An effective sales follow-up can help push a deal to close. But the problem for many sellers is that they aren’t following up effectively – or even enough. Don’t let a sale slip away simply because you were too busy to follow up with the prospect. Earning a win may take a bit more outreach but your efforts will pay off.
Sellers aren’t doing enough sales follow-up
According to a Hubspot article by Ian Loew, a sales follow-up is any post-pitch actions you take involving the prospect. Most often, these include a phone call or email.
Unfortunately, sellers aren’t maximizing the time following their pitch. “Many salespeople and marketers make the mistake of crafting a perfect sales email, holding a great meeting, or running a fantastic product demo, and then sitting back and doing nothing,” he explains.
He reports on research that found approximately 80% of sales need an average of five follow-ups before closing. But there is a disconnect with how much sellers actually reach out after a pitch. 44% follow up only one time before they give up while 94% give up after four attempts.
Reasons for this may vary. Perhaps sellers are worried about coming across as too pushy or aggressive. Or they may think that they don’t need to do anything, or they simply don’t have enough time for multiple outreaches.
How to make follow-up easy and successful
One way, Loew suggests, to improve following up is to try various forms of communication. Making multiple phone calls can take time, as can writing and sending emails. Consider sprinkling some social media touches to your strategy.
Or if a phone is your go-to, try sending out an email or using another method. Have you considered sending a text? This is generally an underutilized method in sales but can be an easy way to connect. “According to research, 90 percent of text messages are opened within three minutes,” writes Steli Efti for Close.
Avoid being pushy by spacing things out
A sales follow-up doesn’t have to be pushy, but you can come across as so if you bombard the prospect with too many outreaches too close together. Loew recommends starting with a once-a-week plan and adjusting depending on response. And keep their own time frames in mind; if you’re aware of special meetings or holidays, be respectful and hold off until a better time. To keep yourself accountable, set reminders at certain intervals in your calendar.
Always offer value
Each and every follow-up must offer value to the prospect. Empty, vague, generic outreaches are just not as effective as personalized ones that appeal to them directly. SalesFuel agrees, noting, “Share some of [your] value–for free. During the follow up, pass along some insight or advice that directly impacts his or her business, which will show first-hand the value that you bring to the relationship.”
It can be something as small as a news article that aligns with their business or industry; just make sure your outreach demonstrates the value that you can bring to a relationship. As Jawad Khan explains for Hiver, “Following up doesn’t always have to be sales oriented…just offer solutions that can create an immediate impact. Send them research articles, eBooks, whitepapers, or other resources that can improve their understanding of the issue.”
Specify the next moves
The most effective sales follow-up always asks for a next step or highlights what the sellers hope to happen next. This call to action makes it clear that there is the expectation of a dialogue and more engagement. Also, be specific, especially if you are directly asking for a response or a scheduled meeting.
And most importantly, when it comes to sales follow-up, don’t be afraid. “Many salespeople are afraid of the follow-up stage of the sales process,” Loew writes. “This is because they fear annoying the prospect, being seen as a spammer, or even losing a potential sale due to following up too much.”
Follow these tips to make sure that your outreaches don’t come across as spam or aggressive. Strike the right balance by spacing out communications and being considerate about when you reach out. And by providing value, you’re ensuring the messages are focused on the prospect–not you. And remember, the average sale requires five outreaches. If you find yourself close to that number with little to no response, take a look at this advice for when a prospect goes silent.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska