Mastering Your Follow-Up to Prospects | Clarity Stack Blog

No Response? No Problem. Mastering Your Follow-Up to Prospects

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How many times should you contact a prospect before accepting they’re not going to get back to you? Some people genuinely forget to reply, but you were really hoping for a reply. What do you do?

There’s a fine line between a well-intentioned follow-up and being overly persistent. With the right follow-up approach in your marketing or sales strategy you can resurrect withering leads and even help to warm up those who are already keen to the point where they’re ready to buy. The problem is, in sales and marketing it’s easy to get impatient - especially when you have managers pushing you to hit your targets and you just want to get new leads into the pipeline.

The problem is, the prospects aren’t always as keen to get back to you and might not have the time to get back to you. Some may have simply forgotten to reply if your message landed in their inbox at the wrong time (we’ve all read things at 3:45pm on a Friday and left it until the following week to reply, only to forget!)

Also, were you even expecting a reply? Some marketing messages are designed to engage the reader and might have a really effective CTA, but if your message doesn’t entice them to click then even the most cleverly crafted CTA isn’t going to work. Your follow-up needs to be carefully crafted and sent to the right person at the right time, because if you can settle in for the long haul you’ll get your rewards in the end.

Playing the long game

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to email marketing or outreach is that responses don’t always come from the first contact. You might look in your email platform and find that the same names are opening each email you send, clicking on the links and not converting or sending you a message back. This shows that they are clearly engaged with what you’re sending, they’re just not willing to engage with you personally or to invest in your product or service. 

However, this open and click data can be used for follow-up campaigns and it is often these that are the most effective. A well-written follow-up email to an individual, rather than an entire contact list segment, can be just what is needed to prompt the prospect into replying (having previously forgotten) or it could provide the extra information they didn’t get before which prevented them from getting back to you last time.

If someone hasn’t replied you should never assume that they’re simply not interested. After all, it’s a requirement that you give people on your mailing list the opportunity to unsubscribe from your emails so if they choose not to hit the unsubscribe button, you’re within your right to follow-up to gauge their interest. It could simply be the case that they didn’t reply because something came up or the phone rang, perhaps they got called into a meeting and returned to a packed inbox and a mounting list of jobs.

Are you adding value?

Whenever you send an additional message to someone by email you want to ensure that you’re adding value. 

If you sit back in your chair and read over the message before you hit send and ask yourself “is this giving them something they didn’t know before” and the answer is no, don’t send it. If the answer is yes, however, then that is a well-intentioned follow-up that could turn that prospect into a qualified, warm lead who may eventually become a customer.

5 top tips to master your follow-ups

Now that we've explained the value of follow-up emails and the importance of biding your time without becoming too persistent, it’s time to share our top tips to help you master your follow-up emails:

Contact the clickers

If you’re doing your prospecting correctly then you’re likely to be contacting busy people who are probably receiving loads of messages and follow-ups just like yours. What this means is that you need to consider their diary and potential reaction when they receive your message. Use your email platform data to your advantage and monitor the times and days that they’ve opened your previous messages, and if they’ve clicked any of the links. 

As mentioned previously, clickers are great potential prospects so if you can contact the right person at the right time with the right message you’re much more likely to get the response (positive or negative) that you’re looking for.

Get creative

Don’t just sit there and  type out a message along the lines of “I hope you received my message last week, I wondered if you had any thoughts?” That’s getting deleted straight away. You need to get creative.

A memorable email or one that contains humour (not purely GIFs, they have a time and place), is much more likely to relate to the recipient because it stands out. If they’re receiving hundreds of messages a day it’s important that you stand out from the crowd.

Get to the point

People are busy, especially those in decision-making positions, so it’s vital that you get to the point. The reason they didn’t respond before was because they were too busy, and the chances are that this time around they might not even remember your previous message, so it’s important that you get down to business. 

A perfect blend of the human element and clarity lets them understand what you’re contacting them for, and helps to get your response or at least a “mark as unread” for later rather than a simple delete. 

Would you reply?

Before you hit send ask yourself the question we raised earlier - would you reply? Does your message warrant a reply, and is it clear that you’re looking to strike up a conversation or just share some information with them. Don’t hit send until you can say that you would definitely reply to the message.

Be bold, not a spammer

Sometimes it’s that sheer confidence in your email that gets you the reply. If you give off a spammy vibe with poorly programmed code sending out an opener like “Hi [first name]”, you’re going in the junk folder and you’re not getting a reply. People know what spam looks like, we all get it, so it’s crucial that you offer genuine value and something that they can relate to.

Just when you might think that all hope is lost with a certain prospect and they’re never going to reply, one more follow-up might be the one that gets you over the line and helps you to get them into the pipeline for a conversation, onto a free trial or to schedule a demo.

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