When it comes to sales, follow up is everything. It’s not often that you’ll close a deal on pitch or product alone (although it does happen). More often, follow up is key to keeping the conversation going and turning a lead into a sale.
But how do you follow up effectively? How often should you follow up with a lead, and what should you say when you do?
Lead follow up can make or break the chance of your sales leads converting so its important that you conduct your follow ups effectively. There is a fine line between following up to lead the sales process and becoming a pest.
Statistics say that 80% of leads require a minimum of five follow ups, and only 2% of leads convert at the first meeting. That’s why lead follow up is critical for hitting that sales target.
And yet, many salespeople don’t follow up with their leads effectively. In fact, only 11% of salespeople follow up more than twice with their leads.
Prerequisites Before the Follow Up
Becoming good at follow up is al well and good, but it is pointless if you don’t have any leads to follow up on. For this reason, follow up starts and continues at the top of the funnel.
In order to have someone to follow up with, you have to generate leads in the first place. There are a number of ways that you can do this, from outbound methods like emailing to inbound methods like content marketing.
No matter what method you use, you should always aim to collect as much data on your leads as possible. The more you know about them, the more targeted your follow up will be.
At a bare minimum, you should aim to collect the following data on your leads:
- Their name
- Their email address
- Their phone number
- Their job title
- Their company name and size
- Their location
- Any relevant pain points, budget, or timeframe
This data will come in handy when you are crafting your follow up strategy.
With a full pipeline that you now have from all that prospecting, read more below for a couple of follow-up strategies that will help you turn those hot leads into sales (hopefully).
Follow Up Sequences
The follow up sequence is the process that you follow when you are trying to convert a lead into a paying customer. It involves reaching out to a lead multiple times over a period of days or weeks and gradually moving them further down the sales funnel.
The best sales professionals make the most of sales sequences to systematically take their sales leads through follow ups step by step so they leave nothing to chance. The meticulously test the best subject line for their follow up process. They ensure that the follow up process doesn’t come across too needy or overbearing and they constantly tweak and test their follow up process to find the strategy that works most effectively.
The goal of an effective lead follow up sequence is to maintain an appropriate follow up schedule that keeps you front of mind depending on the requirements of the prospect.
Are they a prospect that is interested in your product but not now? Perhaps send them follow up emails every three months with some marketing focused content.
Have they had a first demo and want to purchase the product? Think about how many time you need to perform follow ups with your prospect from the first meeting to getting the contract signed.
Does the follow up warrant a phone call or phone calls or would email be a better method of communication?
Did one of these sales leads come through an inbound marketing campaign? If so, it should require a different follow up sequence to an outbound lead, for example.
Once you know these things you can then create different follow up sequences depending on your target prospects needs after you have done the initial contact.
The most important thing to remember with follow up sequences is that you need to be consistent and making the most of the automation that sequence can provide can help you achieve that.
Once you have established your follow up sequence you’ll need to segment your sales leads so you can put them into the appropriate ‘bucket’ for follow up.
Depending on the lead quality, at one extreme the prospect may be ready to buy, at the other extreme the prospect might need some warming up. There are many stages in between these two extremes.
For example, one of your leads may have come to you through social media enagement and they may be familiar with your brand and product. Other leads might have come from outreach efforts and require a lot more nurture and education before they will be warm enough consider buying.
A good way to segment your leads in the initial stage is to divide them into three groups; hot, warm and cold. Then, you can craft a sequence for each segment.
If you want to get more sophisticated with your prospect lead segmentation, there are now AI based lead scoring solutions that can further provide insights into the quality of your leads and how you should best manage them within your business.
By following these strategies you can make sure that you are effectively following up your sales leads, keeping the conversation going and turning them into customers. These strategies are effective across a broad range of sales industries from real estate to SaaS.
If you’re not sure where to start, a good place is to look at your current follow up process and see where you can make improvements. Once you have a foundational sequence in place you can tweak and adjust it depending on the ‘hotness’ of your lead.
Do you have an effective follow up process? If so, let me know in the comments below.