The Who and How of Lead Follow-Up
Over the years, I have written several articles that emphasized the importance of lead follow-up, as well as the all-too-familiar ‘call reluctance’ (for example see our November 2018 newsletter).
In recent presentations and sessions with clients, I have been asked two related questions which are discussed below:
1. Who should be doing our ‘follow-ups’?
2. How should we follow up?
In this article, I will not reiterate the importance and necessity of following up, since this has been settled previously and the reader of this article already knows and agrees.
Who Should Follow Up?
This question is often asked because most people do not like to follow up and hope (perhaps) that someone else will do it. In addition, the all-too-familiar conundrum of where does ‘marketing’ stop, and ‘sales’ start comes into play.
Follow-ups are everyone’s responsibility! However, depending on the nature of the follow-up needed, and the stage in the buying decision that the prospect might be in, will determine who does what, and how much of it. Generally speaking, marketing and sales must work together, hand-in-hand, to coordinate and execute follow-up activities.
In the early stages of the buyer’s journey, special attention should be given to educating the prospects, wherein later stages, follow-ups should focus on reassuring the prospect and closing. ‘Marketing’ should drive the follow-ups in the early stages, and ‘sales’ should drive the later stages. Nevertheless, marketers should play an important supporting role to the sales team as it moves the prospects through the buying process to a decision. In other words, even though there should be a ‘hand-off point’ when the sales team assumes responsibility for the prospect, the marketing team should continue with some follow-up activities, as well as provide the sales team with information and materials that will assist them in their efforts.
The infographic below shows our recommendations on how these responsibilities can be handled by ‘marketing’ and ‘sales’.
How to Follow Up?
Most of us immediately think of a phone call as the ‘standard’ follow-up. While phone calls are great, there are other ways to follow up, and what is said or conveyed in each follow-up will make a difference and make your effort stand out.
The nature of the follow-up (what to say, show, etc.) should match the prospect’s stage and is illustrated in the infographic above. The Fractional CMO & Marketing team would like to remind you of other methods, beyond the phone call, that might be suitable as follow-ups and are sometimes forgotten:
- Meetings: Face-to-face interactions are extremely powerful. We live in a time and culture where meeting people has taken backseat to other less personal interactions. Offering your prospect to meet in person at their place of business, your office, or a neutral location might be a refreshing approach.
- Video Conferencing: When an actual meeting is not possible, a meeting online could be almost as effective. The proliferation of tools including Skype, Hangout, Zoom, Go-To-Meeting, etc. make this option easy and very inexpensive.
- Email: Whether mass-delivered and automated, or uniquely authored to your prospects, emails are still very effective. If done right and appearing to be individualized and sincere, emails are one of the most effective and non-intrusive methods to follow up with prospects.
- Video: Creating a short video of 30 to 90 seconds using your smart phone or computer webcam and emailing it to your prospect is a refreshing approach. In fact, there are companies that provide such a service (BombBomb, for example) – But you don’t need a ‘service’ to do that… it is easy enough to do!
- Snail-Mail: Yes, plain-old letters are making a comeback! After years of being practically forgotten, all we ever get in the mail are some bills and promotional flyers. A well-written letter containing helpful information for your prospect will stand out.
- Packages: Do you like getting packages delivered to you? So do your prospects! Do you ever ignore a package delivered to you (like you ignore some emails) or do you open them pretty much immediately? We all open packages as soon as we can… Consider Priority Mail, UPS, FedEx, etc. to send your follow-up letter. Better yet, include a gift or a sample of your product whenever possible – Your follow-up package will always be noticed and remembered!
If you would like to discuss your lead follow-ups and how to leverage marketing to complete follow-up on leads, call us or write to us – we will be happy to speak with you about it, without any obligation on your part.
Duke Merhavy, MBA, Ph.D.
President & Chief Marketing Officer
Fractional CMO & Marketing is ‘Your Smart Marketing Formula’ when you need expert marketing leadership and marketing services to accelerate growth and improve profitability, but you’re not quite ready to hire a full-time Chief Marketing Officer or your own marketing department Our unique arrangement is the most efficient, innovative, and cost-effective formula for you. Click on the image on the right to watch a short video.
Six Tips for Effective Trade Show Preparation
By Anna Kunz, Marketing Services Manager
Exhibiting at a trade show is a huge, and quite possibly lucrative, investment for your business. Planning your trade show presence to be an effective marketing tactic requires organization and creativity. Success is often measured by the number of qualified leads the event generates. One of the most important factors that significantly determines the success of a trade show is the thoroughness and quality of preparation before hitting the trade show floor.
Here are six tips of often-ignored activities to ensure you have a successful trade show:
1. Research Trade Shows
Keep ROI front and center in your planning – Not all trade shows will provide a sufficient return on investment for your business. The first step is to research shows where your audience is most likely to attend. Compare those shows side-by-side to determine which ones are the most beneficial for your organization. Consider location, number of exhibitors, attendees, show dates, duration of the show, media attention, frequency of the show, etc.
2. Determine Your Goals
Exhibiting at a trade show should be part of your overall marketing strategy and plan. You must set specific goals to be achieved at the show and as result of the show – preferably, measurable goals will be included. Common examples of such goals include number of qualified leads (of different levels), number of quotes provided, and sometimes, the amount of business closed in dollars. No matter what type of goals you set, they will help you be more purposeful in your attendance and assist in calculating the event’s ROI later.
Waiting until the last minute to make arrangements for travel and accommodations, as well as printing brochures and so on, is dangerous and often very expensive. Make a list of all that needs to be handled prior to the show and get them done as early as you can. The closer you get to the date of the show the busier you will be and the cost to get things accomplished in a hurry will be more.
4. Design and Stage
Your display should be eye catching and grab attention! You will be competing with hundreds (sometimes more) of exhibitors for the attention of the show attendees. Invest time, creativity and money on your display – it’s worth it. Also, make sure to ‘stage’ your display before you leave… Set everything up as if you were at the show. Make sure everything looks the way it should and is in good-working condition. Doing so will save you from headaches and give you the opportunity to get things right in advance of the show.
5. Pre-Show Marketing
Let your audience know you will be at the event and why they should visit your exhibit (new products, special offers, etc.) well in advance of the show. Plan and schedule social media posts and an email campaign to prospects and customers in the weeks leading up to the day of the event and even during the event. Ask your event organizer if there is a list of registrants available for you to use. This ‘golden’ list will help reach targeted new prospects.
6. Plan Your Follow-Up
A prompt response to show leads is crucial. Include a memorable call-to-action that brings leads back after the excitement of the show has faded. After the show you will be too busy to plan the follow-up. Make the plan and put everything in place before you leave for the show. Launch the follow-up campaign immediately upon your return. You should be diligent about not losing the show’s momentum and the excitement of your fresh prospects.
Fractional CMO & Marketing helps clients plan and execute dozens of trade show, conferences, open house events, and many more. If you would like to discuss your trade shows or other events, call us or write to us – we will be happy to speak with you about it, without any obligation on your part.
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