So you got a lead on your website. Congrats, the first step to success is taken! However, the steps that follow are not as simple as you might think. Now that the prospect has shown interest in your brand, you have to do the follow-up, which requires you to find a balance between effectively promoting your product or service, and not being too pushy and overselling it.
There is a fine line between those two, which is why following up with B2B leads is such a delicate process. As a company, you need to understand if this lead is, in fact, a quality lead, where it came from, why they are interested in your product or service, and how you can help them. According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound report from 2018, only 48% of companies had the efficiency of their sales tunnel as one of their priorities. However, 75% of those same companies wanted to be able to close a bigger amount of deals. That can only be achieved if the marketing team and the sales team work together, in order to identify the high-quality leads, instead of spending money and time on leads that could have been filtered out along the process.
So what can you and your sales team do, in order to make sure you follow up your B2B leads in the best way possible and end the process with a sale?
Not every single one of your leads will want to speak on the phone, and not everyone will have the time to exchange emails or texts. When you directly ask your prospect which follow-up channel they want you to use when you contact them, you increase the chances of them picking up and engaging (or writing back, in the case of emails and texts). The most frequently used options are:
1 .Phone Calls
The most common channel, but the one that can easily be considered the most invasive one. Phone calls should definitely be chosen when there is a sense of emergency because you know that, if the prospect picks up, you will get an answer on the spot. However, before you dial the number, consider who the person you want to reach : their demographics, their area of expertise and their customer journey up until that point. If you haven’t asked them which communication channel they prefer, try to assess that information from what your experience with previous prospects has taught you.
this is probably the least intrusive one, which means that it can be great as a way to insist without coming off as obnoxious. But of course, it also comes with a downside – the fact that is the easiest one to purposefully ignore or get lost in the middle of all the other emails on the prospect’s inbox. Make sure your email stands out starts with writing a compelling subject line and preview text, so if you go for this follow-up channel, that is something you certainly cannot ignore.
Also Read : Sales Email Follow Up Strategy – 2019
which nowadays, means Whatsapping more than it means traditional texting. Most people have smartphones and exchanging messages is a very practical way of communicating, so your prospects might prefer to talk that way. This is particularly true when it comes to millennials, as revealed by a research conducted by B2B News Network in 2018, which showed that 53% of them would rather text than talk through the phone since they find it less intrusive. According to Flow Route, in December of 2016, 82% of texts were actually read within the first 5 minutes of being received, because they constitute such a quick, easy-to-digest type of content, and since almost everyone has their smartphone with them at all times, this might be a very interesting channel to bet on.
4. Social Media:
In 2018, sales people who used social media for their job were 50% more likely to meet, and even surpass, their sales goals. Furthermore, in 2018, 2.34 billion individuals were on social media and most of them access their accounts regularly, so it is a very easy way of reaching prospects. You just need to make sure you don’t go too far and invade the prospect’s privacy. For that reason, it is usually safer to use LinkedIn to reach out to your potential customer, since it is a professional social media platform.
Sherpa Marketing found that the best time to contact a prospect is within one hour of them showing interest for your brand. In fact, the Lead Response Management Study concluded that 5 minutes after the lead is a good time to call, e-mail or text the prospect, but of course, depending on the size of your sales team and on how many leads you usually get, that might not always be possible. The important thing is to not let too much time pass, otherwise your prospect will may even have forgetten tha they had any contact with your brand in the first place. There is a lot going on in everybody’s life and you cannot afford to wait, especially if the prospect seems to be a high-quality lead.
One good option to always respond on time, without having to be available and checking every single person who becomes a lead all day, every day is by automating an email for them. This email should be personalized and not sound too automated, so keep that in mind when you create the copy, as well as the subject and the preview text. Don’t write anything too long, simply include some relevant information about the product or service you want to sell, a little bit about who you are, as well as your brand, and either a way for the individual to contact you back or a form with questions that will give you relevant information for when you call/email them back (again, nothing too long), so that you can have a more personalized conversation with them. There are countless marketing automation online tools you can choose from to do this.
