3 Keys to Crafting Sales Follow-ups that Actually Get Opened

I may not be a sales rep, but I understand the frustrations of an unopened email. When your job revolves around connecting with people and guiding them through the sales process, your success kind of hinges on people responding to your communications, doesn’t it?

The unfortunate reality is that a large percentage of sales emails will never be opened, no matter how well-intentioned they are. In fact, according to an analysis of over 500,000 emails sent by Yesware users, if your sales email is ever going to be opened, 91% of the time it will be opened within twenty-four hours of when you send it. The drop-off to the following day is huge: a whopping 1.68% of sales emails are opened one day later (the statistics for days two through seven aren’t any more encouraging).

Interestingly enough, 90% of the sales emails that received replies were replied to within one day of being opened — and over half of these were replied to within three hours. So what does this mean for sales reps? If your emails aren’t getting a response within twenty-four hours, you might as well write them off as lost causes, as harsh as that sounds.

But that doesn’t mean that you should give up. Yesware’s research indicates that only 19% of sales reps go on to send a follow-up email after the initial email goes unanswered, even though 25% of recipients eventually do respond if communications are consistent. This means that 81% of sales reps are missing out on the chance for a reply to one out of every four of their emails!

The lesson here is clear: a lack of response from a prospect doesn’t mean that the door is permanently closed. However, this is not an excuse to go the opposite direction and spam your prospects with emails. Here are a few ways to tastefully communicate with your prospects over time:

Use real-time prospect activity alerts to know when your emails have the highest chance of being opened.

Sending a 1:1 email to your prospects is often a shot in the dark. But with real-time alerts that let you know when someone is active on your site (provided by a marketing automation tool), you can send immediate follow-up emails that will pop into their inbox during these free moments of internet browsing. This increases the chance that your emails will be opened sooner rather than later. Another option? Pick up the phone and make a call!

Use lead nurturing to communicate with less responsive prospects over time.

You don’t have to diligently monitor your prospect’s activities to know when to send every email. In general, some of your prospects are going to be less responsive than others, likely because they’re not yet ready to make a purchasing decision. Instead of ignoring these prospects until they’re ready to come to you (because who’s to say that they will?), place them on targeted lead nurturing tracks that will automatically distribute relevant sales communications to them over time. You can set up predetermined pauses between each email so that you’re not over-communicating — or have emails trigger based on specific prospect actions.

Personalize your communications using the data at your fingertips.

It’s not enough to just communicate. Your emails need to be meaningful. A generic blast to half of your database won’t cut it. B2B buyers are looking for more personalized buying experiences, and these days, it’s the companies delivering these experiences that are winning over their business. Fortunately, marketing automation has several capabilities that can help sales reps personalize their communications — and the best part is, many of them can be handled by marketing and carried out behind the scenes. Take advantage of segmentation and behavioral data to customize emails that really appeal to their targets.

How else can you increase the chances of your sales follow-up emails being opened? Let us know if you have any ideas in the comments! (and if your emails still aren’t consistently being opened, check out this article on possible reasons why).

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