Ever-increasing sales quotas and high turnover among sales professionals are common in the sales industry. Currently, only 64% of companies report their sales reps reach quota attainment, according XANT research. Often the problem lies with a sales follow-up strategy for lead response that leads to meaningful conversations — whether you are taking inbound calls or doing outbound sales.
Recent research has shown that more often than not, sales reps give up too soon on trying to contact leads. The most common sales follow-up sequence used is one single email (used by 30 percent of sales reps), with the second most popular strategy as one single call and a voicemail.
Best Practices for Sales Follow-up
This contradicts best practices which show sales reps must make at least six attempts to maximize their chances of making contact.
Or, should they?
These practices for lead response management were established by a study created by Dr. James B. Oldroyd, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007.
And while there is still value in Dr. Oldroyd’s research (immediacy in response and persistence are key to sales performance), modern sales reps need more than this to be successful. We are in an era of customer empowerment, where the customer does his own research, is able to compare vendors and other customer reviews. Moreover, we are in an era where the customer decides where he spends his time and a 15-minute conversation is hard to achieve.
Personalization of your sales approach, as well as that of the messaging and follow-up strategy are going to be pivotal to a sales team’s success.
You can’t choose this randomly. You need to carefully plan it out and account for factors like:
- The sales model used (transactional vs. relational)
- Whether the team is doing lots of outbound calls or taking inbound leads
- How and when does the customer prefer to be contacted?
Once you figure out these key elements of your business, you can create a custom sales follow-up strategy to rule them all.
Create A Customized Sales Follow-up Strategy
The “Definitive Guide to Sales Cadence” by Gabe Larsen has all you need to create this strategy. This is an in-depth, powerful guide to structuring a sales cadence. To save you some time, we’ve created a mini-version of the most important facts you need to know before working on your follow-up strategy, summarized from the book.
This will answer five of the most important questions sales professionals have before contacting leads:
Contact Attempts: How many times should you try to contact a lead?
Communication Media: How many communication channels should you use?
Duration of a Cadence: How long should you keep contacting a prospect?
Spacing Between Attempts: How long should you wait between contact attempts?
Sales Content: What kind of content should you use?
All these answers will be customized based on your sales model and type of transaction. You can see the infographic below for the answers, or get the full eBook here.