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4 tips for creating the ultimate sales follow up strategy

Don't let daily stumbling blocks like a messy CRM, poor lead quality, and lack of personal connections prevent sales follow up success.

By Maria Waida

Published July 20, 2017
Last updated September 1, 2020

We all want to score new sales. But daily stumbling blocks like a messy CRM, poor lead quality, and lack of personal connections can regularly prevent follow up success.

A well-thought-out follow up strategy is essential for overcoming these obstacles. Unlock some truly powerful follow ups with these tips.

1. Use the best possible CRM for your business

There are many ways the wrong CRM can ruin your best laid plans for following up with potential leads.

Most CRMs are created to service the basic, big picture functions of a predetermined business structure. This cookie cutter approach can be devastating for your ability to manage time, find information when you need it, and keep track of all the moving parts that are vital to your sale.

But how do you know which CRM will work for your unique needs?

Your best option is to choose a fully customizable, all-in-one CRM. A high-quality CRM that pairs insightful data and sleek user-functionality is the cornerstone of every great sales team.

Once you have all of your client relationship history beautifully laid out in front of you it’s time to assess your priorities.

2. Prioritize your follow ups by time and by Customer Lifetime Value

Not all leads are high quality and, consequently, not all follow ups lead to sales. But how do you know which leads are the highest quality?

The best way to increase the success of your follow up strategy is to analyze both time and Customer Lifetime Value.

Instead of scrambling to email the first name on your list, try prioritizing your leads into these two distinct categories.

First consider how much time has passed since your last interaction with the lead. If you’ve chosen an effective CRM, this information should be readily available to you in just a few clicks.

The best follow ups occur within relatively short time frames after your initial conversation took place, but you may have some catching up to do. Rank your potential follow ups by the longest to shortest amount of time since your last interaction.

Now factor in your Customer Lifetime Value for these individuals. If you’re not sure how to calculate Customer Lifetime Value, check out this helpful post.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is significant to the follow up process for a few reasons.
CLV is critical for identifying long term revenue sources. This data increases the potential for repeat sales. It’s also essential for focusing customer acquisition efforts.

CLV is also helpful in establishing your follow up strategy because it determines which leads are more likely to result in future sales. So all the time you spend writing, preparing, and negotiating is more likely to be worth it in the end.

Once you have your follow up list sorted and your major data points in place, choosing how to follow up is simple.

3. Choose the best follow up method based on data

While email is the most convenient form of follow up to date, it’s not necessarily the best method of communication for all of your leads.

The steps laid out above are useful for finding a clear and direct approach to profiling your leads and ranking them.

From here it should be a no brainer. Use your data to approach each name on your list in a way that suits them best. Again, prioritizing your leads increases the chance of a sale, so make sure to factor this into your process.

For example, let’s say your CLV data points to clients in a particular age range who happen to be technologically averse.

After consulting your list and choosing leads that fit this description you can then prioritize calling them on the phone first thing in the morning. Following up with other clients electronically can be scheduled later in the day.

In short, data analysis and prioritization are key. Always look for clues within your existing CRM information and CLV data to determine the most lucrative follow up method.

For more on how to prioritize follow-up methods according to data-driven outcomes rather than contact quotas, we suggest reviewing the relationship between activity metrics and closing deals.

By now you’ve determined what method to use for your follow up, but do you really know how to close the deal?

4. Add the art of communication to your follow up plan

Personal connection is the driving force behind how and why we make choices in life.

You know who you need to speak with and what method to use for communication. But do you really know how to connect with them on a personal level?

If you haven’t already done so, there are numerous exercises you can try to increase your level of empathy towards these potential connections. No matter how cheesy they may seem, trying one or two of these suggestions may result in a more human experience for both you and your client.

Have you stopped to consider whether or not your written sales speeches allow for human connection and empathy?

Sales scripts are often more harmful than helpful. Most sales reps don’t understand why they are saying these words to the client.

Or worse, they forget to allow flexibility into the conversation. These well-meaning reps will bulldoze through speaking points on a phone call with a potential client and leave them feeling ignored or irritated.

The client’s needs aren’t met and you’ve lost the potential sale, all because your employee followed directions.

Making empathy a cornerstone of sales training eliminates these issues. It also has the potential of increasing job satisfaction among your staff. When the customer truly comes first, everyone profits.

You’re now prepared to create a follow up plan with clear direction that will maximize results, time, and sales.

This post originally ran on the Base blog. Please visit www.zendesk.com/sell if you’d like to learn more about Zendesk Sell.