How good are you at following up after you’ve made that initial sales contact? Follow-up isn’t easy – it can be nerve-wracking to think that you’re “bugging” someone, and you don’t want to ruin that great feeling that comes after you’ve sent out the first touch contact.
But sales follow-up is essential for any growing business that wants to succeed. According to a comprehensive, multi-year study, the chance of making contact with your prospect jumps up to 90 percent if you make 6 attempts at outreach – compared to under 40 percent on the first try.
Here are some common issues that businesses face with sales follow-up, and how to solve them:
1. You give up too early
Are you actually reaching the contacts in your database? The goal is to close sales, not to dial numbers, so if you are reaching voicemail too often, you’re missing out on some big opportunities.
Always, always make at least 6 attempts to call a contact. Despite the statistic from the study above, about 40 percent of sales reps give up after just one call.
2. You don’t respond quick enough
Sometimes, follow-up is all about speed. According to Harvard Business Review, nearly half of companies took more than 24 hours to respond to an online lead… or didn’t even respond at all.
If you have had contact with a lead, or if a lead comes in via an inbound channel, be sure to follow up as quickly as possible. The ideal time? Within one hour. If you can’t manage that, within 24 hours is acceptable (but might cost you down the line).
3. You use a generic template
Non-personalized outreach is a big problem for sales teams, especially as they scale. It is difficult to personalize when you’re contacting dozens or hundreds of prospects each day.
Try to incorporate social selling into your sales follow-up by leveraging information about your contacts’ social media presence. This can be made part of an automation process so you’re not stuck manually clicking through tweets, and it can go a long way in adding that personal touch.
4. You’re disorganized
Not sure when you last followed-up with that lukewarm lead? Lost count of the number of times you reached out to a hot new account? Disorganization is the bane of any sales department, because it means missed opportunities, not to mention internal stress and confusion.
Create a calendar of reminders for when to follow up with each lead. And go one step further, by inviting your entire sales team to see everyone else’s calendar. This way, there will be no missed follow-ups and no duplication of efforts.
Following up with a lead is difficult, but by being persistent and offering value, you’re bound to see higher response rates than if you just drop a lead after that first touch. For more on effective sales follow-up, take a look at our answers to frequently asked questions.