Follow up email strategy: How to craft a killer cold email sequence

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Yes, the first cold email is really important.

And a well-crafted email with all the right ingredients—personalized, packed with value, social proofing, a clear CTA—has a huge chance for new opportunities.

But in most cases, your first email may not invoke a response.

No, it’s not the fault of your cold email. It’s the time when you send the email.

Your prospect receives a bunch of cold emails each day, and your email is likely to get buried in their inbox if you haven’t sent it at the right time.

There are also chances that the prospect would have seen the email but were either too busy or distracted by something that prevented them from taking any action.

You never know unless you send them a second email.

Most sales development representatives hesitate to follow up with prospects. They don’t want to come across as spam or a stalker. So they send one cold email and wait for the prospect to respond. And when they don’t get a response, they give up.

That’s a wrong approach.

The key to getting a reply is send a follow-up email. Heather Morgan, the CEO of SalesFolk says, “Even if your first cold email doesn’t get a response, the second email has a 21% chance of being read.”

In this post, you will learn how to put together a follow-up strategy for cold emails, or in other words a sales cadence, that will help you fill up your sales pipeline and ultimately close more deals.

Click here to download your free follow up email templates

Navigate this post:

  1. How often should you send follow up emails? 
  2. When to send the follow-up email? 
  3. How to write follow up emails? 
    1. Day 3: The first follow up email
    2. Day 7: Follow up email 2 – A new thread with a different value-add and different timing
    3. Day 12: Follow up email 3 – Restating the call to action
    4. Day 18: Follow up email 4 – The ‘Quasi’ breakup email
    5. Day 23: Follow up email 5 – A new email thread giving a link to a useful resource
    6. Day 28: Follow up email 6 – The breakup email

How often should you send follow up emails? 

One of the most frequently asked questions by sales development representatives is “How often do I follow up with a prospect?” The answer would usually depend on how they interact with your email. A CRM software or email outreach tool with email tracking mechanism can help you figure that out.

Let’s take a look at some of the follow-up email strategy for different types of prospects:

  • Prospects who responded positively at least once or shown some interest but suddenly went cold

    Send follow up emails until they respond. It’s alright even if they say a firm no, or ask you to stop sending emails as long as you have their answer and can move on to other prospects.

  • For prospects who have shown very little interest like opening and clicking on your email but hasn’t replied

    Send follow up emails as long as they respond. Probably the prospect is interested in your offering but isn’t finding time to respond. You have the chance to show another value-add or benefit of your solution, or address another pain point so when the prospect is really interested in purchasing a solution, yours will be on top of their mind.

  • Prospects who aren’t interacting with your email

    Send follow up emails six to eight times. There isn’t any point following up with them beyond this. Your emails are probably going to their spam filter, and might just hurt your reputation.

When to send the follow-up email? 

The right follow up email frequency depends on your prospects. But here is a general schema to schedule the follow-up emails.

Business day 1: The cold email

Business day 3: Follow up email 1 – The first follow up email

Business day 7: Follow up email 2 – A new thread with a different value-add and different timing

Business day 12: Follow up email 3 – Restating the call to action

Business day 18: Follow up email 4 – Permission to follow up (quasi-breakup email)

Business day 23: Follow up email 5 – A new email thread giving a link to a useful resource

Business day 28: Follow up email 6 – The breakup email

There on, a follow-up email every month.

There are no hard and fast rules to set up the sales cadence. It depends on the person, the context and the relationship you have with the person. For instance, if you’re following up with someone who is incredibly busy and important like the CEO of a company, it’s best to give more time between your follow up emails— 5 to 7 days after the first follow up email and then an email each week.

How to write follow up emails?

Here are some follow-up email examples you can use to send emails to your prospects. You can also download the templates and make it your own.

Day 3: The first follow up email

For prospects who haven’t replied to your first email, send this email in the same thread. Provide a context that you had reached out to them earlier. This email should be a modified version of your first email—it should convey the same message in a different format.

freshsales follow up email

Follow up email template:

Hey {first name},

I know my previous email might’ve been an ‘educated stab’ in the dark. I’d like to apologize if I caught you at the wrong time and if you found that email a little too sales-y.

I decided to reach out to your company only because I was confident that we could add value to your current system.

