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Apr 17, 2023 04:39 PM
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When Goldilocks visited the three bears, she found three bowls of porridge on the table—but only one was “just right.” Just like that porridge, sales reps shouldn’t come in too hot or too cold with follow-ups. But how do you find what’s “just right” for your prospects?
Too hot, and the prospect may get annoyed. Too cold, and your sales rep may be forgotten as other competitors swoop in.
What’s too much too soon? What’s too little too late? How often should reps reach out? With 80% of prospects saying no four times before they say yes, don’t let your sales reps be part of the 92% who give up after the fourth call. It’s clearly worth it to refine a process that ensures your reps are following up at an effective rate.
But what’s “effective,” you ask?
Below, we’ll share some best practices for discovering that Goldilocks zone for your team, plus five concrete steps you can take to perfect your frequency.
Finding an effective follow-up cadence is all about striking the balance between being front of mind or in your face. If reps wait too long to check in with a prospect, they risk a problematic “Who are you again?” On the other hand, if they don’t wait long enough, they risk becoming an annoyance.
Either way, you won’t boost your conversion rate. Strong sales leaders need to help their team strike that balance on follow-up frequency.
Buyers don’t appreciate when sellers are too aggressive. To have a positive experience, 61% percent of buyers say salespeople shouldn’t be pushy. They should listen carefully and respond accordingly. Your lead says they’re bringing up your SaaS to a manager at tomorrow morning’s staff meeting? Don’t ring them up in the afternoon to ask how it went. Information from the prospect can help dictate the right timeline. If reps ignore this because they’re anxious to make a sale, they’re likely to drive that prospect away.
Even when leads are quiet, you never want to overwhelm them. Calling, emailing, or messaging every day (or even every few days) risks becoming an annoyance and driving that prospect away. Space it out and give them room to breathe and process.
At the same time, if you wait too long between touches, they’ll lose interest. So…
Being patient can be hard, especially for sales reps who are eager to close a deal. It’s especially important to keep in mind if your product or service has a high price point. In this situation, your pipeline is inevitably going to be longer and involve multiple decision-makers. Such high-stakes enterprise sales may take a year or more to negotiate. But that doesn’t mean reps should sit back and let a month go by without pinging a lead.
Early on in the nurture process, it’s a good idea to reach out more often. As you get to know your prospects and their particular pain points, follow their lead a bit more. And if you get a definitive “no” from a prospect, cross them off your list and move on.
The short answer to “How frequently do I need you to follow up with leads?” is ultimately, “It depends.” Every product or service is different, and so is every potential buyer. Sales leaders need to perfect the timing and frequency that’s just right for their team and product.
Here are five steps that will help you find what’s most effective for your business.
First, take a look at what your team’s current practices are. How long are they generally going between follow-ups? Is there a standard practice in your playbook? If you have a set cadence but sales seem mediocre, then here’s a perfect opportunity to test out a new timeline.
Confirm how often you will follow up with prospects, at what intervals, and make at least five touches. After all, 10% of sales are made after the fourth contact but 80% of sales are made in the fifth to twelfth contact.
Remember, variety is the spice of life. Utilize different channels to reach out. Phone calls and emails can be great. But if voicemails don’t get returned or emails don’t get opened, try reaching out via text or LinkedIn. You may get a response on a different preferred platform.
Try out the timeframe you’ve set and check in with your team regularly to see how the follow-ups are going. Give this process a chance to play out. It may take several months as leads move through the pipeline to see the effectiveness.
As you monitor your process, talk with your reps. What sort of feedback are they getting from prospects? Maybe they need to pump the brakes or hit the accelerator on what you originally set. Whether deals are won or lost, it’s important to gauge if they were helped along or hurt by the frequency of follow-ups.
Review how well your team performed at actually meeting the deadlines you originally set for follow-ups. Did they struggle or manage them easily? If they had trouble, ascertain what additional support they need to meet the deadline—especially if your data shows that the frequency of follow-ups worked.
Start the process over again and make small changes based on what you’ve learned. Not only are you refining a process for follow-up frequency, you are getting proactive about ensuring that process is the most effective it can be.
To nail down the art of the follow-up, timing and frequency go hand in hand. Teams need to perfect both, and the right tools for the job make that a whole lot easier. Sales leaders can monitor follow-ups, track timing and frequency, and use that information to continually perfect their team’s process.
With Gluework, you can see the full picture of your process and target where leaks are springing—or are likely to start, so you can stop them before they do. Speak with one of our experts today to discover how we can help you leverage your follow-up data into a perfected process.