If you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s no faster way to send people running than to try and sell them something. Of course, you need to “try” to sell something in order for your business to be successful. Even with inbound marketing, which is the least invasive of online business promotions, you run the highest risk of turning people off during the follow-up phase of the sale. Use these 3 follow-up hacks to keep prospects interested.
1. Leverage the right tools that streamline the process
You’re working in the information age, which means no cold calling (unless you want to). You have the power of advanced digital tools at your fingertips. According to HubSpot, 18% of salespeople don’t even know what a customer relationship management (CRM) platform is, and 40% of them are still using a spreadsheet to upload customer data manually. This is usually because they don’t have well-defined business goals or processes for meeting their objectives.
In order to choose the right tools to automate your lead funnel and generation, you need to write out your sales strategy, inform your team of all goals and processes, and research the best tools for your needs.
What types of software do you need?
- Content management system (CMS)
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Email marketing
- Project management
- Video conferencing
- Social media monitoring
- Customer service communication
How do you know which software is best for your sales needs?
The abundance of available sales software options sometimes seems like more of a burden than an asset. There is so much to factor into your decision. These self-evaluation questions can help you choose the platforms that are right for you.
- What am I selling?
An eCommerce CMS works great for selling products where a service-based business might fare better using a more general system like WordPress.
- Which software options integrate easily with the platforms I’m already happy with?
For example, many customer relationship management platforms integrate easily with lead generation, communication, financial, and other online software.
- What is your budget for tools?
Will the ROI of choosing a more costly platform pay off in the long run?
- Do you really need all of the options a more expensive system might offer?
Often, systems offer all the bells and whistles at a cost that seems just a bit more spendy. But, when you calculate a monthly fee over the course of 24 months, is it really worth it?
- Will this system grow with my needs?
A startup generally needs much less than an established company. Does the tool you’re considering offer tiered options?
- Does this system appeal to people in a human way?
The more personalized you can make your automation, the better. Always choose automation tools that make interactions seem more real and authentic than those that seem robotic.
2. Surprise leads with a creative gift
Sometimes, people avoid sales emails and phone calls at all costs. If you think about it, and email or a phone call costs you some pretty expensive manpower. What if you sent them an inexpensive gift instead? Invest in something feasible that is sure to grab someone’s attention.
Now, the beauty of gift-giving in this era is that you don’t have to send everyone the same branded coffee mug. You can make your gifts trendy and personalized. With the capabilities of CRM, you can find out a lot about the people you’re building relationships with, including what they may like. Use the data you have to personalize the gift-giving experience for each person.
This is your first date – time to impress your lead with a fantastic gift
- Gift for the lead you know nothing about:
As of 2015, 304 million people were actively shopping on Amazon. That number has surely increased, and will continue to do so. So, if you want to send a gift card to someone you don’t know much about, this is a safe bet. Your lead can purchase anything from digital downloads, to books, to jewelry, and beyond.
- Gift for the sci-fi fanatic:
So, you popped in to check out this guy’s Twitter profile and noticed that there were more than two Star Wars posts on his wall. You can bet he’s a fan and would love a personalized mug or T-shirt as a “thank you” for showing interest in what you have to offer. Just make sure that the Etsy seller is willing to include a gift note with your purchase.
- Gift for the lead whose hardware you can accessorize:
You’ve got enough data in your arsenal to know what kind of technology is in this guy’s house, and you’re happy to help him accessorize it. He’s going to be happy that you care. Just make sure this lead has willingly given you the information you have or you may come across a little creepy. This idea is just to illustrate how clever and personal you can get with your leads.
3. Act immediately, but don’t pitch
When someone is interested in your product or service, you need to capture their attention immediately. So, say hello right away. If you can’t be on standby 24/7, make sure your automation tools are programmed to say ‘hello’ until you can follow-up personally.
Even if you’re sending a gift rather than making a call, at least shoot out an email to let your lead know you’re thinking of them and you’ve got something in the works. This way, your lead doesn’t have time to feel neglected.
David Cancel, the CEO of Drift, says that follow-up that happens hours, days, or weeks after a prospect becomes a lead is one of the biggest sales mistakes he’s seen in his business. So, even if it’s just a quick thank you on social media, make it happen right away.
Still, needs must be nurtured. The first sign of interest isn’t your signal to start talking about product features — that’s like going on a first date and asking the other person to marry you. You need to take this time to get to know the other person before you start your sales pitch.
As you master the art of follow-up, treat it like dating: make sure you’re using the right digital tools, surprise your leads with a thoughtful, personalized gift, and respond right away, but don’t dive all the way in.
Ashley is a new media communications expert who works with Heroic Search to help companies increase their online success. Follow @ashleykimler and @heroicsearch on Twitter to see what other trade secrets they share.