10 Effective Ways To Follow Up on Leads


Your marketing efforts have been successful, and you're currently flooded with new leads. So what’s next? You’ll want to follow up on your leads to increase the probability that they’ll result in a sale. 

The success of your leads converting into sales depends on your capacity to strategically pursue those leads to maintain interest while being careful to not come on too strong and scare them away. And, to follow up effectively, you need to do it more than once.

In fact, 80% of sales require an average of five follow-ups to result in a sale, but only 8% of salespeople actually follow up that many times. Although five times may seem like a lot, if you approach your leads correctly, you can effectively communicate the perfect messaging strategy in a way that works to your advantage.

8% of Salespeople are Getting 80% of the Sales

In this post, we’ll walk you through 10 effective lead follow-up techniques that will speed up your lead generation and result in more sales.

1. Be responsive

First and foremost, one of the key principles of lead nurturing is that responsive businesses win more clients. The longer your leads wait for a response, the more time your competitors have to swoop in and make their offer to them. 

Make it a priority to call back, email back, text back, or get in touch with your lead however they contacted you (think: all those various social media handles you’ve got) as soon as you receive a response from them. The faster you can respond to your lead, the better. In fact, following up with leads within the first minute of their contact increases lead conversion rates by almost 400%.

Although it can be easy to miss a call or lose track of an email in the inbox abyss, you don’t want to miss out on any potential opportunities. That’s why it's essential to make sure someone is available to answer the phone, gather the relevant data from a lead, and either connect them with you or provide you with the notes so you can follow up later. 

2. Segment your list of leads

To ensure you convey the proper messaging to a lead that will pique their interest, you must be aware of where they are in the sales funnel. Some of your leads might be ready to buy, while others may still be on the fence.

That’s where list segmentation comes in. You should segment your lead lists and assign the lead status as hot, warm, or cold. You can determine your lead status based on the lead source, your prior interactions with them, and their interactions with your website.

Segment Your Leads

3. Track communication

Sometimes it's challenging to determine exactly how frequently you should follow up, leaving you unsure of whether you did enough or were being too excessive. 

The truth is, there is really no magic number because every lead is different. Some leads may need one follow-up while others require various follow-ups through different channels to even get a response. 

The best course of action for you to take in this circumstance is to track all communication with your lead, ideally using a CRM (customer relationship management). Take note of any information they may give you and set reminders to follow up with them.

For instance, if a lead mentions they need two weeks to consider your offer, make sure to enter this information into your CRM and follow up with your lead at the appropriate time. If a lead doesn't provide a precise date, be sure to inquire as to when would be ideal for them, then plan your follow-up call or email accordingly.

4. Use various channels of communication

Companies communicate with their leads in a variety of ways; some find email to be the most effective, while others prefer a quick call back or a slide in their LinkedIn DMs. 

All leads have their preferred way of communicating, and you probably have no idea what that is at this point. That’s okay — the key takeaway here is to be available on various channels and use them interchangeably to learn which leads prefer which mediums.

Each channel has their own advantages and disadvantages, but some tried and true mediums you should use include email, phone, social media, SMS, and live chat.

5. Create a follow-up schedule

Your ability to close deals depends heavily on how frequently you follow up. Your leads may grow tired of your follow-ups and potentially block you if you do it too often. If you wait, your competition has an advantage to take their business. 

So what’s the follow-up frequency sweet spot?

For the most part, it depends on your niche. You can start by looking up past leads or current clients to see how many times you followed up with them before a sale was closed to help you determine your follow-up schedule. 

If you don’t have enough information to reference, you can try the six-touchpoints approach, which works best with cold leads. Here’s an example:

Day 1: First email and first LinkedIn connection

Day 2: Email

Day 4: Morning phone call (leave a voicemail if no answer)

Day 7: Email

Day 11: Phone call

Day 14: In your hands email (if the lead has not responded)

Follow-Up Schedule Example

Give it a try and modify the frequency to fit the preferences of your leads depending on your results. You can also use these outbound call scripts and telephone etiquette scripts for tips and ideas on what to say in your follow up calls.

