Poor follow-up: losing opportunities without reason

  • Sales
  • Strategy
posted on 27 August 2020

In the world of sales, it’s so important to follow up with potential customers. If you aren’t following up, then they’ll lose interest and you’ll lose the sale.  Customers want and need to be guided along each step of the way. The deal must be progressing or moving forward. If this isn’t happening, then your close rates won’t be as good.

After doing some research on this topic, we’ve found that a good many salespeople actually aren’t following up properly. Though this seems like a small thing, it can hurt your bottom line. So let’s take a look at the three issues sales people most often run into.

1) Following up without a sound strategy

Too many salespeople have failed to set up a consistent approach to their follow-up routine. This is not very difficult to do in actual fact. Sit down and decide how often you believe you should contact the customer. What methods will you use? Develop some good, but short emails that you can send to customers on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Once you develop this plan, be sure to follow it with each sale. A successful sale has structure to it. It’s productive and makes sense.

2) Not following up at all

Often, customers will ask for more information about your product or services. At this point, you may send out a white paper, e-book or slide deck. After a week or so, you should contact this customer again and ask them if they have any other questions. Many times, we’re finding that sales people will send the requested material and then never contact the customer again. In fact, 48% of salespeople never follow up at all. Be sure to follow up! Make it a personal message and not just an automated email message. Show that you’re involved and concerned.

3) Following up only once

Most sales people will follow up with a customer after that initial contact, but once is not enough. Have a preset plan of action or a strategy that you follow each time so that it’s easy to stay in regular contact with each customer. If you don’t do this, then you’ll find yourself getting busy with other activities and never touch base again with the customer. Of course sometimes, a customer really needs your product/service, so they will make the purchase anyway. In most cases they have plenty of alternative vendors to choose to work with. So your overall sales numbers will suffer if you’re only following up once.

Follow up
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How your sales team can be more effective

The solution is simple. Develop a best practices methodology for your sales people. Don’t leave it to each of them to create their own. Some of them will but many of them won’t. Consistency is so powerful when it comes to progress opportunities and closing sales.

After you create a sales playbook for your teams to follow, make sure everyone is aware of it and using it each week. Put reminders in your CRM system so they don’t forget. Have someone create some templates that can be used over and over so that the follow-up is easy to do.

Follow up

Below are just a few stats that may surprise you:

  1. The best time to call is between 4pm and 5pm.
  2. It takes an average of 8 cold calls to reach a prospect.
  3. On average, 44% of sales reps give up after one follow up.
  4. Thursday is the best day for a cold call. Wednesday is the second best day.
  5. Over a trillion dollars each year is spent on sales forces.

Stop losing deals!

There are some really simple, yet high impact tactics that sales teams could apply that would greatly improve their numbers. But they need strong leadership to guide them and direct them. A sales team will do better if they get regular encouragement and reminders about simple things like following up with each customer.

For an example of how a sales playbook could implement a winning follow-up strategy into action, download our free Sales Playbook Guide.