Top Sales Follow-Up Statistics & Tips [2021 Data]

April 21, 2021 | 
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Most salespeople know that following up can make a significant difference in their outreach strategy. Follow-ups can turn a cold email that goes unanswered into a mutually beneficial conversation that leads to a close.

Yet nearly half of sales reps don’t follow up at all.

In 2021, all sales teams should have a strong and consistent follow-up strategy implemented into their sales process.

Our data tells us that the average sales rep sends two follow-up emails. But is this enough?

To find some of the most recent follow-up statistics and tips to help guide your sales strategy, we looked at 10 million email threads from sales professionals that were sent from 2020-2021. Let’s take a look.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

How to Follow Up on a Sales Lead

Before we dive into some top sales follow-up statistics, let’s first look at what a good follow-up email looks like and our tips for engaging with recipients and generating a reply.

1. Provide Value

Effective follow-up emails don’t ask your prospect for something, they show your prospect what you can do for them.

With every follow-up, you should focus on continuing to demonstrate the value that you can provide.

One of the best ways you can do this is to share content that’s relevant to their pain points and current challenges.

Here’s an example:

sales follow-up email example

2. Be Concise

It’s easy to get carried away with your follow-ups when the focus is on sparking conversation, demonstrating value, and creating connections. But you also need to make sure you’re not smothering the recipient with long text.

Be concise and get to the point.

When sending follow-up emails, always make sure your ask is clear and that the recipient knows why you’re reaching out.

You can do this is by using bold words, bullet points, or numbers to separate your ideas and draw the recipient’s attention to important information.

If you make it easier for your prospect to find the main points of the message before clicking away, they’re likely to stay on your message longer (especially if the points resonate with them).

sales follow-up email format

3. Communicate Through Various Channels

Salespeople today know the importance of using various channels for communication.

It’s important to have a multi-channel approach when it comes to sales prospecting. Every prospect has a different preference for communication, and it ultimately increases your visibility and likeliness of connection.

When implementing your follow-up strategy, try connecting and reaching out to prospects via social media. In fact, studies show that salespeople who use social media as a sales channel are 51% more likely to hit their sales quota than those who don’t. That’s the power of social selling.

Also, cold calling isn’t dead. Try to implement phone calls into your cadence as well to determine the best means of communication. And after your cold call, leave a voicemail or send a follow-up email indicating that you reached out.

With sales tools like Yesware, you can automatically incorporate various channels into your outreach and follow-up cadence.

email campaigns for social media, manual email, custom tasks, calls, etc.

4. Personalize Your Message

When it comes to follow-up emails, throw out your one-size-fits-all tactics. It’s important to make your message as personable and relevant to the specific prospect as possible.

One of the best ways you can do this is by using LinkedIn to find shared backgrounds, hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc.

Highlighting unusual similarities — especially in cold outreach — could be the leg up you need to get a reply from someone who might otherwise ignore you.

Here’s an example of a personalized email that uses a connection:

follow-up email sample

Tip: Make sure your subject line is engaging and reflects the context of your message. Here are some top-performing subject lines to help boost your open rates.

5. Be consistent

Our data as well as various sales experts recommend that your follow-up cadence be around six to seven follow-ups over a three-week span.

Over the three weeks, continue to send regular follow-ups until you get a response.

At the end of this time frame, if haven’t gotten a response, you can confidently conclude that now isn’t the right time for this prospect. Leave them with a final piece of value and where to contact you if the time is right in the future.

Now, let’s look at some sales follow-up statistics to back this up.

Number of Times to Follow Up & Cadence

To find the optimal number of follow-ups and time between each email, we looked at 10 million email threads sent by salespeople.

We found that the most successful cadence based on replies is six touches in the span of roughly three weeks.

The follow-up cadence chart below shows the average cadence used by reps who received replies vs. those who didn’t.

sales follow-up statistics: average follow-up cadenceWhat the chart above tells you:

  • Follow-up #1: 3 days
  • Follow-up #2: 7 days
  • Follow-up #3: 11 days
  • Follow-up #4: 15 days
  • Follow-up #5: 19 days
  • Follow-up #6: 22 days

Looking at the data, it’s evident that you should spread your follow-ups out by roughly three to four days. The chart also shows that waiting more than four days typically leads to less of a chance of getting a response.

Tip: Once you implement a successful cadence, create an email campaign so that all messages will send on their own. Set custom times and cadence for each touch and recipients will be automatically removed if they reply or book a meeting.

The Best Time of Day to Follow Up

Another common question when it comes to sales follow-up statistics is the best time of day to follow up.

We recommend you try different times throughout the day for each follow-up.

