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It’s amazing to me when I ask a new client or prospect about their current lead follow-up strategy and I get the answer “we don’t really have one” or “we send literature by email.” Clearly, these answers are not enough, but more often than not, they are accurate. Even if you don’t do any type of outbound marketing, building a lead follow-up strategy is critical. Unfortunately, for many organizations, it’s an afterthought that is left entirely to chance.

Fortunately, your lead follow-up strategy doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be a priority. When you get a potential new lead, how you interact with that prospect will say a lot about your company. First impressions count because a bad first impression may eliminate any future opportunity you might have. To ensure your lead follow-up strategy is making the most of every opportunity you produce, follow these 5 guidelines:

  1. Follow-Up Quickly
    Instant gratification is the American way and when someone requests something, they don’t want to wait. Being quick to respond has the added advantage of reaching your prospect while they are still thinking about your solution or the problem you can solve for them. This makes doing lead follow-up quickly and efficiently critical.
  2. Follow-Up Correctly
    How you respond is just as important as when you respond. People who complete a form or send an e-mail are usually asking for very specific information. That means you need to provide that information. Don’t try to automate processes unless you can accurately match your answer to the request. Nothing will shut down a sales opportunity faster than getting the wrong information at the wrong time.
  3. Document and Review
    Recording every interaction with a prospect seems common sense, but it is often overlooked. Prospects want to feel like you have their personal interest in mind and that requires keeping accurate records of what they have told you and what you have told them. Having this information in a single place such as a CRM can help you enhance your dialog with prospect and avoid making any mistakes.
  4. Have a Road-map
    Each communication with a customer or prospect should advance the sales opportunity. Don’t send a message without suggesting the next step your prospect should take (i.e. Here’s the literature you requested… now check out our online demo). Predetermine the path to a sale and help guide your prospects through it when building a lead follow-up strategy.
  5. Standardize Your Communications
    When first building your lead follow-up strategy, consider each communication carefully and spend a little extra time making sure it is thorough, well-thought out and professionally written. Then save it in a central place and share it with your whole team so that the same message doesn’t have to be written over and over. Not only will standardized communications help you save time, but it will improve the level of service your prospects receive from your company.

Implementing these five elements, as you build your lead follow-up plan, will improve your ability to turn a lead into a sale. You’ll also increase your efficiency by reducing the follow-up time on leads. This in turn allows you to be more confident that your investment in B2B lead generation programs is not wasted for lack of resources or a lead plan once you get them.