Did you know that one in three companies actually fail to follow up on their inbound leads? Or that two out of three companies give up after two or fewer tries, even when research indicates that the optimum number of contacts should be five to eight? These results, and others from our recent survey on sales effectiveness and lead follow-up, will be shocking to many.

Does this make you wonder about your team’s lead follow-up strategy and implementation? What can you do now to improve?

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The first step in being effective is having a solid understanding of effective strategies. Here are the well-studied 4 Ps of effective lead follow-up: Promptness, Personalization, Persistence and Performance.

First, Promptness. Once a prospect has become apparent, the faster you respond, the better your chance of making a sale. According to InsideSales.com studies, even the difference between 5 minutes and 30 minutes can substantially impact your chance of contacting and qualifying a lead.

Next, Personalization. The more elements of personalization you can include in an email, the more likely the recipient will open it and click through or respond—up to 137 percent more likely.

Are you Persistent? It’s simple: the more times you try, the more likely you are to make contact with a lead. Taking the time to follow up is worth it: a Yesware study confirms that continuing to reach out even all the way to an eighth attempt and beyond will generate a higher response rate.

Don’t discount Performance. If an email ends up in the junk folder—as does nearly half of business email—the rest of your efforts are in vain. Graphics-heavy, link-laden emails won’t get the job done.

Here are 5 timely tips that will help leverage the 4 Ps and improve your lead follow up:

1.) Maximizing Promptness with Tools

Use smart templates, the ones that really activate your customers. Good follow-up emails are truly an art that is studied and perfected. The good news is, you don’t always have to start from scratch; Art of Emails gives you an an instant collection of templates based on where your customer is on their buyer’s journey.

To follow up with your leads within seconds of their inquiry, use an AI Virtual Assistant to immediately reach out and engage with your leads as soon as they enter your sales funnel. The AI will be as specific as possible with initial inquiries, confirming the lead’s contact information and setting meetings up with a human salesperson.

2.) Update your data, update your data, oh, and update them again!

Be personalized and persistent, but most importantly, have the right information! You can try to impress Steven with your knowledge of his product management position at Humble Honey Co. but he’s already moved on to be product director at Peppy Pets. Make sure that you have a process in place to update information every 1 to 2 months.

3.) Use social media to personalize your interactions with your leads

Think of a social media not as your company’s megaphone, but more as a telephone — you should be having conversations with your leads. You’ll need to learn how to use tools to scale up and manage these relationships with your potential customers:

With Hootsuite’s social media management platform, you can set up lists to watch and engage in your lead’s social activity. You’ll not only get a chance to find out additional information about them that will help personalize future interactions, but you’ll be in a much better position to catch their attention.

Another great tool is the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This handy solution allows you to get notifications on your leads’ activity on LinkedIn, so that you can have real-time information that will inform your conversations with leads. The Salesforce integration will make life a bit more stress-free by making contacts automatically sync up.

4.) Emails are best for the initial contact, but you have to keep trying

Emails are the best means of contact when you have not gotten a chance to speak to the lead yet. It’s less invasive because it gives leads a chance to contact you back on their own time. The trick, however, is to train your sales team to keep it up. If the optimum number of times to reach out to leads is 5-8 times before they respond, it’s not cost effective to give up earlier than that! So whether you use an automated system to reach out to your leads, or you have your SDRs doing the job, make sure that they have to reach that goal of 5-8 touches before throwing in the towel.

5.) Check for your spam-ability score and optimize

Some recipients are very unaware of the elements within their emails that send them straight to the spam folder. Make sure that your emails are landing in the right hands by optimizing them for the inbox.

To see a report of your placement rate, use Return Path. Register with them to get a complimentary Sender Score. You may want to keep a tissue box close by. Once you get over the initial shock, get ready to roll up those sleeves and make some changes that would help you with your score! Then say goodbye to frequent trips to the spam folder.

Learning how to use services that analyzes data is the key to improving your deliverability rate. 89% of marketers are already using predictive analytics with their work. With Conversica’s automated sales assistant tool, you’ll get 9 years of data from 180M email messages exchanged between the bot, and customers. It’s a AI tool that is constantly evolving to get smarter and more effective with every email sent.

For many businesses, maximizing ROI on their hard-earned leads is just a perennial struggle. But the good news is, if you make sure that your company has a clear strategy that upholds the principles of the 4Ps, you’re on your way to optimizing inbound leads.

Take a look at all the findings in the complete 2017 Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up. Download your own copy to see which factors predict high or low performance and learn what steps to take to bring your company’s performance in line with best practices.


Today’s post is by Kate Tran, Product Marketing Manager at Conversica, an Artificial Intelligence platform that automates email conversations with your leads to qualify them for sales.


2017 Sales Effectiveness Report