There is one simple concept that will revolutionize your small business. This one simple thing is so basic that you may be overlooking it completely—and that oversight is the source of almost all your sales and marketing problems.
Are you ready for it?
Behind every strong follow-up message from your business to a lead is a strong lead follow-up system behind the scenes.
So what’s a lead follow-up system? It’s a CRM and sales and marketing automation platform, like Keap, that organizes your sales leads from when they first visit your website to when they become loyal fans. A lead follow-up tool or system automates communications all the way through your funnel, sending relevant messages to leads depending on tracked activity and conditions, keeping your business top of mind, and building relationships.
Let’s dive into some more specifics on follow-up:
- Top 3 Lead Follow-Up Systems: Email, Text, and Phone
- Why Follow-Ups Are Crucial in Sales
- Why Automation is the Best Way to Follow Up With Leads
- How to Follow Up With Leads: An Easy 3-Step Automated Follow-Up System
- Get Help Automating Your Follow-Up System
Top 3 Lead Follow-Up Systems: Email, Text, and Phone
There are multiple channels for effective follow-up with your leads. Whether you choose email, text, or phone, your follow-up message should provide helpful information and show prospects your value.
Email is one of the most powerful and easily automated ways to follow up with leads. According to Emarsys, 81% of small and medium-sized businesses rely on email marketing as their primary channel for customer acquisition, and 80% rely on it for retention. With email, you can personalize everything from your messaging to imagery.
An automated follow-up email series can provide additional information after consultation calls, share valuable resources, and keep leads progressing through your funnel. With emails running while you sleep, you can continue building and nurturing relationships with leads wherever they are in the world and wherever they are in your sales process.
People read 90% of text messages within three minutes. SMS is a quick and effective tool for automated, personalized follow-up after a consultation, or after a lead opts in to receive messages from your company.
Keep your leads’ time zones in mind and message them between 8 am and 9 pm in their local time. Review the full list of text message marketing laws to prevent your texts from being marked as spam and provide a good experience for your leads (or sign up with Keap for built-in compliance).
While it’s less common, following up with a phone call can be a personable way to connect with your leads. Maybe they saw your email but forgot to respond, and now your email is at the bottom of their endless inbox. Be prepared to call at least five times after the first meeting, as 80% of sales require this level of persistence to be effective.
Prepare a bulleted list before you call to make sure you cover all your important points and questions, and leave space for your leads to ask their own questions. Calling ensures that your message comes across the way you want it to with the right inflection of your voice and provides an opportunity for open dialogue with your prospect. If the person doesn’t pick up the phone, leave a short voicemail and then follow up with an email to have something in writing.
Providing helpful information and staying in contact can help convert leads into customers.
Why Follow-Ups Are Crucial in Sales
About 2% of leads are closed within the first touchpoint. Without following up with those leads, you might be missing out on 98% of sales! Following up with leads coming in through your website within five minutes means they’re nine times more likely to buy from you.
According to the Annuitas Group, implementing marketing automation can result in a 451% increase in qualified leads. Sales is a crucial part of your business, and implementing automated follow-up ensures that all sales opportunities are maximized.
Why Automation Is the Best Way to Follow Up with Leads
As a small business owner wearing all the hats, you’re too busy running the show to follow up manually with your leads and customers, especially with cumbersome systems.
Marketing automation allows you to create and send personalized follow-up campaigns based on actions taken by prospects at key points in your funnel. When you combine automation with a CRM, you get even more benefits by tracking your leads’ activities and interactions, and sending the right message at the right time–automatically.
The best part is, once you have these systems up and running, they work in the background, moving your leads down the sales funnel rather than letting them slip through the cracks, while you work on other aspects of your business.
How to Follow Up with Leads: An Easy 3-Step Automated Follow-Up System
Many businesses will get a powerful marketing automation and CRM system and feel like they need to do the equivalent of moving mountains with their campaigns.
If you’re a sales and marketing geek, it can be fun to go down the sophisticated automated campaign rabbit hole. But most small business owners don’t have the desire or the time to spend days building out campaigns. That’s where a CRM and sales and marketing automation platform like Keap comes into play. Keap allows you to quickly build personalized automations that track, target, and analyze your leads, from tracking new leads to welcoming leads to nurturing relationships in the long run.
The reality is that you can easily put into place three very simple and targeted campaigns that will change your business. Keap CEO Clate Mask calls them the three keys of automated follow-up.
Key #1: A Lead Generation Campaign
Most small businesses want more sales. In our 2019 Small Business Marketing Trends Report, 28% of surveyed small business owners identified driving sales as their No. 1 goal, while 18% said they need to keep the customers they already have.
