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How To Follow Up On a Sales Proposal

Sales Training
Chris Orlob
December 13, 2023

To effectively follow up on a sales proposal, do the following:

  • Create a follow-up cadence with multiple channels.
  • Send the first follow-up email an hour after the first engagement signal.
  • Study the customer’s habits to understand the best communication channels to use.
  • Be persistent. But ensure that your follow-up sequences are providing further value, not just checking in.

Understanding these factors and putting them to work ensures your follow-ups do not come across as being overly salesy. 

At Pclub, we emphasize a quality over volume approach to outbound sales, executing a data-backed follow-up strategy that determines: 

  • What you say (Messaging)
  • How you say it (Copywriting)
  • When you say it (Timing– morning or after lunch)
  • Where you say it (phone call or email)
  • How often do you say it (How many times daily)
  • What NOT to say (Deal-breakers)

Combine the tactics above with a good dose of persistence, value offering, and impeccable rapport-building and you can expect every sales proposal to consistently generate closed-won contracts. 

We’ve put together a collection of templates to help you craft the perfect follow-up message (you can download all for free here).

Understanding the sales process and cadence.

Understanding the sales process and cadence is crucial for executing an effective sales proposal follow-up strategy. 

Here’s why:

It increases the reply rate with a customized follow-up email sequence. 

Knowing the typical length of the sales cycle helps you design a customized sales cadence for each account, increasing the chances of closing the deal. 

Your follow-up cadence will prioritize long-term relationship-building if you’re selling a high-ticket offer to large businesses. That way, it’s longer and involves more touchpoints when compared to selling to a small business. 

You’ll be able to follow up on multiple channels without losing personalization.

A well-defined sales process incorporates various communication channels based on customer habits. 

Those habits, such as active hours and when they typically engage previous emails, will help you create a personalized multi-channel cadence.

That way, your messages are timely and resonate with the prospect’s interest. 

You’ll further enhance your messaging based on real-time data.

Customer behavior changes. What works today might be ineffective tomorrow.

A structured follow-up workflow lets you analyze which channels yield higher response rates and engagement in different stages.

That information then facilitates continuous improvement in your follow-up strategy for prospects.

To learn more about how the sales process and sales cadence impact your follow-up, study the chart below:

Sales Process vs Sales Cadence

Here’s an example of a multi-channel sales cadence with several touchpoints:

Key takeaway: Understanding how the sales process and sales cadence work together during sales proposal follow-ups significantly boosts reply rates. By combining customer data, value propositions, and CRM insights, your follow-ups become tailored to close deals effectively. 

This approach stands out from competitors who often use generic and unengaging "Just checking in" messages.

The Art of The Follow-Up Email

The follow-up email is not a reminder. It’s a core element in a strategic relationship-building process. 

Even though it’s part of a flexible and temporary cadence, a well-executed follow-up email builds a lasting positive impression of your company in the potential customer’s mind. 

Salespeople who don’t understand this often give up too soon. They know it takes an average of five follow-ups to close a deal

And once they “remind” the prospect about five times, they assume the prospect isn’t interested. 

No wonder almost half of all sales reps follow-up once with a prospect only once before giving up.

On the flip side, this means there is a huge opportunity for you to stand out and close deals by mastering the art of follow-up email as part of your email marketing training. 

The Perfect Cold Email SEQUENCE (3 Cold Email Sequences That Sold $100M)

In the following sections, you’ll learn practical techniques to execute a multi-channel sales proposal follow-up. 

Related: Real-world Sales Email Sequence, Templates and Examples.

10 Sales Proposal Follow-up Email Samples.

The First Follow-Up Email. When Should You Send It?

Depending on your client’s location, the best time to send your first sales proposal follow-up email is an hour after the first engagement signal. 

Some reps wait about two days before following up to come across as being pushy. While that’s not a bad way to start, it’s equally beneficial to strike iron when it's hot by reaching the client when they are most engaged with your proposal. 

However, there are different types of engagement signals (or trigger events), and how you respond to each one differs. 

Email engagement signals include:

  • Email open
  • Email link clicked
  • Email reply 

Each engagement is ranked by its order of importance and the level of customization required in your follow-up email. That determines whether you should proceed with the intended cadence or not. 

A direct reply to your sales proposal email requires a more customized reply than when the prospect opens the email but does not click. 

