Two Sales Reps battle it out: The perfect Lead Follow-Up

Written by , 19 December 2012  |  Tagged under Sales Sales Pitch Sales Followup Lead FollowUp Demand Generation

My recent rant about crappy sales follow-up’s made a tiny ripple in the Sales blogosphere, eventually reaching the main rival of the company who’s email I tore apart.

And, awesome: They couldn’t resist the temptation to see if they could do better.

A champion came forward and thrust the gauntlet.
(See the contender email in full below and, for easy reference, the original email directly below)

Due to my spotless reputation as a sales follow-up fight night referee I was asked for my verdict. Easily found at the bottom of this post :-)

The contender follow-up email

The crappy original follow-up email

The Verdict, Part I: Subject Line

Ah, subject lines, the Cape Horn of email follow-up.

Original:              “Daniel: Let’s talk”
Contender:         “Piquing your Interest?”

Alas, the contender gets shipwrecked immediately on this one. “Daniel: Let’s talk” was personalized and sounded human enough. “Piquing your Interest?” in contrast has absolutely nothing that draws me in. What is supposed to pique my interest here? And why?

Russ Henneberry of CrazyEgg broke down how to pique curiosity recently:

"To make a person curious we have to create a gap between what they know and what they want to know."

“Piquing your Interest?” doesn’t give me any detail on what the email is about, preventing me from recognizing the gap Russ outlines.

So what would have been better? Frankly, nothing fancy. Just tell me what’s in it for me, in plain language.

My recommended subject line: “Daniel, learn how gamification helps Marketing increase Sales productivity”

Was that anticlimactic? Maybe, but here is why I think it works: It speaks to a (dire) need I have in Marketing and positions the category “gamification” in context.

The “learn how” serves as the curiosity device. Right now I know next to nothing about gamification (and sadly only slightly more about how to improve sales productivity ;-).

“learn how” implies the email will tell me. Accordingly I experience Russ’ gap and get curious.

What do you think? Is my attempt really any better or is it just my inflated ego? Care to chip in with your own winning subject line? Please do (in the comments at the bottom).

The Verdict, Part II: Intro



The contender clearly outperforms the original in the intro. Instead of completely ignoring my situation (a whitepaper download) and going straight into the pitch, the contender acknowledges my download and takes that as his starting point. Good.

The Verdict, Part III: References

The customer references dropped I presume are remnants of the crappy email. I’d actually kill them outright. I think it’s too early to pitch references.
I haven’t even bought into the product category. Why should I care who and how others use the specific product? Eliminating this part will make the email shorter. A good thing as your recipient is 100% likely to be busy.

The Verdict, Part IV: Product Category

Original:             Gamification Platform
Contender:         Behavior Plaform

Platform doesn’t sound very sexy, but hey ho. In essence “behavior” is so vague that I think “gamification platform” works better.

The Verdict, Part V: Benefits

Original:              Improves user productivity and loyalty
Contender:         Engagement surges 50% or more across digital assets, increasing repeat visits, conversion and overall customer loyalty

The benefits stated in the contender email are far better. “Increasing repeat visits and conversions” are very tangible benefits, although I’m not sure what “digital assets” they apply to. “Improve productivity and loyalty” in the original are too generic to drive action.

The Verdict, Part VI: Proof

Original:               None given

A bullet list with ‘proof’. Great. That helps. Totally missing in the original.
While it’s hard to ascertain the truth of the bullet statements I don’t think that matters at this stage. I’m ok with swallowing it now, but will look for real proof later.

The Verdict, Part VII: Call-to-Action



I prefer the contender’s call-to-action, but I think both CTAs could be improved.

The call-to-action talks about what the rep presumes I want. Don’t make it about what I want. In all likelihood what I want is not a Sales call. You want to drive me to action? Tell me what you want!

I’ll stick my neck out here with my own recommendation:
“I’d love to show you how this could benefit Citrix. Are you available for a 5-minute call this week?”

The latter sentence thrown in to make the call seem less daunting. What do you think?

The Verdict, Part VIII: Niceties

Original:               None


I’m a bit undecided on this one, but think I’d skip it. It makes the email seem longer than it needs to be and has little value. If I want to unsubscribe I will. If I want to stop being hounded I’ll say so on the first call.

The final Verdict

I think the contender is a bit stronger than the original, but still think it could be much improved. My fingers are itching. I think I’ll give this a shot in the next weeks. See what you all think :-)

PS: You might also want to read the third post in this series: How to do a perfect Sales Follow-Up for Content Marketing Leads

About the Author

I’m a B2B marketer with a bit of a crush on digital marketing and an intense interest in marketing & sales alignment. I own and run this blog and the whitepaper download portal attached to it.

If you like this post I'd be happy if you'd share it on your favorite social network. Also come seek me out on Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter (@WhitepaperDepot) if you like.

PS: I also head up the Demand Generation team of Citrix’ Online Services Division in Europe, but this blog is based on my own personal experience and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the company.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow WhitepaperDepot on Twitter  Circle WhitepaperDepot on Google+  Follow WhitepaperDepot on LinkedIn  Subscribe to the WhitepaperDepot RSS Feed
Welcome. Glad you're here!

I'm a B2B marketer with a bit of a crush on digital channels.

On this blog I talk about how Marketers can use actionable B2B content to drive more leads and revenue.

I hope you'll enjoy reading. If you do, please get in touch. I'd be happy to hear from you.


Free Updates

Please enter a valid email address