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How to write an effective sales follow-up email

Sales follow up email: entrepreneur working using a laptop

Key takeaways

  • Send your initial email follow-up quickly after generating a lead or making a sales pitch to keep your company top of mind
  • Write brief but click-worthy subject lines to encourage prospects to open and read your email
  • Personalize every email with information and offers that cater to your prospect’s needs

A great first interaction can captivate a customer, but it’s rarely enough to seal the deal on a sale. If you don’t want your first point of contact to be the last time sales leads think of your brand, you should regularly follow up until they’re ready to buy. Discover the tips you need to craft and send an effective sales follow-up email that nurtures leads and drives them toward a purchase.

When to send a sales follow-up email

When building a relationship with a brand-new sales lead, following up quickly is the best way to leave a good impression. Reaching out within 24 hours of generating a lead can make your company appear attentive and ensure customers keep your brand top of mind when the competition is toughest. Following up within two days after a sales pitch is also key to winning a firm “yes.”

After your first follow-up email, it’s best to wait a longer period of time before you check in again so you don’t appear too pushy. For example, you can send the second email in your follow-up sequence three days after the first, then another the next week.

How to write a sales follow-up email

Sales follow up email: entrepreneur happily using a laptop

Effective sales follow-up email templates include content that captivates prospects and drives them to take action on their interest. Follow these steps to make your outreach as engaging as possible.

1. Craft a compelling subject line

Sales follow-up email subject lines can make or break your open rate. When potential customers read your subject line—the first piece of text they see—they decide if they want to open your email and read the rest of your message.

Brief, intriguing subject lines work best for sales follow-up emails. For example, “Quick question” and “Did you miss this?” are actionable phrases that can encourage email recipients to learn more. You can also personalize your subject line with your prospective client’s name to catch their eye. 

2. Greet your email recipient

Like most professional emails, your sales follow-up emails should open with a brief greeting. Make sure to address your prospect by name—for instance, by writing “Hi Kelly” instead of a general “Hello”—to make your email feel more personal to the decision-maker.

3. Offer context

Your email recipients won’t always remember you right off the bat. Start your message with a recap of your last interaction with your prospect, whether it was a voicemail, sales call, previous email, or in-person meeting. For example, you could say:

  • I enjoyed learning about you and [prospect’s company name] at the networking event on Friday.
  • I emailed you last week with additional information about the service you were interested in and am following up to see what other details I can provide.

This context shows prospects you’re not sending a cold email, thereby encouraging them to continue reading and consider your sales pitch more seriously.

4. Add value

To keep your sales process moving forward, you need to show how your business can add value to your prospect’s life. Avoid appearing too pushy by offering something that supports your email recipient’s needs and interests or alleviates a pain point they’re experiencing. For instance, offer your prospect a free webinar, limited-time discount, one-on-one consultation, product sample, or other sales promotions you have going on.

5. Include a call to action

An effective sales follow-up email always ends with a clear call to action (CTA) that explains what your prospect should do if they’re interested in your product or service. You can close deals faster by making a simple ask in each email, like “I’d love to hear your feedback about your free trial” or “Can you send me some times that work for you?”

6. Close out your email naturally

Finally, close out your email with a natural, conversational close, like “Thanks,” “Best regards,” “Thank you for your time,” or “Looking forward to hearing back” with your name signed underneath. Many salespeople include their position and the name of their company to make their emails appear more professional and add clarity about who they are.

Sales follow-up email tips

Woman using a laptop

Choosing the right content to plug into your sales email template is key to a successful follow-up strategy. With these tips, you can further improve your email response rate and become a more effective sales rep for your brand.

Keep your message brief

The average person spends over five hours filtering through personal and work emails every single day. When you keep your emails brief, your prospects are more likely to read all the way down to your CTA and the message you want to convey. Get to the point fast and eliminate unnecessary words and phrases (like “hope all is well” or “please be advised”).

Limit automation

The best sales follow-up emails are personalized for every prospect and cater to their unique needs. Avoid fully automated email marketing campaigns, and instead, create sales email templates (including follow-up templates) that speed up your content creation workflow but still allow you to plug in personalized information, like details from their most recent phone call with your sales team.

Proofread every email

Professional emails are error-free. Prove your brand is reliable by giving every email a second (or third) read-through to ensure it’s grammatically correct and free of typos. Additionally, double-check that your hyperlinks are going to the right web pages and that you’ve attached all the files you meant to include.

Use your brand personality

Most sales follow-up emails are dry and dull. You can stand out by integrating your brand personality into your emails. For instance, if your company is known to be lively and peppy in all its social media marketing content, you can bring that same enthusiasm into your tone of voice. For growing sales teams, this step can make the customer experience feel consistent, no matter which sales professionals your clients are chatting with.

Back up your claims

Adding evidence for your claims is a simple way to strengthen your follow-up messages. For instance, if you want to claim that your company offers the most affordable service in your area, consider including or linking to a pricing comparison in your email. Other ways to back up your claims can include social proof (like customer reviews on your Yelp Business Page and video testimonials), case studies, and data from scientific reports.

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Track your email metrics

Want to make sure your follow-up email sequence is actually moving leads through your sales pipeline? Track your email metrics to ensure your performance stays consistent or continues to improve. These metrics can include your email open rate, reply rate, and click-through rate (the percentage of readers who click at least one link). 

You can also track the number of people who unsubscribe to specific emails to understand what follow-up messages prospects dislike. Performing A/B testing— testing slightly different versions of the same message—can help you better customize your emails to generate the outcomes you want.

Write better sales follow-up emails and grow your business

Effective sales follow-up emails are personalized messages that include details from your last conversation or last email that are catered to the prospect’s needs. When your emails include relevant content and are sent in a timely manner, your brand can appear more reliable and enticing to potential customers. As you track your email metrics over time, you can better understand what content is most persuasive for your target audience and win more sales. Learn more about how to build an effective sales funnel and where email campaigns can fit in.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.