Once again, it is all about finding balance. It is very easy for a prospect to say “no”, so you will likely be met with resistance when you first reach out to someone. One “no” should not be enough for you to give up on that lead; instead, it should force you to come up with different arguments and strategies that you can use to convince the prospect of how valuable your product or service could be to solve their problem.
In order to know what actually works for your business and the type of companies you are trying to sell to, the best option is to go for the trial & error method. Do this exercise: right now, with the knowledge and experience that you and your team have, develop a follow-up schedule for you to follow for the next couple of months. During those months, monitor how well the schedule works and what can be improved. Then apply those improvements and again, test it out. Repeat the process until you find a schedule that works best for you and your sales team.
Moreover, make sure to repeat several times how you can help your lead, in a way that makes you stand out from the competition (because let’s be real, you are most likely not the only one trying to win over that client) and be rememberable in the prospect’s eyes.
When there is no connection and the sales person simply tries to sell, it is a lot easier for the prospect to say no. When you build rapport, the conversation flows a lot better and, if you two get along, the prospect thinks of you as a more trustyworthy person, which can be very beneficial to you as a sales rep. Some tips to effectively building rapport are:
1 . Be authentic: if you try to force the conversation, the prospect will probably realize, and that is a turn off for most people. So, be yourself, find common ground and go with the flow. It may not work with every single prospect you reach out to, but honesty and authenticity are always the best policy.
2. Keep in mind who the person you are contacting is: this might seem a little bit contraditory to the previous tip, but we’ll explain. We are not saying that you should become a different person for each prospect you speak to. Instead, you should adapt your speech and tone, just like you do in real life, with friends, family and acquaintances.
3. Show interest and let the prospect be a part of the conversation. If you show that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say and not just in speaking and selling, the person probably be more open to sharing their opinions and problems with them, which will give you more opportunities of finding queues to promote your product/service. After all, as much as you should avoid sales calls clichés, you end goal is still to achieve the sale.
Some questions you can help building rapport, while also giving you relevant information about the prospect are: “How is [prospect’s area of expertise] in [prospect’s city/area]?”, “I saw your LinkedIn profile and read that you used to work at [prospect’s previous workplace]. How was that experience like?” and “What do think you would be doing if you were not a [prospect’s job title]?” Anything you can use from the information you already have on the prospect can be a good conversation starter, so just be creative. Using information that is specific to the person also shows them that you are not just using the same script on each call you make, but that you take the time to know a bit about the person you are about to talk to. That is already great to diferenciate your brand from others that might not do their homework.
If your prospect ended up purchasing your product or service, you did your job well, which is great! Now, you can choose to finish the process of continue to nourish the relationship with the new customer. If you go for the first option, chances are, the person will not exactly be mad at your brand, but they will also not have a memorable buying experience with you. If, even after you reach your goal (the sale), you stay in touch with the customer, you work towards building a longer relationship with them and you increase the chances of becoming a top of mind brand to them.
Some ways in which you can continue to nurture the relationship with the customer even after the purchase is done, are:
1 . Ask for feedback on the product and let them know that you (i.e. a specific sales rep) are available to give them customer support and make their experience with your brand and product/service as valuable to them as possible.
2. Send them relevant content you produce, such as e-books or webinars. Some content can be exclusive to people who have bought your product/service (and, of course, you should mention the exclusivity when you send it, so that your customers feel special).
3. Send them promo codes and let them know of good deals you have on your store before you announce them to the public.
Getting leads is great, but it is not enough to actually sell. There is more work to be done, and it is important to train your sales team to be as effective as possible. These five tips are just a few examples of what you can do after someone goes from being a visit to a lead, but it is all just a matter of being creative and finding ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors, so that you not only sell, but become memorable to your customers. Good sales!
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