How to effectively follow up in sales

Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
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As a cold email agency, we send thousands of messages daily. According to our recent study, the first follow-up email increases the response rate by 49%. We also saw that 3 emails (the initial + 2 follow-ups) tend to have the highest reply rates (9.2%). However, these stats do largely depend on the particular case, industry, and response type.

Defining factors to follow-up success include the optimal email-sequence length, the best sending time, and ideal time frame between emails. Combined, they make a strategic and systemized follow-up process that will help you maximize your deal success.

In this article, we will reveal our own follow-up process, share our tactics, and give examples on how to maintain sales communication to close 50% more deals.

Proven follow-up strategy that drives results

To secure the highest number of business meetings for both Belkins and our B2B clients, we’ve incorporated a 2-stage process into our sales outreach strategy.

Stage 1: Building an initial follow-up sequence to get a reply

The first stage encompasses techniques on how to build an email structure that addresses the prospects’ problems and encourages them to answer. Follow these steps to make your follow-up templates semantically loaded and focused on problem-solving.

1. Effective introduction

In this concise section, mention a referral or incorporate a thought-provoking question to verify the recipient’s identity. Alternatively, you can employ an attention-grabbing opening line to capture interest. Do not saturate the introduction with excessive information; save the primary message for the subsequent section.

Subject line A: Integrating AI at {{Company}}
Subject line B: {{Solution}} for better {{Client}} care

Dear {{First_Name}},

Given your numerous commitments and responsibilities demanding your attention, I understand you may not have had time to respond to my previous emails.

What if I told you it’s actually quite easy to integrate {{Technology}} into your practice for a 14-day test run? You could see firsthand how AI can simplify your daily routine and reduce charting time by 60% so that you can concentrate on what truly matters: your {{Clients’_Roles}}.

Furthermore, by adopting our {{Technology}}, you can benefit from our revenue-generating ancillary services that support better-informed decisions. {{Recipient's Role}} like yourself have seen net revenue growth of at least 10%.

If you’re interested, let’s set up a 20-minute demo next week. In case another person is involved in the decision-making process related to adopting tech solutions, could you point me in the right direction?

Best regards,

2. Problem identification & solution proposal

A common pitfall is creating a follow-up that resembles more of a business card rather than explicitly addresses the problem that your service or product can resolve. So be sure to accurately define the prospect’s key pain points before introducing the effective solution you offer.

Start by highlighting the problems you can solve for the prospect. Briefly showcase the advantages and unique features of your product or service within the context of problem-solving. The goal is to stay top of mind in their vendor selection process.

Dear {{First_Name}},

Would you be interested in exploring the capabilities of {{Platform}}, specifically designed for practitioners like yourself?

Using our technology, you can receive real-time summaries of in-office and remote visits, reducing administrative burden and enabling you to spend quality time with {{Clients}}. Additionally, you can generate new revenue and improve reimbursements.

If you require approval from another stakeholder at {{Company}} to test our tool, could you kindly direct me to the appropriate person?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

3. Include case studies and examples

The most important aspect of this stage is to avoid information overload. Since we have already conveyed the main message in the previous section, it’s better to use a few concise examples relevant to the industry/position and encourage prospects to explore that information.

Subject line A: You or {{Referral_Name}}?
Subject line B: Regarding {{Company}}’s {{Specific_Technologies}}
Subject line C: Π‘ities and counties use our {{Services}}.

Hi {{FirstName}},

Are you the right person to discuss {{Company}}’s {{Managed_Processes}}, or would it be {{Referral_Name}}?

Cities and counties like {{Company}} turn to {{Company}} to help design, plan, and operate their {{Specific_Tech_Solutions}}. We provide a complete {{Solution}}, providing insights to every member of your team.

For example, {{City_Name}} uses our software to {{indicate the benefit of your product}}. With us, their team has all the needed tools to maintain their {{List_of_Specific_Needs}}.

Our {{Solution}} will help {{indicate the benefit of your solution}} by giving your team and contractors an accurate, shared view of your network.

Do you think you or {{Referral_Name}} can connect me with your {{Responsible_Team}}?

Talk soon,

4. Incorporate a call to action (CTA)

Don’t waste the prospect’s interest and time. Instead, offer a clear and specific CTA, such as scheduling a demonstration for a specific time or planning a coffee meeting to discuss potential best-case scenarios.

Hi {{FirstName}}, regarding {{Company}}’s product/brand content.

Our approach includes taking extra time to learn your business so that we can better address the challenges {{Company}} is currently facing with its {{Industry}} objectives.

How about a chat on {{Day}} to discuss your looming product/brand initiatives and see how our {{Solution}} and other {{Product}} capabilities can elevate your current {{Industry}} approach?


Stage 2: Developing conversations with the warmest prospects

The second stage is geared toward approaches that facilitate further communication with prospects once they reply but delay moving forward.

In this case, it’s important to maintain the previous tone of voice and avoid being excessively pushy. We recommend employing the following approaches:

1. Wait for an appropriate moment

Before writing a follow-up, wait a while. Sometimes prospects just need a little more time to decide, and extra persistence can alienate them. If your prospects show interest by asking an additional question, respond as soon as possible and give them time to review the information. For instance, the interval that we stick to is 2–3 days between follow-ups. If a prospect is interested but suddenly stops responding to emails, we don’t pressure them.

