Best Practices For Following Up With Prospects
You’re generating leads… awesome!
We need to encourage our prospects to take the next step – and that’s done with lead nurturing.
There are a lot of things that happen during a B2B buying cycle, and there are many ways to follow-up with prospects.
The top 3 things you need to remember are:
- Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!
- Use a Multi-Channel Approach
- Continue to Offer Value
Read on to accelerate your sales cycle!
The biggest challenge of courting professional buyers is timing.
The average B2B sales cycle is 3-6 months or longer, yet most sales people don’t follow-up past 1 or 2 touch points.
At any one time, only 3% of people in your market are active buyers. So with only 1 or 2 touches, you will only get 3% of your leads moving on to the next step.
Why is that?
- It’s a big investment.
- Your prospects are doing their research.
- They need to get sign-off from others in the company.
- Other things are grabbing their attention.
- Company budgets and spending are seasonal.
- They’re locked into an existing contract.
And at the same time, your prospects themselves are:
- On-the-go (probably on mobile)
- Largely unfamiliar with you.
This is especially true for higher level, B2B decision makers.
Lead Nurturing Strategy
They say it takes 7-13 touchpoints to make a decision.
B2B and higher price point sales are on the higher end.
But, what people don’t consider, is that in today’s busy world, most touchpoints go unnoticed.
This is due to competing notifications, spam filters, and missed calls.
So, we shoot for double to triple of that, 21-36 touchpoints… and we want to extend this over a financial quarter, 3 months, to mitigate timing fluctuations.
Therefore, our goal is at least: 30 touchpoints over 3 months.
The required touchpoints combined with the lengthy sales cycle of the average B2B purchase means our goal is to be top of mind for our prospects until they are ready to make a buying decision.
We use our lead nurturing to help guide them through that decision making process by addressing their questions, concerns, and getting them excited for our product or service.
Lead Nurturing Tactics:
Once you have a lead, here are some specific ways to follow-up:
- Email Confirmation
- Email Follow-Up
- LinkedIn Connection Request
- LinkedIn InMail Message
- Phone Call
- Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!
Email Confirmation: Send them the lead magnet they signed up for immediately upon opt-in. Focus on delivering the content and the benefits they’ll get from reading it. You want them to read it so they learn more about you and your solution. This builds credibility.
Email Follow-Up: Within 1 day, email them a follow-up with next steps. Reference their recent lead magnet opt-in and offer them the next step. Hot leads (3-5%) will respond right away, and for the rest, this is where your sales process really starts!
LinkedIn Connection Request: Send connection requests to your leads. Get their LinkedIn Profile URL if it was submitted, or search for them on LinkedIn. This helps them put a face to the name when you reach out on other channels. Plus they’re likely to see your day-to-day posts. This helps a lot with building familiarity and trust.
LinkedIn InMail Message: Upgrade to Sales Navigator (link) so you can send direct messages to prospects (without needing to first connect). The free trial of Sales Navigator is fine to get started.
Since they initially signed up on LinkedIn, sending a LinkedIn message is the most natural channel to follow-up on.
Phone Call: Calling is the *most effective* and most direct way to get in touch with your prospects.
Calling after you’ve reached out via email and LinkedIn, they’ll be most likely to remember you. If you don’t have their phone number, you can look it up using a tool like Seamless.ai or ZoomInfo.
You’ll probably need to call back a few times. Most people don’t answer numbers they don’t know. Don’t leave a voicemail initially – but do leave one after 3+ calls.
Other tactics include:
- Retargeting ads: Use retargeting ads to keep your content in front of your prospects, and drive them back to book a call.
- Social media (organic) posting: Especially after you connect with someone, they’ll see your updates in LinkedIn.
- SMS outreach: Send text messages if you’re having trouble getting prospects on the phone. Some phones screen out unknown numbers.
Tip: Lower The Barrier To Entry With A Tripwire
Warning! – after the lead, don’t go straight for the kill.
The best funnels insert stepping stones along the way to becoming a customer.
After the initial lead is generated… your prospect knows a little bit about you. They may now recognize your name and logo, and vaguely understand what you do.
Instead of pitching your core offer and asking them to buy, what is the smallest investment of time or money that your prospect can make that turns them into a customer?
We call this your Tripwire Offer.
(Also known as a direct call-to-action, Direct CTA)
Common Tripwires are:
- Free Consultation
- Free Strategy Call
- Free Demo
- 14-Day Free Trial
- Free + Shipping Offer
- $1 First Month Offer
Keep in mind, your prospect initially signed up to receive your lead magnet. You’re now pitching them a different offer that they weren’t expecting.
Therefore, it needs to be very appealing.
- Value: Make it clear how much value they’ll receive.
- Special deal: How much will they save by signing up now.
- Social proof: Add testimonials and results.
- Scarcity: Why should they sign-up now? Add time/quantity however appropriate.
Secondly, you interrupted them with an advertisement to get here. They may be on mobile, on the go, and in the middle of their busy day.
So your tripwire must also be easy to sign-up for.
Tip: LinkedIn InMail Messages
As mentioned in the tactics section – InMail messages is one of the most effective channels, especially when your leads are coming in via LinkedIn Ads.
You already know they’re active on LinkedIn, and they’re more likely to recall your brand in the context of LinkedIn versus outside of it.
So, after a lead opts-in for a lead magnet, follow-up with them to offer a Tripwire via InMail. See below for an example.
Congrats on having new leads come in. Keep in mind, this relationship is fresh, and like any relationship, it needs to be nurtured to grow into a long and fruitful partnership.