How to Follow Up in Sales and Drive Positive Results (8 Easy Ways)
How do you increase sales conversions and nurture clients you already close deals with to become loyal customers? How can you make prospects buy your offer and make repeat purchases? In both cases, follow-up on sales is crucial.
Data from Marketing Donut’s blog indicates that you need about five follow-ups on average to close 80% of sales deals. But for some marketers and sales representatives, sales follow up is a closed book. The report shows that sales reps follow up only 20% of leads─giving up on 80% of potential buyers.
In other words, you’re losing a substantial part of your business income due to the lack of sales follow-ups. But there are several follow-up techniques you can start applying today to close deals without being salesy.
So, how can you follow up with leads to keep the momentum going? In this article, you will learn sales follow up best practices. I will cover the following areas:
- What is Follow Up on Sales?
- Importance of Follow Up on Sales
- Top Eight Marketing Techniques to Follow Up on Sales
- Which Marketing Communication Channel is Best for Following Up in Sales?
- How Often Should You Follow Up a Lead?
What is Follow Up on Sales?
Follow-up in sales is a marketing strategy you set in motion after the first encounter with a prospective client or paying customer. It involves a series of sales pitches to encourage eventual customers to buy your offer or nurture an existing customer to repeat purchase.
Thus, sales follow up is a crucial element in establishing and maintaining long-term business relationships with consumers. You can do this growth hacking strategy in various ways. But the most prominent methods are email marketing, SMS marketing, and telephone communication.
Why are Sales Follow Up Important?
Besides building brand credibility, trust, and long-term relationships with prospects and existing customers, the ultimate goal of sales follow-ups is to close deals. And acquiring leads and closing sales can happen through follow-ups in sales.
Therefore, sales follow up is essential because it encourages consumers to buy your offer and make repeat purchases. Also, considering that marketers close only 2% of sales at the first meeting, following up in sales is essential.
In essence, salespeople are not following up adequately. Please, examine these sales follow up statistics:
- 44% of marketing representatives follow up leads only once and give up.
- Over 90% of sales reps give up after four follow-ups.
- 80% of likely clients say “no” to salespeople four times before they finally say yes.
- Only 20% of salespeople close 80% of sales deals. (Those who completed the deals sell to potential customers whom over 90% of sales reps stopped following up).
- 70% of marketers sent one follow-up email and stopped. (They lose out on a 25% chance of hearing back from the lead).
- Improving customer loyalty by 5% can increase revenue by 25%–90%. (You can achieve this goal with follow-ups on sales).
Source image via Zety.
Do you see why sales follow-ups are essential? The follow-up statistics in sales speaks volume and show why this marketing component is critical to your sales successes. Brands are losing revenue and business growth because of inadequate follow-ups in sales.
Consequently, while some sales reps may have various reasons for not following up on leads enough, you must prioritize it. The sales follow-up statistics emphasize the importance of follow-up leads as a vital element for your marketing tactics and business growth.
8 Effective Ways to Follow Up on Sales for Optimal ROIs
Maximizing your sales processes will increase your:
- Products or services sales
- Email sign ups
- Webinar registrations
- Subscription renewals and other marketing goals.
Hence, one of the best marketing channels that will help you meet your sales goal is follow-ups on sales. A robust follow-up lead sales strategy will get consumers onboard your bottom-funnel and positively impact your business growth. Here are a few follow-ups on sales marketing tips you can start using to drive ROIs.
1. Segment Prospects With a Lead Scoring System
Start your sales follow-up campaign by segmenting prospects with a lead scoring system. Why is that important? Because it lets you categorize leads according to quality values. Otherwise stated, a lead scoring system allows you to prioritize consumers and follow up on the best prospects based on critical factors, such as:
- The interests they show in your products or services
- What pages they interacted with on your site
- Their current position in the buyer journey
- Conformity to your brand
- Their willingness to buy
- Purchasing power
Indeed, a lead scoring marketing system can also help you pinpoint potential customers that need nurturing. For instance, low-scoring leads require more nurturing to boost their interests in your products or services. But how can you identify lower-scoring leads and encourage them to become qualified customers?
Here’s where a durable lead scoring strategy plays a vital role. With this system, you can classify prospects with a range of scores and quickly follow up sales leads in your pipeline according to each buyer’s journey. Besides, forecasting your revenue becomes easier since lead scoring is more predictive.
