First rule of Sales Club is… you always follow up.

Second rule of Sales Club is… you ALWAYS follow up.

Wastefully, 44% of salespeople admit to never following up with a customer (source: Scripted).

That is A LOT of money left on the table, especially since 80% of sales are made after the 5th contact.

Seriously, it makes us here at Prospect.io cry to see promising campaigns stop after the first try.

Crafting a good follow-up routine isn’t that hard, follow the guide!

Related: 10 Cold Email Templates Based on 3.320.657 emails sent.

The only situation where it’s okay not to follow up…

… is if you have already set up another meeting during the call.

Never end a call without setting the next appointment or at least obtaining some kind of commitment from your prospect. 

If you’re not doing that, you’re shooting yourself in the foot, with a shotgun. Of course, you should check in the day before to make sure the meeting is still on, but if both parties are already committed, it is highly unlikely for the meeting not to happen.

However, if you didn’t manage to obtain a commitment, or if you initially reached out by email, you’re going to need to hop on the follow-up train.

How long should I wait before I follow up?

After a call

You don’t really need to wait to follow up after a call. In fact you should do it in the few subsequent hours or, at the most, the next morning, if only to show your appreciation to your prospect for taking the time to talk with you.

Be casual about it and don’t hesitate to ask when they might give you an answer.

After an email

We recommend you give your prospect 2 days to reply. Even though your chances of getting a reply decrease by more than 90% after the first day, you shouldn’t be harassing them.

“Just checking in…”

No.

I know, you’ve probably done it before, and so have millions of other salespeople. But it doesn’t mean it’s good; on the contrary, it makes you come across as shy and unfocused.

Your job is to make the sale easy for your prospect, so you shouldn’t be “Just checking in”. If they already showed interest in your product, you should be asking where the situation’s at and if they’re ready to move further.

Also, provide them with content and value that’ll help them make that decision. Share some insights or data that you believe can help them reach their goals. Not only does it build credibility, it also shows that you truly understand their challenges and are willing to put in the effort to assist them in their endeavours.

Keep in mind:

  1. Be concise
  2. State why you’re reaching out
  3. Ask for next steps. The more they take control, the more likely it is that the process will have positive outcome for both parties.
  4. Keep it personalized.
  5. Bring value – share blog posts, case studies, webinars…

If you’re going to follow up -which you should- go at it with fire and purpose, or not at all.

How many emails should I send?

In our experience, the sweet spot in the case of an outbound sales campaign lays between 3 and 5 emails.

This is the “formula” that brings us here at Prospect.io the most success in outbound sales drip campaigns:

Day 1 : Initial email

Day 3 : Follow-up 1

Day 6 : Follow-up 2

Day 8 : Follow-up 3

Day 11 : Last follow-up

Why?

  • Why no less than 3? Emails can be overlooked, maybe the recipient wasn’t in the right mood when she read the email and then forgot about it. It may take time to the recipient to come to a decision and consistency on your part may help them make a step in your direction. As long as you keep it friendly, with a “no pressure” attitude, you’ll be fine.
  • Why no more than 5? Before you ask: yes, people sometimes do respond after the 4th or 5th email. Persistence is key. It is however safe to assume that if your prospect hasn’t answered within 5 emails, they’re probably not interested, and your drip campaign should end. Beyond that point, you just risk being reported as spam.

Pro-tip: let them know in the subject line that it’s your last email, it might prompt an unexpected twist!  

But don’t throw those prospects away just yet. Have them contacted by someone else within the company or add them to a new campaign after 6-8 months have passed. Obviously, lots of other entities compete for their attention, and unless they specifically asked you not to contact them, they won’t mind if you try to get in touch after some time. You must however check that, by that time, your prospect is still qualified.

Tone of voice

Remember, you should bring value; stay focused on making things smooth and easy for your prospect.

Don’t : Be needy or pushy.

Yeah I know, it seems obvious but way too many salespeople keep making the sales about themselves instead of about the customer. This can be caused as well by the angst of not making quota as by arrogance.

In any case, you’re not writing to your prospect to close your sale, you’re writing to help them go further in the process of you assisting them with their business. Again, you want to make buying easy for them.

Do : Use humor.

Depending on your prospect, you should highly consider using humour. We’re all human beings, and your prospect will more likely reply if you successfully made them laugh.

Cole Fox wrote a great article about how to quickly implement creative, funny and effective follow-ups.

Bottomline: it is important to constantly keep an eye out for new prospects, but not as much as following-up with the ones you already have.

How much money have you left on the table lately? Got get it, now. Reach out to those prospects you let drift away!