Emails – How Not To Send Sales Follow Up Emails

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We sell subscription software services at Go Reception, and a lot of this is done online. Here are some tips we have learned over the last few years when replying to our customers.

You’re working late, it’s already dark and the only visible light in the room is coming from your computer screen. You hear a ‘ding’ noise and realise it’s an email notification. You’re slowly moving the mouse towards the email, when a voice in your head yells “Don’t do it!” Your fingers tell you otherwise and you click open the email. Your eyes burn! It’s a sales follow up email!

A bit dramatic however these turn of events often happen in the B2B world. It’s quite the norm to send out follow up emails after a sales pitch or to reach out to someone. The big issue with those emails is that they too often scare potential clients away.

Want to know how you and your sales team could draw in more customers? Here are a few examples of how not to send sales follow up emails.

Terrifying Subject Line

Don’t be fooled by the misconceptions around follow up emails. One being, that after an interaction with a potential customer, they’ll be anticipating your email and will open it. Emails constantly get lost in inboxes, amongst the hundreds of other emails collected daily. As a software salesperson it’s important to catch the receiver’s attention with a unique subject line. The uninspiring email below showcases just how easily an email could get lost in an inbox – using a non­-descriptive subject line:


Even though the content within the email is a regular pitch, the subject line remains significantly dull. If that email sat in your inbox, would you immediately understand the context, without clicking on the email? Would you then go on to open the email? I didn’t think so. The only way that email would be opened if there happened to be a spring clean, in an attempt to get that inbox down to zero.

“Call tracking for mobile” gives absolutely no indication to why the follow up email had been sent. There’s no reference to a previous conversation or that of the organisation until much further down in the body of the email. The email was sent with the intention that the receiver will remain patient and let the email do all the work. Little did they know that no one would ever move past the subject line.

The golden rule for compiling a follow up email is to write as if it were the first time the receiver is hearing from you. Personalisation invites the reader into your email – using first names, and mentioning the receiver’s company. Include references to the last time you had spoken to them, just to refresh the receiver’s memory.

Horrid Incorrect Data

With software and big data, it’s virtually impossible to put the wrong information into your emails. It’s effortless to upload lists to email marketing software or to an automation software system. It’s vital to have all the correct data.

Nothing gets more eye rolls than reading an email that begins with “Hi First_Name.” More terrifying is sending out no data, and inaccurate data. The email below shows just how damaging it could be:


Do you notice anything fishy about the sentence, in the first bullet point? Where a phone number was entered, the name of the receiver’s organisation should have been mentioned. Yes, the email got personalisation correct however the lack of attention to detail fails to impress. Instead of the email receiving sales, it rather stands as a complete joke as the database had got it so wrong.

The next email isn’t so much about the execution of data but more so highlights the importance of updating and cleaning your database. The two shortened emails are a follow up, from attending a conference:


If you look closely both versions were sent at the same time, but to two different email addresses. This reveals that there are multiple editions of the same data within the sender’s system, but have been sent through to two seperate email addresses. No one would like to be sent the exact same email twice, seconds apart.

It’s difficult to update and keep databases clean however it is manageable. Set up notifications to tell you when your system is off. Learn from these two examples – have the correct first name, and place phone numbers in the right place.

A great to tool to organise and update data is a database management software, they will assist you with tracking your data and removing any duplicates. Though tedious, a manual audit could also do the trick, if you can get through it all.

Awful Email Copy

Nothing is more horrible than a poorly written email. In comparison to phone calls, emails give senders the opportunity to carefully structure and persuade potential customers to buy you software product, or at least inform them of how to. It’s a surprise that there are still poorly written follow up emails.

The examples below underline just how important it is for first follow up pitch emails to be close to perfect.


Analysing the formating alone, an array of concerning mistakes come up. Spacing and capitalisation is completely off. It almost seems as if the personalisation has gone wrong. A case of copy and paste. It looks poorly on the company’s skills.

The reference to “the email below” has absolutely no purpose when there is no email below to see. It’s a great attempt at referencing a previous conversation but it’s hard for the receiver to recall the interaction without the original email. The sender hasn’t mentioned his company nor the product for his follow up email. The email remains completely elusive without any correct references.

Warning: This next email is a nightmare.


There are spelling errors and incorrect data. The article mentioned has an apparent spelling mistake, found in both the content and subject line. “10 Questions to as Prospective Vendors” should be corrected to “10 Questions to A sk Prospective Vendors”. The missing ‘A’ has caused an awful experience for the receiver, leaving them completely confused.

The next error isn’t quite noticeable as it’s a reference to her data. The email was sent out based on the knowledge that Caroline is the author of the misspelt article, “10 Questions to as Prospective Vendors” which in fact is false. The article had been written by Caroline’s colleague which is stated at the top of the article. If Amber had thoroughly checked the author, the incorrect data would have been avoided. The email not only misspells the title but the sender didn’t even read the article. What a mess!

Emails as such will only scare away any prospective customers from your business. If you can’t get simple emails right, then how will you prove that your products are error free? Maybe a bit of an extreme analysis however it can be one of the main factors to why you’re failing to bring in more sales.

If personalisation isn’t something your company has time for, then triple checking correct spelling, formatting and data will do you wonders. It’s a simple approach but a necessary one if you’d like to be taken seriously. Ask your colleagues to proof read it or send it to a friend, before you hit ‘send’.

A Happy Ending

You can avoid sending terrifying sales follow up emails. To fight back against awful emails (like the examples mentioned above), you will need to familiarise yourself with the basics of copywriting. Providing your potential customers with a detailed process of how to purchase your product will speed up processes.

Don’t let the above examples elude you from sending out personalised follow up emails. Marketers (43%) have found that personalised emails often form into conversations with the receiver. A personalised pitch could make the receiver more likely to respond to your email, over the 100s of other emails lurking in their inbox.

However, proofreading should always remain as your first priority! Otherwise your email may just end up being the receiver’s joke of the day. You just can’t justify typos or incorrect data, especially when personal information has never been so easy to obtain online. Use the internet as your tool to impress prospectors – tell them about how your software can help them.

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