In most businesses, a designated salesperson reaches out to set up a time (if the requestor hasn’t already chosen one), then calls the lead on the scheduled date. If they’re like 44 percent of salespeople, once they fulfill their initial request, the interaction with that person ends.
The problem with that is, in most cases, your leads won’t be ready to buy your product right away. In fact, 80 percent of sales require five follow-ups, but only eight percent of reps actually make it that far. By failing to follow up, the majority of businesses are kissing a painful amount of potential sales and revenue goodbye.
That begs the question: If follow-up is so crucial to making sales, why are only eight percent of reps doing it effectively? For most, the roadblock is time. When done manually, sending leads personalized offers is both time-consuming and difficult to keep track of. This leaves sales reps with a mess of cold leads and dropped balls to sort through and not enough hours in the day to finish.
Sales automation takes that hassle away. Instead of spending countless hours sending the same messages to different leads, sales automation allows you to create post-sales call offer funnels in advance and let them run on their own 24/7. To take it even further, because automated sales follow-up is set up in advance, you can weave in a variety of communication channels to reach your prospects in the right place at the right time.
Here are three simple and effective sales follow-up communications channels you can use:
Sales emails have come a long way since their first appearance in consumers’ inboxes in 1978. In 40 years, email has transformed from a channel for bulk-distributing unsolicited offers to a means for brands to deliver their most hyper-targeted, thoughtful sales offers.
If you want to acquire more customers and nurture them into larger sales at scale, email is the way to go. According to a survey by Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric, “Email had a median ROI of 122% — more than four times higher than other marketing formats examined, including social media, direct mail and paid search.”
Email is also advantageous because it’s highly scalable — your sales reps can automatically follow up with every lead they talk to without doing a thing. You can create follow-up emails that can be tailored and personalized using the data you have about each lead in your CRM and sales force automation platform. Then, you can set up your platform to automatically deliver those emails to leads at just the right moment, right after they’ve performed an action or after a specified duration of time.
EXAMPLE: THE POST SALES CALL FOLLOW-UP MESSAGE
After your sales team calls each prospect, whether the prospect is interested in purchasing or not, you should always follow up afterwards with a summary of what you discussed and any useful resources that will support your company’s authority and expertise on the topic. Here’s an example of a call follow-up message you might send:
EXAMPLE: FOLLOWING UP WITH LEADS STUCK IN YOUR SALES PIPELINE
Simply sending one follow-up email after your sales call or consultation is typically not enough to nudge a sale. It’s important to plan a regular cadence of follow-up after sales calls. Remember, most of your qualified leads won’t be ready to buy your product right away, so following up with them over time is crucial to closing the sale.
Your goal should be to remind them frequently of what you have to offer so that when they are eventually ready, your business will be fresh in their memory. Here’s an example of how you can follow up with a lead who has been in the pipeline a while without taking action:
While email is the most common and recommended way to follow up quickly after a sales call or consultation, you can also send a thank you note or postcard that will arrive in your lead’s physical mailbox within a few days. Or you can plan to use a postcard later in your follow-up process.
In a crowded digital marketplace, a personal touch here and there is a great way to stand out. With 54% of customers surveyed by AdWeek reporting that “they want to receive mail from brands they’re interested in,” sending a postcard by mail might be exactly how you can ensure your business stands out.
Postcards are great follow-up tools because:
- They’re inexpensive.
- They’re eye-catching.
- They’re often read.
- Results are easily measurable.
- Customers find them trustworthy.
- You can automate and personalize them.
- They are a physical form of communication that adds a real personal touch (which can help your business stand out).
In addition to using postcards to follow up after an initial sales call or demo, you can use them for continued nurturing before and after the contact becomes a customer. Here are some examples:
- Birthday offers
- Anniversary (with your business) reminders
- Holiday promotions
- Contract expiration reminders
- Cross-sell and upsell offers
- Update contact info requests
- Event invitations
- Appointment reminders
- Thank you cards
- Proposal follow-up
- Demo follow-up
- New product announcements
- Recurring service reminder
Don’t be scared off by the perceived difficulty of sending clients and leads postcards — they’re easy to implement into your automated follow-up processes. All you need to do to get started is set a task outcome in your sales force automation platform that subscribes contacts to a thank you note fulfillment list. You can customize your postcards to include your contact’s name and any other information you’d like.
Although we don’t recommend replacing more traditional communication channels such as emails and phone calls altogether, your sales team can add SMS to your follow-up funnels post sales call for a convenient, on-the-go and quick way of communicating between other forms of communication.
With nearly 80 percent of the world’s population having access to mobile phones and SMS, it should be no surprise that market research from The State of SMS has predicted that “by 2020, 48.7 million consumers will opt in to receive business SMS.”
Here are just a few reasons to add this underused communication channel to your marketing follow-up strategy:
- 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of receipt.
- The response rate for SMS is higher than mobile advertising.
- Consumers prefer to schedule or change appointments via text over other communication channels.
- 98% of SMS messages are opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails.
When many people think of SMS messaging for sales, they think of the spam-mail from random 777 numbers that they didn’t opt in for, but there’s a lot that this communication channel can do without annoying customers or leads.
Here are just a few of the potential uses for SMS messages:
- Webinar or appointment reminder messages
- Scheduling or changing appointments
- Purchase confirmations or receipts
- Coupon offers
- Polls and contests
With an understanding of the channels you can use to follow up with sales leads, you can consider which is best for your audience and map out your immediate and long-term sales follow-up.