I hate following up and I try to avoid it whenever possible (See the script I use below). But when you do have to follow-up, you might as well use an email that’s proven to work.
Recently, I was connected with Hubspot. And by connected I mean I cold emailed them.
If you haven’t heard of Hubspot let me give you the highlights.
- Inbound marketing and email platform with 10,000 customers in 65 countries
- Raised $100.5 million from Google and Salesforce
Think of them like B2B landing pages and blogs on steroids.
To grow the business to 10,000 customers they’ve needed to send a lot of emails. Today they are going to share three of the best emails they’ve used to follow-up.
Additionally, you’re invited to our upcoming free webinar – How To Follow Up: Proven Strategies and Email Templates (More on that later)
Enter John Sherer from Signals by Hubspot
There’s nothing worse than when a person suddenly goes cold – they won’t get on a call and aren’t responding to emails.
Obviously you need to follow-up, but you can’t afford to lose them with below average email skills. Sending crappy emails won’t make them suddenly think, “Oh yes, I’ve been waiting for the day this salesman reaches out to me to buy their product!”
Below I deconstruct three terrible (yet surprisingly common) follow-up emails. I look at what’s wrong with the email and provide 3 email templates that have worked for us.
Terrible Follow-Up Email #1
I hope you have some good weekend plans. I was going back through my notes and I see that you were going to connect with your president Catherine yesterday to determine if setting up an executive presentation was possible.
What’s the latest?
What’s wrong with this email?
- The first two sentences are fillers. Adding familiarity doesn’t come off as genuine. Show UNIQUE interest in the person you’re emailing.
- The call-to-action at the end just asks for an update. If your objective is a meeting, request a meeting.
How do you fix this email?
Google Alerts really can give you a window into your prospects world. When I meet with a prospect I typically set up a Google Alert for my prospect’s “company name”, “competition”, and “industry keywords.” That way, Google can email me whenever new links on the web match that information. I use those triggers to customize my follow-up emails.
So instead of the email above — here’s an example of what I use.
Follow-Up Email Template #1
I was just told that the competitor you mentioned, Massive Steel picked-up a large contract with the Canadian Government. We discussed Massive Steel’s web presence in comparison to yours last we talked. Does your team think their website had any impact on the deal?
Last quarter, several clients ran a new style email campaign that increased leads for their sales team. It’s straightforward and simple to implement.
Does it still make sense to discuss your website? If so, how does your calendar look to talk?
Here’s why this email works –
- The email immediately opens with news about the prospect – very recent information on a competitor.
- The second paragraph transitions the new announcement to how I can uniquely help them.
- We have several more examples in the follow-up email webinar.
Terrible Follow-Up Email # 2
How are you?
Last time we chatted, you said I could check-in in six months.
So – here I am! Wanted to touch base and see if there’s anything I can help you with.
Do you have ten minutes to speak tomorrow? I’m available at 10am and 2pm EST. Let me know what works.
What’s wrong with this email?
- The reason for reaching out is weak – if someone didn’t care six months ago, they aren’t going to magically care now.
- What’s the purpose of the meeting? There’s no clear reminder of the challenges they have that you help solve.
- Speaking tomorrow is an aggressive timetable – if someone hasn’t heard from you in six months, why are they going to jump on a call with you immediately?
How to follow-up with a trigger-event
Rather than checking-in periodically, check-in when relevant. One way to peek into your prospects brain is by using Signals — it sends you notification when your emails are opened and clicked.
If someone asked me to follow-up in three months but just opened my email or clicked a link on my website those are triggers that they me interested in a conversation.
So even though the prospect said to connect in three months, if I see that they’ve been opening my email 2-3 times in one day and it’s only been two months, I’m going to reach out right there and when I’m top of mind. Here’s a sample follow-up email –
Follow-Up Email Template # 2
Last we chatted, you requested that I get in touch in November. I may be a month early, but I figured it’d be worth checking-in.
Have you given any additional thought to the proposal? I’d be happy to do a quick review of it on the phone and answer any pending questions.
What does your calendar look like to talk?
Using Signals to track my emails helped me in a couple ways –
- Although the email looks generic, I know the prospect opened my previous emails 2-3 times. So now I’m catching them when our business is top-of-mind.
- The next-step isn’t to force more information, but to have a short call.
- The email as a whole is brief and gets right to the point without wasting the prospect’s time.
