How to Take Effective Sales Follow-ups? | 6 Tips from The Follow-up Ninja

Sales

The power of sales follow-ups is just mind-blowing.

Now, you must be thinking, who is this guy? And how can he claim things like this? That too for something as boring as sales follow-ups?

However, I know where I am coming from. I have worked in sales for fourteeeennn long years.

Yes, you read that right. And as any sales rep would tell you, I know for a fact, how crucial these follow ups are. In fact, I’m also fondly known as The Follow Up Ninja 😎

You’d be surprised, but follow ups can convert more than 60% of your leads to customers.

Unfortunately, the truth1 is that 48% of the sales representatives never even take a single follow-up. 

As a business, you really need to streamline your lead follow-ups in order to increase your number of customers. Let’s see how it’s done and how you can improve your sales follow-up skill.

Table of Contents

What is a sales follow-up? 

In simple terms, sales follow-up is defined as the process of keeping your leads engaged after your first pitch with an aim to convert them into a customer.

These leads may be generated through your own website, social media, drip marketing, cold calling, email outreach, WhatsApp marketing, or any other communication platforms.

But, lead follow-up isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

In the modern economy, there are various methods to conduct sales vis-à-vis sales follow-ups. While there is no straightjacket formula for follow-ups, it’s important to keep few factors in mind, which I’ll share later in this blog.

Taking follow-ups is one of those sales processes that require meticulous organization and planning. You must follow the right means and methods to make them effective. 

Before understanding how do you follow up a sales lead; first, let’s dig into why it’s essential. 

Why is sales follow-up important? 

This is something I say often, and practice more than that.

Sales is not a one-time activity, it’s a process.

There are multiple phases of sales conversions, and follow-ups are one of them.

You would be surprised to know that 80% of sales in B2B are closed after the fifth contact and may even go to 12 for closing a sale. 

The BDX

As a brand, you need to make your customers feel like they matter to you. When you are consistent with your follow-ups, it shows your prospects that you care for them and you are highly dedicated to adding value to their life. 

But how to do it successfully, without getting annoyed? (A million-dollar question, I know.) 

How to take effective sales-follow ups?

Following up is an art. More so, once you start getting familiar with your prospects.

Here are the tips I practice and suggest you to, for making your sales follow-ups bearable.

1. Keep a polite tone

Before going into the technicalities of sales follow-up, it is important to learn how to do it politely.

Politeness goes a long way when it comes to sales. Your tone in each interaction is pivotal for conversion.

When following up through an email, any digital media, or a phone call, it is crucial that you choose a polite tone with your prospect.  

Research shows that emails that have a polite and positive tone have 15% more chances of being converted.

2. Practice brevity and clarity

Okay, so, just to help out, brevity means shortness and crispness. In simple words, do not beat around the bush in your follow ups.

The ideal length for a sales follow-up email is 75-80 words. Be brief and clear about your purpose and what do you want the recipient to do.

Emails following the ideal number of words have 51% more chances of being responded to. 

For communication channels like LinkedIn and WhatsApp, it is ideally preferable to keep your follow-up limited to a single message. 

When talking on a phone call, always be very particular about your question. Taking more time than needed will lead to losing your opportunity.

3. Consider your timing 

Be very particular about timings when taking a follow-up.

Remember this – nobody likes receiving work calls or emails at 7 PM or 8 AM.

If you are taking a lead follow-up through a call or an email, then always restrict your communication during business hours. 

Following up with a lead outside business hours will make all your tips on how to follow up politely go down the drain.

4. Don’t show desperation

It is imperative to keep in mind the intervals between sales follow-up.

When you follow up continuously without giving time to the other party, it shows desperation. It will end up frustrating the lead.

The time between consecutive follow ups is a very subjective thing and it varies from scenario to scenario.

An ideal follow-up time is usually a week after initial contact, but after that, it all depends on your conversation and deadlines. Industrial consumer psychology plays a crucial role in understanding this.

Persistence is the key, but it should be done with planning. 

5. Summarize

People work in multiple roles and are usually multitasking. This is why it is very important to summarize the whole communication that has been done till now in your follow-up.

People usually respond positively only after understanding the context (which is possible if you do it in your communication). 

There are various CRM tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho, Office 365, or the snooze option in Gmail which can help you to keep track of all the communication that has been done. They also help you set reminders for follow-ups so that you don’t lose an opportunity. 

6. Know when to stop

There comes a time in sales when one needs to know about when you should stop following up. This is also a very subjective thing and depends on the type of industry you are working in. 

If your lead hasn’t responded even after two or three follow-ups then it is recommended that you should stop because it becomes a waste of time. 

Frequently asked questions about sales follow-ups

Addressing some common questions, I’ve had about follow-ups.

How do you manage sales follow ups?

There are various tools available to manage your follow-ups. But before that, you can always practice segmenting your prospects, follow a schedule (like 3, 3, 3, 7, 7) and stick to the prospect-preferred communication channels.

Can follow-ups still get annoying?

Absolutely, but I have learnt that persistence is rewarding at the end of the day. Be patient, hear your lead out and focus on building a long-term relationship instead of making a sale.

What is the purpose of sales follow ups?

The purpose of sales follow ups is simple. Lead engagement. Your lead might not turn into your customer even after hundreds of follow ups, but this process will ensure that they are engaged with you from time-to-time, and nurtured with all the value you can provide.

Are these follow-up techniques helpful to sales reps in all industries?

Yes, absolutely. These techniques do come around with time and experience. If you have any doubts, you can always explore our sales consulting services, in which we train your sales team in the processes and operations involved for success.

In conclusion 

Lead follow-ups are one of the most effective ways of converting leads into customers.

It is one of those processes that yield the most through minimal efforts, if done with planning and automation. All it requires is a proper understanding of your consumer. 

Tell us in the comment box about your first experience of sending a cold email and how did it go? Also, tell us how you followed up on the email?

Citations:
1. The BDX