Last Updated on February 16, 2021
If you’ve been searching for effective B2B sales follow-up strategies, you’re in the right place! In this post, we share how to follow up with your prospects in multiple ways so you can increase the odds of closing a sale.
Effective follow-up is similar to walking on a tightrope. You must balance between playing it cool and being aggressive. If you’re too cool, you’ll never close the sale. If you’re too pushy, you’ll inadvertently push the sale away. You must find your “follow-up footing” or else you’ll trip and lose the sale every time.
Here’s what you need to know:
B2B Sales Follow-Up Strategy #1:
Do It Right Away
Did a website visitor just request a demo?
Has a blog reader just opted-in for your whitepaper?
Did a prospect that you’ve been engaging with just open your email?
Speed is of the essence. These prospects have shown interest, and data shows that the sooner you follow up, the more likely they are to close. So don’t wait until tomorrow to follow up on the lead! Do it now.
Keep in mind that you’re likely in a race with your competitors. When in research mode, most B2B customers create a list of companies that they’re considering working with. They’ll reach out to these companies to get more information, and if you happen to be in that list, the best way to outperform the competition is to reply first. It’s a huge advantage. In fact, 30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
B2B customers are most likely to do business with the first company that contacts them.
Speed is important deeper down the funnel as well. Do you wonder what happens after you hit send on follow-up emails to prospects? Wondering is costing you sales. A good email tracking system (like PhoneBurner’s SmartSender) notifies reps in real-time when someone opens an email, clicks a link, watches a video, opens an attachment and more. This helps you follow-up at precisely the right time, and with the right message.
Don’t underestimate the power of speed.
B2B Sales Follow-Up Strategy #2:
Have a Goal Each Time
Don’t follow up just to “check in.” That’s annoying and disrespectful of the prospect’s time. They’re busy and they would appreciate it if you got to the point.
Instead, have a point to each call, text, or email.
Do you want to find out if they’ve reached a decision about purchasing? Do you want to share more information?
Don’t call a B2B prospect just to feel them out. Instead, take every opportunity to build a business relationship and get them one step closer to purchase.
It’s also important to record every conversation in your CRM so that you and your team can refer to them to prep for future calls or outreach.
B2B Sales Follow-Up Strategy #3:
Send a Handwritten Note
Handwritten notes may seem old school, but that’s exactly why they’re fresh. In a world where everyone sends emails and texts, you can stand out by sending a handwritten letter or card.
Not only that, but a handwritten note also forges a more significant, real-world connection with your prospect. While the majority of your contact will be through phone or email, a handwritten note is a nice touch that demonstrates your willingness to go the extra mile.
When you choose to send the handwritten note could also further its impact, like right after a live conversation or a product demo. Also try to personalize it as much as possible by including tidbits from your conversation (e.g. “I really enjoyed learning more about your sales team’s Q1 goals”).
There are some third-party online services that can integrate with your CRM which can make it really easy to send these personalized handwritten notes at scale. At PhoneBurner, we use HandWrytten and love it, but there are a ton of options in this space.
B2B Sales Follow-Up Strategy #4:
Consider the Care Package
Everyone loves a care package, especially one that shows you actually care. Beyond using branded items, you can ratchet up the impact by customizing packages to suit the recipient. This can be especially worthwhile in high-value deals.
Use what you’ve learned about your prospect in your interactions thus far. A favorite snack, merch from a beloved sports team or college can be an easy way to send a custom gift they’ll actually like (think a nice water bottle, coffee mug, or even a hat or t-shirt if the quality is excellent). Using the information typically available on their LinkedIn profiles and some creativity, you can create the ultimate care package that is guaranteed to leave a positive impression with your prospect, and opens the door for you to follow up with them in the future.
That said, be aware that some companies have policies about accepting gifts from potential vendors, and some industries like finance and healthcare have very strict laws, so use this tactic carefully.
B2B Sales Follow-Up Strategy #5:
Use Your Prospect’s Preferred Communication Channel
Some prospects prefer email. Others favor phone calls. A few value face-to-face conversations. If your prospect wants to be emailed but you insist on calling, you may push them away.
Simply ask your prospect which channel they prefer and then use that channel primarily for your follow ups. This will play a key role in your success, and the prospect will feel both heard and respected.
How to Follow Up Via Email
The majority of professionals prefer to correspond by email so they can respond when they have time, so it’s crucial to nail the follow-up email. Let’s spend some time crafting the perfect follow-up email.
A short and punchy subject line – Typically only 15-30% of people will even open your email, but you can improve the effectiveness of your cold email outreach with a short, punchy subject such as “Quick question, Name?” (vague but sometimes effective), or perhaps “Idea for [GOAL OF PROSPECT]” (ie. An idea for generating more malpractice clients).
