Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How many times should you follow up on a sales lead before giving up?

According to Steli Efti, CEO of sales software firm, Close.io, this Mixergy interview, it's forever - or, at least, until the prospect tells you to stop following up!
My follow up strategy is binary so I follow up until I get a reply. And it doesn’t matter how many times I have to follow up...So when someone doesn’t reply to me I just assume people are busy. Assume people have their own lives, their own struggles their own challenges, it’s not all about me...I just wait for them to reply. Anybody can tell me, “Stop sending me frigging emails” and I’ll stop but as long as I don’t hear back, I’ll follow up. 
...you cannot be whiny, needy or apologetic about it., I stay very clean cut, professional in those emails. I don’t go back and say, “Well I know I already sent you 48 emails and you might not have seen them. No I just go, “Hey, I hope this is a great start off to your week, when is a good time for you to talk with me this week, either Tuesday or Wednesday.” And back a week or two later, I’ll follow up I’ll say, “Hey did you see this great new [??] we wrote or this new development in our software, what would be a great time next week to chat? What about this or that date?” I’ll just continue following up and I’m not going to reference back to why I’ve not heard back from you.
Other Highlights:

  • Hiring sales people 
...we’re looking for young people that are very entrepreneurial, very smart, have very (good) values and have kind of the personality of a sales person. Somebody that likes people, somebody that likes to communicate, somebody that can deal emotionally with rejection, someone that has high emotional stability.
  • Go out on a "founders' date" each week
Once you actually hire more and more people, you grow the team, eventually founders are on different departments and you don’t get as much time quality time together. So once a week we go on a dinner and in that dinner we don’t talk about technical things but the question really is like how do you feel? How is everyone feeling? Is there anything I did that pissed you off? Anything tiny that happened in the last few days?
  • Great parting question for the initial sales call - "what is it going to take for you to become a customer?" (from the follow up Mixergy Master Class on Enterprise Sales by Elli)
During your first meeting, ask about their sales process. Who needs to get the buy-in and how does it work? “Even if you are progressing well, your deal might get lost in the middle of a reorganization or somebody leaving,” says Steli. But if you understand their sales process and the timeline, you can make an informed decision about whether you’re willing and able to devote your resources to closing the deal. “Ask, ‘What will it take for you guys to actually become a customer?’” Steli says. “Then have them guide you through the entire process. Keep asking until they say, ‘Yes, and then we will pay you money for your product.’ Then you actually have the roadmap.” 

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