Long sales cycles are a common obstacle for sales agents. A sale can be drawn out by your lead for any number of reasons. In these situations, it is especially crucial to remain engaged and involved with your lead throughout the process. The biggest deals often require more time and attention, but many agents give up after just a few frustrations. Commitment to a prospect until a conclusive end has been reached is key to closing more deals and making more sales, and the most important aspect of an agent’s relationship with a prospect is the follow-up.
The importance of a quick follow-up
A strong follow-up game is a vital part of the sales cycle from the get-go. In 2013, Sirius Decisions reported that an average of eight cold call attempts are needed to reach a prospect. Just 6 years earlier, that number was just under four. Most sales agent, however, gives up after only two attempts. In fact, in a column for Marketing Donut, Robert Clay wrote that only 20 percent of leads are followed up on at all. Even in 2007, not many leads would connect with agents in just two attempts, and they’re even less likely to do so now. With so much effort needed to make contact with a prospect, it is important to do a good job of following up simply to earn a meeting or demonstration of your product. It is important for agents to be aware of their history with each lead, including number of attempts and interactions as well as dispositions, to follow up effectively.
Scheduling a meeting or demo is the first big step toward closing a sale. At this point, your follow-up game becomes even more crucial to the sales process. According to Clay, 80 percent of sales require at least five follow-up attempts after that initial sales contact to close the deal. 44 percent of agents give up after one attempt, and 12 percent give up after the fourth. The elite agents are the ones who decide to push through those first four attempts and continue interacting with their prospects, creating, as Clay figures, a very selective group of agents who earn 80 percent of the sales. Following up is critical to closing the deal. It is especially important after the initial sales contact for the agent to be aware of each prospect’s response and disposition following every interaction.
Develop stronger relationships with prospects
Not only is a good follow-up game necessary for closing deals, it actually leads to bigger, better deals. Developing a relationship with prospects strengthens the sales process and makes them more likely to become customers. According to the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47 percent larger deals. The more effectively an agent can follow up with their prospect, the more comfortable that prospect will become with the company. Prospects always have questions, concerns and doubts – understanding and thoroughly addressing those apprehensions is one of the most important roles of the sales agent. According to SilverPop, Prospect-nurturing emails result in 4-10 times the response rate of generic email blasts. It’s important that an agent is aware of the specific concerns of individual leads in order to effectively address those issues. Keeping records of specific touch points and expressed concerns gives the agent more power in resolving each individual concern.
Another great read: How to Perfect Your Email Follow-Up Strategy
Tools for a good follow-up
For sales managers, there are tools to assist your agents through every step of the follow-up process, including logging calls and notes and scheduling tasks. DialSource rolls all of these tools into one telemarketing software. DialSource’s post-call automation takes care of most follow-up tasks in the background, and helps agents stay on top of the others. The sales software, built directly into Salesforce, actually logs every call automatically, even updating notes, disposition, and a number of custom fields for every lead. This information is then displayed anytime this contact is called again. This makes it easy for the agent to keep track of how many times a lead has been contacted. It also keeps the agent informed of previous dispositions and expressed concerns of actual prospects, allowing a stronger, more consistent continuity throughout the sales cycle and a greater opportunity to effectively address the prospect’s apprehensions. DialSource even sends personalized emails to the lead following a call, initiating the follow-up process immediately, and schedules a follow-up call for the agent to continue the conversation and further develop the relationship.
Go on then follow up!
Perfecting the follow-up strategy is key to an agent’s success in every sales cycle. Consistently following up is vital to closing deals, and developing a stronger relationship with prospects leads to bigger sales. A strong follow-up game starts with maintaining contact with leads and addressing prospect’s concerns. Agents accomplish this through numerous phone calls and emails supported by accurate records of touch points through the follow-up process. DialSource is a tremendous asset for agents when it comes to following up, updating records, notes and dispositions, sending emails and scheduling tasks to resume contact in the future. Use DialSource to help your agents perfect their follow-up strategy.