Best Practices Of Follow-ups In Outbound Sales

Perfecting the art of follow-ups in outbound sales! Discover the best practices and strategies to maximize effectiveness and drive success in your outbound sales approach.

"Mastering the art of follow-ups in outbound sales isn't just a best practice; it's the key to unlocking a treasure trove of opportunities."

What is a sales follow-up?

A sales follow-up is all about those essential interactions that come after that initial contact with a prospect. It could be in the form of follow-up emails, phone calls, or even social media messages – and it's a critical component in the journey of turning interested leads into loyal paying customers.

Let's be honest, none of us want to be the relentless salesperson who just won't give it a rest. That's precisely why effective sales follow-ups are about offering real value to the prospect. It's an opportunity for them to say "yes" when they're ready or even "no" if it's not the right time.

My follow-up approach that gets results

I've been in sales for most of my adult life, dealing with everything from pitching startup concepts to investors to offering services to small businesses, and marketing software to sales teams. Through these experiences, I've honed a simple yet effective sales follow-up philosophy:

I keep following up until I receive a response.

The nature of the response doesn't matter as much as the fact that I get one. If someone needs more time, I'll schedule a reminder and check in later. If they're busy, I'll ask for a suitable timeframe. And if they're outright uninterested, I respect that and give them space.

But here's the kicker – if they don't respond at all, I'll persist in reaching out until they do. And, believe me, they always do... eventually 

In fact, there was an instance where I followed up 48 times with an investor who initially showed interest in my email. He eventually responded, we had a meeting, and he ended up investing.

Now, it's time to seize the moment! Your marketing campaigns have paid off, and you've got a load of fresh leads to potentially convert into sales. The key lies in your ability to follow up strategically and efficiently, ensuring no opportunities slip through the cracks and that you don't overwhelm your prospects. Effective follow-up often means multiple attempts, as data from Marketing Donut suggests – 80% of sales leads require at least five follow-ups after the first contact, but astonishingly, only 8% of salespeople actually follow through this many times.

While five times may sound like a lot, the right approach can help you effectively convey your message, winning you favor with your leads. In this article, we'll delve into some valuable tips on how to master the art of following up with leads, ultimately increasing your chances of transforming them into repeat customers.

Note: Effective follow-ups are a cornerstone of successful outbound sales strategies. 

Also read: How to increase outbound sales calls

Sales lead follow-up best practices:

The art of effective sales follow-up:

You already know it's not just about when you follow up with your leads, but also how you follow up. It's about understanding where they are in your sales funnel, addressing their needs, and timing your communication just right. Let's explore some best practices for masterful sales follow-ups that can turn leads into valuable customers.

Segment your leads:

Not all leads are created equal. Some may be ready to make a decision, while others need a bit more nurturing. Start by categorizing leads into hot, warm, and cold groups. This allows for tailored communication that respects where they are in the buyer's journey. Consider implementing lead scoring tools for more precision and flexibility as you learn more about them.

Timely responses:

The clock is ticking. Within 12-24 hours of receiving a lead, send a thank you or welcome message. It's a chance to show your attentiveness and willingness to assist with any questions.

Nurture with valuable content:

No matter where leads are in the funnel, add value to every interaction. Think blog posts, infographics, success stories, and guides. The goal is not an instant conversion, but nurturing the lead's interest and trust.

Personalize your approach:

Personalization matters. Use names in emails, tailor content based on their website activity, and engage in personalized conversations instead of canned responses.

Employ various communication channels:

Your leads have diverse preferences. Be available across channels like email, social media, phone, and even snail-mail. While you don't need to bombard them on every platform, ensure you're easily accessible.

Communication methods to consider:

  • Email: Offers flexibility but requires follow-ups with intriguing subject lines and valuable content.
  • Phone: Demonstrates expertise but needs a compelling voicemail strategy.
  • Text Message: Effective for ongoing conversations.

Craft a follow-up schedule:

Remember, it often takes 7-10 touches before a conversion. Create a consistent follow-up schedule that keeps you top of mind but avoids becoming a nuisance.

Sample schedule:

  • Emails: Once per week
  • Phone calls: Once per month
  • Face-to-face: Once per quarter
  • Track Your Efforts

Use CRM systems to record customer outreach and results. If you don't have one, Excel works. Maintain a spreadsheet with prospect information, notes, and dates of nurturing.

Know When to Let Go :)

Qualifying leads early is crucial. Don't waste resources on unqualified leads. Three criteria to consider:

  • Do they have the means to purchase?
  • Are they motivated?
  • Are they the decision-makers?

If they don't fit the bill, don't discard them. Keep a "follow up later" list for future re-engagement when circumstances change.

Alert: Consistent and well-timed follow-ups can significantly impact your conversion rates.

Follow up with your sales leads the right way:

Lead prospecting is all about remaining in front of your clients without getting on their bad side … a sort of omnipresence, if you will. Your goal shouldn’t necessarily be to convince them to buy, but rather to be there when they’re ready to buy. This type of reliability bodes well for your brand and makes those leads feel respected and valued. What better way to cultivate your customer base than that?

Why do sales follow-ups? insane benefit backed by real data?

Let's face it, follow-ups are no walk in the park. They demand your time, effort, and don't always guarantee success. However, they're a vital weapon in your arsenal. Here's why the art of the follow-up is your secret weapon:

1. Rise above the competition

Ever wondered how to outshine your competitors? Here's the answer: persistence. Surprisingly, 44 percent of salespeople throw in the towel after just one follow-up call. By consistently following up, you'll snag the opportunities they leave behind.

2. Turn "No" into "Yes"

Rejection stings, but don't be disheartened. Research tells us that 80 percent of prospects say "no" up to four times before they finally utter that magic "yes." While 92 percent of salespeople surrender after four rejections, you can convert those "no's" into victories.

3. Expand your reach

It's a numbers game. On average, it takes eight follow-up calls to reach a prospect. Your potential clients are juggling a thousand things, and you're not always at the top of their list. Yet, patience in following up eventually pays off.

4. The ultimate prize: more closed deals

Here's a staggering fact—only 2 percent of sales are sealed in the first contact. If you're not following up, you're potentially missing out on a whopping 98 percent of potential sales. Your dedication to the follow-up is the key to closing those deals.

Also read: How to leverage multiple channels in outbound sales

Final verdict:

Mastering the art of follow-ups in outbound sales is not just a best practice but a necessity. By employing strategies that prioritize persistence, personalization, and patience, sales professionals can unlock the potential for higher conversion rates and ultimately, business success.

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