Maven Sales Group Blog

How Many Times Should You Follow up with an Inbound Lead?

2/20/19, 4:52 PM / by David Fletcher

HubSpot flywheelNo matter your profession or where you live, at some point you have been labeled "an inbound lead." Whether it was on a personal or professional level, as an inbound lead you probably have had an unpleasant encounter or two with a pushy sales professional. In case you tried to block out the latter experiences, let's recap a few of the common characteristics. Your phone constantly pings with new messages, your emails seem to be filled with new offers on a near constant basis, and your LinkedIn profile is suddenly bombarded with notifications. The latter experience occurs far too often when sales associates don't follow a few golden rules regarding communication and follow-ups with inbound leads. Fortunately, this blog post is here to help!

Follow-Up On The Right Channels.

Before we can discuss how many times you should follow up with an inbound lead, we need to first discuss your method of communication. While you can follow-up with inbound leads via social media (and to be frank, you should choose this method of communication if that is how the lead first contacted you), it is far more likely that you will use email or a phone call to contact your inbound lead.

  • Email. -- The beauty of email is that it is visual and gives the lead time to actually process what you are saying. Additionally, emails can readily be saved and forwarded to other interested parties. However, the challenge of emails is that everyone sends them. In fact, the average working professional receives more than 100 emails on a daily basis, which means that your follow-up could easily be lost in a conundrum of inbox clutter.
  • Phone. -- The beauty of a phone call is that it immediately allows you to create a human connection (which as we all know is a key factor in successfully building a relationship with an inbound lead). The challenge of a phone call is that sometimes you get brushed off of the phone, your lead isn't actually ready to spend their time talking to you, or you get stuck in the loop of leaving multiple voicemails.

The good news is that in today's digital world you don't have to choose between sending an email or making a phone call; instead, you can use both. And so, without further ado, let's begin looking at the number of times that you should actually reach out ot an inbound lead.

The Key Phrase Is Reasonably Persistent.

Much like knowing how to follow-up after a great date, there is a fine line between persistent and annoying. There is an even finer line between persistent and desperate. With the latter lines in mind, if you don't have a formal process, here are a few general rules of thumb that you can follow when contacting inbound leads.

  • Leave a voicemail and follow-up the same day with a quick email.
  • Wait 24 – 48 hours before following up again.

Still no response? Wait another 24 – 48 hours before you:

  • Send a quick reminder before you dial the phone again.
  • Follow-up with a phone call after the quick reminder email.

Still no response? Wait another 24 – 48 hours before you:

  • Try your email / calling strategy one more time.
  • Be sure to contact your lead at a different time of the day.
  • Double check that they are still active on social media, their blog, and / or visiting your site.

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Here's an example of a more formal process that we use with our clients.

Attempt 1 - Be Helpful, First Attempt to Connect

Day 1 - Phone - Attempt to connect. If connect, ask high level questions to qualify and set up a follow up meeting. If not, leave a voicemail based on the email you’ll send.

Day 1 - Email - Send an email.

Subject: Your Company & Content Download Title

Hi <<Contact.firstname>>,

I got a note from Marketing that you came to our website recently and downloaded  ______________________________________. Thank you for doing so! If you are interested in the topic, you might also like this accompanying blog article: __________________________.

I find that companies like yours who download content like this benefit from _______________.

Is this a timely conversation to have?

<<YourName>>

 

Attempt 2 - Did You Get My Email?

Day 3 - Phone - Attempt to connect. If connect, ask high level questions to qualify and set up a follow up meeting.

Day 3 - Email (reply to previous email so there is a thread).

Subject: Re: Your Company & Content Download Title  

Hi <<Contact.firstname>>,

Did you get my email (below)? Was the additional content helpful? Is there someone else at your company besides you that you recommend I share this with?

Look forward to your response!

<<YourName>>

Comments: It’s often the short and sweet emails that get a reply. By sending out the previous helpful email, you’ve earned the right to send this one. Asking for an internal referral as this one does can be helpful.

 

Attempt 3 - Continue to Be Helpful and Attempt to Connect

Day 6 - Phone - Attempt to connect. If connect, ask high level questions to qualify and set up a follow up meeting. If not, leave a voicemail based on the email you’ll send (below).

Day 6 - Email (Remember to reply to email in Attempt 2 so there is a thread)

Subject: Your Company & Content Download Title

Hi <<Contact.firstname>>,

Did DOWNLOADED CONTENT TITLE download okay for you?

Best,

<<YourName>>

 

Attempt 4 - Continue to Be Helpful and Attempt to Connect

Day 10 - Phone - Attempt to connect. If connect, ask high level questions to qualify and set up a follow up meeting. If not, leave a voicemail based on the email you’ll send (below).

Day 10 - Email (reply to email in Attempt 3 so there is a thread)

 

Subject: Your Company & Content Download Title

Hi <<Contact.firstname>>,

I’m sorry we haven’t been able to connect. Although I know how hectic things can get at work and with family.