Is using a {solution and the benefit} a priority for your company? If so, may I propose a short email exchange or phone call—to decide if a serious conversation is warranted? If not, thanks for your time in considering.

Please let me know what you decide, {first name}?

 

Day 7: Follow up email 2 – A new thread with a different value-add and different timing

Take this as an opportunity to provide another benefit of your solution, or address another pain point. You can also try sending this email at a different time.

freshsales follow up email with value add

Follow up email template:

Hi {first name},

I am reaching out to ask if you are happy with your current system.

We have helped many companies {quote the number}, improve {the benefit of your solution}.

Would you be interested in scheduling a 5-minute call so I could explain how you could better manage your service desk/help desk?

If not, thanks for considering.

I look forward to hearing from you {first name}.

Some links:

{Resource 1}

{Resource 2}

{Resource 3}

 

Day 12: Follow up email 3 – Restating the call to action

Simply restate your desired call to action in this email without much explanation. It can be to get on a call, point you to the right person in the organization, or simply reply to your email.

freshsales follow up email restating the CTA

Follow up email template:

Hi {first name},

I hope you had a chance to go through my previous email and it did not get buried in your inbox.

Could you connect me with the person who handles {department} in your organization, {first name}?

I look forward to you putting me in touch.

 

Day 18: Follow up email 4 – The ‘Quasi’ breakup email

If you haven’t heard from the prospect after the third follow up email, you can send them a ‘quasi’ breakup email, something in the lines ‘if this does not lie in your domain, my apologies. I only wanted to know if this is relevant to you.’ The purpose of this email is to seek their permission to follow up. If they say a firm no, then you can cease your emails with them.

freshsales follow up email quasi breakup email

Follow up email template:

Hi {first name},

The optimist in me refuses to stop until I can reach and speak with you.

We have had great success with {customer 1} and {customer 2} by improving {benefit with your product name}.

Can we get on a short call on Wednesday at 10:00 am, {first name}?

If this does not lie in your domain, my apologies. It would be amazing if you could point me in the right direction.

Call_to_action

Day 23: Follow up email 5 – A new email thread giving a link to a useful resource

At this point, you are left with people who are fairly interested in your solution but haven’t responded to your call to action. Perhaps you didn’t send it at the right time, or probably this isn’t on their top priority list right now. This is the time when you can add value by sharing some helpful materials that are useful to their industry or job. The whole idea here is to nurture these leads in your sales campaigns.

freshsales follow up email a new thread

Follow up email template:

Hi {first name},

I was just reading this article about the {impact of something on their business}.

I was hoping to have a small chat around this and talk about the processes in place for this at {company}.

{add social proofs to gain credibility and trust}

Would you mind if I drop a call next Wednesday to introduce myself, {first name}?

 

Day 28: Follow up email 6 – The breakup email

The breakup email works for prospects who have shown interest but haven’t got the chance to reply to your email. It essentially works on the principle of loss aversion. This email also tends to work because you are turning the dynamics around by choosing to walk away than pursuing the prospect. Your breakup email shouldn’t show signs of disappointment or criticism.

freshsales break up follow up email

Follow up email template:

Hi {first name},

I’ve tried to reach you a few times to go over suggestions on how you can improve your {department that uses your solution}, but haven’t heard back.

Are you interested in {solving a problem} with {your solution} at {their company name}? Let me know with a yes or no.

So, what’s your follow up email strategy?

The ‘win’ actually happens when you follow up, and following up by email is one of the best ways to increase the conversion rate. When you follow up by phone, you can easily come across as being annoying and the chances of getting a ‘maybe’ or ‘no’ is much higher. There is also a huge chance that they may turn you down even if they are genuinely interested in your solution.

The key is to keep your cold emails short and yet remain persistent. If the prospect has shown interest in your solution but did not reply to your email, keep following up with them until they respond. But if you haven’t got any response to your cold email, it’s best to stop after six emails and focus on more receptive recipients. 

These follow up email templates are a great starting point to send emails to your leads. In the meantime, let’s have a conversation. As an SDR, what’s your follow up email strategy or sales cadence? Go ahead and comment below, or tag your friends and colleagues into this discussion.

Looking to send follow up emails with ease? Sales campaigns in Freshsales helps you create a follow-up email cadence to nurture your prospects. Signup for a 30-day free trial today.

Cover illustration by Udhaya Chandran

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