A Note From Bryan:
If someone asks you to follow up in a set amount of time, don’t fret.
They need to work stuff out before it makes sense to talk. The mistake that I made for years was to not find out what needed to change between now and then.
The time ( 6 months in this case) doesn’t represent anything. It’s what changes for them over 6 months that makes a difference.
Many people will just keep having you follow-up because it is easier than saying no to you.
Watch out for the prospect who is stringing you along. Cut ties with them. Unless you like wasting time and working for free.
1 of the 8 techniques in the Breakthrough Follow-Up System is below.
This will help you save time and eliminate the follow-up altogether.
Prospect: “Now isn’t the best time. Can you follow-up in 6 months?”
Bryan: “I’m happy to. Let’s see 6-months, when is that?”
Prospect: “Well if it is August now, how about February.”
Bryan: “Great I will follow up in February. What needs to change between now and February for it to make sense for us to talk?”
Prospect: “Well, we are doing an implementation right now and merging systems with a company we just acquired. We can’t even begin to think about new systems until after the first part of the year.”
Prospect: “I’m not exactly sure what will change. You never know. It’s totally up to you.”
When I hear a bad response like this I pretty much write them off. So for a bad answer I just throw them into my email nurturing system. I’m assuming nothing will happen, but you never know. I’m definitely not losing sleep over them.
For the prospects with a good answer I plaud ahead.
Prospect: “Well, we are doing an implementation right now and merging systems with the company we just acquired. Until after the first of the year we won’t even be able to look at new systems.”
Bryan: “Got it. You mind if we put something on the calendar for February to touch base?”
Prospect: “Sure.” [We schedule follow up conversation and I send the calendar invite.]
Prospect: “You know, I’m not really sure about my schedule. Why don’t you just send me an email.”
Bryan: “I have to be honest, I personally hate following up because I always feel that I’m bugging people. Do you mind if we schedule something for say 10 or 15 minutes. It can be tentative, if we need to cancel it is totally fine. How does that sound?”
Prospect: “Yeah, that would be fine.” [Schedule the meeting]
A small percentage won’t schedule the meeting and I will just put them in my follow up system. The majority do schedule the meeting.
What I’ve done here is eliminate the need to follow-up.
I’ve also tested the other person’s motivation. The last thing I want to do is follow-up with someone who doesn’t have a reason to buy and just isn’t comfortable saying no.
Terrible Follow-Up Email # 3
How’s it going? I hope you are having a great Monday.
I’m just writing to touch base on our last conversation.
We’ve had multiple wins over here. We were just nominated for the Who’s Who of Ohio. Also, I just had a baby so it’s been crazy for me to.
I hope you are well.
What’s wrong with this email?
- Insincere opening with no relevance.
- There’s no clear request.
- The prospect doesn’t care about your business or your awards.
- The relationship sell can work, but it can also backfire.
How do I fix this email?
With the paid version of Signals I can track website visit alerts. I set alerts to see which pages the prospects are viewing on my website. I then use that information to follow-up like this —
Follow-Up Email Template # 3
Hunter, three teammates of yours were looking at our product page this week. I’ve included an example of one below.
The product page they are all viewing is focused on helping reps close deals at an accelerated rate.
Do you have 10 minutes to discuss the tools your team has been researching? Would they like to join the call? If so, how does your calendar look?
Here’s why this email works –
- The email immediately opens with activity or information from the prospect.
- There’s visual proof that people from their company are interested.
- The next step is relevant to what they are researching.
- By sending the follow up email when their team is curious, we increase the likelihood that they’ll respond.
- Stop wasting your prospects time with unrelated small talk… it’s not going to work.
- Be clear in your request.
- Leverage timeliness — whether its something big happening in your prospects market or they have opened your email several times.
- Follow-up should be short and simple.
- Above all, try to eliminate follow-up altogether. When you have a conversation, schedule a tentative time to talk again.
These templates are what have worked for me, but I’ve loved to hear what else has worked for you.
Bryan here. I mentioned we have an upcoming webinar. Here are the details – How To Follow Up: Proven Strategies and Email Templates
We’re going to share…
1. What to do when someone never responds — the two proven emails to send (that get a 70% response rate)
2. How to follow-up in a way that predictably translates to sales
3. The one thing that prospects actually care about and how to use it to ensure you get a response (including email templates)
4. The 7 most common follow-up mistakes salespeople make and how top performers avoid them.