Sales have changed immensely in the past quarter-century. Before, a salesperson might have picked up the phone, cold-called a lead and then followed up whenever the mood struck. And why not? Back then, the lead wasn’t being inundated daily with similar cold calls, not to mention the fact that emails weren’t even a part of the conversation.
Nowadays, however, leads are bombarded with options. Not only that, but they are savvier than ever before, with unparalleled access to information about the relative merits of different products. To engage them effectively, a salesperson needs to be speedy, organized and persistent.
Of course, commensurate with the amount of emails and calls leads receive is the amount of emails and calls sales reps send. Sales reps have a lot more ground to cover nowadays than salespeople of the past, and it makes following up quickly and effectively all the more difficult.
Luckily, there is an art to lead follow up, one that makes use of new technology and recent research.
Act Fast and Be Persistent
It was always assumed that “speed to lead” was an important factor in sales engagement, and now there’s research to back that claim, courtesy of a sweeping study from the Telfer School of Management and a leading sales engagement company. Contacting a lead within the first hour gives you an exponentially better chance of engagement (the sweet spot seems to be between 10 and 60 minutes, actually).
And once that first contact is made, don’t wait a week to follow up, like a salesperson of old might have done. And don’t give up after only a couple attempts. Studies show that persistence pays off in lead follow up – between five and 12 contacts.
Use Lead Tracking Software & Queue Based Routing
Speed-to-lead and persistence can be difficult on SDRs, who are often left to cherry-pick which leads to contact, and decide when to follow up. They let leads slip through the cracks by leaving them too long, and the leads they do contact might only receive one or two follow ups. To master the art of lead follow up, you need a little science on your side, in the form of a sales engagement platform.
You can improve your sales follow up with lead tracking software and “queue-based routing,” both of which are key features of sales engagement software. The former allows you to organize your reps’ sales activity, so you can easily see lead campaigns and sales rep performance. The latter routes new leads to the front of your reps’ queues, so they are executing the speed to lead necessary to engage effectively. It also allows you to develop and automate a cadence, meaning that your reps follow up consistently and persistently.
Unfortunately, it’s not like the old days of cold calling. An incoming web lead needs immediate and thorough attention. But with a modern problem comes a modern solution – if you want to improve your lead follow up, develop a cadence and automate it with sales engagement software.