2. Mind the context

Keep follow-ups in the same context either by following up in the same thread or starting a new one but referencing what was previously said. Also, pay attention to the number of emails you’ve already sent. If there has been no response to the last 3 emails, it makes sense to take a break.

The same applies to the current timing and season. For example, it’s OK to mention a vacation in the summer if the recipient wasn’t too active to answer. Things like this make your emails more natural and conversational. Try to balance generic and valuable follow-ups, and avoid overcrowding threads with too many messages.

3. Make an alternative proposal

If there is dwindling interest from the prospect or if you feel that your correspondence is dragging on, you can always offer a brief call.

4. Switch approaches and recipients

If your prospects don’t reply for a long time, reaching out to a colleague may be an alternative solution. That’s where the referral approach comes into play — ask for an internal referral to the best-fit person to analyze your incoming request.

πŸ“š Related post: How to write B2B emails that win big deals

Belkins’ full-cycle sales follow-up system that brings us clients

On average, our sales team closes a minimum of 15 new deals a month. This wouldn’t be possible without an established, well-timed post-appointment follow-up system and the best sales follow-up emails our content writers create. So what does it look like? Here is the process and time frame that our sales execs use, helping them close 50% more deals.

  • We alternate generic follow-ups with those backed with value propositions in one thread no more than 4 times.
  • Afterward, we move on to the next thread, where we follow up in the same style another 4 times.
  • We often use up to 10 follow-ups, but it greatly depends on the project. On average, 6–7 emails are enough.

Step 1: Day 1

Within a few hours after the demo, send a follow-up that identifies the next steps.

Step 2: Day 2

Request a connection on LinkedIn from one of the founders to highlight the importance of a new relationship.

Step 3: Day 3 or 4

Sends the next follow-up with an additional value: a trial, free assessment, analysis, etc.

Step 4: Day 5

Send a LinkedIn message, react and comment on a few related posts on behalf of you or your company.

Step 5: Day 8

Send one of the following emails: value proposition or an offer to check out some of your valuable content.

Step 6: Day 14

Craft a unique follow-up experience by highlighting the solution for the prospect’s needs and attaching useful, actionable info (like case studies).

Step 7: Day 20

Send a LinkedIn message + an email with value-oriented content: webinar, podcast, reseach, blog, etc.

Step 8: Day 22

Offer to sign the prospect up for your marketing distribution list to stay connected with your brand.

Step 9: Day 24

Offer a call and send an email about the next steps.

Step 10: Day 31

Outline a few names to highlight and suggest bringing them into the discussion, or organize another demo.

Step 11: Day 36

Place a phone call and/or voice message, brining in an urgency. Use trigger phrases like new featuregreat timingteam is available, etc.

Step 12: Day 42

Send final email before putting the contact on hold. It’s important to inform the prospect when the next communication will happen, for example, in 3 months.

Let our sales enablement consulting team help you craft personalized follow-up messages to lead your prospects through the pipeline and achieve up to a 15% closing rate.

Best follow-up practices for sales strategy

  • If you communicated with a prospect more than a week ago, it is important to consider the context of the previous response or question. Remind them of the main purpose of your message.
  • Avoid overly generic follow-ups like: “I’m following up to make sure this email didn’t get buried. I’m looking forward to your response regarding my offer.” Add some value and use the possibility to provide more information instead: “As you’re incredibly busy, I thought you might be interested in our tool designed to reduce the workload of practitioners like yourself.”
  • Strive for consistency and avoid obvious repetition.
  • Combine short and long messages, and shift the focus from promoting your product/service to how you can help.
  • Seek creative approaches. For example, playfully incorporate unique situations such as holidays, local football team news, or any other events that would resonate with the prospect. And of course, genuinely respond to any personal details you received in previous messages. For instance, if they mentioned they couldn’t communicate now due to their daughter’s wedding on Friday, come up with a personalized greeting and inquire how the event went. Just as in face-to-face interactions, small talk is important in emails as well.
  • Test and adjust the number of follow-ups to avoid being too pushy or annoying. We recommend between 5 and 7 follow-ups if the prospect has shown previous interest but suddenly stopped responding. However, for certain industries and specific titles, such as security, this number may be excessive. So it is important to analyze their effectiveness and the feedback you receive.
  • Take pauses. Sometimes it’s appropriate to follow up on the next day, especially if you were in the final stage of confirming a meeting time. However, in most cases, it’s best to follow up no earlier than 2 to 3 days and not more than twice a week. With each subsequent follow-up, increase the interval (2-3-5-7-14 days).
  • Do not turn your dialogue into a “follow-up monologue.” Occasionally start new messages in a new thread with a fresh subject line.
  • Modify established strategies. Test new message formats and alternative channels like email and LinkedIn.

πŸ“Œ Note: The first two follow-ups are usually the most effective, but sometimes it’s the fifth or even the tenth follow-up that brings you the desired sales call. It may be just 1 success out of 30 different conversations, but it will be worth it.

πŸ“š Related post: 2023 cold B2B email statistics and benchmarks

Wrapping up

A systematized follow-up process equals more deals. Our consistent and value-focused approach allows our SDRs to schedule between 800 and 1,000 monthly meetings for our clients. And our in-house sales execs secure a minimum of 15 new Belkins customers each month with their 12-step after-call model.

Want to make your sales strategy just as fruitful? Our appointment setting agency’s experienced and dedicated sales professionals are fully committed to driving revenue. Contact us to boost your follow-up strategy and speed up your sales cycle.

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Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Co-founder and Managing Partner at Belkins
Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.