Looking to increase your close rate? Lead follow-up is essential, but can often be neglected or done improperly. It is not luck that increases your sales rate, but the consistent use of a proven formula that will lead to a close.
Read on for my 3 golden rules for proper lead follow-up – follow them and you should see your close rate rise.
1. Distribute Leads Wisely
When you receive an inbound lead, someone has shown an interest in your company or your product. Even though it may be a marketing qualified lead, (MQL) it requires diligent follow-up and further qualification to turn it into a sales qualified lead (SQL).
Make sure you hand that interest to a business development representative who will act on it.
Make sure your outside sales representative pays attention to and acts on the information given in the sales lead in a timely manner.
We recommend this first follow-up step take place within 24 hours of the outside rep receiving the qualified lead opportunity.
It is important to know your sales team and their strengths. Maybe you have someone with more knowledge of a particular industry, or a history with a similar company. Don’t overlook these details, they are what can make the difference, and lead to a more meaningful interaction and a successful close.
2. Don’t Wait
Follow up with any lead, inbound OR outbound, as soon as possible. Not following up quickly is like throwing the lead to someone else – this seems obvious, but can be very prevalent when it comes to Internet leads (as outlined in this popular Forbes article).
Following up within 24 hours is essential. Any longer, and a potential customer may think they don’t matter, or that your sales team isn’t organized enough to follow up on potential leads.
Make sure you have processes in place, so that when there is an inbound lead, a follow-up call, email, or appointment is made as soon as possible.
Once a conversation is 2-3 days old, the contact will lose recognition. An email and/or calendar invitation should go out ASAP, and the sales rep should make sure the contact accepts the invitation. (Be sure to check to see if your email has been received, and your calendar invitation accepted.)
Another rule to follow for outbound leads: use specifics, but keep it short and to the point. When a teleprospector is turning a lead over to a sales rep, they should provide as many details as possible. These salient points should be referred to in the follow-up email.
3. Be Persistent, Not Annoying
With any lead, persistence is necessary. Everyone is busy, and they may not return your call or email the first time, regardless of their interest. It is important to remain committed to the lead and not give up if the few first attempts are not successful.
For inbound leads, 6-10 attempts to contact a person is considered the industry norm. However, this is when a qualified sales rep should use their best judgement.
With a qualified outbound lead, there is a need for more restraint. Again, a highly qualified lead will be with a key decision maker; someone relatively high within a company. This person is most likely very busy and may not have time to respond, even if they have made the decision that they want to be contacted and move forward.
If, after several attempts at contact, there is still no response, it is good practice to kick it back to the teleprospector who generated the lead. This allows the person with the familiar voice back on the line to re-establish the connection and can often lead to success.
High Close Rates and Successful Sales Cycles
Following these 3 Golden Rules for Lead Follow-Up will create a consistent and successful formula for high close rates and successful sales cycles.
Source: Jim Scaparotti – Co-Founder of JMS Elite