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Mastering the Follow-Up: 8 Strategies to Convert Prospects into Clients

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In B2B sales, mastering the “follow-up” is both an art and a science. While the art lies in building genuine relationships with prospects, the science involves leveraging data to optimize your timing and approach.

In other words, a successful follow-up requires a delicate balance between creativity and strategy. It demands that SDRs understand the nuances of sales interactions while also using analytics to drive optimal results. 

In this guide, we explain how to combine the artistry of communication with the precision of data-driven insights to help B2B sales teams more effectively nurture leads and convert them into new customers.

Following up across the sales cycle

There are many instances in which a sales representative might need to follow up with a prospective customer. It’s a common misconception that the sole follow-up opportunity comes immediately after the sales pitch. In fact, sales reps should re-engage with prospects across multiple touch points. 

Here are a few examples of when to follow up with a prospect:

  • After initial contact to ensure the prospect received the information provided, meeting invite details, or contact information for your company
  • To schedule a follow-up meeting to the initial introductory call to discuss scope and pricing
  • To address any questions or concerns raised by the prospect during the initial interaction
  • To follow up on promised next steps agreed upon during the initial contact
  • To provide additional information regarding your product or services
  • To check in and maintain engagement while the prospect is making a decision
  • To collect feedback on an initial quote or offer
  • To follow up after sending a proposal to request a call to discuss the details
  • To ensure a new client understands next steps and signs the contract
  • To re-engage prospects who showed interest but did not convert initially
  • To touch base post-sales to ensure satisfaction, gather testimonials, or explore upsell opportunities

These are just a few of many scenarios in which your sales team might need to connect with an existing prospect. As you can see, follow-up strategies apply across the entire sales cycle, not just after the initial proposal. 

Why following up in B2B sales is critical

The primary reason for following up is obvious: to turn more prospects into customers. But there are many benefits to maintaining contact with current and past leads.

For one, following up allows your team to maintain and nurture relationships with prospects. This demonstrates an attention to their needs, plus ongoing interest in their business. This might not always result in a direct customer, but can at least keep the door open for new referrals.

Also, business owners are busy. Persistent follow-up keeps your brand top-of-mind and gives prospects multiple opportunities to re-engage your business. It also gives you a chance to address any concerns they may have, supporting their decision-making process.

Most of all, timely follow-up ensures that prospects are engaged when they’re most receptive to the sale. Excitement is high, so they are more likely to convert. You can also leverage the satisfaction and momentum of existing customers to foster brand loyalty, and even explore opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

8 tips for following up with B2B prospects

Now it’s time for the good stuff. If you’re wanting to improve your follow-up tactics, resulting in more engagement and customers, you’ll want to try these strategies on for size. Here are some effective B2B follow-up strategies to support higher conversion rates and happier customers. 

1. Ask for their preferred contact method

After a prospect makes first contact, the sales representative should ask for their preferred contact method. This will ensure that all future communications are tailored to their preferences, regardless of how they made initial contact. 

Not only does this show that your company respects the prospect’s time and boundaries, but it also increases the likelihood of receiving a response to your follow-up. It also demonstrates a commitment to a more client-centric approach, which can be a green flag for prospects wanting to work with you. 

2. Refer back to previous conversations and preferences

Prospects don’t want to feel like “just another lead” – they want to know that you are listening to their needs and care about the results. That’s why it’s important to tailor your follow-up content to refer back to previous conversations and preferences. 

For example, if a prospect expressed interest in a particular feature of your product, your follow-up could include more details about that particular feature, plus related customer testimonials. Or, if they mention how your service might help them to free up more time in their business, your follow-up can re-address this goal and how your service can help them achieve a better work/life balance.

When you refer back to these points in your follow-up content, you not only reinforce your understanding of their needs, but also show your desire to provide personalized solutions. This ultimately builds trust and rapport, leading to more sales.

3. Mind the timing

When it comes to following up, timing is crucial. Waiting too long could result in a missed opportunity, whereas being too aggressive could deter a prospect. It’s important to consider the needs of the prospect, their schedule, and what feels most appropriate based on previous interactions. 

