Lead follow-up is a complex process.
You have a product to sell. You have value to add. If we’re being honest — and we are — you have a quota to hit.
B2B lead follow-up adds another layer of complexity to the game, too. You’re selling to an enterprise with its own gatekeepers and decision-makers.
Fortunately, there are four actions you can implement today to take the pressure off lead follow-up—in turn, driving sales and overcoming objections. Modern sales approaches aren’t about the hard sell. The focus in the digital era is authentic relationship building.
And we have every one of those tips for you, right now.
What Is Lead Follow-Up?
Your B2B lead list just hit your inbox. What comes next is the follow-up.
This is the time when you connect with your leads. You’re building a responsive, active relationship with prospective clients who have been exposed to your brand. They’ve signaled an interest — you’ve reciprocated.
There’s a common misconception that the only successful outcome of lead follow-up is a sale — or a commitment to a sale. In reality, a more successful outcome can be creating a connection with other organizations that adds value to both parties.
Lead follow-up can be hard. But without it, you’re just sitting around waiting for someone to stumble across your brand. With the saturation of the digital marketplace, you’ll be waiting a long time.
The Importance of Best Practice in Lead Follow-Up
In concrete terms, best practice helps you sell effectively. And it ensures that your investment in a premium B2B Lead Generation agency — like yours truly — has the highest level of return.
What Are Lead Follow-Up Best Practices for B2B?
1. Follow up across channels.
A decade ago, sales teams were making one — possibly two — calls to a lead before giving up. Already, that kind of practice was losing money.
Now, we have the luxury of connecting with prospective clients across multiple channels. The trick is actually using those channels.
Phone, SMS messaging, email, social media, chat boxes, and online networking events all give you premium opportunities to follow up.
Social media is often a missed opportunity that can create massive lead engagement. If a prospective business connection posts about your business or comments — engage. Like their post, respond to their comments, or get in touch through direct messaging. This kind of activity offers your business an opening, and this kind of social networking opens doors you may not have expected — your prospects other business connections, their customers, their suppliers. Effectively, anyone who follows that business on that platform now has you in their periphery.
Get to know your prospects in this way. Try to understand their preferred communication channels, and how they interact. What platforms do they prefer? Are they open to phone or email contact? Adjust your strategy to build a connection that is comfortable for your prospect and their brand.
2. Don’t just send an email.
Minimal effort generates minimal results. Sending an impersonal email cannot be your entire B2B follow-up strategy in 2020.
Whilst email is an excellent sales and marketing tool with multiple applications, phone calls can be more effective for some business prospects. Countless sales analytics have shown that email + phone call + social media interaction generates higher response rates in B2B lead follow-up.
The advantage of email is that it minimizes pressure on the B2B prospect. They can respond when they have time. The disadvantage is that they can easily send your mail to the trash or overlook it.
The advantage of a phone call is that you have direct and undivided focus, and your prospect is more likely to be spontaneous and open. The disadvantage is that they may send you to voicemail.
Pro Tip: Use email as the first step, to confirm the lead’s openness. Once they have confirmed their interest, follow up with a phone call or online meeting to engage and nurture the connection.
3. Use sales cadences.
If you aren’t doing this already, you really should start. A sales cadence is a proven-effective technique to help streamline your follow-up and refine your sales process. Sales cadences let you structure your B2B lead follow-up timeline as a step by step activity list. They create habitual actions and results that improve your sales results without depleting your sales efforts.
A strong example of a sales cadence could be:
Day 1: First contact email
Day 3: Phone call and follow-up email
Day 5: Phone call (if the B2B prospect has indicated their preference for this) or follow-up LinkedIn connect request
When crafting a sales cadence, keep in mind that you don’t need to be making contact every day — but you do need to be consistent. Every second day can be effective, as long as you move the connection clearly towards a goal of relationship building and revenue generation.
Key touchpoints in your sales cadence should be a phone call or voice mail, email, and social media connection. If your prospects respond better to phone calls early on, or prefer to limit contact to social media, use this knowledge to fine-tune your sales call cadence. Your sales cadences can be tailored to the needs and preferences of your B2B leads — yet another reason getting to know your leads is so crucial to your conversion rate.
4. Always add value.
Every time you connect with a prospective B2B contact, think about how you are adding value to their day. What you say in your lead follow-up is vital in how you — and your business — are perceived.
There are many effective ways to do this, from competitive sheets to white papers, sales training eBooks to webinars. Take note of what a B2B prospect says to you, and find ways to meet the needs they’ve shared.
In many cases, it can be as simple as ‘I came across this white paper discussing the benefits of XYZ. I thought it might be useful after our conversation yesterday.’ If you can find a way to relate your own content to your B2B contact’s needs, you can follow up in a way that adds value.
Another way to add value is to be there for your B2B contacts. Be prepared to answer their questions and address their pain points. Use these to strengthen your position as a subject matter expert, and to build trust.
If you’re not confident that you can properly communicate value to your B2B contact about your product, creating a sales messaging playbook will be a strong starting point. Being armed with tools, content, and training makes it easier to overcome B2B leads’ objections and communicate your product’s value more effectively. Sales playbook templates are available to get you started.
Being prepared to answer their questions doesn’t necessarily mean having all the answers, either. It can mean being prepared to admit you don’t have the answers. Tell your lead you’ll take the query offline and be in touch with them at a specific time — and always meet that deadline.
B2B lead follow-up can be clunky or agile — intense or organic. Our clients make their choice when they invest their time in following best practices. The beauty of making the right choice is that you aren’t spending more time — you’re making more of the time you spend.
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