Follow-up is almost as important as farming the leads in the first place. The speed with which you turn leads into prospects and prospects into customers depends on several factors. One of the biggest is the system that you use for follow-up and getting leads to and through the sales funnel.
The strongest relationships are formed over time, as people have multiple interactions and grow together in their partnership as they learn about each other. They learn how they get along, how they differ, and in this case, how they can work together effectively to solve problems (for the consumer). Customer relationships are everything. We no longer live in a world where there is a limited market and it’s less competitive.
The Internet has created a global marketplace that’s highly competitive and takes serious staying power for those who are going to make it. Part of that comes in creating a sales cycle that includes all the right steps at the right time. The first interaction with a lead is just the beginning. It’s every step after that will impact how they feel about your company, whether they choose your product or service, and how long it will take them to make those decisions.
First and foremost, you need to make sure that you put a proper follow-up system in place. Letting everyone handle it however they see fit with no standard process can cause a lot of issues. At the very least, it runs the risk that you will miss important leads or not follow up as you should. It can make your team look disorganized and disjointed when one rep is following up regularly and another doesn’t seem to be worried about checking back in to see how things are going. If your sales team is too busy, you can always outsource your sales outreach so you can respond to your leads as fast as possible.
Effective follow-up requires a value-added interaction each and every time. Chasing, nagging, or pitching sales at prospects and clients is never going to get what you want. You need to follow up with everyone, but you also need to make sure that the interaction is useful and wanted.
Take the time to figure out who you want to follow up with and why, as well as which method of communication you want to use. This should start with the leads or clients that are most likely to convert, and then go down the list to those who may be less likely. Have a category for referrals, for example, so that you can track them and make sure that you follow up accordingly for the sake of both relationships.
Make sure that you choose some objective criteria to help you determine how to categorize your leads ahead of time. This isn’t something that should be done arbitrarily or on the fly. Otherwise, you could find yourself basing decisions on subjective factors or procrastinating to get to leads in the first place.
Although you’ll have your own unique criteria, you’ll want to consider things like their fit with your business, their geographic location, the financial status of an individual (or size of the business if it’s a business lead), and other factors. Make sure that you prioritize follow-up among these categories, too.
When you’re categorizing and managing follow-up, you’ll also need the right tools to do get things done. Part of your system comes in choosing the best resources for your needs. With prospecting and lead intake, you’ll usually want some type of CRM or pipeline management tool that can help you automate follow-up and the rest of the lead generation process.
Although you could keep track of leads on a spreadsheet, this isn’t the 1980s and there are better options out there. Take advantage of dynamic platforms to help you manage leads, follow up, and keep the sales funnel moving. The best thing that you can do is choose a system that does as much of the work as possible so that your team doesn’t have to.
When your system is handling categorizing leads and prioritizing follow-up, you won’t have to worry about doing it yourself. Then, your team can get to the right leads at the right time, ensuring that the conversation continues until they become a customer.
Another part of the follow-up equation is meeting prospects in the first place. You have to take the time to find out about their needs, their problems and pain points, their interests, and other details. Find out what they care about, what’s important to them, and how your company comes into that equation.
When you are asking questions, you’re gathering valuable information that you can use to further classify and categorize leads. You’re typically going to want to stick to questions that are relevant to your business or purpose, but any information you can gather could be helpful.
Most importantly, elicit as much information as you can about the problems that people are looking to solve as quickly as you can. That will help speed up the lead prospecting pipeline and make it easier for you to categorize the quality and likelihood of conversion right out of the gate.
In addition to initial follow-up, you need to have milestones in place for regular follow-up. This guarantees that everyone gets the same experience and that your entire team knows when and how to reach out. This will not only improve the follow-up process, but it will help show cohesiveness and commitment, which can definitely help improve the way leads feel about your business.
Make sure that you tweak and adjust communication milestones as needed, too.
While you’re building a better follow-up system for your lead generation, who’s handling the calls and inquiries? When you partner with Smith.ai, you will get a team of virtual receptionists to act as your 24/7 answering service so you never miss a lead. Plus, we can assist with outreach campaigns, appointment scheduling, and lead intake, too.