6. Provide value

A good salesperson knows that an effective sales pitch is never about them or the product they are selling, but about the lead. You’ll get way better results by engaging the lead with each follow-up and ensuring you provide them with something of value. After all, it’s an uncommon circumstance that a lead becomes a customer after one interaction.

For example, instead of attempting to persuade a cold or warm lead to take an action like becoming a paying customer, concentrate on taking smaller steps like downloading a guide or browsing a blog article. This is a major part of nurturing — or “warming” — a lead to engage them enough to want to learn more or eventually buy.

For B2C industries, something valuable you can bring to the table are special offers or limited time discounts in your follow-up emails. This will help nudge a lead to make a purchase so they don’t miss out on a good deal. 

7. Be personable

In today’s business landscape, building personal connections matters. While you won’t have a solid connection with a lead like you do with a long-term client, your relationship building starts now. 

To start, it's a good idea to personalize your communication to help foster this new relationship by incorporating the recipient's name in your emails, providing them information based on the pages they've visited on your website, or personally answering an online inquiry rather than pushing automated responses.

Once you’ve had a few interactions and your lead has warmed up a bit, make sure you’ve been keeping notes about the lead’s pain points and the problems they are trying to solve so you can center the conversation around that.

Your lead will appreciate your attention to detail and how you’ve been actively listening to them, helping build trust.

8. Keep it short

One of the fastest ways to lose the attention of your leads is by sending them a lengthy email or leaving a voicemail that sounds more like a monologue. People are busy, and reading emails or responding to sales calls is rarely a top priority. 

Effective follow-ups are short and straight to the point, but make sure it’s not too dry either. For emails, pique their interest with a catchy subject line, personalization, and valuable content. 

Voicemails are more personal and allow for concise communication. Make sure you check out how to leave a voicemail so you can be successful in your efforts of hearing back from your lead. 

9. Define next steps

One of the biggest mistakes a salesperson can make is not clearly defining the next steps in the process with their lead. 

For instance, if a lead says they’ll need time to discuss your offer with their team, agree to follow up in a specific timeframe. Rather than saying “I’ll follow up in a week,” which is pretty vague, try saying “I’ll call you on Wednesday — how does 10:30 sound to you?”

To ensure leads won't be left hanging or unsure of what to do next, it's best to essentially hold their hand throughout the process and spoon-feed them all the information they'll need to continue down the sales funnel.

10. Know when to stop

Last but not least, you need to learn when to abandon lost causes. It might not be necessary to keep following up repeatedly in some circumstances, like when a lead directly rejects your offer or requests removal from your email list.

Repeatedly contacting these leads despite their rejections could harm your brand's reputation and waste a lot of time and effort on the part of your sales team.

However, don’t abandon leads if they are just a bit more work to close, but be smart about who you’re chasing down.

You should qualify your leads to determine whether or not they are worth pursuing more heavily at the moment.

Here’s a few questions to consider to help you determine if they are qualified or not:

  • Does the lead fit your target market?
  • Is the lead motivated?
  • Does the lead have the means to buy?
  • Is this person the decision maker?

Even if you find out they aren’t qualified right now, keep their information. Put those leads in a "to be followed-up with later" file and develop a campaign to target them later, when their circumstances may have shifted.

Let Smith.ai handle your outreach calls

The success of your conversion strategy heavily depends on you following up on your leads. By using these tips, you’ll have a solid strategy to help you move your leads through the pipeline and increase sales.

If you want to increase your speed to lead and have all your bases covered, our professional virtual receptionists make calls on your behalf and adhere to specific AI-driven procedures to maximize results. 

While you keep your sales team focused on what they do best — making sales — we will serve as your outreach team, bringing in more qualified leads and assisting with the nurturing process.

If you want to learn more about how Smith.ai can help your business, book a free consultation.

Sources: Marketing Donut

Lead Generation
Outreach Campaigns
Email & SMS Follow-Up
Written by Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is Smith.ai's SVP of Growth. Over the last 15 years, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

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