How to Write a Follow-up Email After No Response (+Examples from top SDRs)

Notice the light giggles, the muffled corner table discussions growing louder?

The whooshes let go by rolling chairs as people keep getting up and down?

The Pavlovian sounds of Slack and Microsoft notifications ping ponging across the halls?

We may have a theory. Are you starting to notice these sounds now because of the lack of replies from your follow-ups? Only crickets after sending hundreds and thousands of follow up emails?

Don’t panic.

SDRs the world over have been there, and done that. Think of this an opportunity for you to look at your follow-up emails microscopically.

  • What’s going wrong? 
  • Subject lines not catching eyes? 
  • Personalizations not enough?
  • How can you better convey your value to the prospect?

Here and now, we tell you how to write a follow-up message that your prospects cannot ignore–or at least move them enough to consider your follow-up.

A Pro Guide on How to Write a Cold Email in 2023

1) How to write a follow-up email after no response?

Firstly, get into the minds of the prospect. Answer common questions that spring up in the mind of the email receiver, “Why should I care?”, “What’s in it for me?”, “Who, What, Why are you emailing me?”

To write an email that is prospect-centric, follow this 4-step methodology: 

  • Step 1. Create a pattern-interrupting subject line  
  • Step 2. Add a relevant introduction
  • Step 3. Highlight prospect’s ‘WIIFM’
  • Step 4. Include a CTA that is aligned with buyer intent

Pro tip #1: Remember to write your sales emails like you’re talking to them directly as if you knocked on their door and are now talking to the receiver.

Step 1: Create a pattern-interrupting subject line

Derren Brown’s technique of pattern interrupt is a series of interruptions that breaks a habit or a state. 

We are conditioned to ignore sales conversations, wherever and however. Why? Because we’re deluged with emails, cold calls, LinkedIn InMails, and text messages that all appear salesy–the kind of sales messaging reps have been using forever. 

Your job is to stand out like a dove among a flock of crows. 

How to do that? Stop using common subject line tactics like clickbait offers and single-worded questions. Interrupt reading patterns using the following subject line strategies:

a) Lean into the prospect’s pain point

Work pain points never fail to catch a prospect’s attention because they are anyway busy trying to solve them. 

Example: Jeroen from content marketing agency, Contentoo, sent our content marketing manager the following subject line. It made her check out the follow-up email.

A follow up email's subject line that highlights the prospect's pain point.

More examples: 

  • Here’s a better way to solve {pain point}
  • How {another company} solved {pain point}
  • Resources to solve {pain point}

b) Humanize your subject line

Sellers hitting 150% above quota are doing twice as much research on prospects, LinkedIn state of sales report revealed. That means top sellers are personalizing. You should, too. Add a human element to your prospect’s inbox. 

Aidan Shea, a BDR at Crayon, uses this as a last-ditch attempt to evoke a reply from his break up email–‘Any response would be appreciated.’

More examples: 

  • {prospect name} I am a big fan of your {their specific work} 
  • Want to dive into {prospect’s favorite celebrity} game plan?
  • Did you catch {television show/game match/movie release} yesterday?

Go here to find more than 160 follow-up email subject lines

Step 2: Write a relevant introduction

Mark Cuban spends 2 seconds on a cold email. 

“I’ll read the first paragraph or two and if it is something that catches my attention, and is interesting and I think is forward-thinking, then I will just start peppering them with questions,” Cuban said on the “Raising The Bar” podcast from Alli Webb, co-founder of Drybar, and leadership coach Adrian Koehler.

What catches your attention, is interesting and is forward-thinking?

Something that’s relevant to your work.

Relevance answers the “Why should I care about your email” question

For example: “We can help you scale your outreach efforts through automation.” is better than, “Hey I’m touching base again to stay on top of your inbox.”

Prompts to write introductions that are relevant to the reader.

  • Use a funny opening line but remember to draw the connection between the joke and the reason for your email. 
  • Use a hyper-personalized opening line with the information you discovered from LinkedIn. 
  • Use the prospect’s fresh Twitter or other social media activity in the intro. 
  • Break the fourth wall (Let them know that you are aware that they are aware that this is the 4th or 5th or whichever follow-up it is.)
  • Delve into their pain point and then explain your reason for emailing.

3 Follow-up email examples to write introductions

  1. “Yes, this is the fourth email I’m sending you. And, that’s because I know you’re looking to scale your cold outreach efforts and I’d like to stay on top of your mind.”
  2. Subject Line: Your article in <Magazine Name/Website/Journal>, “Hello {First Name},I recently read your article in <Magazine Name/Website/Journal> where you spoke about <topic> and how to use <solution> to address <pain point>. My name is Andrew, and although we’ve never met, that’s exactly the type of thing we deal with.”
  1. “Hi {First Name}, Saw the message you dropped in {the slack community page} on managing freelance developers. Wondering if you’re facing any trouble managing freelance developers stay on track?”

Step 3. Highlight prospect’s ‘What’s In It For Me’ (WIIFM)

How do you win over a cat’s attention? By dangling a catnip in front of them, right? Do the same. 

Dangle an attractive gain/solution that’s relevant to them. That gain is not always your company’s value prop. Increasing revenue goals may not be an SDR’s biggest goal, they’re focused on booking more meetings or hitting their quota. 

So create a “WIIFM” message for every account you’re prospecting for.

How to write the “WIIFM” for your follow-up email:

  • Dig deep into the prospect’s role, and organization to find out bits of useful information

Block 6-10 minutes to research each prospect (or high value prospects) and take notes that can be used to craft your sales message. The research can be used to personalize any part of your email. 

  • Don’t pitch your solution yet

The main reason for following up is to qualify these prospects so there’s no point in pitching your solution yet. So through multiple follow up emails you can test out different WIIFMs.

Are they aware that they have a problem?

(WIIFM to show proof that this problem is expensive or hurting the business’ bottomline. Resources: Industry/research reports, e-books, case studies, podcasts, Expert panel discussions, etc.)

Are they aware of the problem but are comfortable with the status quo?

(WIIFM acknowledging that status quo is fine, but highlighting potential to grow. Resources: Case studies, use FOMO in body copy.)

Are they aware of the problem and want to solve it?

(WIIFM to show how your solution helped your customers achieve XYZ – a goal they care about deeply. Resources you could use – E-books, use-case decks, case studies, blogs, etc.)

Step 4: Include a CTA that is aligned with buyer intent

Your biggest problem right now is that nobody’s replying to you. The likely culprit is aggressive CTAs that ask for 15 or 20 minutes of their time—which probably costs around 20-25 USD per hour.

Would you give away 25 USD to read and reply to a cold email? Probably not. Prospects won’t either. 

So, you have to earn their time. Permission-based or low-friction CTAs reduce the cost of the ask and help you earn their trust over a couple of emails.

How to write CTAs for follow up emails after no response:

  1. If the prospect hasn’t engaged with you at all: 
    • We interviewed “SME” to break down “XYZ”. Thought I’d share it with you because I noticed on LinkedIn your comment on “SME”’s post talking about the issue.
  2. If the prospect has opened a couple of emails: 
    • Is fixing “problem” the top most priority for you right now? If it is, can I send you an expert-driven guide we made on solving it?
  3. If the prospect has clicked on links multiple times and opened your email multiple times:
    • Open to chat next week Thursday?

2) An example of a polite follow-up email after no response:

From line: Jon Wheatley (

Subject line: Aria, your newly hired reps closing deals already?

Hi Aria,

I read about your difficulties of hiring reps at scale from your recent LinkedIn article about riding the recession. Assuming that ramping up newly hired SDRs at scale is a headache. (relevance)

Your competitors ZeroIn, TechGuer and YellowInc use ‘OnTheGoHR’ to get their 
SDRs onboard and ramp up in as short as a month or two. (WIIFM)

Would you like to find out how Techgeur’s newly-hired SDRs hit quota in the 
quarter they joined? (CTA)

Hope you have a productive day ahead,
Jon Wheatley 
SDR at, 
California, United States
LinkedIn | Twitter

3) 4 Follow-up Email Tips from Sales Reps Who Hit 100% Quota

Top-performing SDRs that we spoke to in our SDR X Factor series revealed how they followed up with thousands of prospects and booked meetings with them. Here some of the tips they shared:

i) Personalize the introduction of your follow-up email

There’s no better way to catch a prospect’s attention in a follow-up email than a hyper personalized introduction. That introduction coupled with a hyper-personalized subject line, your email preview is bound to get your prospect’s attention in a crowded inbox.

Joel Thomas, SDR, Almabase

ii) Make your follow-ups scannable

I attach screenshots of dashboards comparing the G2 profiles of the prospect and their competitor. This would help present the statistics in a better manner and also enables prospects to look from a buyer’s perspective.

Also, being a dog person, I occasionally add cute memes of dogs if I find out during research that the PoC, too, is fond of dogs. This has occasionally got me responses that eventually led to booking meetings.

 Nanditha Menon, SDR, G2

iii) Put prospects who haven’t replied into a nurture sequence rather than sending them a break up email

They would receive 5 to 6 emails with content that’s not directly linked to their company or product. I put myself in their shoes. Forget that I work for Metadata for a minute. What would they find useful? And that’s what I do most of my emails.

The content could range from articles to LinkedIn posts to guides that are relevant to the prospect and their role.

This way, the prospect might engage with the content and might even reconnect with her in the future. 

I want my prospects to see these emails and think: ‘Oh, that’s Ashley, she sends me really cool stuff. She has never really bugged me about taking a demo. She sends me all these useful tips.’

Ashley Dees, SDR Manager, Metadata

iv) Multithread Accounts To Improve Your Chances of Getting Replies

In a day, I reach out to 5 accounts, in which I email 2 PoCs in the same account. This way, chances are that the 2 different PoCs, who are working in the same company, would know that I’m reaching out. 

Make that conversation happen (within the prospect’s company). They should talk about your solution. Create that buzz within the organization. So, the chances of booking a meeting would increase significantly.

 Nanditha Menon, SDR, G2

4) How many times should you follow up with prospects?

A majority of the top reps we spoke to revealed that they sent up to 5 follow-up emails over a month or two. But they don’t just rely on emails to do the magic.

They bank their cold outreach campaigns on multichannel outreach i.e., they reach out via multiple touchpoints like phone call, email, LinkedIn and or SMS to improve their email campaign’s success.

G2’s SDR Nanditha Menon who hit 125% quota says that her number of follow-ups are 4 per prospect that’s spaced out over a 7-day period. Here’s her follow up email content breakdown:

  • The first follow-up email on day 1 will be personalized as per the PoC’s role in the company.
  • Second follow-up email on day 3, which would contain a value proposition. 
  • On day 5, the 3rd email. This would contain a case study or other sales enablement content.
  • On day 7, the 4th and last email which would go out. This would be a breakup email.

We suggest arriving at a number through trial and error.

Pro Tip #5: You could also center your follow-up email strategy on intent-based campaigns – where you can follow up based on how prospects engaged with your previous emails. Higher open rates mean you could follow up with them immediately. Read more about sending intent-based email sequences here.

5) How long should you wait between follow-ups?

In the first 2 to 3 follow-ups, maintain an interval of 3 to 4 days and the more follow-ups you send leave a bigger interval anywhere between 5 days and 10 days.

Keep increasing the sending interval progressively from 5-6 to 7-8 to 10-12 days after each follow-up. But after sending your first email, wait three days.

6) Here are 10 follow-up email templates for different sales scenarios

i) A gentle follow-up email

You want to send a respective, non-intrusive, polite follow-up email. We get it. One trick to ensure your follow-up is gentle is to read out your follow-up message and check the different tones you can read it in. 

So, write one that sounds gentle.

Email template

Subject line: Meet SDRs with whopping 20% call conversion rate

Hi {prospect name}, saw that you checked out my previous email from last week on 
how to coach SDRs to make successful cold calls a couple of times. 

Cold calls are a tricky thing, but with the right kind of coaching, you can see 
high conversions as seen within the SDR teams at {some competitor names, and link 
to case studies on them}.

Think this can help your SDRs make successful cold calls? 

ii) Follow-up email to qualify the prospect

An SDR has to pin their selling strategy down on one aspect alone — the prospect’s awareness level of the problem and the solution. 

