How often should you really follow-up with a prospect [data backed]
Everybody’s been there. We’ve all gotten that classic experience with a sales professional. And that person won’t stop blowing up your inbox.
But really, how important is it to follow-up? Very important.
A study by Harvard Business Review found that 56% of prospects complain about poor follow-ups.
And 48% of those prospects will tell at least 10 people about their poor follow-up experience.
There will be times when you talk to a prospect on your first attempt. And, at times, you’ll have to fight for their attention through consistent follow-ups.
Most of the time, everybody can see the importance and value in the follow-up; they just want to have an experience that doesn’t leave them annoyed and disrespected. With 80% of sales within an organization being generated by 20% of an organization’s sales execs, it’s this 20% who consistently follow-up with tact & effectiveness
So how do you follow-up and avoid being viewed as annoying?
In this post, I’ll walk you through the ideal frequency of follow-ups and a few techniques that will help you follow-up with a prospect in order to get them to not only respond, but also to take action.
Let’s get to it...
Cold lead follow-up frequency
Cold email outreach is a huge part of inside sales. If you’re not following-up though, it’s very likely that you’re sending cold emails and not producing the response rates that you want.
In fact, some of our recent data found that there is less than a 5% response rate for the average cold email sent out by most sales pros. But when they start to send strong follow-up emails…the response rate quickly begins to rise.
It is known across the industry that you want to keep the prospect as the focus of the email and explain what’s in it for them. Send them a resource (i.e., whitepaper or case study) about how your product has helped many similar organizations accomplish their goals.
While there are no rules on how you should tackle this, you should space your cold follow-up emails like this:
- Send out the first email.
- A day later, at a different time of the day: Follow-up #1
- This should be an edited version of your initial message, just presented differently. For example, if you wrote a message that was many paragraphs, make the follow-up shorter
- 2 days after your second email: Follow-up #2
- Mention your call to action. See if the prospect is willing to schedule a call or a demo or to respond to your message.
- 4-5 days after your third email: Follow-up #3
- Oh, the break-up email. It’s an email where you say goodbye to the prospect. This is where you are the one walking away. And for those prospects that were interested, but didn’t have the time to respond — this follow-up could spark their interest again.
Follow-up success depends on the same techniques that go into great communication:
- Personalize the email
- Add value to the recipient
- Never disrespect the reader
- Show that you’ve done research
- Embrace going the extra mile
You need to provide value and show them that you understand their pain points. By doing that, it might mean fewer follow-ups and more communication with the prospect.
Warm lead follow-up frequency
With warm leads, it’s a completely different ball game. There is no timeline. You have to follow-up until you get a yes or a hard no.
Search Engine Journal did some research on warm leads versus cold and found some interesting results.
They concluded that search-driven leads have a 14.6% close rate compared to just 1.7% for cold leads.
Since you’ve had some interaction and wasn’t given a definite no, then follow-up as long as it takes to get a response. Don’t stop following-up until you get a response of some sort. It might seem like you’re being spammy but here’s the truth:
You might actually be finding yourself in their junk mail…
You might be getting caught up in a firewall…
You might be just one day away from getting a yes…
There are two things every Inside Sales pro nurturing warm leads should think about when following-up: frequency and relevance. You want to be persistent, without being a pain, and you want the emails to be relevant, yet straightforward. For frequency, here’s our suggestion on how to space them out:
- Day 1: First follow-up (+2)
- Day 3: Follow-up (+4)
- Day 7: Follow-up (+7)
- Day 14: Follow-up (+14)
- Day 28: Follow-up (+30)
- Day 58: Follow-up (+30)
- … (from there on once a month)
It doesn't have to be hard or complex.
You can automate your email follow-ups using a CRM (like Close) by using email sequences, which offer the ability to follow-up in bulk over long periods of time. The best part is that you can write a series of emails once and automatically send the sequence on a schedule (like the one above) over the course of days or weeks.
Your job is just to keep selling your business or your product and reminding the recipient of how relevant and valuable your offer or the solution is that you’re providing. And if someone tells you they're not interested, thank them for their time and walk away in a professional manner.
Follow-up emails have the opportunity to convert leads, build stronger connections and close deals that seemed out of reach. The difficult part is making your prospects want to write back. The most effective follow-ups are those that have a sense of urgency. Have a reason for them to keep speaking with you to help close that deal.
We always say that the follow-up is the most underrated part of the startup hustle. Grab your free copy of The Follow-Up Formula and start dominating your competition.