Why? Because if you weren’t successful with the previous follow-up email and you try again at that exact same time, you’re missing out on reaching the recipient’s inbox at their most active hour. After all, every working professional has a different schedule.

But to help lead you in the right direction, let’s look at our data for the best time to send emails that show the average email replies throughout the workday.

sales follow-up statistics: best time to send follow upWhat the chart above tells you:

  • The best time to send an email based on reply rates is 1 PM.
  • The second-best time to send an email is 11 AM.
  • Low reply volume exists between the time of 8 PM-7 AM.
  • There’s a sudden incline in reply volume when returning from lunch (12 PM-1 PM).

So, although you should try different times in your follow-ups to see what works best for your recipients, use this data as an indication of the most active and inactive time periods. 

Overall, your ideal time blocks for email outreach are 1-3 PM and 9-11 AM.

Top Sales Follow-Up Statistic: The 24 Hour Rule

To break down the significance of your first follow-up, we looked further into that specific message and found that sales reps who follow up within a day actually see a higher reply rate.

Our data shows that sales reps who follow up within a day of their initial outreach receive about a 25% reply rate on average.

To clarify, we don’t necessarily recommend sending subsequent emails day after day, but for your first follow-up email, sending this message within 24 hours can significantly increase your chances of getting a reply.

sales follow-up statistics: first follow-up timing breakdown

The Most Effective Sales Follow Up Templates

Now, let’s look at some top-performing sales follow-up templates to help you implement your strategy with the above statistics.

1. The Reference Follow-Up Template

Hi {!FirstName},

I just spoke with {!Person} over the phone who pointed me in your direction.

I reached out to {!Person} because I noticed that your {!Department} team is {!Pained situation}, which we hear is a major challenge {!Why/how it’s challenging}.

{!My Company} would automatically {!Paint the solution}. {!Person} suggested we have a conversation.

Could you and I arrange 15 minutes this week to explore how {!Your Company} could leverage {!My Company}?

2. Redemonstrate the Value/ Second Pitch

Hi {First Name!},

I know you’re busy so I wanted to reach back out about my earlier request — have you had a chance to review the {!What you sent over} that I sent over {!When you sent it}?

{!1 sentence summarizing what you have is new, comprehensive, or groundbreaking}

{!Finding 1}

{!Finding 2}

{!Finding 3}

And more… Reattaching the {!Report or other source of further info}.

Thank you for your time and looking forward to your feedback,

3. Follow-Up Email Template for Inbound Lead

Hi {!First Name},

I noticed you got a chance to take a look at some of our content, specifically the piece {!Title of content}. I hope you found some value there!

{!Question triggering pain point}? It’s a reality in {!Their field} today, and the reason why {!How your company aligns}. I would love to {!action you’re looking for} {!what it accomplishes for them}. {!Statement that shows your differentiation}. 

{!First name}, do you have {!amount of time} free on {!Day} {!time of day}?

Tip: Save these email templates in your inbox and create a library of ready-to-go messaging for the entire sales cycle — accessible in your Outlook or Gmail inbox. Try for free today!

4. Case Study Follow-Up Email

Hi {!First Name},

I know we’re still in a holding pattern, but I wanted to send over a customer case study that speaks to how {!Customer Name} leveraged {!type of product/service you offer} to {!What they accomplished — HARD METRIC}. 

What sort of timelines do you think we’re looking at to pick this back up?

Thanks!

5. Follow-Up Email After No Response

Hi {!First Name},

In case you missed my email {!week/day you sent it}, {!restate why you’re reaching out}. {!Value statement specific to recipient}.

My ask for you:

  • {!First part of ask}
  • {!Second part of ask}

{!Any additional information}.

Looking forward to your reply,

6. The “Break Up” Follow-Up Email

Hi {!First Name},

I’ve been reaching out because I see a great opportunity for your team to {!Outcome 1}, {!Outcome 2}, and {!Outcome 3}.

Hate to be a bother, so I’ll plan on reconnecting in a few months, unless you tell me you’re ready to evaluate sooner. If you were interested in getting your team on a pilot period to try us out, I could help set that up too.

In the meantime, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for {!Your company} news!

Thanks for your time.

Conclusion

In sales, it certainly pays to be proactive.

Ultimately, with every follow-up email you send, you increase your chances of getting a reply. 

Take these sales follow-up statistics and build out/edit your cadence to see if it drives results.

Continue to reflect on your sequence and what elements need improvement. And always track the performance of your emails so you’re on top of your response rates, open rates, conversion rates, and ultimately what messaging is resonating with recipients and what’s not.

 

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