Get to the point – You have seconds to capture their attention. Quickly explain the purpose of your email. The ideal email length is a lot shorter than you think (somewhere between 50 to 100 words). That’s basically two paragraphs long.
Make your email scannable – Even though your email won’t be long, it can still be intimidating if you try to cram everything into one humongous paragraph. Break up your emails to make them easily digestible. Create mini-paragraphs (1-2 sentences in length). Use bullet points and numbered lists. Include subheadings if you’re covering multiple topics. Keep the text conversational in style. (It’s okay to be casual over email!)
Deliver value, not a sales pitch – Compose your email from the prospect’s point of view. What do they need to hear from you in order to move forward? What can you do to increase their level of trust with you and your company? By sending resources that they can make use of right away (such as a case study or demo video), your prospect can learn more about your product without feeling pressured to make a snap decision.
End with a call to action – Always give the prospect a clear next step with a call to action to take at the end of your email. Don’t leave it up to them with multiple options.
How to Follow Up on the Phone
If your prospect prefers to use the phone for communication, here’s how to follow up:
Give a specific reason for your call – Don’t call simply to “touch base” or “check in.” While “touching base” may sound harmless to you, to your prospect, it sounds like you’re either wasting their time or putting them on the spot. The result? Immediate defensiveness.
However, if you give a specific reason for your call, your prospect is more likely to respond favorably. You can discuss an idea that you think will benefit the prospect or you can share recent news about your product or business that’s relevant to the prospect. You can also call to ask them for the sale—but don’t beat around the bush.
Be prepared to hit their voicemail – The majority of follow-up phone calls will not be answered, and you need a plan. You can actually use PhoneBurner to drop pre-recorded voicemails with just one click—without even waiting for a beep!
How to Follow Up via Text
After you’ve left a voicemail, you can follow up with a text as well. Text messages have incredibly high open rates—98% of texts are read. By comparison, according to the 2019 Email Benchmarking Report from the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), B2B emails have an average open rate of 20.8%, while B2C messages average 21.9%. Not great.
Because your follow-up text messages are much more likely to be seen than your emails, sending a text message is a no-brainer. In addition to texting after leaving a voicemail, you can also follow up a sales call conversation with a note of thanks or invitation to contact you with questions.
Fortunately, sending a follow-up text is simple also with PhoneBurner. You can compose and send a text from the dialer window. Plus, Phoneburner keeps track of all SMS correspondence so that you maintain detailed notes on your prospect.
B2B Sales Follow-Up Strategy #6:
Create an Automated Sales Cadence
To maximize your sales productivity, create a reliable and repeatable schedule for your follow ups. This schedule is known as a sales cadence.
Your cadence is a series of follow-up activities that you take on certain days that is successful in driving engagement and conversions. It goes hand-in-hand with your funnel.
Having a sales cadence is important for two reasons:
First, a sales cadence switches things up. You may not know your contact’s preferred channel of communication. Reaching out over multiple channels gives you maximum opportunities to connect. Also, diversifying your follow up keeps things interesting for both you and your prospect.
Second, a sales cadence systematizes persistence, ensuring you’re hitting the desired number of touchpoints, and reduces guesswork on who to contact and when (especially because your follow-up sequence can be programmed into your CRM). It ensures that none of your prospects fall through the cracks. As long as you’re following up through the schedule (i.e. the sales cadence), you’ll know that you’ve done your part. (Remember that it takes, on average, between 8 to 11 follow ups to convert a prospect into a customer.)
To create the perfect sales cadence, look at what you’ve done in the past to convert your ideal customers. What communication methods did you use? When did you reach out? How many times did you follow up?
Use this information to create a more streamlined schedule for future prospective clients. Continually test and allow your cadence to evolve based on what works best.
Virtually anything you do to a contact after a call, PhoneBurner can automate. Custom buttons can set a status or disposition, leave a note, set a tag, move a prospect to another folder or account, and more.
B2B Sales Follow-Up Strategy #7:
Emphasize Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
No matter which strategy you use, emphasize why the prospect should choose your product on each interaction.
You know your product or service well, but your prospect may not. When deciding between you and your competitors, it may not always be clear what makes your product the best choice. Make the case for your product in every follow up, rather than rattling off a list of features that may or may not be relevant to your prospect.
Remember to personalize every conversation and that includes how you position your UVP. Illuminate your prospect’s pain point and show how your product will solve that problem or benefit them in some way.
Many salespeople stop after the first or second follow-up. That’s unfortunate, because the real magic happens somewhere between 8 and 11 of them. When it comes to keeping leads engaged and moving toward a decision, persistence and strategy are key. Follow the 7 follow up tips in this article to rise above the competition, and build yourself a bigger and better converting funnel.