about you.

Follow-Up Emails & Response Quantity

High reply rates are only valuable when they’re productive responses.

While more frequent follow-ups tend to generate more replies, you should be aware of how your follow-up cadence impacts the quality of those email replies.

As you squeeze more emails into a shorter period of time, you risk increasing the number of unproductive responses, unsubscribes, or spam complaints you receive.

There is a balance between waiting too long between cold emails and sending them too quickly. Optimize your follow up strategy for both the quantity and quality of responses.


Even with a great list and email personalization, it’s still likely you’ll have to stay diligent and follow up with prospects to generate sales conversations.

Best practices around follow-up emails have always been vague, which is why sales follow-ups are often misused, overused, or not used at all.

These new insights on 1M+ cold email replies provides a small glimpse of the many factors that impact the success of an email follow-up strategy.

With the right follow-up messaging, cadence, and timing, companies can consistently connect with more buyers and stay top-of-mind in their target industries.

[Generating outbound leads? Check out our new free video series the Cold Email Playbook to get insights and content from 7 cold email experts]