#AskTheExperts: How to follow up on sales leads?

January 17, 2020

4 min.

This series gathers advice from Kommo Expert Partners to help you solve the business problems that keep you up at night. Today we tackle one of the most tricky and challenging processes — how to follow up on sales leads.

Kommo's expert partners on sales leads

😰 Slow to follow up on sales leads...

I own a small business doing interior renovations. Business has been really good lately, so I decided to invest in its growth by hiring a few sales guys. The issue is that after 4 months, this still hasn't shown any actual impact... my labor costs have gone up, but where are the returns?

I have a website, and we collect leads via form. Once the sales team gets on the phone, they do a great job of representing the company, but the leads just aren't interested. Based on my own investigation, I think the root of the problem is our response speed. I've read everywhere that you should follow up on sales leads within 5 minutes (!), but this just seems impossible! It usually takes us at least a couple of hours (and sometimes a whole day).

Does following up fast really make a difference? How can I increase my response speed?

Get in touch with your leads immediately

Alexander Zhitmarev, a Kommo Expert Partner and the founder of crm1.biz, explains that getting there first is what matters most:

Usually, the potential customer opens 5-10 websites. After taking a quick look, they start filling out the lead forms, which are followed by phone calls from the companies.

The company that calls the potential customer first manages to get their attention for about 10-15 minutes and provides all the information to get an offer.

However, when the second company calls, the lead already starts to lose interest in answering the same questions all over again. Holding your lead’s attention in speaking to the third company becomes even more challenging. You can imagine how excited your potential customer would be when their phone keeps ringing off the hook because more companies are trying to reach them (not so much 😵).

Thus, it’s crucial to be the first person who makes the phone call because increased response speed has now become everything. This is where a CRM system comes in handy. - Alexander Zhitmarev Founder of crm1.biz

Improve the speed of your follow up via automation

Phil McKeown, the founder and CEO of McKeown MarKeting, also suggests improving speed, but with the help of automation:

Speed is critical when following up on inbound leads, but authenticity is just as important.

Consider adding or better configuring a CRM. It should do so much more than hold data. It should drive engagement, warm and nurture leads — get them on the phone or the calendar. And, it should do a lot of that automatically.

What I suggest is automating the first few steps in your follow up process. Send a text acknowledging the submission and hinting at the next steps. Send an email shortly after with additional details and a request for a call or meeting. If possible, let them see your face. People like to see whom they’re working with.

If they don’t respond (or if they haven’t yet sealed the deal) send follow-ups from multiple sources such as SMS, messages, emails or phone calls. Also, make sure they start seeing more of you and your business online, including what you do and how you’ve performed in the past (testimonials) via a PPC retargeting campaign.

There are so many distractions competing for their attention. Great salespeople working in lockstep with a powerful and authentically automated CRM can tip the scales in your favor - Phil McKeown CEO of McKeown MarKeting

Fill your sales pipeline with leads from multiple sources

On the other hand, Vijay Narayan, the CMO and founder at Business Dynamiks, acknowledges the importance of speed, but he says that the root problem could be something entirely different:

Regarding how to effectively follow up on sales leads — speed definitely matters. If we got a lead through a webform, it means that they have requested information, and there is a chance that they would wait for us to respond.

The problem here, however, is that the sales reps are heavily reliant on one source (for instance, inbound) for their lead generation efforts. As sales reps, they should have the pipeline filled with leads from multiple sources. They should have a mix of outbound, inbound, paid, and partnership lead generation. This would keep the team busy, and the cost of labor justified as well.

To put it short, the answer is:

  1. You need a bigger pipeline, so you won’t keep worrying and thinking about the leads that you haven’t converted.
  2. You need to fill your pipeline with leads from multiple sources to justify time spent and the cost of labor for sales efforts.

The rest (i.e., conversion) would happen automatically since sales ultimately is a probability game. - Vijay Narayan CMO & Founder at Business Dynamiks

How do you follow up on sales leads? Share your experience in the comments below!

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Irina Kvashali

Writer @ Kommo

A marketing enthusiast. Let's make sales happen!

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