A Rough Schematic for Crafting Your B2B Follow Up Process

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When a business is engaged in Pay-Per-Click, Search Engine Optimization, etc to generate leads the general assumption is that they have a process in place to follow up with and nurture those leads. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and we see a lot of vendors who lack any form of cohesive, stringent follow up / sales process.

What Does Your Follow Up / Sales Process Look Like?

For many businesses, their processes for following up with prospects looks something like this:

  1. An email to prospect is manually written and manually sent by a salesperson at their convenience.
  2. If a phone number is available for the prospect, a single call is made and a voicemail is sometimes left with a message of the salespersons choosing.
  3. Sometimes notes are left in their CRM about the contact attempts
  4. Sometimes a salesperson might follow up once at a later date.

Your current follow up process doesn’t cut it.

In the above example,

  • No structure or methodology = no accountability
  • No “multi-touch” process = 7 touches to make a sale is the classic, golden rule
  • No automation = opportunity for a prospect to fall through the cracks.

Sending out Newsletters is NOT nurture marketing:

  • They are untargeted, unspecific and usually not valuable enough to be read by prospects who aren’t already customers.
  • They reinforce your brand to your existing customer base – in our experience they do not win you new customers.

Mass email “blasting” notifications of events is NOT nurture marketing:

  • Event notifications should be delivered to prospects based on the products or verticals that they have raised their hand to – everything else is untargeted, inefficient and results in training your prospects to ignore your emails or mark you as a spammer.

What a successful follow up / sales process might look like,

This is a very general guide to how your automated nurturing program might work.

  1. Suspect requests gated resource via landing page form, becomes a prospect.
  2. Prospect receives branded, personalized response with link to access resource.
  3. Business sends prospect a simple follow up survey 48hrs later:a. Did you find the resource helpful?b. Did it meet your expectations?c. Do you have any remaining questions?d.Would you like an expert to give you a call?
  4. 7-14 days after that email the business sends a follow up offer that is directly related to the original offer.a. The email contains a link to a gated form which delivers the white paper and requests different information from the prospect: i. Email (pre-filled in automatically ideally) ii. Office Phone Number iii. Number of Employees iv. Job Title v. Buying Timeline vi. Etc.b. This process qualifies the prospect further for your sales team.
  5. Prospect received the white paper, their trust in the business has increased; the business has become credible and is positioned well for a phone conversation.a. Your telesales team is notified to call the prospect. i. Work with a sales coach to craft an effective telephone script. ii. If they reach a voicemail, don’t hang up – refer to your voicemail script.
  6. Repeat sets 4-5 again and again, 7-30 days between touches, ideally at least 7 times
  7. Interspersed between these “offers” emails are automated, personalized email asking the prospect:a. If they would like to speak with a software consultant. b. If they would like a quote. c. If they would like a demo.d. If they would like information on a diagnostic.e. Etc.
  8. Build out your next nurture campaign for the next core topic (vertical, product, etc).

How To Execute This Strategy For Your Business

This can be a manual process or automated using software ranging from $20 a month to $5000. The concept is the same regardless of the execution.

  • If you’re generating prospects already then steps 1-2 should just need some refinement.
  • Step 3 could be done via Outlook manually, in a few minutes per prospect, for a small business getting a few prospects per month.
  • Steps 4-7 are more difficult to execute on a larger scale. The process that you build out at this stage is essential to your automated marketing machine and can be used to process/nurture leads from direct mail, bought lists, PPC, SEO, etc. – it’s very flexible.

Depending on your businesses size and objectives, some form of automated follow up marketing system is likely a required investment. However, beware of the labor overhead costs in setting up, maintaining and creating content (emails, resources) for your marketing automation system.

Quick Tips:

  • Leverage the power of VisitorTrack to pull contacts for visitors who visited but didn’t convert.
    • Add these contacts into your automated nurture system.
  • Once a prospect reaches a specific threshold of engagement (e.g. clicking through on 2 emails), they are flagged to:
    • Send out a set of high impact boxes with a specific desired action.
    • Have your sales team follow up on the boxes.
    • Etc.
  • Communication between marketing and sales teams is critical. Everyone needs to be aware of what the strategy is and what the expectations are.

Selecting The Right Marketing Automation Software

There are more than 100 solutions on the market. The process of selecting marketing automation software can be a painful experience – not unlike what ERP vendor’s clients face when choosing business management accounting software for their company.

However, this is a topic for another post.

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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Colin Greig

Insight written by Colin Greig

Director, Marketing at Rand Group

14 years experience in online marketing with expert emphasis on B2B lead generation and marketing automation. He has been the backbone of many of his own successful online businesses and has worked with some of the best online marketing gurus in the business.

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