Strangely, only 6% said that collecting leads was a priority. That registered as the lowest priority response.
There’s a huge disconnect here that betrays the fact that most small business owners don’t understand how to build a fully functioning sales machine—one that starts with lead collection, continues with nurture, results in conversion, and ends with cross- and upsells.
It should go without saying, a key component to achieving your sales goals is driving quality leads. And this is where a lead generation (also known as LeadGen) campaign works like a charm.
A solid yet simple LeadGen campaign utilizes a resource known as a lead magnet to attract prospects, such as an ebook, webinar, research, or a free consultation. Whatever the lead magnet is, it needs to entice someone to give you their email in exchange for the free resource.
A web form on your lead magnet landing page (or social ads if you want to get fancy) can be utilized to capture lead information and obtain their opt-in to receive emails from you. Your web form should be connected to your CRM, allowing you to track and segment your leads to create personalized campaigns.
After sending the lead magnet, you can follow up with a sequence of messages providing additional valuable resources to build your credibility. You can also include an offer for a free consultation (with a link to your scheduling tool–more CRM fun).
Once a lead books a consultation with you, you can send post-consultation follow-up emails, reiterating an offer you mentioned on the call or providing a link where they can choose a package and begin working with you.
Key #2: A Welcome Campaign
Once you collect a contact’s information, you can create an automated email follow-up that sends an email to the prospect, welcoming them. This is a great touchpoint for a couple of reasons.
Welcome emails are the highest-opened emails percentage-wise. According to Experian Marketing Services, welcome emails are four times more likely to be opened and five times more likely to have click-throughs. Why? Because the prospect just signed up for your list, and they’re more interested now than ever.
The welcome campaign introduces your prospect to your brand, sets expectations for working with you, and makes the education and sales process move more quickly and smoothly.
It’s also the time to offer the next steps. This isn’t asking for a sale. It’s asking for what Ryan Deiss, founder of DigitalMarketer, would call a “micro-commitment”—a small ask that moves the subscriber closer to being a customer. This could be as simple as reading a blog post or replying to the welcome email with their biggest challenge, as Francisco Rosales of SocialMouths does.
When you have a manual client onboarding experience, it takes more of your time and effort than an automated system. Streamlining the process allows you to send more emails in a welcome sequence, or you can move them into the third key to automated follow-up: long-term nurture.
Key #3: A Long-Term Nurture Campaign
A reliable truism is that the customer is usually not ready to buy when you’re ready to sell. That’s why consistent, personalized follow-up is key to sales success. Marketing automation software like Keap removes the manual work involved in following up. And because it’s automated, you attain a consistency that is nearly impossible to do on your own, building better business habits.
Each long-term nurture campaign can vary depending on your business, but whatever you do, ensure it’s relevant and educational for your prospect. A twelve-month series of hard sales emails will push people to unsubscribe, while a twelve-month series of resources to build your business will engage your prospects.
That’s not to say you can’t sell. As Kamila Gornia writes in “How to Plan a Long-term Email Nurture”:
While content is powerful, you still have to make sure you are providing epic value with a purpose. That means each piece of content should be building up their belief in you, in the product, in a solution, and the hope that their pain can be resolved.
Don’t share random content for content’s sake. No need to record a thousand videos per week. Aim for quality, not quantity. But make sure you keep your work focused.
Make it easy for people to reply back to your emails, or to schedule a phone call to talk more, or to flat out buy your product. Obviously, the right next step is going to be 100% reliant on your particular business model. This is a big part of what I help my clients with, so don’t worry if you’re feeling unsure. It gets easier with time.
The cool thing about having your long-term nurture campaign tied in with your CRM is that you can track how your prospects interact with your nurture emails over time, scoring prospects higher as they take desired actions. Your CRM will then help you prioritize who is ready for you to personally follow up with, increasing your chances of a sale.
For instance, the person on your email list who downloaded an ebook, read four blog posts, and visited your pricing page two times is a much hotter lead than the person who signed up for your email list but has only opened one email and clicked zero links. Giving your leads valuable content for free until they’re ready to work with you shows your company’s value, helps relate to them, and builds trust with them. A CRM makes tracking this information and providing useful insights to take the right action much easier.
Get Help Automating Your Follow-Up
With Keap’s CRM and sales and marketing automation software, you can easily set up your lead follow-up automation within minutes. And Keap’s proven growth framework, expert coaching, in-depth training, outstanding support, and dedicated community of entrepreneurs will help you grow your business to the next level quickly.
Ready to jump in and improve your lead follow-up? Start your 14-day free trial today.