  • Is the prospect aware of the problem
  • Is the prospect aware of the problem but is okay with status quo
  • Is the prospect aware that they need a solution and is looking for it

Send content that caters to these three assumptions to find out their awareness level in the initial emails. In the following new emails, replace this content with different types of valuable information—regarding the industry, their pain point, competitors, case studies, pricing to test how what gets their attention. Feel free to add any additional information you think will be helpful to the prospect.

In the example below, the assumption is that the SDR doesn’t know their awareness level. In case of each touchpoint you could ask more qualifying questions. Read more on lead qualifying questions here.

Follow-up template

Subject line: Shoving all your leads into 1 nurture sequence? (personalized 
to a general industry pain point)

Hi {prospect name},
I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you were looking for nurture 
sequence email templates. Assuming that your SDRs treat all your leads the same 
way–by putting them in a single nurture sequence.
That’s not really effective, no? since all leads are not the same?
Here’s a blog on why we think it’s time to switch up nurture sequences based 
on the different inbound channels and how you can automate that workflow.

Hoping that I’m of help

iii) Follow-up email after leaving voicemail

After leaving a voice message to a prospect, it’s always beneficial to send the prospect a follow-up email within 24 hours in the same cold email thread. Why? Because it shows prospects that you’re doing due diligence.

Rephrase the reason for reaching out. Do not repeat the message you told in the voicemail. That could be annoying. Instead, mention that you left a message earlier. Next, tell them why you are reaching out and emphasize the benefit of partnering with your company.

Email template:

Subject line: David, I reached out yesterday for this…

Hi David, 

I had called yesterday to discuss whether you’re able to track your email 
engagement metrics as much as you’d like. I noticed from your LinkedIn post 
that you’re finding it difficult to track all of your team members’ important emails.

If you’re unable to track your SDR’s sales activities, it can be difficult 
to pinpoint revenue opportunities or leaks–which I guess is quite important to 
Do let me know if it’s okay to send over a report our sales manager made that 
helps you find out which are the best email engagement metrics to track.

Looking forward to hearing from you 

iv) After they didn’t pick up your cold call

It’s okay if they haven’t picked up your cold call. Drop them an email, and try again in a couple of days. Once you drop them an email, and if they’ve engaged with that email in any way, you have a better chance the next time you place the call. Make sure that you give them context, don’t simply “check in” or “touch base” just because you’ve already called them. 

In all probability this is like a cold email to them. So follow the 4-step follow-up methodology we outlined above. Throw them a low-friction ask in the CTA because it’s still early in the prospecting process and you’ve not earned your right to ask for a meeting yet.

Email Template:

Norman, want to improve your {pain point. Eg: low average call-to-conversation rate}?
Hi {First Name}

These are a few problems that sales managers with growing teams regularly 
  - Pain point 1
  - Pain point 2
  - Pain point 3

I don't want to bug you, but it seems like these problems are solve-able, and 
the following {pains} can be eased. 

Would you like to check out how we can help you solve {problem}? I could send 
you a 2-minute demo video if you’d like.
Warmest regards

v) After they asked you to contact them later

There are times when prospects don’t prioritize your solution, but they might still be interested in your offering. More often than not, they will ask you to get back after a few weeks or months. You should mark the date in your calendar or schedule the email in advance. Check out cold email tools you can use to do that. Follow the 4-step methodology here to remind them of the priority of solving their pain point now.  

Email Template: (Source: Klenty)

Subject line: Tired of reps who never give up?

Hi {{First Name}},

Last we chatted, you requested that I get in touch in November. I may be a 
month early, but I figured it’d be worth sharing some interesting 
information we discovered from helping out {competitor}. 

Is now a good time to send you a short blog on how we helped {competitor} 
solve {prospect’s problem}?
Hoping that I’m of help

vi) Follow up using social proof

Social proof is common parlance in marketing teams. Founded in the scientifically-backed concept of normative social influence, it suggests that people accept the order that influencers in a society have created around us as the norm. So, if you’re mentioning the fact that their competitors or famous brand names are using your product or service, it shows prospects that you’re trustworthy, and instill a sense of fear of missing out (FOMO). 

