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Sales and Consumer Engagement

Guest Blog: Common pitfalls in lead follow up and how to avoid them

  •  By Ellie Mae

By: Scott Payne, SDP Solutions, LLC

Stop Leaving Money on the Table with a Poor Post-Contact Strategy

It’s important to evaluate your post-contact strategy as part of your customer experience during the sales process. That is, once contact is established between a customer and salesperson, what do the next interactions or points of engagement look like. Are your sales reps actually following up? Are they accommodating customer communication preferences? These are important questions that leaders need to have the answers to. Even more, there needs to be a guarantee that what you expect is happening on the sales floor, is actually happening. Because if not, you’re leaving money on the table.

What exactly is a post-contact strategy? A post-contact strategy is how a sales rep follows-up with a lead after contact is made during the customer experience screening. Here are two examples of what that looks like:

  • A sales rep receives a warm transfer lead, speaks to the customer briefly, goes over some basic items, and the customer asks the rep to call back tomorrow afternoon.
  • A sales rep take an application with a customer, quotes pricing, the customer says that they need to speak with their spouse, and asks the rep to call back tomorrow.

When I conduct customer experience screenings, I test these areas of engagement (see how in Customer Experience Screening Introduction). Out of the 300 customer experience screenings that I've completed and requested a call back:

  • 50% of the time, I don't receive a phone call at all!
  • Over 80% of the time, I do NOT receive a call back on time when I've asked for a call back
  • Of the 50% of the time that I receive a call back, 85% of the time I don't receive a second call

So how do you solve for this to ensure your sales team is not missing out on revenue that’s knocking at your door? Here are three strategies that will help you convert more leads.

1. Take advantage of automation and technology

There are tools that can help a salesperson be prompt with their follow up — and the most competitive businesses are taking full advantage of this. Lead management systems can schedule dials that lock salespeople into dialing customers at specific times. You can even set up a smart contact infrastructure that leverages your unique business rules when it comes to the prioritization of follow-up. For example, if you have the criteria of customers who are more likely to buy, you can leverage that to prioritize those leads for your sales team to focus on. 

Technology is out there to automate and simplify tasks. It’s important to take advantage to compete and not miss out on revenue.

2. Implement a call screener model

The customer-business relationship has evolved. The rise and acceleration of technology over the past decade has evolved. Has your process evolved? With the rise of inbound marketing, customers are finding you. Technology is creating a seamless experience for them and also empowering salespeople to drop the tasks that take them away from doing what they are paid to do — sell. Given all of these changes, it’s time to rethink your process to ensure customers are getting called back.

3. Optimize around an omni-channel communication strategy

We live in an omni-channel world. The way we absorb and gather information isn’t just via phone, text, email, online, etc. Your customers use all the same channels you use every day, so it only makes sense to develop a solid omni-channel strategy. Here are some ways to optimize your communication across multiple channels to make sure you’re effectively engaging with customers after initial contact is made:

  • Send an automatic confirmation email with your sales rep’s contact information in it after every appointment scheduled (bonus: include a link that allows them to add it to their calendar)
  • Send an appointment reminder via SMS message to the customer 30 minutes before the calendar event 
  • If your rep calls back on time and the customer is unavailable, send a missed appointment email/SMS to the customer asking them when a good time would be to follow up next

Most companies don't take advantage of these opportunities to engage customers and this is a huge mistake. The customer has already expressed some level of interest and it is your sales team’s job to not let these leads fall through the cracks.

Overall, there are many things organizations can do to ensure their customers have a fantastic experience. I've found that the ball is dropped most of the time after contact, and companies must have strict standards in place to ensure they aren’t leaving money on the table by not following up with customers.

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