How to follow up on your sales leads

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In a world of mobile phone technology, you would expect that getting hold of people would be easier, however, when it comes to marketing, it can seem impossible to get a quality lead to answer a call.

The issue with having phone access all the time is that people are busy, busy at work, busy with their kids, cooking dinner or at the gym. One phone call is probably not going to catch them at the right time, especially when customers can screen calls and choose to answer familiar numbers.

This puts a challenge on your marketing team to have an incredible follow-through process with the attitude of “if you don't succeed, try, try again”.

Just because someone downloads your lead magnet, it doesn't mean they will automatically buy your products or services. It’s important to be proactive and creative with your follow-ups to meet the prospect where they are. 

Documenting a follow-up process is important for sales, but also for scaling. As your business grows you can hand a well run Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) over to a sales consultant, then a sales team, and know with certainty that everyone is following the correct process, one that will get results.

If you are not seeing quick conversions, it's not the leads that are the problem, it's the lack of a structured follow-up. I hear a lot of businesspeople complain about “poor quality leads” when in reality they try to phone the lead once, the lead doesn't answer and they give up.

It's not on the lead to call you back, you need to put steps in place to reach them to make a connection.

In this blog, I want to help overcome the one-call write off and show you how to follow up on sales leads in a way that is effective and rewarding. 

How to follow up on sales leads without looking desperate

One of the reasons I was able to grow Seight into a seven-figure custom cycling wear business was because I had a good SOP for following up with leads. I’ve learnt through practice that a well-designed follow-up process is what creates the conversions that will drive your business success. A really big key to this is sounding confident that you are there to support and enrich your customers’ lives, not that you are desperate to find more customers. 

We can break the SOP I created into easy to follow steps that you can use to improve your follow-up success.

1. Organise your leads into different segments

Lead segmentation helps you know who your target customers are so that you can tailor your messages to their preferences and needs. It’s important to pinpoint your leads segments so that you know how to follow up with your prospects and what kind of communications they will respond to.

Here are some examples of lead segments:

  • Homepage visitors - These prospects view your homepage, but haven’t visited other pages.
  • Product or service page visitors - These prospects might view your products, but they’re still undecided about purchasing. 
  • Email subscribers - These prospects read your newsletters, but they haven’t clicked or purchased the products or services linked in your content.

This list shows that there are different ways to engage with each segment. Homepage visitors need further enticement to explore your other pages, while product page visitors might be motivated to check out their shopping carts if they’re offered discount codes or vouchers. Email subscribers might prefer seeing exclusive content or offers that address their needs or problems.

Organising your leads can help you follow up more effectively because it boosts personalised communication and prevents generic and boring messaging.

2. Learn how your prospect prefers to communicate

If you are uncomfortable with making sales calls it's time to switch your mindset to find a way to overcome that feeling of dread and turn it into excitement and genuine care for the caller. When you become comfortable making sales calls and approach them with confidence, you won't put them off and you are likely to get a better response from the person on the other end.

Write a script so that you have a guide for what to say and how to respond to possible questions during a sales call. Setting a sales target can also motivate you to keep making calls, motivating you to get better and be more confident on the phone. Focus on what you can deliver to the customer, rather than on what you get for the sale.

If high-level prospects don’t respond to calls, then it’s time to try other channels. Send an email, SMS or shoot a message on Facebook or Instagram. If using these channels for your business feels intimidating then it’s time to overcome your fear of social media and start engaging with customers where they are. You can’t just ignore the digital marketing age. Creating a corporate social media presence and using it consistently to engage your target customers and follow up on leads can boost your online presence and increase brand awareness and public trust.

You can start by posting polls, questions or “caption this” posts to increase audience engagement and start discussions and move from there to talking directly with prospects and following up on those leads when the time comes.

3. Respond to your leads on time

Your lead response time tells you how long it takes you or your team to follow up with a prospect after you’ve contacted them through inbound or outbound channels. It’s important to track your response time so that you can quickly touch base with your leads. A prospect can easily find another option if they feel that a business is taking too long to respond to their enquiries.

Online sales leads have a very short life span, so it’s important to respond as soon as possible. You really need to contact your leads within an hour of their form fill or enquiry. That may require you appointing a staff member and having a working system in place to send lead notifications to the right person. The person in charge can check on new entries, follow up promptly and record their progress. 

Your inbound and outbound marketing strategies are effective if you get more enquiries, so it’s important to follow through with a short lead response time to get results.

4. Utilise valuable and informative content

No matter what stage of the sales cycle you’re in, it’s always important to provide value to your prospects.

Providing informative content to your prospects can “warm-up” your leads and ensure that your follow up doesn’t sound like a hard sale pitch. Visual content like videos or images can be entertaining and educational at the same time while long-form content like blogs can give your leads a comprehensive overview of a topic. Using a template for your content creation can help so that it’s easier for you to make more of the content you produce. Posting high-quality additional content to your website as well as to targeted social media channels can give your prospects an idea of who you are, what you do and how you can help.

5. Set a follow-up schedule and system (and stick to it) 

Developing a follow-up system will make it easier for you and your sales team to track your progress with each lead, know who was contacted when and also find patterns for while call times and scripts are working most effectively.  

A follow-up schedule will also ensure that the frequency and quality of your communications remain consistent.  

Your follow-up system can include the following:

  • An initial follow-up system - This is after you first make contact with a prospect. It can include sending a thank-you email and making an initial phone call as well as a follow-up call or email scheduled on a later date. 
  • A long-term follow-up system - You can place prospects that haven’t converted after the initial process in a long-term system. This can include a combination of emails, messages via social media or mobile phone. 

Make use of your high-quality leads and follow them through by developing a structured system that you and your sales team can use. Documenting your follow-up process and keeping track of your progress will help you improve your conversion and guide you in following up on leads. Using a step-by-step guide in follow-ups will help you engage with your leads and convert them. 

If you’re ready to tackle your leads and make the conversion a quicker process, book a call with our business sherpas. We will help you generate a solid SOP for following up on sales leads based on your business and industry.

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