How Often Should I Follow Up with Leads?

As marketing and sales folks, we are always on the look out for the latest and greatest ways to attract more leads. Lead generation is important, but the money to be made from generating leads is in the follow up. Most small business owners and sales people would be better off fixing their follow up before spending more money on lead generation.

Do You Stop Following Up Too Soon?

Most sales people, particularly those without a systematic follow up process, give up on prospects too soon.

According to a couple of studies (one by Sales & Marketing Executives Club of Los Angeles and another by SalesForce.com) over 90% of sales are made after the fourth call – here’s the breakdown:

  • 2% of sales close on the 1st call
  • 3% of sales close on the 2nd call
  • 4% of sales close on the 3rd call
  • 10% of sales close on the 4th call
  • 81% of sales close after the 5th call

However, most (>70%) salespeople stopped following up after the second call:

  • 48% quit after the 1st call
  • 24% quit after the 2nd call
  • 12% quit after the 3rd call
  • 6% quit after the 4th call
  • 10% quit after the 5th call

According to these studies, most of us don’t need to focus on generating tons of new leads, we need to focus on improving our follow up with the leads we have.

Stop Leads From Slipping Through Your Fingers

You may find it helpful to think of “nurturing your relationship” rather than just following up with your leads. Repeatedly sending “just checking in” emails or voice mails isn’t very effective. In order to differentiate yourself from your competition and stay top of mind with your prospects you will want to stay in touch by providing educational, helpful information that focuses on their needs. This approach of maintaining contact by providing long term value will lead to more meaningful sales discussions and closing more deals.

Mix Up Your Channels

Email is easy, but don’t be afraid to add other communication channels to the mix. Mix in the occasional phone call, direct mail piece, text message, or share something via social media – whichever makes sense for your target audience.

Automate As Much As Possible

Once you have mapped out your follow up process, automate it as much as possible. Automation can take many forms, from simply adding a reminder to you to-do list or calendar, to sending automated email, voice, or text broadcasts. Some systems will even help you respond with messages based upon actions taken by your prospect.

Our favorite sales and marketing automation tool is Infusionsoft, but there are many systems covering a wide range of features and budgets. If you would like to see an example of how automation software can help you, check out this demo.

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