Example of a Lead Scoring System
A lead scoring strategy is not a standard system that’s typical to all businesses. Every brand or organization has a method that suits its business goal. It is a straightforward strategy that assigns a score of 1-100 to visitors depending on the actions they take on your website.
However, the score is subject to constant change and updated based on users’ actions. Since the score is from 1-100, higher scores indicate top-level leads.
For example, Lead Pilot developed a unified lead scoring software tool that considers prospects’ actions on its site.
Image source: LeadPilot.
The algorithm examines the amount of time a visitor spent on the site, what other pages they visited, searches they conducted, and more. Hence, the system assigns a score for various activities users perform on your site.
For instance, visitors can engage in the following activities on your website and receive scores accordingly. Here’s what it looks like; a user:
- Perform searches within site; +2 points
- Sign up for your email newsletter; +3 points
- Downloaded an ebook and left their data; +5 points
- Watched your recent webinar; +10 points
- Visit the resource page; +20 points
- Visit pricing page; +30 points
Consequently, the lead got a total score of 70 points. This score puts the user on your top list for sales follow-ups.
2. Send a Thank You Note
This tactic applies to marketers or sales reps who closed a deal. Thus, a note of thanks is words of appreciation you send to clients who completed your marketing objective. This step is essential since it enables you to develop solid customer loyalty that drives repeat purchases.
You can send your appreciation message through email (the most commonly used form of business communication). Or you can do so via telephone or text message. Also, if it is a physical product, you can enclose the thank you message in the package for delivery.
Moreover, you can use other communication methods not mentioned here. What matters is that you reach customers with a note of thanks after making a sale to keep the momentum going. It helps improve customer satisfaction and move shoppers to buy more from you.
How to Send Thank You Messages
While there’s no one-size fit, the following note of thanks tips will help:
- Keep your message short and concise
- Send the thank you note right after you close the deal
- Center the message on showing gratitude and don’t sell anything
- Customize your message and address the customer by name
Besides, you can use the following thank you note examples for inspiration or edit and use as desired. Thank you note examples that will inspire you:
- We at [your company name] honestly appreciate your support, and we’re so grateful for your trust in doing business with us.
- Thank you so much, [clients’ name], for choosing to buy from [your company name]. We’re so pleased to have you as a valued client, and always here to provide continued assistance.
- [Your company name] would like to thank you, [customer name], for your excellent support. It means a lot to us, and we hope to see you again.
- Thank you, [customer name], for working with [your company name]. We appreciate doing business with you, and we will continue to provide you high-quality services to the best of our ability.
Also, ensure that your notes have the name and contact details of your company’s representative or contact person. That way, if customers have an issue, query, or further information before deciding to buy, they will know why to contact.
3. Define a Problem and Provide the Solution
Your target market has pressing issues that need solutions, and your product or service provides the answer. So, when sending a follow-up sales pitch, it would be best to recall the pain they’re going through and refer to your brand as the best remedy for it.
You can remind prospects of the value of your products in various ways, such as through:
- Branded content
- Industry report
- Blog articles
- Personalized emails
- Case studies
Whatever format you use, ensure to get the point of your message across. Let consumers see why they should trust your brand and do business with you. Your product’s value proposition is the primary reason consumers want to do business with you, so make it pop!
Make the benefits of using your products or services stand out, but don’t give away too much. Instead, create an avenue for further follow-ups. Also, guarantee to send the right message. For example, if a potential client is at the top of the funnel (TOFU), send particular messages that will take him to the next stage of his journey─middle of the funnel (MOFU).
At this stage, your content should be short, sweet, and to the point. But make sure to remind leads of the values your product can offer constantly.
4. Provide Helpful Information Via Content Marketing
Right above, I highlighted the need to remind prospects of the benefits of doing business with you through various channels, including tailored specific blog posts and custom content. But don’t make the follow-up material sound like a sales pitch.
Instead, bring in exciting ideas that will make your copy compelling to read. And if you’re using a podcast or video, ensure that it excites and engages your viewers and listeners.
How to provide value with content marketing:
- Tailor the content to your leads (make them the center of attention).
- Connect your products or services to the issues they want to solve.
- Create valuable content around their pains─showing how your brand can help. (If you have social proof or testimonials, include them to strengthen your copy).
- Ask the right question to sustain the momentum.
In this step, branded content is your best tool. Why? Because it is user-centered, and the objective is to help you:
- Communicate your service or product values.
- Strengthen your brand image.
- Establish your business as an industry authority.
- Create a unique view of your business and set it apart from the competition.
- Build an active community of loyal customers.
According to research, 90% of buyers prefer branded content. In another survey, over 62% of respondents who watch custom video content react more positively than those who watch regular commercials. Also, almost 70% of readers found branded content more engaging and influential.
Otherwise stated, providing helpful information can boost conversions significantly. But all follow-ups should not appear as direct conversations. Your goal is to add value at every touchpoint, and content marketing lets you bridge that gap while providing value.
Remember that you must write the content thoroughly without plagiarized materials and ensure that it complies with the spatial order organization in writing for optimal results.
5. Use Emails to Send Sales Follow-Ups
Did you get a response from your first few follow-up sales pitches? What method did you use? I’m assuming you used telephone marketing tactics. Ok, let’s say you made four follow-up calls and got zero response. It’s time to apply a different follow-up sales technique.
The two most common strategies for follow-ups are emails and phone calls, so pick up the email address and send the prospect an email. Email marketing is a crucial follow-up sales tool for marketers and salespeople. That’s because over 70% of young online shoppers identify email as their preferred means of marketing communication.
So, if you’re following up leads by telephone and not getting responses, send them emails. Follow up emails are essential and very influential because they can:
- Convert leads
- Build healthy business relationships
- Get new customers
- Close deals
However, the challenge with email marketing is making recipients open the emails, read the content, and respond accordingly. What is the solution? Email subject lines! How compelling are your subject lines? Do they get recipients to click?
Therefore, to make your email sales follow-ups get results, create positive subject lines to entice recipients. It will increase your chances of getting open and read. Don’t make your subject line too short or too long. Instead, try to keep a balance between six to ten words.
Why is that so?
Studies show that 6-10 words in email subject lines get the best open rates. Please, examine the screenshot below carefully:
Graphic source: Invesp.
According to Invesp, about 70% of email recipients would report emails as spam because of the subject line. Also, almost half (47%) of recipients will open emails due to the subject line.
Graphic source: Invesp.
Consequently, make your email subject line count.
6. Use Other Sales Follow-Ups Channels
Besides email and telephone marketing channels, there are other avenues to reach prospects and get results, such as social media and SMS marketing. You can leverage these marketing channels to build fellow feelings and get a response.
For example, I get people reaching out to me through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram because they couldn’t get a response from me via emails. Also, others would follow up on me via emails after several attempts to get my attention on social networking sites.
Why is Social Media a Great Marketing Channel for Sales Follow-Ups?
Social media networking sites are great for following sales leads because they offer measurable results. Moreover, social media is cost-effective and allows you to:
- Establish your online presence
- Reach a broader audience
- Connect with existing and eventual customers
- Increase engagement, and
- Deliver exciting ROIs.
Remember that social media engagement and communication enable you to build closeness and empathy, which helps attract and convert leads. That is why 97% of marketers and sales reps are using social media for business growth.
Additionally, 78% of sales representatives who use social media sell more products than those who don’t. That is according to statistics found on the Coschedule blog.
Why Use SMS Marketing for Follow-Ups on Sales?
Although marketers underuse SMS marketing, it is a fantastic medium for following leads. Why? Compared to other channels like emails, app notifications, and direct mails, text message marketing has an open rate of 98%, instead of a mere 20% open for email campaigns. That’s according to statistics by Mobile Monkey.
Image source: Mobile Monkey
Also, text marketing has a 45% click-through rate compared to email opens. Further surveys reveal interesting findings, confirming SMS marketing as a top sales marketing channel you should be using.
Source graphic; MobileMonkey.
According to comprehensive research, SMS marketing should be part of your sales toolbox because it has an average response rate of one and half a minute (90 seconds), a much faster response rate than emails.
It indicates that consumers read text messages under three minutes of delivery. Moreover, text marketing offers a one-on-one chatting experience with potential customers―boosting instant attention and reaction than other follow-up channels.
Given this, and considering that a higher ratio of consumers is receptive to communicating with brands through SMS, it’s crucial to use it as a viable medium for follow-ups on sales.
7. Send Follow-Ups Frequently, but Avoid Being Pushy
We all hate rejection, but it is a fantastic tool that motivates you to keep going forward, no matter what. However, some marketers and sales reps would stop following up leads after the first or second follow-ups. Why? Because they fear sounding aggressive or pushy and get rejected.
