Congratulations – your sponsored program, event or search paid off and you got some leads! Time to send them to sales for follow up.
So, how do you support sales and maximize their efforts? Let’s start with my Number 2 Rule of Demand Generation – “Never Check In”. The never ending stream of emails saying “Following up on your inquiry” or “Checking in to see if you’re still interested” being ignored in your own inbox can tell you that.
So, for effective sales follow up, here are my tips:
- Set your objective. (This is actually my Number 1 Rule of Demand Generation.) Ideally, you spent money to make money, so focus on sales oriented objectives like meetings, opps and closed business and set a realistic goal. Unless the offer was for a demo or meeting, your prospect hasn’t indicated they want to talk to sales, so don’t reach for 100% conversion.
- Create sales outreach that is personal to the recipient – one to one. Don’t send a series of generic emails offering more and more pieces of content. That won’t bring a prospect closer to a meeting and you blow the ability to use content in post-sales nurturing.
- Be crystal clear about what benefit you’re offering the prospect and what you want them to do. Five whitepaper offers, a link to your pricing page and an invite to your next webinar aren’t going to get you anything but an unsubscribe.
- Relevance really helps. For almost every lead, you can quickly look at their website and LinkedIn profile to find the size of company, industry, how experienced the person is and their job function. Use that information to personalize your outreach and reference how your product will specifically to meet their needs.
- But careful not to be creepy. There is a big difference between, “Hi Bob, I’m Jackie. I’ve been consulting with a lot of mid-sized financial institutions and I’ve been able to increase the return on demand generation with effective nurturing programs and I’d love 10 minutes of your time to see if I can help you.” versus “Hi Bob. I see you worked at Chase for two years, took a gap year after college and I really like that picture of you on water skis”. Keep it meaningful, professional and focused on the benefit.
- If your sales team is intimidated by the idea of drafting custom emails for each prospect, do the first few with them. As they reach out, natural templates develop for things like industries, job functions or use cases and it gets easier. They’ll just need to do a quick review and polish.
- Leads are expensive, so commit to a robust follow up. I recommend 3-4 emails and 2-3 calls per lead. If you’re calling, leave scripted voice mails and test double dials and time of day to increase connects. And follow up promptly. I have some clients who set a goal of outreach within an hour for things like contact us or demo requests.
- Go beyond the phone and inbox. Some prospects don’t respond to email and in many workplaces (especially post-pandemic), it’s difficult to get a reliable phone number. Test social media outreach as well.
- Follow up with confidence. Your sales team shouldn’t be working for your company if they don’t believe in the product, so they should be enthusiastic about asking for a meeting. Never feel bad for making sure a prospect knows you can make their lives easier and make their company more profitable.
- Beating your prospects to death won’t get higher conversions and it certainly won’t make you any friends. Make a reasonable effort with relevant messaging and then send leads to nurture. If you nurture them right, they’ll come back when they’re ready to engage.
- Track your results by running reports that show how you’re meeting your objectives. If you’re not where you want to be, it’s time to test until you get closer.
Need more ideas? Training? A review of your programs? Contact me!