Many layers go into successfully navigating the stages of a sale. But one of the most important aspects is knowing when to follow up with prospective clients. It can be those key moments of communication that make or break a deal.
There is a fine line between taking too long and not long enough to respond. Take too much time, and the prospect might lose interest. Email too quickly however, and they could think that you're pushy. Finding the right balance can be tricky.
Then there are those times where you felt like a meeting went well, only for leads to go quiet on you—the dating equivalent of ghosting if you will!
These problems only heighten the need to know when to follow up with prospects. Fortunately, there are steps that sales reps can take, as well as software that helps them make better use of the sales process.
The Stages of Contact
Knowing when to respond is a critical part of the process of closing deals, but understanding the frequency of response is also essential. Leads only reply when they are ready to do business, but keeping in regular contact helps build the relationship.
That frequency needs to tap into their journey as a buyer.
- At first, they will want educational content, so it’s important to provide materials that teach about the product.
- The next follow up should feature information that shows how the solution solves a specific pain point.
- The next stage involves organising demos and trials and setting up meetings. Listen to the problem and be helpful during these stages, always keeping the conversation around the customer needs and don’t forget to let them talk a much as possible.
Getting the timing right on these types of outreach is crucial!
Gauge Previous Dialogue
Examining past behaviour with a potential client can provide some insight into how and when you respond. Of course, this only works if there has been previous dialogue. But it can be a good indication as to whether they have gone cold or are avoiding you entirely.
Think back to your initial outreach—how did they respond? Were communications always slightly delayed, with you often waiting for a response? Or was your prospective client swift with their replies right up until the presentation?
If it’s the latter, and now they have gone cold, there is a good chance potential roadblocks (maybe there are several decision makers involved) is stopping any deal. If they were always slow to respond, it might just be that they are taking their time with getting back to you. What is priority number one for you is likely to be further down their list of concerns.
This method isn’t bulletproof as there is plenty of guesswork involved. But it can at least potentially provide some insight into why there hasn’t been a response and whether you should follow up again.
Using Software & Taking out the Guesswork
Ideally you would like to remove all the guesswork from the equation and have a clear idea of when it’s best to respond. Even in the final stages of a deal, salespeople can still be limited in their visibility to how leads engage with proposals and contracts.
Using software to track who reads your sales documents, when and the duration a lead spent on each page really adds clarity to the sales process. Having your hands on these engagement analytics is crucial to identifying who is genuinely interested and to what extent to prioritise follow-up for optimum success.
An e-signature solution acts as a huge time-saver as deals can be done instantaneously without the need for physical signatures. Having all these resources available removes much of the theory involved and helps sales reps to make more precise decisions about when they follow up with leads.
Keeping Track of Your Sales System
Integration has become a significant part of most professionals’ daily lives. Instead of a one-size-fits-all software that doesn’t specialise in any specific area, people are turning to unique solutions that they can plug into other software.
Using software that allows you to track when business documents have been opened is great for clarity. But it’s even more helpful when you can access it directly from the system that you use to manage leads.
If reps can track everything under one roof, including the general sales process and when prospects are responding to their outreach, they stand a better chance of successfully navigating leads through the pipeline.
Be Smarter. Respond Better
The life of a sales rep is hectic—there are always leads to follow up, meetings to attend and new prospects to discover. Using software specialised helps take away plenty of the strain and places you in a better position to follow up on prospects with better accuracy.
If you can nail your outreach and the timing you reach out, you will be in a stronger position to close deals faster and increase revenue streams.
And that should be the goal of any sales rep that wants not only to reach but exceed their targets.
Author: Simon Banks at noCRM.io