Introduction:

Having good follow up is the best way to get business in the sales world. As a sales manager, one of the biggest questions surrounding this topic is: Do your sales reps follow up enough? If the answer to that question is no, why? And what can you do about it? As always if you have any questions please schedule a free 30-minute consultation and I’ll do my best to help in any way I can.

 

What we’re going to cover:

  • No
  • Why?
  • What can you do about it?
  • Technology

 

 

No

 

Typical Sales Reps responses when asked about leads:

 

“When you start digging deeper there’s a lot of answers that you don’t want to hear. Maybe they left a voicemail but how many times did they call them? How many times did they email or try to connect in some other way? And I think what happens when we ask ‘hey whatever happened to..’ they respond in this typical fashion.

“I think in this case we have to look past the initial response. Because I think if you’re not getting that feedback and you’re not getting the business from leads that you think you should be getting as a company then you need to dig deeper into what exactly is going on with your team.”

 

Why?

 

Don’t want to be pushy

“You’ve got people like the challenger sales that are telling you that you need to challenge prospects, you need to do it a little harder. Some people get confused by that and feel like that’s pushy. But that’s not pushy, they’re saying question the status quo. But a sales rep might get concerned about being a little too pushy on a prospect because they don’t like to be pushed when they’re buying something.”

 

Forgot

“Sometimes sales reps just forget to follow up because they have no real follow up mechanism in place. They get a lead, they make a call, they send an email, they don’t get a response and they move on with their day. And at some point 2-3-4 weeks down the road they remember, ‘oh yeah I need to follow up with that prospect’ and by then it’s pretty much gone.”

“Let’s say they forgot and it’s been a month, now they feel silly. Well, we all make mistakes so it’s okay to send an email to apologize and ask to reconnect. Now, if you do that on a regular basis you have bigger problems. But once in a while if you forget something just go back and fix it.”

 

Self-fulfilling prophecy

“Sometimes sales reps get it in their head that something ‘is the way it is’. ‘Well I’m required to follow up with a prospect but I just don’t think they’re going to be interested, or they’re going to buy from me.’ It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and that is something they need to get over.”

 

Actually, think the prospect will call them back

“Some sales reps actually think that after that first phone call, or email, that the prospect will call them back. They’re living in a fantasy land with that if they think that’s going to happen every time.”

“Generally speaking, these people have other things going on in their lives, they have the day to day business that they’re tending to in their job, they’re not just ‘the prospect’. They have their personal lives to think of.  So, sometimes it takes a little more than just a single call.”

 

No one taught them

Sales managers just assume that sales reps know what they’re doing. Don’t make assumptions here. Don’t take anything for granted. Be very clear on what your policy is for following up prospects. And if you don’t have one? Get one in place. Just because they seem to be good or they’re selling existing prospects or they have some luck with prospects doesn’t mean they’ve been taught how to properly follow up with prospects.”

 

What can you do about it?

 

Nothing

“First, you could do nothing. I don’t recommend that. You could basically say ‘you know what it’s okay.’ But it’s going to end up biting you if the follow up is not strong and you’re not closing those leads but the business is still decent. It’s going to catch up with you. Because sometimes the pipeline dries up, sometimes the opportunities dry up, and the business will need to be gotten from somewhere else.”

“If you want to grow your company and you’re doing well without these leads, how much more business could you get with proper follow up?”

 

Identify the problem

“Through the landscape of the team or the individual. My preference would be the individual”

 

Track prospect follow-up

“What kind of mechanism do you have in place to track the activities of your sales reps? Especially when it comes to prospects and leads. If you don’t then you’re going to have to work through that. But, track what they’re doing and how they’re doing.”

“The way I would present this to your team is ‘hey there’s no right or wrong here I’m just trying to figure out how you respond to leads and how my you treat the prospect. The timing of your follow up, how you follow up, what does that look like, what do the emails look like, what do the phone calls look like. I really want to sit with you and talk to you about that’, figure out how to get that done if you’re not tracking it.”

 

Emails/Phone calls

“How many times are they following up? What’s the frequency between those calls and emails? If they’re sending an email and then 3 weeks later they’re sending another one, forget about it. It needs to be faster. They get a prospect, when do they call? When do they follow up with an email? If they have both, great, they should follow up both with a phone call and an email.”

 

Frequency

“I think you will begin to see where the holes are. It’s either the frequency isn’t enough, they’re getting phone numbers and emails but they’re only calling the phone or only sending an email or they don’t follow up at all.”

 

Develop a plan with requirements

 

“Okay, then you develop a plan of what that looks like for the frequency, the timing, the method for follow up, and put that in place. Then you put a plan in place to track that. But you’re not tracking the activity, that’s the kind of activity you should be tracking in your CRM.”

“If you have a CRM and they’re not using it, give them a manual report and say this is what we have to do until you start putting it in the CRM. Once you start tracking it in the CRM then you are fine.”

 

Technology

 

Email Tracking

“One of the things that I use and a lot of my colleagues use is email tracking. I send an email out, I can see when people open it, I can see when they read it, I can also see if I’ve attached it through my CRM, I can see if they’ve opened the attachment, and read the attachment. That’s important when you’re doing follow up. To do this, I use the HubSpot Sales platform, $50 a month per user, and I highly recommend you do as well.”

 

HubSpot CRM

“Now the value here is that not only can I track emails, but all of my email correspondence goes into the CRM under the contact name, under the account. When I make phone calls I can call out of my CRM and document that call and then just put notes in while I’m sitting there talking on the phone. It can also schedule meetings through it.”

 

Other Technologies

“Through Salesforce, you can track emails through Yesware. It’s a pretty robust system and they should be able to track all of their activity in there but I would recommend that once you get the client in place if you don’t have the technology then you sort of start moving towards that.”

“If you really don’t use a CRM, don’t go crazy and go feet first with the heaviest technology you can lift. Something like Zoho or HubSpot CRM are great starts. Hubspot is free and I think Zoho has a free version as well.”

 

Decide you want this

“There are ways to do this, you just have to decide you want to do it. And I would definitely look into the follow up if I were a manager, new manager, old manager, existing manager, long term manager, it doesn’t matter, you might be surprised what you find.”

 

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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