Authored by; Rosa-Mari Le Roux, Content Manager at At That Point
Organisations spend countless hours on creating strategies and plans for following up with potential business leads, but often most of these efforts go to waste as organisations fail to follow through on their ideas.
In order to make your strategy work, you have to follow a disciplined process with a logical set of activities. Don’t allow yourself to get swept up by small issues that will interfere with the execution of your strategy.
Morris Chang once said, “Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.”
Set clear priorities
The key to a successful following-up plan, is executing each activity to the best of your ability and sticking to the plan that you set out for yourself and your team. By staying consistent and following through with activities, you create a solid structure for your workforce and yourself.
Once clear priorities are established, each individual will have a clear grasp of their responsibilities, which will make execution thereof easier. Many organisations create elaborate plans and never follow through, which wastes time and cause the business to miss opportunities.
Map out your follow up strategy
It is essential to map out your plan when following up with leads from emails, social media or phone calls. Instead of taking a shot in the dark with your follow up call, have a script in hand, to make sure that you share the necessary information with your customer. Crafting a well thought out follow up script can go a long way.
These are the five most important elements to remember when crafting your follow up plan.
Don’t skip a bullet
Executing your following-up plan when it comes to potential leads is a continuous process that takes time. Don’t expect instant results, be patient and trust in your plan.
Every activity should reinforce the previous one, don’t skip a bullet point. Persistence and patience are key to successful following up with leads
Make time to follow up
Creating a follow-up schedule will keep the process efficient and effective. This includes follow-ups on employee activities and possible customers. By staying up to date on progress and possible leads, you will create a seamless process that will start working automatically, once everyone is comfortable with their responsibilities.
Collect and analyse results
Develop a system for tracking and monitoring your results, in order to know whether your activities are working and worth continuing. Without analysing your data, you won’t know if you are wasting efforts on a certain activity.
Make time to meet with your team, in order to evaluate their progress. These strategic meetings will also allow you to have an in-depth understanding of current activities and whether the plan needs changes or additions.
I will leave you with the following quote from Naveen Jain, to inspire your future plans; “Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough innovation, but from flawless execution.” Don’t miss out on a great sales opportunity by not being prepared!
Authored by: Idele Prinsloo, Agency Lead, At That Point
Following up blindly on potential leads for your business is not going to do anyone any favours. Not only are you running the risk of wasting your time and energy, but chances are good that you are irritating the living daylights out of those on the receiving end of your email/phone communication to check in if they might be interesting in what your company has to offer.
It could be helpful to place yourself in their shoes and imagine your reaction to such efforts. So, what can you do to avoid this? Well, as with many things in life, have a plan in place. By thoroughly thinking through what kind of people/businesses you really want as clients and how you can successfully win their business, you can put together a clever following up strategy that is targeted and specified.
Armed with this, you are much more likely to get positive responses, while markedly cutting down on wasted time and energy.
Put them in “boxes”
Before you start reaching out to potential clients, it is important to divide your leads according to categories and then tailer your messaging for each group respectively. Once-size-fits-all definitely does not apply here and will result in your leads feeling they are just being chased for their money.
ThriveHive suggests keeping it simple by segmenting leads into “hot”, “warm” and “cold” according to where they stand on the sales funnel, this enables effective action to be taken. By communicating with each lead in a way that is in sync with where they currently are in the decision-making process, you show them that you are on top of your game, you go the extra mile by doing research and paying attention to detail.
Slow response just as bad as no response
Although knowing your potential customer’s situation will put you at an advantage, it does take time to get to that point. The risk here is that you might take too long to respond or keep on postponing it because you still have to read up to make sure you are informed. The secret is to find a balance between being in-tune with your lead and following up before they forget they ever reached out to you in the first place.
Create a workflow for yourself to follow when a lead comes in, so that you can plan and make time to research them. For instance: Lead comes in, two hours later personalised response goes out… make sure you put a time limit on it (this will vary from industry to industry).
By following up timeously with personalised communication that is correct in terms of the lead’s initial query, you show respect and build trust, which are fantastic building blocks for a long-term business relationship.
Don’t give up easily
DemandZEN says consistency is key to increasing revenue, do not just follow up once or twice. You pick up a lot from your lead through the following up process, the longer and more you interact with them, the better you can determine what their specific requirements are and how you can be of assistance.
How often should you follow up and what mediums (phone or email) should I use? Well, that will vary from lead to lead, based on how busy their schedules are, as well as their business’ internal processes and cycles. Make sure you understand as much as you can about their inner workings and then decide on your following-up frequency and medium. However, the important thing to remember here is to be sensitive to their queues and take a step back before they start getting irritated with you.
Make it matter
Everyone is always in a hurry and has a lot to do, so when you reach out to a potential lead, make sure you do not waste their time. Have a clear notion of what you want to achieve with this specific interaction and how you will go about communicating that in spoken or written words.
If you are lacking in terms of experience, having a script at hand will go a long way to help you be concise in your message. As time goes by and you get a feel for it, you will become less depended on the script.
At the end of the day these are all guidelines, some of which will work for your, while others will prove to be less effective. Trying all the tips and advice you get will help you sift and carve your own way of doing to get the maximum results…just remember, having a good eye for opportunity and when to walk away comes with years of experience, there are no short cuts.