5 Tips on How to
Follow Up Successfully

How many times should you follow up? E-mail, call or social media outreach? How long should you wait before you try again? To have the highest chance of success, you need to have a good follow-up strategy. In this article we're going to share some proven tactics that can help you achieve that.
Reaching out to a prospect for the first time may seem easy and straightforward, but moving the lead further in the sales process and actually closing the deal is where it gets tricky. Following up is extremely important to secure the sale and can win you long-term customers. If you do it right and provide prospects with excellent support, they could even refer new clients to you. Still, salespeople often overlook the importance of following up properly.

The mistake that is made all the time is that sales reps simply give up too soon. They assume that after a couple of attempts the prospect is just not interested, so from fear of rejection and coming across as annoying they stop calling and emailing and move on.

Another common failure is taking too long to respond or not following up regularly. Many reps also tend to ignore the leads that require more effort and focus on the ones that are most likely to convert. This is logical to an extent, but why not nurture those leads at the bottom of the funnel a little bit more and pull them through? After all, your company doesn't spend all that money on marketing just for a tiny percentage of leads to be contacted.

Here's what you can do to improve your follow-up strategy:
Make another outreach attempt

Remember the first mistake I mentioned? According to The Brevet Group, 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up and data from Forbes shows that reps call only 1.3 times. The prospect won't beg you for your services, so it's up to you to make another call. The experts say that 6 or more touches are necessary to nurture prospects and get a "yes" (or at least a "no"). It's unlikely that a B2B sale will happen during the first call. You have to consider how long your sales cycle is - if your price is on the higher end, you can expect that prospects will take longer to decide and multiple people will be involved. Be persistent across different channels – it doesn't have to be a call only, use email, voicemail, LinkedIn or other social networks. A multi-channel strategy increases your number of touches and the probability of getting a response.

There are numerous success stories about companies who, after *double digit* follow-ups, got that life-changing deal. However, if you haven't had any discussion with the prospect, to avoid the risk of annoying someone who hasn't expressed interest in your product or service, it's safer to stick with the guideline of 6 touches.

Be as fast as you can

Statistics show that following up within 10 minutes increases your chances of success tremendously. And five minutes is even better - so quit what you're doing and be as fast as you can! Immediately after an interaction is when leads are most excited about you and you are fresh in their mind. Wait too long, and they will cool off, forget about you or your competitors will have already swooped in. Moreover, responding quickly will leave a really good impression and create a personal connection based on mutual respect.

Set up reminders

It is appropriate to follow up in increasing intervals with time. It could be too intrusive to call many times over a short period of time. Say, after frequent follow-ups in the first two weeks, you wait another two weeks, then check in again in a month and so on. It is so easy to lose track of time, misplace your notes of the progress made with the prospect or let them slip from your memory. Setting up simple reminders, for example through a CRM tool, and creating a follow-up schedule will keep you accountable and ensure you stay on track.

Send helpful content

Apart from following up regularly, make sure to send prospects some valuable pieces of content instead of constantly asking them if they're ready to buy or "just checking in". The magic word is "value", which is what is going to set you apart from the competition, make you credible and build trust. You could answer the prospect's questions using FAQs or blog posts, educate with ebooks or webinars, you name it. Be helpful and there is little chance you'll come across as annoying.

Get creative

Sometimes you can do everything right and still not get a response. Then, why not do something creative or funny to get your prospect's attention? I recently heard of an SDR at Gong.io sending lanterns to prospects gone "dark" with a funny note that had pretty amazing results. Another example is sending them a package with a personal touch - maybe connected to your prospect's hobbies or something they mentioned during your conversation, that will show that you were actually listening. Make your message stand out, think outside the box and that will definitely make the client remember you.
Following these best practices can help you craft timely, considerate and personalized follow-ups, that will differentiate you from competitors and land you more deals.
However, customizing your messages for a specific industry or buyer persona isn't enough anymore. Sales reps need to be aware that each lead is an individual and therefore follow-ups shouldn't be sent at scale. Connecting on a human level is crucial, as one size doesn't fit all. Prosply also offers a personalization service that can help you find new customers on LinkedIn by sending a sequence of personalized follow-ups and nurturing your leads with valuable, eye-catching content. Get in touch with our team to take your follow-up strategy to the next level!
The Author:
Nia Ilieva, Marketing Manager at Prosply
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