Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Power of Follow Ups

If you're a sales person, you would know how powerful follow ups are. But, if you're on the other side you would know how irritating they can be. We, human beings are designed in such a way that we conveniently ignore things that are of least importance to us. Most of times, we tend to assume that if some one is not responding that means they are ignoring us. This may or may not be correct.

Follow Ups are POWERFUL!

Let me give you an example, consider yourself being a part of a marketing department & you did a marketing campaign generated X number of leads for your business. You shared them with your sales team & sales team grabbed them with both hands & you thought the job is done. Actually, its NOT !! How are you going to justify the money spent in your campaigns unless you know how much revenue they generated? To calculate return on ad spend (ROAS) you need to follow up with sales to record the revenue outcome of your efforts. So, if you invested $500 in your campaign/ event but generated only $100 in return that means it wasn't a successful one. You either need to optimize your campaign or switch investing in profitable ones.

Remember, you took this business decision only when you followed up with sales. Usually large organizations have a marketing automation tool that can automate the process but in follow ups you always need that flexibility that a tool may not provide. The sales process is too complex (esp. in a B2B context) that you would always feel the need to speak to your sales directly to know the outcome of leads rather that relaying solely on your marketing automation tools.

Lets take another example: Lets say you did a cold call to customers, unless you've a strategic follow up plan you would find it challenging to convert those prospective customer into your clients. Please note that i am not suggesting to spam your customers by sending them too many emails & calling them on every alternate day. There need to be a proper, well defined lead nurturing plan in order to convert more & more customers into your clients & you MUST have an efficient follow up strategy in your lead nurturing plan. In case of email nurturing programs after sending a welcome email, you might want to send a follow up email describing the services/ product features in detail (within a fortnight after sending welcome email). Even for customers who have purchased from you, you might want to cross-sell after a month.

Don't be cruel in your follow up plans, be sensitive and practical while following up. Annoying your customers with your continuous follow ups (calls, emails, newsletters, remarketing etc.) would be the last thing you would want. Having said that, you also can not afford to NOT have a follow up strategy. It's that fine balance that you need to maintain while creating a follow up strategy. 

One type of follow up strategy could be:
a. Marketing following up with sales: 1st follow up - Next day; 2nd follow up - After 3 days; 3rd follow up - Either on the basis of response from sales or after a week. There may or not be subsequent follow ups and it becomes highly subjective at this point.

b. Sales following up with prospect: Following up with the prospects must have a flexible strategy. The first meeting decides the buying stage the prospect is in and defines how aggressive follow up strategy could be. If the customer is at Awareness stage yet, you might want to nurture them by sending monthly newsletters.

Please do not take this post too seriously if you plan to devise a follow up strategy with your friends :-) 

A tactful persuasion, polite content and flexible approach is all what is required.

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