How Soon Should You Follow up on Leads?
Many marketers focus on lead generation, but not on what comes after: what is done with the leads as they are generated, how they are distributed, and how soon they’re followed up on.
Leads are a valuable asset to your business and should be handled with care even after one is generated. This simple guide will lay out the basics of lead follow-up strategies such as:
- Lead follow-up timing
- Follow-up processes
- Generating the right leads for follow-up
- Scoring leads
Many of the guidelines below might seem like common sense, but many marketers are not doing them and losing out on potential closes and additional revenue.
Process for Lead Follow-up and Timing
According to InsideSales, 30-50% of leads are closed by those who follow up with them first. If you are not taking the necessary steps to close your sales, you could be losing up to 79% of your leads (Forrester Research).Unfortunately, there is no simple answer for how soon you should follow-up on leads, as it depends on your vertical and the type of lead you’re reaching out to.
As a marketing professional, you work very hard to generate leads for your sales team and it’s to the company’s benefit to ensure that these leads are being handled correctly. By creating a general process or “template” for your sales team to follow, you are creating a more consistent and successful outcome. There are several ways to allow for better timing and consistency:
Create a series of scripted follow-up messages –Keeping consistency among your team will allow you to determine which scripts work and why they work. One example would be a template message that can be sent out to prospects and leads.
Based on the stage the lead is in (i.e., how hot the lead is), there can be a unique message for each. Many of these emails can now be automated, removing a tedious step for you and your team. Email automation software is a great investment for lead nurturing and timely follow-up.
Get to know your leads –Today, all different types of information can be tracked and measured; whether it be online, from a print ad, through unique phone numbers, or on social media pages. By knowing where your leads come from, you can determine what type of lead they are and react appropriately.
Take the time to see where they came from and what they already may know about your company. Be cognizant that some leads may know nothing about you (and this is likely their first visit to your site) and some will be returning leads with full knowledge of your products.
Adapt to the uniqueness of each lead –Having different types of leads rolling in requires you to be well-versed in how to treat each one. Know that there will be differences between a form lead, a phone lead, or even someone who comes in from an advertisement. Each of these leads will require a different follow-up timeline with a script template customized to them.
Treat each lead as important as the last –Until you score the leads and learn how serious they are, you want to be sure to treat each one as important as the last. Once you get to know your leads, you can then rank them based on their “sales ready” status.
Follow up in a timely manner –Leads are like any other type of communication in that the sooner you answer, the more likely you are to get a response. You wouldn’t wait 3 days before following up on a personal phone message, and leads are going to be even more impatient.
Set up criteria for each type and stage of a lead and generate a process for properly following up. Many internet marketing and contact management software programs can automate this process for you to save you time and money.
Where Leads Come From
No two leads are the same. Each lead listed below will have a unique way they should be handled or followed up on. As mentioned previously, get to know your leads and where they are coming from so you can properly follow up with each one.
Blogs: A recent study conducted by Hubspot found that companies that have blogs acquire 68% more leads than companies who don’t have blogs. Create a call-to-action on your blog that leads to a unique landing page or entices your visitors to complete an action and become a lead.
Infographics: Did you know that 90% of the information that enters your brain is visual and 40% of people respond better to visual information? Simply put, infographics are a great way to give a lot of information in a summarized and graphic representation. Embed links into the infographic leading back to your site or homepage to drive traffic and potential leads.
Contests: Running a contest is a great way to allow your current and loyal customers to interact with you and feel connected. Better yet, it attracts relevant leads and further promotes your brand. Additionally, offering a prize is a great way to attract even more leads to your site. By having to enter their contact information for the contest, they give you a database of leads to follow up on and nurture.
Videos: People who view videos online are 64% more likely to buy, and 1 in 2 people regularly share videos (Hubspot).
White Papers or EBooks: Content is the king of the web, and whitepapers and EBooks can be great content. The more relevant and current content you place on your site or share on social networks, the more likely that your targeted prospects are able to find you. Spend time on these pieces so people are willing to sign up to receive them and are enticed to share them.
Advertisements: Investing in some advertisements can help to generate leads. Some of the way you can pay for advertising online include: Social media ad placement, local listings or local SEO, display ads, SMS marketing, and pay-per-click ads.
Phone Listings: Phone listings are a way to generate leads. Most businesses are in the yellow pages online as well as other industry directories. It’s a very direct way for clients and potential clients to find you. By purchasing additional ad space in these listings, you can set yourself apart from the completion.
Handling different types of leads
If your company is not properly following up on leads, you could be losing a good portion of potential sales. Lead nurturing and lead scoring are important to the handling of leads and can help you determine how each type of lead should be handled and when.For a great Lead Nurturing EBook click here.
In addition, if you would like to learn more about Lead Scoring,click here for an EBook. Once you have done your research, set up a process to handle the different types of leads you have coming in, and take the time to train your sales people to do the same.
According to a survey done by MarketingSherpa, 79% of leads never convert into a sale because they are not properly nurtured. The processes explained above will help to greatly remediate that stat. Many businesses focus on the gathering aspect of leads and not on the closing of them. By also focusing on properly following up on each lead, you can save a lot of time and money.
“If you ignore me, I will ignore you. If you don’t start the conversation, we won’t talk. If you don’t put in the effort, why should I?” – Author Unknown.