Mastering Follow Up Emails for Outbound Sales

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Jeremy Chatelaine

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Jeremy has analyzed data on millions of outbound emails, leveraging over 2 decades of technical expertise to help companies improve and automate cold email outreach.

After founding in 2014, he used his own software and prospecting knowledge to grow his SaaS company into a profitable, 7-figure business that helps hundreds of companies.

Buyers are busy and can hardly keep up with how many unsolicited messages they receive every day.

Prospects don’t engage for a variety of reasons, including ones you can’t control:

    • Their Personal Life
    • Their Business Situation
    • Their Priorities
    • Their Memory
    • Their Current Workload

Since time is so precious in the workplace, recipients have to prioritize the problems they care about and be very picky about who wins their time in the inbox.

While a cold email isn’t as disruptive as a cold call, they’re much easier to forget, put on the backburner, or ignore entirely.

To stay top-of-mind and increase your chances of connecting with qualified sales leads, you need to look at the timing, frequency, and duration of your cold emailing.

Cold Email Follow Up: Before You Start

You’ll likely send cold emails to buyers that are not currently looking for a solution, uninterested in you, or don’t have the time to get back to you at that moment.

However, you shouldn’t neglect a prospect just because they’ve ignored your first message.

Timing is everything in cold email.

Based on an analysis of 1 million email replies, Quickmail found that more than 69% of replies come from a follow-up email and only 31% come from the first touch.

If you’re not sending more than one cold email, then you risk missing out on more than 2/3 of your potential replies.

Your prospects should be an ideal fit when you target them, so it’s worth sending multiple emails to keep in touch and maximize the chances you connect at the right time.

When to Send a Follow Up Email

There is a direct correlation between when you send a follow-up email and the number of replies you’ll generate.

For example, you’ll likely generate more replies with a follow-up email after 4 days than you would sending one after 8 days.

However, the quality of your responses in each scenario will be different.

As you squeeze more messages into a shorter period of time, you’ll impact how recipients react to your cold emails.

Unfortunately, not all replies are the same. You need to be aware of the different types of responses you get to make sure your follow-up strategy is generating the right results.

    • Positive Sentiment Replies – Engaged responses from prospects that are interested in meeting, learning more, reviewing information, or asking targeted questions about your solution.
    • Neutral Sentiment Replies – Responses from prospects that aren’t an immediate opportunity, but could be nurtured into an opportunity over time. Example neutral responses could be “I’m not interested right now”, “No budget”, “Already have a solution”, or “Check back in 3 months”.
    • Negative Sentiment Replies – Responses from prospects that are unprofessional, aggressive, or requesting they be removed from your list.

Typically, marketers use a cadence of 3-5 business days between each email. However, the right follow-up strategy will depend on your specific situation and target prospects.

To maximize the positive responses you generate and minimize deliverability issues, you should pay attention to how your sending frequency for follow up emails impact your response quality.

Messaging Strategy for Follow Up Emails

Marketers often put everything into their first email and then continuously follow up with bump emails.

Bump emails are basic follow-ups that don’t provide any additional value or context. Instead, it’s focused on reminding the prospect that you’re reaching out in an attempt to connect at the right time.

These bump emails can be an effective way to capture attention. However, they can quickly become annoying and turn off prospects if they’re used too frequently.

Instead of putting everything into your first email, you should space out your messaging so that you have something valuable to add in every step of your sequence.

If you have 8 emails in your sequence, each email should focus on a specific theme, benefit, pain point, or topic that resonates with your target prospects. Similarly, a follow up email should stay consistent with the messaging of the email before it.

As long as you keep adding new pieces of information to each email in the sequence, you’ll be able to provide value, build curiosity, and keep your brand top-of-mind with every touch.

Just Getting Started with Cold Email? Here’s Jeremy’s Advice:

Start Off Cold Emailing Manually

It’s common for marketers to jump straight into a cold email automation software, blast a campaign to the masses, and then get disappointed when the results aren’t great.

Instead of jumping straight into automation, send cold emails manually so you can get an understanding of the nuances, messaging, and processes that work for your situation.

Experiment with Quick Follow-Ups

One way to quickly grab attention and appear human is to send a follow-up email on the same day.

For example, you could send your first email and then follow up 20 minutes later with additional information or a piece of context you didn’t previously mention.

Not only does this planned imperfection make you more relatable as a human, it also helps move the dial for prospects that are busy and considering a conversation with you.