You can download the chart below for reference:

Now let’s take some examples of first email follow-ups:

First Email Follow-up (The Prospects Reads Your Sales Proposal)

Theme 1: Let’s get this ball rolling

Why this email works:

  • Being the first touchpoint in the sequence, this email puts a strong foot forward by avoiding the generic “Did you receive my email” follow-ups, which is an excellent first impression.
  • The email’s enthusiastic and positive tone displays genuine interest and enthusiasm, which can resonate positively with the prospect.
  • The closing statement ("Speak soon") indicates an expectation for further communication, encouraging a response from the prospect and signaling openness for ongoing dialogue.
Theme 2: The Forgotten Guarantee (That You Didn’t Actually Forget)

Why this email works:

  • The engaging subject line serves a strategic purpose. We sent this email about an hour after the first engagement signal when the proposal’s content was still fresh on the prospect’s mind.  The subject line grabs attention with a casual and relatable tone, prompting the recipient to open the email out of curiosity.
  • The purpose of the messaging is to offer additional value. So whether they are sitting on the fence after reading the proposal, the additional value can catalyze a decision by increasing their buying intent. 
  • The overall tone of the email is casual, friendly, and approachable, making it less formal and more conversational. We all forget to do things all the time. Right? The email humanizes the interaction, increasing the chance of response or continued conversation.

First Email Follow-Up Example (Objection Handling)

Theme 3: Objection handling

Why this email works:

  • The email has a good mix of positive reinforcement, empathy, and acknowledgment. This shows an understanding of their decision-making process and respects their need to involve other decision-makers.
  • The email did not just reiterate the product’s benefit; it specifically described ROI and benefits that would resonate with the recipients’ finance team. Things like ROI figures, pricing, and time-to-value help finance and procurement teams better visualize the value of your product/service and can make decisions faster. 
  • Referencing specific results or success stories experienced by other clients demonstrates real-world applications and successful outcomes of the product. So, the email promotes more credibility and potentially increased confidence.

First Email Follow-Up Example (Opens But Doesn’t Read The Sales Proposal)

Theme 4: I’ll Be Back 

You know the prospect opened the email but did not read your proposal. No rush. 

Send an email asking if they’ve had time to review the proposal and state exactly when you’ll check back with them. 

Why this email works:

  • The email adopts a no-pressure tone by acknowledging the recipient's busy schedule and assuring them there's no rush to review the proposal. Right off the bat, you’re showing the prospective customer that you respect their time and not the spammy type. 
  • The email also subtly sets an expectation in the recipient’s mind by specifying when they should expect to hear back from you. 

But you’re not going to wait till that date to circle back. That’s where your multi-channel cadence kicks in. You’ll continue with a passive top-of-the-mind interaction on LinkedIn.

  • Send a personalized LinkedIn connection request (or the potential customer’s preferred social media).
  • Comment, like, and share their posts. 
  • React to the posts they interacted with.

More Sales Follow-Up Email Templates 

So, after the first follow-up email, you want your next emails to support subsequent interactions on LinkedIn, Phone calls, voicemail, and webinars or virtual events. 

Here are more follow-up email templates you can use.

Follow-up Email Examples That Can Be Used Anywhere In The Cadence

Theme 5: You don’t want to miss this

Why this email works:

  • Reference: The message shows relevance by referencing an initial email (the proposal)
  • Personalization: The email starts with a personalized observation directed at the recipient.
  • Clear articulation of pain point: The email discusses a challenge or dilemma relevant to the recipient's industry or situation.
  • Shows social proof: Mentioning the positive outcomes achieved for other customers helps build credibility for your solution or service
Theme 6: Open for a surprise

Why this email works:

Earlier, we said your email follow-up process is an opportunity to develop a lasting relationship, not just a reminder. This email demonstrates that by introducing an exclusive gift as a token of appreciation for considering the proposal. This gesture can create a sense of reciprocity and goodwill, potentially strengthening the relationship with the prospect.

Theme 7: You’re missing out

Why this email works:

  • This email shares a case study without making it about the case study. The first line uses a friendly and casual tone to reiterate the prospective client’s pain point by prompting them to recall previous conversations. 
  • The subsequent paragraphs then show the prospect of what's possible by describing how the product solves a similar problem and delivers significant ROI. 
  • Using a friendly tone and an optimistic mood ensures the sender doesn’t come off as being pushy or annoying. 

Follow-up Email After Sending a Voicemail

Theme 8: Call me, maybe

Why this email works:

  • The purpose of this email is to get the recipient to listen to the voicemail. It conveys the message without overwhelming the recipient with unnecessary details.
  • Leaving back a phone number also encourages the potential customer to perceive you as a credible salesperson. 

