No

Are your sales reps following up enough? If I had to take a guess, I’d say most likely, no. A good indicator that your sales reps are not following up enough, is when you ask them about leads, they give you the same generic responses each time.

The first generic response is that the leads are bad.  These sales reps blame others for inbound leads that don’t seem to pan out.  However, don’t be too discouraged,  there may be other issues at play.

Another generic response is that they called and left a message or emailed but received no response.  Though some of this may be true, it’s important to dig deeper. What you will usually find is that some follow-up may have been done but probably not enough.

Which is why it is important to get to the bottom of things and find out exactly why the team is not doing the proper follow-up.  More often than not, there could be several reasons why prospects are not panning out, you just need to get to the bottom of it.

 

Why?

Now that we know your sales reps aren’t following up enough, we need to figure out why. Some reps do not follow up as often as necessary as they do not want to be pushy.  They feel that too many emails or phone calls will be a detriment rather than beneficial.

Another reason could be they forget about some of the leads and do not follow up right away.  If that is the case, they may think that too much time has passed and they already lost the sale so they will not bother with any follow-up. This usually brings up the same feelings as before about not wanting to be too pushy.

Sometimes the inner voice of a sales rep turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy as well.  They tell themselves that they should follow up but did not feel like the customer really wanted anything so it is not worth the time and effort to call or send an email.  Sometimes they may just get a feeling about the customer and decide that the follow-up is not going to be worth it. This is where ignoring that gut feeling and following up anyway is important.

This self-doubt can also manifest itself when sales reps call and leave a message and think that the person will not actually return the call.  This does not happen very often and more than one voice message or more than one email will be necessary.

Lastly, it is also quite possible that sales reps have not properly been taught how to follow up or why it is important.  Consider hosting a coaching session for individuals or for the whole team to deal with the topic of follow-up.

 

What you can do about it

Now that you know your sales reps aren’t following up, and you know why they aren’t following up, it’s time to discuss what you can do about it. You could decide to do nothing but that is not the recommended route. Why? Because if sales reps do not follow up then eventually opportunities will run out and there will be nowhere to generate business for further sales.

Instead, it is a good idea to start by identifying the problem.  Find out why each individual is not doing the proper follow-up.  Track what they are doing it and how they are doing it as well as the timing of said follow-up.  All of these things will help you to determine the best way to try and solve the issue.

Usually, follow-up needs to be done frequently in order to see any results.  It is not unusual to have to send 8-10 emails and possibly some voice messages before you ever get a response.

You can track each sales rep’s follow-up in the CRM to find out if you need to do some team coaching or individual training so that the reps are more successful.

 

Technology

Following up can be made easier by helping you find out why there are issues with follow-up in the first place. Using email tracking can help as you can see when the email you sent a prospect has been opened and you can also see if they have opened any links contained in the email.

There are various programs and tools that you can use for tracking and then sort information.  Hubspot has email tracking and a CRM that is relatively easy to use.  This program, in particular, is nice because it can be used in conjunction with other programs that will make it easier to respond to emails and keep track of appointments.

There are various technologies that can be used for tracking so it is important to find out what will work best in your situation but don’t shy away from technology.  Learn how to use it and how to put it to work for you to make your job easier.

As a sales manager, you have to ensure that your team is following up on leads and you need to make that as easy as you can for them.  You do not want them bogged down with paperwork and other details but you want them using a CRM so that they can keep track of what they are doing and be accountable for their own day to day actions at the office and in the field.

 

Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at jshea@alignment-group.com.  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.

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