Directly throw your customer names around in your email. Mention how you helped their competitors, or even literally show (using screenshots) how you helped others achieve success. 

Email Template:

Hey Tony,
I wrote to you a few days ago about how we can help you grow your page 
traffic through search engine ranking.

Still on the fence? Here is a Google Analytics snapshot of how we were able to 
help one of our customers grow organic traffic 5x in a little over 6 months.
google analytics snapshot of a customers traffic growth
I took a quick look at your site and I believe that we can achieve something 
similar in the next 3-6 months.

vii) Personalized follow-up emails

Personalization is one of the best ways to get replies. Whether it’s the first name, company name, a pain point or a trigger event you use to personalize, it’s still miles apart from non-personalized emails. 

Here are different ways to personalize:

a) Follow up using information from LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a salesperson’s treasure trove. It gives you insight into:

  • the prospect’s role, their company, their company’s activities and updates
  • their teammates, their professional life updates

All these triggers help your cold follow-up get more personalized and boost email response rates.

Pro Tip #7: Check out the prospect company’s hiring posts to get an idea of the size of their team, the tools they use, their current processes or strategies, etc.

Sample follow-up email:

Congratulations on the recent fundraise! It was inspiring to learn about your 
story and the company.

What are your plans around lead generation using outbound prospecting? I 
believe that we can help you build a predictable and scalable lead generation channel for {{Company}}.

b) Follow up using image

  • Use product screenshots to highlight a feature they care about
  • Use a reporting dashboard to show they them what they could achieve using your product (bank on the FOMO strategy here)
  • Use screenshots of reviews left by your customers on G2, Capterra, or Trustpilot, etc

viii) Break-up email

There’s a segment of the population that are against sending break-up emails. Rightly so. Because if done wrong, they sound incredibly passive aggressive. 

But it’s the emotional trigger in these emails that force replies out of prospects. You can sound not interrogative or passive aggressive, and such emails will still get a lot of responses, so don’t worry about those who are against it.

Hi {{FirstName}},
I wrote to you a few times on helping {{Company}} acquire new leads using 
Linkedin. I’m going to assume that you’re not interested in learning more about 
how we can help you. But, could you do me a favor?

Could you let me know 1 / 2 / 3, so I know if I should put a pin on 
this conversation or remove you from my pipeline.
 1. This could be useful for us – let’s set up time next week.

 2. This is not a good time – call back in a couple of months.
 3. I have no use for this. Please don’t follow up anymore.

Wishing you good karma, 

{email signature}

In Short

Writing a follow-up email is simple if you know the basic rules to follow. Think of it as a casual conversation between yourself and a stranger. How would you go about it then? You’d respect their time, be kind and understanding, and try to be friendly. Same rules apply when writing a follow-up email. Don’t try to hack your way to getting their attention, that will only push them away. 

Know this though, you have to follow up to close deals. That’s etched in stone. As Michelle Moore from Selling Simplified says, “Not following up with your prospects is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain.”

How do you write a follow-up after no response?

1. Begin with a pattern interrupting subject line to get their attention. For example, the subject line “Yesterday’s LinkedIn post” is a good one for a prospect who posted something that caught your eye on LinkedIn.

2. Add an introduction that is consistent with your subject line. Here’s an example- “Saw your recent LinkedIn post about the struggles you face managing {pain point}.”

3. Tell them the reason for your email. Don’t pitch your product unless you think they are sales-ready. If they have low buying intent, focus on building trust by giving value. Say something along the lines of: “I’ve a couple of resources on how {competitor company} solved {pain point} in a span of {time frame}.”

4. Include a CTA based on their sales-readiness. That means always use a low friction CTA and don’t make the big ask right away. For example, “I can send it your way if you are interested.”

How long should I wait until following up with a potential customer?

Some follow up 5 times over 15 days, some follow up up to 15 times over 30 days, the point being, you should learn through trial and error. If you’re just starting your sales campaign, start scheduling 5-6 follow-up emails along with other touchpoints–like calls, LinkedIn, or text–in your sales sequence.


  1. Valuable info. How do you create subject lines? I keep mine very basic.