Follow-Up After a Successful Meeting or Call

Theme 9: Almost there now

Why this email works:

  • The purpose of this email is to acknowledge the last interaction and move the prospect into the next stage of the cycle. It does that succinctly by proposing a specific action - a demo, call, or meeting - to advance the conversation.

Follow-up Email To Initiate a Break-up

Theme 10: One last ditch.

Why this email works:

  • The email directly states that the sender is closing the recipient's file due to a lack of communication while also opening the line of communication because it’s more of a LONG PAUSE than an absolute breakup. 

Bonus: Bad Break-Up Email Example

Theme 11: Let me give you a good reason to opt out

Why this is a bad break-up email:

  • You never actually reach out for the last time in sales. It’s okay to pause and wait for another opportunity. Salespeople. Don’t. Quit. 
  • Don’t make assumptions on the client’s behalf when the result negatively impacts your chances of closing the deal. You 100% don’t know if their current priorities have shifted. So, don’t assume. 
  • Don’t ever describe your offer in a negative tone. Even if your proposal doesn’t align with the prospect’s needs, you don’t need to point that out to them. Otherwise, you’re giving them key issues to use against you.  

Key takeaway: Follow emails are both science and art. You want to lead with data while also adding sufficient human touch. To execute a successful follow-up email sequence, you need 

  • Excellent email copywriting skills.
  • A clear understanding of B2B messaging techniques
  • Persistence with a pleasant approach 
  • A mix of direct, friendly, formal, and casual tones.

Want even more advanced emailing tips? Check out Cold Email Conversion Machine – the course that’s helped hundreds of reps with advanced email copywriting techniques to break through and generate a predictable pipeline despite economic headwinds. 

Tips for sending follow-up emails

Respond fast:

The first follow-up email should be sent an hour after the first engagement signal. It’s like striking the iron while it's hot because you’re contacting prospective customers while they are still excited.  

Add value. Don’t be pushy

Ideally, your first follow-up email should be a value-add that re-ignites your prospective client’s interest. 

  • “Just checking in” and “Did you receive my email?” will not be helpful because you should already have that information in your email tracking tool. 
  • Don’t offer an exclusive discount right off the bat. This comes across as being too salesy. 

Don’t beat yourself up

If the prospective client has not opened the email, all your follow-ups should contain a link to the proposal alone. Not blog posts. Not your shiny new Whitepaper, etc. Doing that will take attention away from the primary goal. 

Any additional info you wish to add should be described in the email and prompt them to read the proposal.

Write a killer email subject line

The subject line is your first opportunity to grab the recipient's attention. Make it relevant and personalized to the potential client. 

Provide a clear Call To Action (CTA)

In a first sales proposal follow-up email, your CTA should be tailored to encourage the prospect to take a specific action that aligns with the stage of your interaction and the content of your proposal.

A  standard email follow-up might use a CTA  such as  “looking forward to hearing from you” or  “Let me know if you have any questions.”

You want your CTA to create urgency for the next step but in a very gentle manner. For example, you can say, "Let's schedule a brief call to discuss how our solution can [address your specific pain points] to [achieve a specific result]."

Use data to improve follow-ups

Track engagement metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and any other relevant metrics to understand how prospects engage with your communication. 

You can also use CRM data integrations with lead enrichment to segment prospects according to their engagement habit or demographic data. This allows you to send more personalized emails and increase success rates.  

Tips for using these follow-up email templates

Follow-up email templates are valuable tools in the arsenal of B2B sales professionals. They provide a structured framework for your outreach, saving time and ensuring consistency. 

However, it's important to use them thoughtfully, making sure they don't come across as annoying or impersonal. We’ve all received one of those horrifying LinkedIn DMs where your first name is Dear [insert name], haven’t we?

Here's how you can harness the benefits of templates and adapt them for various scenarios, all while maintaining a personalized touch:

Personalize your templates so they're not annoying or impersonal

  • Personalization: Insert the recipient's name, mention the prospect’s company, and refer to previous interactions or specific pain points they've discussed.
  • Relevance: Ensure the template content is relevant to the prospect's industry and challenges. Generic messages can be off-putting, so tailor your template to the recipient's specific needs.
  • Tone: Follow-up emails should generally maintain a friendly, respectful, and professional tone. Check that the template’s message doesn’t come across as being overly salesy or pushy.
  • Customize the CTA: Don’t forget to adjust the CTA on the template to suit your needs. Your CTA should be actionable and relevant to the prospect.

