Do you want to increase your close rate? Don’t throw away qualified opportunities.
One of the benefits of being in the B2B sales industry for over three decades, while continuing to attend trade shows and speak with industry leaders regularly, is that we know what determines success in lead generation through telesales.
When best practices are followed, qualified leads become closed sales.
Often times, when a lead is transitioned from an outsourced lead generator to sales, those best practices are not followed. The result? Qualified leads are thrown away, or worse, handed over to the competition.
There are certain steps to be taken when following up with a lead generated through B2B lead generation that will increase the chances for success. Quick turnaround is essential to keeping up the momentum that was generated by an inside sales caller.
When a lead is transitioned to sales, the follow-up needs to be immediate.
Appropriate follow-up entails an email sent mentioning the inside sales or outsourced member who made the call. It shouldn’t be long but should be concise: “Thank you for speaking with my colleague (use their name) and for your interest. I will be sending a calendar invitation shortly.” This sort of correspondence needs to happen the same day when the conversation is still fresh.
In addition, inside sales should end the call by teeing up the next step; “Next up you’re going to hear from our sales leader or regional sales rep, (use a name), who will send you an email with a calendar invitation for the agreed upon time.”
Making that first connection within a day ensures that the name of your company, as well as the agreement to talk further, has not been forgotten.
People get busy, they travel, and generally have a lot on their plate so when you have a successful entry with a prospect, there is no time to waste.
Making the initial contact within the first 24 hours is important, but it is also only the first step.
Make the connection as soon as possible, make good connections that reinforce a positive customer experience, and make multiple connections (email, calendar invitations, follow-up phone calls) to reinforce what was discussed on the cold call.
When sales teams and managers have had bad experiences with transitioning leads from inside sales that aren’t properly qualified it results in the perception that the leads are not really worth their time.
They might make the effort to make a phone call and if it’s not returned, they assume there is no interest. This is how qualified opportunities can get thrown away.
The work has just started when somebody says yes.
If the lead was generated by an experienced B2B cold caller, it is a lead that has been properly qualified and offers a true opportunity.
With a qualified lead, the objection has already been overcome and there is a decision maker or key evaluator who has an interest in your product, service, or solution. They need to be treated that way and followed up with accordingly.
Even with good, qualified leads, often times 6-12 attempts are required to reach them again.
Just because someone is unresponsive does not mean they are not interested.
If you call once and catch them at a bad time (or not at all) and take their unresponsiveness to be a level of “not interested,” you are throwing away an opportunity, and your competitors will get the business instead of you.
Keep your Calls High Quality
Make sure to keep your contact with a lead high quality. It can be tempting to make an initial call from the car, or other place on-the-go, but this is a bad idea and can be reflective of a lack of effort and interest.
Keep the call high quality by making a connection with the person on the other end. Who made the initial cold call? Mention their name and include a little recap of the conversation they had.
If you’re not giving the phone call your full attention, your prospect will know it.
If you are sending calendar invitations, make sure to track them. Has the prospect accepted your invitation? If not, send another email to find out why, and offer another time if the initial one doesn’t work.
Do what is necessary to make a connection and follow through. A memorable call will only be remembered as long as it is reinforced with the next step.
Follow Best Practices for Transitioning Leads From Inside Sales Every Time
When hard work is being put into generating opportunities, it is important to give them the attention they deserve. If you don’t, you will not be getting a return on your investment.
Follow-up quickly, make multiple and consistent attempts and use the details that have been generated for you in order to make a connection.
Do you have trouble transitioning leads from inside sales? What are your proven practices for following-up with a qualified lead? Please leave us a note in the comments.
Editor’s Note: This blog, first published in April 2016, was edited and updated in December 2018.