Did you know that following up with sales leads can be even more challenging than generating them? Only 2% of sales are made during the first contact and up to four-fifths are closed after the 5th follow-up contact.
While sales prospecting, lead generation, and closing the deal are often seen as the toughest parts of the sales process, effectively managing and nurturing your leads is what truly separates successful salespeople from the rest.
This guide will focus on how best to follow up on your sales leads. It will demonstrate who, what, where, why, and how to follow up on these leads to maximize your sales.
Divide Your Leads
The first step is to divide your leads into different groups. This is because your sales leads may be at different stages of the sales cycle and require different levels of effort, nurturing, and information. A good way to do this is to classify your sales leads into hot, warm, and cold leads.
Hot leads are the furthest along the sales funnel and have shown interest in products and services with a genuine intent to buy. Warm leads have shown genuine interest as well, but are not yet committed to making a purchase. Cold leads have shown little interest in your product and may have accidentally stumbled across your website, webinar, and so on.
Give your hot leads the most attention as they are the closest to completing the sales cycle, while your cold and warm leads should be given more lead nurturing to further advance them along the sales process.
There are several other ways of classifying your sales leads such as based on their particular pain points, interests, and lead score.
A lead score is a numeric scoring system assigned to potential leads based on their level of interest as well as certain predefined criteria such as demographics, job title, income bracket, pain points, communication channels, how they entered the sales funnel, and so on.
This can help you prioritize your follow-up efforts and focus on the leads that are most likely to convert into paying customers.
Choose the Right Communication Channels
There are several options available to you in terms of how to follow up on your sales leads. This includes channels such as phone calls, e-mails, social media, and fax. Each of these channels has its pros and cons so it is important to carefully tailor your choice to each sales lead’s unique characteristics.
Do not be afraid to experiment and interchange between different communication channels to discover which particular methods work best for the different types of sales leads.
Optimize Your Email Communications
Use short, actionable email sequences with clear call-to-actions (CTAs) and personalized messages. Your email should clearly describe the value that your products or services provide to your customers and not just simply list its features. For example,
Dear [Recipient’s Name],
I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name] and I am reaching out to you on behalf of [Your Company].
I noticed that you recently expressed interest in [product or service], and I would like to take a moment to introduce myself and offer my assistance.
Our [product or service] is designed to [briefly describe what your product or service does].
I believe that our [product or service] would be quite useful to you and could help you achieve your goals.
Some of the benefits you can expect from [product or service] are:
If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or set up a demo to show you how our [product or service] works.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Make the subject of your email eye-catching and straight to the point. Automating your email response system by using an email marketing platform is also a great way to follow up on your leads without having to invest significant time.
However, automated email responses may seem impersonal, have limited room for personalization, and could be flagged by spam filters.
Utilize Voice Calls Correctly
Voice calls offer several advantages over emails such as seeming more personal, encouraging more immediate responses, and being better than emails at trust-building.
However, the phone calls are also time-consuming, may seem intrusive, and give interested buyers the impression that they are being pressured. Therefore, voice calling may be more effective on hot and warm leads as cold calling may seem intrusive.
Remember the Rule of 3’s when voice calling. Move to another communication channel after attempting to call the sales lead three times. For example, you may choose to send a well-structured and concise voice message with a clear call-to-action or send an email.
Some sales representatives are apprehensive about using voice calls. One way to get past this is constant practice and learning a set of routine feedback statements to common customer queries or responses. Remember, keep the calls short and to the point.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media marketing is a great way to follow up on your sales leads as well. Especially platforms like LinkedIn which helps connect professionals from diverse fields. It allows you to effectively nurture your leads by providing valuable content and information related to your product or service and allied industries.
Social media marketing provides an effective platform for engaging with a wide audience at the same time, building brand awareness, positioning yourself as a thought leader in the industry, and ultimately driving sales.
Be Persistent, Not Pushy
Following up on your sales leads requires a considerable amount of consistency. However, it is important not to seem irritating or harassing and always be respectful of the wishes of your lead. A good way to achieve this is to develop a fixed communication frequency and schedule for communicating with your leads.
For example, you can send weekly emails and monthly voice calls while ensuring that their social media accounts receive regular content. Keep a documented schedule that describes how often and through which communication channel you interacted with each of your sales leads.
Nurture Your Leads
Every potential buyer requires lead nurturing, irrespective of how far along they are on the sales funnel. Lead nurturing is the process of gradually converting your leads into professional relationships.
This can be achieved by educating them on the benefits of using your products or services and providing them with genuine value. Don’t just list the features of your products but also make them realize how these products can provide value.
Offer case studies, guides, resource materials, and even demos which can help convert cold leads into warm leads and eventually hot leads before finally closing the deal.
Be Prompt With Your Responses
A good rule of thumb is to follow up on any lead within 30 minutes of contact. This helps to convey to the potential buyer about your commitment And shows them how responsive you are. Preempt any questions they may have by making sure you have answers ready for common customer queries.
Also, create a sense of urgency with potential customers by giving them a fixed deadline by which you would expect feedback and be transparent about what they should expect in the next stage of your communication. It goes without saying that you should always stick to your commitments.
Use Analytical Software
There are many different software tools available that allow you to effectively track your leads based on demographic information, which CTAs they clicked, how they entered your sales funnels, your frequency of communication, and other important lead management metrics.
By analyzing this data, you can optimize your follow-up strategy, improve your lead-nurturing efforts, and ultimately increase your sales.
For example, a customer relationship management tool (CRM) is A special form of software that allows businesses to manage interactions with clients and potential buyers by tracking important information, automating various responses, and offering key insights into consumer behavior and preferences. Platforms such as Google Analytics also offer useful insights.
Some other examples include:
- Salesforce CRM
- HubSpot CRM
- Zoho CRM
- Freshworks CRM
- Agile CRM
- Capsule CRM
Use a Lead Response Management System
A lead response management system is a crucial tool for any business that wants to streamline its sales process and maximize its revenue potential. This system incorporates various features such as lead capture, tracking, scoring, distribution, and nurturing, which all work together to improve the overall efficiency of the sales process.
Know When to Quit
It is important to recognize when a sales lead is showing no interest in your products or services. Continuing communication at this point may be considered pestering and is quite time-consuming as well as harmful to your brand. Politely end all communication but ensure that you leave your contact information for future communication.
Effectively managing and nurturing your sales leads is crucial for successful sales. Divide leads into hot, warm, and cold groups and choose appropriate communication channels, frequency, and nurturing materials. Utilize personalized messages and be persistent but respectful. Remember to document your interactions and make automation a key part of your sales lead management system.