Here are a few timing tips to consider:

  • If you’ve just finished a meeting with a prospective client, send your follow-up the same day. 
  • If the prospect is in a different time zone, adjust your follow-up timing accordingly to ensure it aligns with their working hours.
  • If a prospect has just received additional information, a proposal, other resources to look over, etc., and need more time to make a decision, follow up in 2-3 days.
  • Choose times when you know the prospect is likely to be available and not overwhelmed with other tasks, such as late morning or early afternoon.
  • Avoid sending messages during busy periods, such as the morning rush or the end of the workday.
  • Avoid Mondays and Fridays for important follow-ups, as Mondays can be overwhelming with catching up after the weekend, and Fridays are often focused on wrapping up tasks before the weekend.
  • Use scheduling software to ensure your emails are sent at optimal times, even if you’re unavailable to send them manually.
  • Be mindful of peak vacation times or busy periods for your prospect’s industry. Avoid following up during holidays or peak season when they might be overwhelmed.

Also, if the prospect typically responds quickly to emails or messages, try to follow up within a reasonable timeframe to maintain the momentum of the conversation. You can always adjust your timing as you see fit based on the prospect’s own preferences. 

4. Add value with each interaction

Try to add value in each follow-up message. This could include providing relevant insights, resources, case studies, or client reviews that relate to their specific needs and challenges. Following up should go beyond mere communication and ideally offer something meaningful to the prospect. 

For example, you could send relevant articles that address their current pain points, showing that you’re attentive to their challenges. You could also offer exclusive access to a webinar or interview that relates to their industry. 

Providing value in this way can help foster a deeper connection with your brand and position you as a valuable partner in their journey.

5. Solicit feedback and adapt your strategy

Ask prospects for feedback on the sales process to get a sense of what’s working well and what could be improved. Feedback can be collected at the end of a meeting, via email, or via a survey form.

Soliciting feedback will allow you to optimize your sales approach, as well as the follow-up process. If you use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, you can also use performance data to see what tactics or messages are working well, and use this to inform your strategy in the future. 

You might be surprised to hear what prospects have to say about your sales approach, good or bad. All information is helpful information when it comes to fine-tuning your strategies and improving response rates. 

6. Create and optimize follow-up templates

While personalizing your follow-up messages is always recommended, this doesn’t mean that every email needs to be written from scratch. Creating follow-up templates (and optimizing them based on performance) is a great way to save time and improve close rates.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) content writing tools like ChatGPT can be used to craft and revise follow-up messages and emails. 

For example, we used the prompt, “Write a follow-up email to a prospect that requests to schedule a follow-up meeting to the initial introductory call to discuss scope and pricing” to create this follow-up template:

You can tailor the prompt based on where the prospect is at in the sales cycle, any details you’ve collected from previous conversations, and how similar templates have worked in the past. It can be a good idea to test open rates on email subject lines as well. 

7. Automate your follow-up sequence

Similar to the point above, you can save time on the follow-up process by automating your email sequence. You can set automated follow-ups to initial calls, after sending a proposal, when you’re awaiting contract signing, and to prompt customers for a review. 

For instance, the email software ActiveCampaign has many features that makes it easy to follow up with prospects, collect documents, and send reminders. Similar features are likely available within your chosen CRM platform. 

Automation saves a significant amount of time, resulting in lower overhead costs and improved prospect response times. It also ensures that your brand maintains consistent contact with prospects so you don’t miss out on sales opportunities. 

8. Be persistent, not pushy

With all this talk about timing and tactics, it’s important to remember not to be pushy. Business owners live busy lives, too, and need to weigh many details before making informed sales decisions. Being too pushy can result in unhappy prospects and missed sales. 

The key is to find the right balance between persistence and annoyance. Follow up with prospects promptly, but don’t send them a barrage of reminders. Consider what might be a reasonable amount of time needed for the prospect to review information, connect with their team, and make a decision. 

If you receive feedback that your team is being too pushy, or see a trend of blunt responses from prospects, this may be a sign to pump the brakes a bit. Take a step back, review recent interactions, and try to identify any instances where your messaging may have come across as overly aggressive or persistent. Then, dial back the frequency and intensity to give prospects space and time to consider their options without feeling pressured.

Automate Your Sales Engine with Superhuman

The “follow-up” is both an art and a science, requiring a client-centric approach as well as tools and insights to ensure success. Striking a balance can be difficult for any business owner. That’s why it can be helpful to outsource lead generation and follow-up to the pros that do it best.

At Superhuman Prospecting, we use a bespoke approach for identifying the best opportunities for your B2B company, tracking lead progression, and booking sales conversations. We monitor the performance of messaging and campaigns to ensure the best results for your brand. 

We’d love to help you grow. Contact us to learn more about our B2B lead generation and management services. 

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