The Anatomy of a Successful Sales Follow Up Email

So, you’ve already done the hard part. You’ve made contact with a potential customer and told them everything they need to know about your product or service. You’ve done your best to convince them that it’s the hottest thing on the market and that they simply cannot live without it.

Even if you gave the sales pitch of your lifetime, there are many reasons why a potential customer won’t purchase your product or service on the spot. Sometimes the person you’re selling to isn’t the final decision maker. Or, maybe they’re shopping around, and you’re the first person they’ve talked to. In many cases, you’re going to have to get the customer’s attention, again, with a carefully crafted sales follow up email.

Practice Proven B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

marketing email

B2B email marketing is all about getting the attention of the decision maker(s). And the truth is, no one has time to read lengthy emails about product features and how great your company is, nor do they do want to. Sending a successful B2B marketing email involves more than creating a rehearsed, impersonal template that you send to all customers. You’ve got to make it personal, or you’ll lose their interest quickly. While it may be tempting to send a long list of reasons why your product or service is better than the competition, it’s not likely to help you get a response. You’ve already given the prospect as much information as they were ready to take in, either via email, webinar, sales demo, phone call, etc. At this point, you’re just trying to keep the conversation going. Don’t waste words and space on long-winded explanations about why you’re contacting them. Get to the point, and fast.

Make Email Marketing About Them, Not You

The main goal of your first marketing email is easy – getting it read. The next most important goal of this email is to get a response. In order to increase your chances of receiving a response to your email, you need to focus on the customer.

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

    Before you begin writing a marketing email, do some research to determine what prompted the prospect to visit your website or inquire about your services. What pages did they visit on your site? What keywords did they search for that landed them on your business website?

  2. GET PERSONAL

    Find out something personal about your prospect from an online profile or if you have any mutual connections. If they have a bio on their company website, that’s totally fair game. Use this information to break the ice in follow up email.

  3. ENGAGE THE READER

    Ask your prospect a question about their goals, using the keywords that brought them to your website. Now you’ve got their attention, because they’ve already expressed an interest in these services. Instead of telling them why they should purchase your product, allow them to arrive at the conclusion for themselves.  

  4. KEEP IT SHORT

    Keep your email, the body, and especially your signature, short and to the point. The more pictures, quotes, words and contact information you try to fit into your signature, the more the reader will be distracted from the main message of your email.

A Formula for B2B Email Marketing Success

Not sure how to apply the above strategies to your marketing emails? Let’s break it down even further, with a simple B2B email marketing formula that’s guaranteed to get a response:

  1. INTRODUCTION/EXPLANATION

    You don’t have to provide a lengthy explanation as to why you’re reaching out, but you do have to explain yourself. You can start your introduction in the subject line, with something like, “Question about your social media management goals”, or, “Ideas for improving your social media reach.”

    This way, you’ve already explained why you’re sending the email, and you still have plenty of room in the body of the email to engage with your prospect.

  2. ACKNOWLEDGE THE ISSUE

    Acknowledge the prospect’s question or issue, and show them that you’re there to help. For example, you could open with, “Thanks for downloading our eBook on social media management. It provides some really great tips for social media managers, like you.” Or, you could ask a question about their goals, such as, “Which is more important to you right now, social media marketing, reputation management, or both?” In each case, you’ve used important keywords to get the prospect’s attention, without being too pushy.

  3. GIVE THEM BENEFITS, NOT FEATURES

    Here’s where you get to do a little selling. But it can’t sound like you’re selling something. Instead, you’ve got to tell your prospect, in one short sentence, how your product or service can benefit them specifically. For instance, you could say, “Product A will help you streamline your marketing efforts with ease,” or “By using Product A, you can effectively cut your social media marketing efforts in half.”

  4. PROVE IT

    According to a study provided by PowerReviews.com, “Over 70 percent of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase.” Show your prospect what other people are saying about your product or service. Point them in the direction of some hard statistics. Rather than including a lengthy testimonial in the body of the email, you can include a snippet, with a link to the full testimonial on your website. Or, a simple link statement with a link will do: “See how Company X benefited from Product A here: [include link to case study here.]”

  5. CALL THEM TO ACTION

    Don’t leave anything up in the air. End your email with a simple yes or no question, like, “Can I follow up with you later this week to discuss your thoughts?” The simpler the question, the easier it will be for them to respond.

    Don’t ask open-ended or complex questions, like, “What do you think?”, or “How would you like to proceed?” Don’t include too many call-to-actions, either. Just one will do the trick.

Assess the Situation

You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) use all of the above elements every time. Instead, you can create templates for a few common scenarios, and then customize them to each specific prospect. This way you don’t have to start from scratch each time you go to send a follow up email. Sometimes knowing where to start is the hardest part of creating an idea marketing email follow-up sequence.

Learn more about the anatomy of a successful sales follow email with this free guide to B2B email marketing.

Download Introduction to B2B Email Marketing