Benefits of using follow-up email templates:

  • Time-saving & efficient: Follow-up email templates save time by providing a predetermined structure. You don't have to start from scratch with every follow-up email.
  • Consistency: Templates ensure that your messaging is consistent across your sales team, maintaining a cohesive brand voice and message.
  • Scaling: When dealing with a large number of leads, prepopulated templates allow you to reach out to numerous prospects while maintaining quality and relevance.
  • Guidance: Follow-up email templates can serve as a helpful guide, prompting you to include key information and elements in your follow-up emails.

Automating the follow-up email process

Companies that automate sales proposal management report a higher share of revenue coming from new businesses than those not using automated tools (51% vs. 39%) [Source]

Here are different ways to automate your sales proposal follow-up sequence.

  • Set custom rules to send a follow-up email if a specific action occurs, such as the prospective client opening the email. 
  • Use timezone detection to automatically reschedule emails so your recipient doesn't receive your email at odd hours.
  • Set up Out-of-office (OOO) detection to avoid sending emails when the prospect is away. That way, you’re not going to exhaust your sequence thinking the prospect is not interested in your offer when they are just not available. 
  • Set up automation rules to define and track specific trigger events. This helps you design a custom cadence when needed. 
  • Create automated notifications that inform you of the prospect’s activities on LinkedIn so you never miss the chance to increase interaction and stay on top of your mind. 
  • Use automation tools A/B test different email content or subject lines to determine the most effective messaging for follow-ups.
  • Channel-specific CRMs (such as CRMs for LinkedIn) have automation systems that can set up task reminders tied to specific accounts. 

While automation has great benefits, always prioritize relevance and personalization in your outreach.  

Phone call follow-ups

Prospecting over the phone can be strict. To convert two calls into warm leads, the sales rep must initiate at least 100 calls. 

But phone calls remain an efficient communication channel in a remote-first business setting. You just have to know how to get comfortable and close deals with cold calls.  

Here are some tips for using cold calls in your sales proposal follow-up:

  • Use cold calls more often when prospecting C-level and VP buyers. More than half of them prefer quick calls [Source]
  • Decide the best time to make a phone call after the original email based on the recipient’s level of engagement.
  • Prepare a cold call script that builds rapport by finding common ground before the call. Saying as little as “I understand we share a common LinkedIn group” can increase the success rate by 70%. [Source]
  • Ask open-ended questions when referring to your proposal. Try, “Can you describe what stood out for you in the proposal?”
  • Leave a voicemail if the prospect is not available.
  •  Track your interaction in CRMs like Hubspot and note important details. 

Follow-up best practices

Give sales reps adequate training on sending timely, relevant, personalized follow-ups.

Constant B2B sales training is important for sales reps. With B2B buyers receiving over 120 emails daily, reps must upgrade in areas like 

Collaborate as one sales team to touch base on leads from last week and plan for next week

Sales is a chain link system. The depth of your team’s skill in one step of the sales process determines the next step’s effectiveness. 

Sales leaders must enable the sales team to take a holistic view of the leads generated, ensuring that no potential opportunities fall through the cracks.

Know when to back off

Understanding when to check in with a prospect and when to step back requires a keen sense of timing and a deep understanding of your client's needs and behavior. 

This requires a keen sense of identifying signs of a disinterested client. They include:

  • Lack of response
  • Generic responses
  • Unresponsive attitude to the value proposition and exclusive offerings.

Identifying these signs alongside other data points helps determine if the client needs further education when closing their account. 

Use the last email to offer value and leave the door open to opportunities

When you sense that a client is becoming disinterested, the last email you send is pivotal. Rather than ending the conversation abruptly, it's an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism and maintain the relationship.

Here are some steps to take:

  • Offer Value: You can share industry insights, useful resources, or additional information relevant to the offer. The key here is to show that you focus on their needs, not just closing the deal.
  • Acknowledge Their Perspective: Just as we’ve shown you in the objection handling email template above, it is essential to acknowledge that you respect their time and decision, even if it's a no. This opens the door to connecting and offering assistance in the future.
  • Leave the Door Open: Conclude your email by leaving the door open for future communication. Suggest that you'd be happy to assist them should their circumstances or needs change. This keeps the relationship warm and maintains a potential opportunity for re-engagement.

Win deals with better follow-ups

The sales process is powered by persistence. However, reps must respect the client’s time and boundaries to facilitate a long-term relationship that leads to successful sales. 

An outbound sales training program like the one we offer at Pclub can help refine your sales proposal skills. Your team will learn top outbound strategies from sales leaders who have closed multiple-figure deals amidst the economic chaos. 

Learn more about how we train sales teams.

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