I would be available for a call during weekends or before or after work hours if that’s easier for you. I don’t mean to bug you, but I do want to help you take advantage of our services that will __________________ for your business.

To schedule a time on my calendar, just click here.

Best,

<<YourName>>

Attempt 5 - Am I Being Helpful?

Day 13 - Phone - Attempt to connect. If connect, ask high level questions to qualify and set up a follow up meeting. If not, leave a voicemail based on the email you’ll send (below).

Day 13 - Email (reply to email in Attempt 4 so there is a thread)

Subject: Your Company & Content Download Title

Am I being helpful?

I’ve sent over a few resources and ideas in the last few weeks (thread below). Am I being helpful...or would you recommend I spend my time focusing on other accounts? If there is someone else at your company besides you who I should reach out to, let me know.

Thanks,

<<YourName>>

 

Comments: If you haven’t gotten a response from your prospect yet, this touch makes it easy for them to respond with a polite ‘not interested’ or they can let you know that they are. If your prospect is a really good one, you can push this touch out further and send more helpful touches (similar to 1, 3, and 4 above) first.

 

Attempt 6 - The (Polite) Break Up

Day 16 - Phone - Attempt to connect. If connect, ask high level questions to qualify and set up a follow up meeting. If not, leave a voicemail based on the email you’ll send (below).

Day 16 - Email to let the prospect know you are moving on.

Subject: Other Accounts

Hi <<Contact.firstname>>,

I haven’t heard back from any of my emails or calls to you. Given that, I’ll go ahead and focus on others. I still hope you found the information I shared to be helpful. If I’ve sent this in error and you’d like to connect - or if there is another person besides yourself at ________ with whom I should be speaking - please let me know and I’ll make the adjustment.

Otherwise, best of luck.

<<YourName>>

 

Comments: This is the break-up email/voicemail…. done politely. It let’s the prospect know you are moving on and gives them a final chance to reply. This touch solicits among the highest response rates of any touches in the sequence. You shouldn’t send this email/voicemail unless you are willing to walk away from the prospect (in the short term that is - you can always come back later).

Wait another 48 hours before ...

Calling It Quits.

If you have tried six different times over the course of 10-15 days and still haven't connected with your inbound lead, then it is probably time to call it quits. It could be that your lead is simply not ready to continue their buyer's journey. It could be that they have lost interest in your company or services. It could be that they are on vacation and have not actually seen your messages. In other words, there are numerous reasons why you aren't connecting with your inbound leads; however, before you become the dreaded "pushy sales associate," you should instead bow out gracefully.

David Fletcher Sales Coaching

Take a moment to compose a "break-up" email. Let the inbound lead know that you tried to get ahold of them, but under no circumstances should you make them feel badly that you have failed to connect. Instead, keep the invitation for future communications open. Invite them to reach out to you at their earliest convenience by giving them your direct contact information, including email, phone number, and social media (if applicable). In other words, the "break-up" email is actually a way to create a positive touch point that your leads will save and use when they are ready to re-connect.

 

The Bottom Line: Be Persistent, Not Annoying

While persistence is often necessary when it comes to following-up with inbound leads, the key is to avoid becoming annoying. You want your leads to have a positive experience at every stage of their journey. With this in mind, if you have tried and failed to connect with them six times over the course of a 15-day period, then it is time to give them some space. However, this does not mean that you need to stop trying to contact them entirely. Instead, you can create a secondary follow-up schedule. Perhaps you reach out once a quarter or once a month? At the end of the day, it will be up to you to determine how often you want to reach out to your inbound leads. In conclusion, if at first you don't succeed, then try, try, try again over the course of 10 days and if you still don't succeed then try a few more times before you politely back away after 15 days.

 

Topics: sales process, inbound marketing, Sales Process Design, inbound leads, lead generation, inbound sales

David Fletcher

Written by David Fletcher

David Fletcher is the Co-Founder and CEO of Maven Sales Group, a HubSpot Sales Partner and sales enablement firm located in the Washington, DC area. David is a graduate of The George Washington University. After graduation, David stayed in the DC area as a sales professional before starting his own systems integration firm. After having his firm acquired, David moved on to become the President of a marketing agency providing HubSpot Consulting and inbound sales strategies to B2B clients. David has a unique perspective on sales and marketing in which David doesn’t approach issues as a “sales problem” or a “marketing problem”, but as a “revenue problem”. As a seasoned sales professional, David also provides sales strategy and sales coaching for Maven clients. David also works with the HubSpot product development teams in an effort to create a better user experience for HubSpot customers. Additionally, since David holds multiple HubSpot certifications, he also provides HubSpot consulting and training services for his clients as well.. David enjoys reading, golfing, fishing and the outdoors. He lives in Lake Shore, MD with his business partner & wife and their 5 sons.

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