6 Steps To Optimize The Follow-Up Process For New Sales Leads

Published: May 25, 2010

Sales’ function — its reason for being — is to provide clients with a satisfactory solution to the problem at hand. To help drive this, post-acquisition follow-up works best when it takes a Problem and Solution approach. First, be sure to come prepared — research the prospect prior to follow-up.

If you incorporate this initial research as a regular practice, you will find that the remainder of our suggestions tends to readily fall into place:

1. Create a Great Follow-up Message – Focus on connecting with the contact, rather than on explaining the features of your product. Keep conversations and emails light, and demonstrate that you’re interested in helping prospects solve their problems. With emails, remember to lead off with a purposeful, enticing subject line.

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emedia finds that a quick-response email, sent within one day from the account executive’s email address, is a great way to begin following up with someone that came in as a sales lead, with a phone call at a later point — usually within a couple of days. However, there is no single correct follow-up schedule for everyone.

2. Figure Out How Your Lead Found You and Make it Work for

You – Your prospect downloaded your offer for a reason. Your account executive should find out why. You don’t have to directly reference the marketing promotion. (Sometimes this serves to distract). Instead, offer to answer any questions he may have, and look to get to the root of why this prospect was interested in your collateral.

3. Adapt Your Follow-up to the Lead – Every sale is going to be different, so don’t fall into a formulaic approach. Take a look at the role of your contact in his organization. What problems and issues does she tend to face? Be prepared with financial facts and figures for CFOs, holistic strategies for the C-suite and technical details for the operations staff, for example.

4. Follow Up Promptly – Make a follow-up schedule and stick to it.

Staying in the customer’s mind ensures that your solution gets top consideration. When ending a call, offer a follow-up timeframe. Try to use multiple methods to follow up. Send an email introducing yourself, and follow up with an invitation to LinkedIn, if you can.

5. Get a Commitment to the Next Step – During the first conversation, get a verbal commitment from the prospect to take a particular action towards the next step. Or, set the next meeting. Follow this principle with each conversation.

6. Make the Most of Every Prospect – Don’t throw away a single lead.

Even if your contact does not have a current need for your solution, by keeping in contact over time, you’ll create a rapport that can turn into a sale. Moreover, the more contacts that you, in tandem with Marketing, nurture within an account, the better you’ll penetrate the account over time.

Adapt these elementary principles to your environment and you will nurture more leads through the funnel and increase conversions. Sometimes all it takes is a simple process change.


Robert Drew is the Marketing Manager of emedia, a fast-growing B2B lead generation provider specializing in Cost-per-Lead campaigns for the North American and UK markets. He characterizes his role as “the lead generator for a lead generation firm”. Prior to his current role he developed and launched InStock Fasteners, an ecommerce site for industrial buyers and contractors, and contributed to the growth of several other B2B ventures. Robert holds an International MBA from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Northern Illinois University.


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