But you should understand that prospects, like everyone else, are busy with other activities and may not have read your emails or had the time to respond. So, it doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in your offer.
Another reason may be that recipients read your emails but need time to analyze your products or services to guarantee credibility. For instance, over 60% of consumers would search a product or service online to gather more information before deciding to buy.
Source graphic: HubSpot
It means that, although recipients may have read your messages, they need more time to research before responding. This approach is typical for consumers at the top of the funnel (TOFU)ㅡthe awareness stage.
As a result, if you give up following leads too soon, you may lose out on potential revenue. So, frequently following up with consumers is vital as it puts you in the minds of potential customers. It allows them to remember your brand when they’re ready to buy. Hence, they will respond and possibly buy your products or pay for your services when they’re ready.
Regularly sending follow-up sales messages does not imply spamming customers. Don’t send too many sales follow-ups per day. Anything above two daily messages is considered spam. I get irritated when I receive two of the same message from a brand per day.
Thus, for best practices, send one email reminder per day and space out for two or three days before subsequent follow-up on sales marketing campaigns.
8. Determine When to Send a Cut-Off Sales Message
To cut off following up on sales implies disconnecting the lead and stop following him/her to respond. So, when is the best time to reach out and interrupt the communication process? Before you decide to send that message, remember that the analysis mentioned in the introduction above points out that many sales reps get responses after four attempts.
It means that after contacting would-be customers about six or seven times and still no responses, you may consider sending a break-up message. For some marketers, this approach is daunting as they fear it’s not a good business ethic.
But there’s no harm in informing unresponsive prospects that you will be disconnecting them from receiving further messages. Please, note that the disconnection message does not necessarily mean that you will stop contacting them entirely. Instead, view it as a way to get their attention.
So, when sending the cut-off message, make sure that all lines of communication are open. And then send valuable educational materials and advice according to the recipient’s needs. The content you attach to the break-up message must be precious. It could be:
- Your recent webinar
- A case study
- Testimonials of satisfied customers
- A recent video showing new features and how your products or services can help consumers
- Product reviews, and more.
These materials help consolidate trust and boost your brand credibility. Nevertheless, tell prospects that you’re giving them the last chance to receive something valuable or else they will miss it.
Here, you’re using the fear of missing out (FOMO) marketing strategy to stimulate curiosity and increase your chances of getting a response. Even if you get no reply, take a break for a few weeks or months and start following up once again, but not as often as you used to.
What is the Best Channel for Sales Follow-up?
As stated earlier, there are several channels, but there are four best mediums for communicating with clients and would-be customers, which I recommend. The top four tracks are:
- Email marketing
- SMS (text message) marketing
- Telephone marketing
- Social media (DMs)
- Referral marketing
However, depending on your marketing objective, either of these marketing channels will work for you. Also, make sure not to keep in touch with prospects too often. You may unknowingly annoy customers you want to convert. And once they find you irritating or pushy, they may not want to hear from you again.
How Frequently Should You Follow Up on Sales Leads?
Persistence in business is excellent, but it’s also a fantastic marketing ethic to be pleasantly or friendly-persistent. Following up on sales leads in a friendly manner means that you’re considering consumers’ emotions and interests.
That way, you ensure not to exasperate or irritate the lead with too many messages. Since five follow-ups can get consumers to respond and possibly convert, six would be the decisive moment. Anything beyond that, such as seven to a dozen consecutive follow-ups, is considered too much.
Nonetheless, your relationship with the prospect will determine whether you should continue sending follow-up pitches after the 6th time until you get results.
Wrap Upon Sales Follow Up
Prospecting leads is about maintaining healthy communications with existing clients and would-be customers without annoying them. And while your ultimate goal is to convert or persuade them to buy your offer, don’t make it prominent.
Instead, let consumers know that you care about their interests. It makes them feel valued and helps build their trust in your brand. Also, use informative content to educate buyers and increase your odds to convert them.
Nonetheless, sales follow up is a marketing strategy that requires practice to master. Therefore, whether you’re a newbie salesperson or an expert, applying the pointers above will be worthwhile. What follow-up on sales strategies are you using to scale your business? Please, tell us below!
About the author
Moss Clement is an expert business writer, founder of Moss Media, and blogger at Writers Per Hour. He works closely with B2B marketers, helping small & medium-size businesses build their online presence and brand reputation by consistently delivering quality content that converts.