6 Sales Follow Up Techniques Every Sales Person Needs to Know
Prospective buyers are overwhelmed every day with emails and phone calls from sellers trying to get that one pitch in, so crafting a killer strategy of sales follow up techniques is the difference between those that can break through -- and those who only see rejection after rejection.
Because we often hear the question “What does sales follow up entail?”, we’ll go through 6 sales follow up techniques and walk you through the best way to follow up with a prospect.
1. Set aside dedicated time for sales follow ups throughout your day
If the prospect is a good fit, and if you did your job on an initial call, you have them hooked. Similarly to how we look at minimizing time-to-response for inbound sales follow up, we want to do the same for sales follow up post-call. One of the worst things you can do as a seller is to let the enthusiasm and interest that you worked hard to generate on a call fade, simply because you’re having a busy day and didn’t have time to send a sales follow up.
Our sales teams rely on our tech, including tools like Outreach, to set dates for their “next task” immediately when they get off a call. That next task is often the sales follow up, and their tech reminds our sellers automatically when it’s time to send that note or make that call. Taking their minds off of remembering those action items helps them focus on what’s next on their plate.
Chris O’Connor, Ambition’s SDR Team Lead, asks his team to schedule -- on their calendars -- 5-10 minutes per follow up. They use that time to do research, refresh themselves on the call recording, and craft a personalized message that they believe will do the trick in gaining their prospect’s time for a next meeting. If the time isn’t on the calendar, they know there will always be other tasks calling for their attention.
2. Take notes or use call recording/transcription software
Buyers in different organizations may have different needs, questions, and information. Don’t rely on your brain to remember everything they asked about during the conversation -- either find a reliable way to take notes, or better yet, use a call recording and transcription software to help make sure you don’t miss anything. Without this, your competitor who WAS taking notes has the advantage when their sales follow up includes exactly the information needed to make the purchase decision.
The most important thing to remember here is that it’s not just about the notes -- it’s about USING those notes in your follow up. For example, an email asking for a next meeting is much more impactful if it starts with “On our last call, you told me your greatest challenge was motivating your team to drive up the volume on their outbound dials,” as opposed to one that simply asks for the meeting.
Chris asks his team to use these notes in their follow ups so that their pains and goals are reiterated and top of mind before the SDR goes in for the ask. He also makes sure they know they can ALWAYS ask him to listen to the recording with them and help them craft the follow up. As an example, here’s how one recent coaching session with an SDR team member went:
SDR: “Hey Chris, can you help me craft a follow up to this prospect? It has the potential to be a huge deal for us and based on what I’ve learned so far, they are a perfect fit.”
Chris and SDR listen to the call recording together, pausing throughout to note key pains, challenges, and goals of the buyer
Chris prompts the SDR: “Which of these key points is the most important to your buyer? Which of these pain points stands out the most? What is your leading question in your voicemail and email follow up going to be -- the thing that gets them to keep listening instead of hanging up?”
3. Be willing to adjust your process based on needs of buyer
You likely have a sales process to follow, and it’s likely a great one. But listen to the needs of your buyer, and be willing to flex on elements of your process. Know where you need to remain rigid, and know where you can adjust your follow up and next steps to meet their needs. Keep in mind that your prospects are busy and being courted by other sellers at the same time -- know what you need to get across in your sales follow ups and what you can lighten up on if needed.
There is a lot of focus on sales teams everywhere about discovery calls and questions, and for good reason. Discovering where buyers are challenged helps us, as sellers, present the most relevant information and craft our pitch to fit their needs. But sometimes, that discovery ends up being more self-serving than value-delivering -- and believe me, the buyers can see right through it.
I recently was in the sales process for a software I thought could help me increase my onsite conversions. After our initial discovery call, I asked for a product demo and went into the second meeting fully expecting that to happen. However, the sales rep was rigid in his process and delivered a fluffy, value-focused presentation. The problem? I was already sold on the value, and if he had listened, he would have known to keep the process moving. Instead, I stopped him, reiterating my needs, and we scheduled a product demo for two days later. I used that time to research competitors.
Chris gives sellers some great advice here: “If you have done your discovery call and still don’t have enough pain to keep the process moving, ask your champion for a quick, offline conversation to get what you need -- instead of involving the entire buying team. If they can give you 15 minutes to help you fully understand the pain their organization is going through that you can solve, you’ll show up to the next meeting informed and with a well-crafted, relevant pitch for your buyers.”
4. Don’t waste their time -- add value with every call
This is one of the most important sales follow up techniques. If you have an interested-but-not-ready-to-buy prospect, make sure each of your sales follow ups, whether it is a call or an email, has a point to it. One email (or voicemail!) we all hate to get is “Hi, this is John from Company A. Just following up to see if you have any questions!”
Chances are, your buyer is very busy and can’t remember who you are in the first place, not to mention what you’re selling them. A follow up devoid of value ends up being a waste of your buyer’s time.
Instead, use your follow ups to send articles, case studies, or examples that support either your initial conversations or topics you know this buyer is interested in. As our good friend Becc Holland advises, make sure each touchpoint is a deposit of value -- if it comes from Becc, we know this is the best way to follow up with a prospect!
5. Know how much time you are willing to invest in sales follow up
If you have not yet had a meeting yet, and you are wondering how to make a follow up sales call, know where to draw the line. How much time are you willing to invest in sales follow ups with a prospect that hasn’t shown interest?
How many calls or emails are you willing to make before calling it dead? Remember this is a two-way relationship, and that part of this equation is the prospect experience. Our SDR team knows it can take us up to 12-15 touches to fully engage someone in the buying process, and Chris advises them that, if the account and the contact fit directly within our ICP, keep working until you get a hard “no” (or ideally, “yes!”). If that contact completes a sequence without engaging at all, he advises his team to temporarily move on -- but it is likely we’ll come back to them in several months.
Because there’s a good chance we’ll revisit the relationship, it’s important to set yourself up to open the conversation back up in the future and leave the relationship on great terms. Although this more operational in nature than other sales follow up techniques, it is critical to understand this so your time is spent wisely!
6. Follow up time matters!
And we’ll end on a short-yet-sweet tip from Chris. We all get pushed off for follow ups for various reasons -- contract renewal dates, budget season, or sometimes buyers just wanted to be “nice.”
So when you get pushed off for a follow up, which often sounds like “Follow up with me in 3 months,” cut that time in half. Follow up in 6 weeks to keep the relationship top-of-mind -- and NEVER forget to keep depositing. Add value and build trust with each and every touch point you have!
From how to make a follow up sales call to going through the best way to follow up with a prospect, I hope these quick sales follow up techniques help you craft a strategy that helps you break through the clutter and get that deal!