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Sales Follow-up Email: Share This Example With Your Team

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Wed, Jun 02, 2010

A few weeks back, I received a truly excellent whitepaper follow-up email from a sales rep. The email so impressed me that I immediately shared it with my team as an example of what to do.

Since Trish recently shared The Worst Sales Email EVER, I wanted to put up this email as its direct antithesis.

What I liked

  • A Reference and link to the specific item that interested me
    Far too often, Inside Sales Reps will make passing mention of "the whitepaper you downloaded". By being specific, it shows that the Rep is tuned in to the topic that originally got my attention and make the email instantly relevant to me.
  • A conclusion based on the report
    Better than a reference to the item I downloaded, Reps can share their impression, or a notable conclusion, from it. While not requiring profound analysis, these comments will set Reps apart in that they aren't simply "following up," but have some insight into why I would have downloaded the report in the first place.
  • It offered addtional value
    I particularly like that (at right) another related and relevant piece of content is offered to me. This isn't simply the next webinar or latest download piece, but a complimentary report to what I already responded to.
  • It sells the conversation
    I've shared my thoughts on that topic before. I appreciate the way that the Rep gives me the option to raise my hand and say "You know what? You seem like you might get what is is I do here. Let's talk."

So what's the takeaway?

I ran across this article from Ardath Albee Staying Top of Mind is Not the Goal for Email Marketing. To re-work her conclusion (bold being my words):

In essence, checking in must become selling the conversation. Checking in is tactical. Selling the conversation is strategic. It's a different mindset. The process of selling the conversation helps companies focus on prospects, instead of on themselves. And that's what matters to your buyers.

I am very interested in your thoughts. Please share in the comments.


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Thanks for the shout out! We're glad you like the approach. This illustrates the concept of a "bridge" email which we explored in a recent post at: - where we send a contextually relevant follow up communication based on lead source in order to bridge the contact into a longer term welcome or nurture program.

posted @ Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:30 PM by Elle Woulfe

Hi Matt, 
Nice re-purposing of my sentence! :-)  
Thanks for including me in your post. 

posted @ Wednesday, June 02, 2010 2:13 PM by Ardath Albee

Great post Matt, I learned some best practice from it. 

posted @ Wednesday, June 02, 2010 5:11 PM by Yves Matson

I believe the gist of the difference is the "service mentality" of the best companies. If you are serving the recipient of the email, you would not be "checking it." You would be calling to help in some way - that's a service mindset. 
Think service every day. How can I help this person? It serves well. 
Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor 
President, Find New Customers "Lead Generation Made Simple"

posted @ Wednesday, June 02, 2010 10:42 PM by Jeff Ogden

These are great tips Matt. If I I'm the customer reading this email, it's like getting a reminder overview of what I need - it's, clear, concise and to the point.

posted @ Tuesday, June 08, 2010 12:37 AM by Ayeen

Personally, I find the email followup by Aberdeen to be a bit pitchy & congested. It feels disingenuous in nature, because although the script implies the email was personally crafted for the recipient, the opposite is rather obvious. 
I think it comes down to a matter of scale. Aberdeen's email may be more successful with larger-scale companies (as it creates the appearance of a personal touch & can be delivered en-masse without much template change), but to be considered a great "follow up" it is too broad-scope and wide-targeting. I wouldn't even call it a "follow up". I would call it simply a targeted sales email. 
My approach to follow up emails is to focus on staying minimalistic & sincere. The need for a follow up implies the recipient has not already been moved to action. Therefore, there is the notion that your follow up email is an intrusion. It should be crafted with acknowledgement to this intrusion by sticking to the point, asking a couple of questions and (most importantly) generating a sense of sincerity. These strategies help to cultivate a feeling of genuine interest in the potential client, which can help drive a response and start the process of rapport-building. 
This example seems to be overloading the recipient with links, colors, banners and bullets. It would be more appropriate for a requested (and therefore expected) email vs. an obtrusive follow up. 
The Aberdeen letter claims it is following up to "gauge (the recipient's) interest". But the VERY next sentence begins with "Here is why I love.....", thus losing the previously attempted sense of sincerity. If the sender was truly interested in gauging the recipient's interest, he/she would not have immediately jumped into the what the sender likes about the tool. He/she would have stuck to assessing what the recipient's needs may be, asking questions on how better to help. 
My strategy on follow ups is the following:  
Don't assume you know what the customer is looking for. Don't overload his or her senses with a wealth of links and excellent-sounding sales points. Those are great for the website, but for a follow up email they are alienating and disingenuous. Be shorter, ask questions, generate a feeling of sincere interest in solving the potential client's problems.  
Aberdeen's email is fine for an automated salesforce, but for a human sales team the goal should be pushing towards sincerity, generosity & a genuine interest in helping.  
Just my thoughts. Hopefully I wasn't too critical.

posted @ Monday, February 13, 2012 12:32 AM by John J.

I think follow up emails are great way to connect after a job interview and 
also with business prospects. A personal email can really show high 
interest and bridge a relationship with that person. I wrote article and 
video about it also. for more info you can look at it here 

posted @ Sunday, April 15, 2012 11:47 PM by jason

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