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Sales Enablement - Automating Email Follow-Up

September 2017
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As sales people, we know that rarely, if ever, a sale is made on the first interaction. As sales people, it is also true that we have to follow up on that first client interaction, and for that matter as many client interactions as necessary, in a memorable way that continually adds value so prospects continue to engage with us until the sale is made. Even once the sale is made, to retain a customer, the business must ask itself, how can we continue to bring value to our customer?

One way to enable your sales team to achieve the above is to put in place a sequence of follow-up emails designed to add continual value for the prospect. A good analogy would be to think of building a house, the first sales interaction builds a solid foundation and then the follow-up process adds further detail required until you have achieved the end objective; in our case, a delighted customer.

In this blog, I will set out some advice on how to best put an email follow-up strategy in place that will allow you to engage more effectively with your buying market. We have also produced email marketing templates that give examples of what the content of these emails should look like, a link is provided below the article. 

1)    Map out what you want to say and when you want to say it.

Our email pack has mapped out a number of scenarios where it might be useful to template your email interactions. Use these as a guide and think about how they align with your prospects buying journey and audit your current email interactions to find out what patterns emerge in your sales team’s email activity.

Every sales campaign will have a number of prospects, and for whatever reason, they are not able to be reached by telephone after a number of attempts. For this scenario, it is worthwhile developing a BASHO sequence designed to engage these prospects in a helpful, engaging manner with a variety of content designed to make them want to come to you.

Another important email sequence to template out is how you follow up via email with the clients that do answer the phone. Again, this should utilise your digital assets in the most engaging way possible in order to avoid frustrating prospects with continual irrelevant emails. If you are using an automation tool such as HubSpot you can add sophisticated email automation that stops the sequence as soon as a reply is received to allow for auditing and sync with your email client to send you reminders of when to make follow-up calls. This will be particularly important to make sure a consistent and professional follow-up approach is applied to all sales cases.

2)    Make sure the templates are agile

Using templates and automating the follow-up process does not mean sending the same generic email to every prospect, this will look obvious and do quite the opposite of what we are trying to achieve with this process. So aside from the obvious blanks such as prospect name and company name, prompts should also be added for personalisation based on interactions, company news and personal activity gathered from social media.

The content of the email should not be set in stone, why send someone e-book A when the entire conversation that has just been had centred on the subject matter of e-book B?  A good way to judge if you are going to follow up with relevant and engaging content is to let the prospect know what you are going to be sending after the call. If the prospect doesn’t seem to be interested in your suggestion it might be a good idea to send another more relevant content piece in your follow-up qualifying to the prospect why you have sent it. This shows you are listening to them.

3)    Think about your audience

We have already established that the aim of this exercise is to improve the engagement of prospects. To do this everything that is being said in the emails has to be very carefully considered in relation to buyer personas. Consider “what will the prospect think when they read this email?”

Multiple sequences should be developed for each buyer persona and it’s a good idea to think about how the strategy and execution for this exercise apply to every buyer persona that has been developed. On a basic level, every persona should be engaged with the most relevant content for that persona. To go into a further level of detail, think about when each persona is most likely to read their emails and follow-up at the optimum time to ensure the email lands at the top of their inbox.

Email communication needs to be completely unambiguous in its message. Anything less can, and will, be misconstrued by prospects potentially losing the engagement of the prospect and endangering the chances of a sale being made. Before going live with the templates the full sales team should be involved in auditing the content of the emails to avoid ambiguity and ensure the relevance of the email content.

4)    Start small and build from a solid foundation

The advice I have illustrated above may seem like a grand undertaking for many sales teams. A good way to make sure email templates are implemented is to start with one sequence to one buyer persona for one scenario. Once this sequence is working and can be shown to improve the engagement of prospects the next one should be developed. The process should become easier each time a new sequence is built as the lessons learned in building all the previous sequences will apply to the new sequence. Trial and error testing will be an important part of developing a template strategy and the sales team should provide a feedback loop as to what is working, what is not working and any ideas they have to continue improving.

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Create your own automation sequence with our 'Sales Email Template Pack' for a more effective follow-up process

We've consulted some of our best performing sales team members and working with each of them, we've created a collection of email templates designed to help you make each and every interaction count.

Download your templates now