Why is follow-through important in a sport like golf? Well, a physicist will tell you that it improves momentum, which essentially means the ball goes further when you hit it and lands where you want it. Same thing for business.
You’ve made the initial sales call, now you need to follow up to continue the momentum and land the sale. Trouble is, about 70 percent of leads generated by marketing departments are not pursued by sales representatives, according to a University of Pennsylvania study. When you consider that a study by the Association of Sales executives, as reported in BusinessKnowHow, shows that 81 percent of all sales don’t happen until the fifth contact or later, lack of follow-through means lack of sales.
It sounds simple, but follow-up is a complicated process, particularly when there are multiple stakeholders involved in the buying decision. It’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. One way to ensure a follow-up to every sales contact is to automate the process.
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One reason we fail to follow up is that we’re just too busy doing other things, like looking at our phones for our next appointment or latest text. Zapier is an app that automates workflows among multiple apps to perform repetitive and tedious tasks and make sure you stay focused on what you need to do; like follow up on those sales leads from two weeks ago.
You can, for example, use Zapier to automatically schedule follow-up emails to sales prospects. This saves you from having to spend the time and effort to manually scroll through your emails and telephone logs to locate which ones you need to get back in touch with.
Or maybe you just want to connect your Google Calendar to your Twitter and Facebook accounts so you’ve got one central location with all the contacts you’ve made, how you’ve made them, and suggestions for next steps. Do Note helps you get more organized and focus on adding next steps, as opposed to wasting time just retracing your steps.
Robotic Marketing Isn’t as Bad as it Sounds
While the term “robotic marketing” makes it sound, well, robotic, it’s really just a more efficient way to ensure that your leads are properly captured and follow-up happens. While technically it’s impersonal, it isn’t really any different than if you or any other human being were actually doing it, except it’s less tedious and much more productive.
One example is Yeswire, which takes basic email merging to another level. It sets up a series of personalized emails and sends out a series of emails (up to 10) according to a customized schedule and filters. Then it tracks who opens or replies to your messages. You can decide whether to send subsequent emails based on what they do. Bottom line: you send precisely targeted emails and follow-ups at the right time, automatically and efficiently.
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Managing Customer Relations for You
While you might associate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with large enterprises, there are plenty of CRMs aimed at small businesses. There are even free, but limited, versions, such as FreeCRM, and open source software, such as SuiteCRM. This last one is truly free, but lacks a single support source to resolve technical issues (though there’s usually an option to purchase technical support).
Full-blown CRM systems perform a variety of functions, but in terms of effective follow-up these include the ability to automatically:
- Generate mass emails to targeted audiences
- Track leads and route them to the appropriate sales reps
- Follow up with leads until they can be converted to potential sales
- Track and manage potential sales until they are won or lost
- Manage marketing campaigns across multiple channels
- Track sales activities and identify results achieved throughout the sales pipeline
Making It Personal
Even if you automate follow-up using these practices, you should still try to reach out to potential clients personally when possible. At the very least, check often to ensure that your mail-merges are working correctly and inserting names where they are needed. A phone call directly from you can help seal the deal when the time is right.