Sales Follow-up Emails:
5 Rules to Follow

Cold email senders tend to devote a lot of time to carefully craft our opening message, but usually don’t spend even half of it on writing sales follow-ups.

Meanwhile, our experience at Woodpecker shows that the majority of prospects reply to the second or the third message from the sequence, and not directly to the first one. So it looks like we should focus on the follow-ups at least as much as we focus on the opening email. Here are 5 crucial rules to keep in mind when it comes to an effective sales follow-up email.

Jump straight to:

RULE #1: Always follow-up
RULE #2: Make your sales follow-up email valuable
RULE #3: Send enough follow-ups at the right time
RULE #4: Use automation to never miss a follow-up
RULE #5: Abide by the rules #1–#4

Rule #1: Always send follow-up emails

Too obvious to mention it at all? Well, it appears that as much as 70% cold email senders ignore this first crucial rule and send no more than one message
(source). So if you send follow-ups, you’re in the cunning minority.

And here’s a rule within the rule: don’t be afraid of sending sales follow-up emails. If you craft and schedule them well, your prospects will not be irritated but grateful. Follow-ups are a chance to show your addressees you care for their reply more than those who resigned after their first attempt.

Also read:  Why Should You Always Send Follow-up Emails? >>

Rule #2: Make your sales follow-up email valuable

In the last sentence of Rule #1, I used the words “…show your addressees you care…”. Remember that the prospects do not owe you anything. They will reply only if they can feel you can provide them with some value.

That’s why we shouldn’t send follow-ups starting with “Just following up” and ending with “Looking forward to hearing from you”. That is not providing any value to the prospect. That’s just poking them in the ribs asking “Why didn’t I hear from you yet?”

And that may make them annoyed indeed. Even if they respond to such a poke, their answer is not bound to be positive. To get positive replies, you need to put some value in the sales follow-up email, just like you do in the opening message.

So how can you avoid being pesky and make your sales follow-ups more valuable? Think of your prospect’s business goals. How can you address them in your follow-ups? Perhaps a good idea would be to mention a relevant case study that shows how a similar company benefited from your product or service? Or send a link to a piece of content that they might find helpful? 

Refrain from making your follow-ups just mere reminders. Yes, it means you will need to put a little bit more work in preparing your follow-up sequence, but I’m sure it will pay off in a higher response rate. 

Find out how a follow-up email should look like: How to Write a Sales Follow-Up Email? >>

Start 1-to-1 business conversations at scale

Rule #3: Send enough follow-ups at the right time

The two questions arise immediately:

  1. How much is enough?

  2. What is the right time?

These are both very good questions. Unfortunately, there are no straightforward answers to either of them. The general hint to find the answer is: it all depends on your group of prospects, your target market, the product you’re selling, and most importantly – the aim of your cold email campaign.

But why should you care about the optimal number and frequency of your follow-ups in the first place? What will happen if you send too many follow-ups in a very short time? 

Well, you may trigger a chain reaction that ends in your domain being blacklisted. It starts with the prospects becoming irritated with such an email avalanche to the point of reporting the pushy email sender as a spammer. If there are enough spam requests, their domain ends up on a blacklist. 

So the key here is to be “pleasantly persistent” instead of being pushy. To find out the thin borderline between the two, we need lots of common sense, research, and testing.

Also read: Follow-up Emails: How Many & How Often? >>

Rule #4: Use automation to never miss sending a follow-up

Sending sales follow-ups is a must if you want your cold email campaigns to bring satisfactory results. But sending personalized follow-ups manually is a real drag. Fortunately, that’s a process that can be taken off your shoulders by smart automation tools like Woodpecker.

To see what my workday looked like before we created Woodpecker and what it looks like now, read: How Email Automation Helps Us Manage Cold Outreach >>

What’s in it for you?

Read the four rules again and make sure you always keep them in mind when writing a sales follow-up email. I sometimes get the impression that many people know the rules, but hardly anyone abides by them when it comes to cold email sending.

So here’s

Rule #5: Abide by the rules #1–#4


You may also want to check:

Sales Follow-up Guide >>

Sales Follow-up Templates Collection >>

Start 1-to-1 business conversations at scale

Cathy is the Woodpecker blog’s creator. She used to spend lots of time contacting prospects, especially via email. One of the few people on Earth who read crappy cold emails from start to end and analyze them – for purely educational purposes. Taking care of this blog, reporting Woodpecker’s journey on the pursuit of happy openings, successful closures and all the new skills we acquire in between.