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Sales professionals know that following up is a key component of closing a deal, and persistence is a key component of following up. According to research, sales reps have a 21% chance of getting a reply to a first follow-up email, and a 25% chance after subsequent follow-ups.

To be more productive, however, reps need to deploy the right messaging so that follow-up emails are as effective as possible. Because inboxes get flooded with emails and decision makers are busy with so many other tasks, sales professionals need to get the right follow-up email message out at the right time.

Use Marketing Content

Docurated’s 2015 State of Marketing Productivity Report found that 85% of marketers consider sales team support their number one priority, yet 56% of salespeople still prepare their own sales materials. Even more startling is the fact that 89% of marketing teams are increasing content spend to help sales reps tell stories that resonate, yet 56% of those reps continue to prepare and use their own customer-facing content. This major disconnect between Marketing and Sales is not helping sales professionals close deals.

The report also found that 80% of CMOs list targeted messaging as a vital component of the sales process, yet relevant content is shared with prospects only 34% of the time. Because “Marketing has the insights, resources, and intention to create the supporting content Sales needs to close deals,” it is clear that marketing teams need to better support sales teams at every step of the sales process, including the follow-up stage.

Put Evidence-Based Content and Strategies to Work

As the study shows, it is difficult for sales professionals to successfully compose follow-up emails without relevant content and the help of targeted messaging from the marketing team. Sales and marketing productivity tools such as the Docurated Sales Enablement App make evidence-based content recommendations that help surface the right content at the right time. Specifically, these tools help sales professionals find the most relevant content quickly and easily and then track the content that sells. The tools also help marketers identify which content reps are using to close deals.

Use Email Templates

Sales experts often rely on follow-up email templates to make the most of their sales efforts. While it is imperative for sales professionals to personalize emails as much as possible, templates can save enterprise sales teams time, thereby increasing efficiency. As with any other part of the sales process, follow-up email templates range from simple to complex.

Follow-Up Email Best Practices to Put Into Place Now

Once you've incorporated content and created email templates, you're more than halfway to a successful sales follow-up. To get the rest of the way there, do the following 11 things:

  1. Create powerful, engaging subject lines
  2. Include visuals
  3. Be persistent
  4. Include action-based buttons and calls to action
  5. Send email on the best performing days and times
  6. Keep your email as brief as possible
  7. Personalize as much as you can (never send a generic "just checking in" follow-up email)
  8. Set up the next step but acknowledge that your prospect is free to take it or not
  9. Take a customer-centric approach, rather than pushing your product or service
  10. Proofread before hitting “send”
  11. Include a professional signature

By utilizing data from marketing teams and employing sales and marketing productivity tools, enterprise-level sales professionals will be much better equipped to get the right message to prospects in their follow-up emails and close more deals.

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Originally published May 13, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Sales Emails