The Risks of Poor Sales Follow Up

One of the areas we see distribution sales teams struggling with most is in sales follow up. That could mean following up on new referral business, voice messages, emails or even formal open bids and quotes.

Without the right sales management technology in place, many sales managers just assume that reps are following up on all areas of their business. The truth is that sales follow up is nowhere near automatic for most companies. In fact, studies indicate that as much as 35% to 50% of sales activities lack a follow up activity.

Obviously, poor follow up squanders potential revenue. But the real risks of poor follow up can reverberate through the entire organization. Here are just a few risks of poor sales follow up.

  1. You leave a bad impression. Lack of follow up can signal lack of respect at all phases of your sales cycle. Follow up demonstrates professionalism and competence while at the same time builds rapport with your customers. Timely responses, careful note taking and using technology to demonstrate your knowledge of their needs show the customer how much they matter to you. Each interaction in your sales cycle show your customer something about how your business operates. If you’re slow to respond in sales, maybe your purchasing and deliveries are equally sloppy.
  2. Slow quote follow up misses the customer’s buying window. Customers won’t wait forever. They have businesses to run and will happily buy their products elsewhere if it helps them run their own businesses better. There are generally two problems here. First, you might be slow in preparing the initial quote or following up to close the deal. In this case, you open yourself up to risks from competitors or other business changes over time. Second, too many reps assume that once a quote is in the customer’s hands, the ball is in their court. They assume that the customer will reach back out to them when they are ready to buy. What is more frequently the case is that something else is wrong with the quote and the customer has moved on. If the quote doesn’t accurately reflect the customers needs, they’re actually more likely to ask another company for a quote than they are to ask you to change it. With good follow up, you can work with the customer to solve their needs and win the business before that happens.
  3. You frustrate your own team. It takes many people in an organization – marketing, purchasing, support and more — to generate a single new lead or referral, let alone a bid or quote. Lack of follow up not only risks your sales, it risks offending the people who are trying their hardest to make you successful.
  4. Too much can change in a short period of time. The factors that make a customer want to buy from you are not static but are constantly changing. If you take them for granted and don’t act quickly you will lose business. Maybe they reached out to you after a frustrating experience with another distributor. Don’t give that other distributor a chance to respond and fix the relationship before you close the deal. Job requirements can change. Something as simple as a change in the weather could force a contractor to buy elsewhere.

Fortunately, most sales follow up issues can be solved with the right sales management software. Here are some of the many ways SMP can help you close more deals with better follow up.

Activity Tracking

Activity tracking allows you to add tasks, log phone calls, record customer meetings and log information requests for yourself or for others in your company. You can easily review the activities for each customer and associate those activities with the responsible contacts in each company. Managers can easily report on and view activities to quickly understand activity levels and status.

Simple Activity Creation

SMP helps you to create activities from profiled lists to remind your team to follow up with specific activities. Perhaps you want to call any customer who hasn’t place an order in five weeks. Maybe you want to introduce a new product to a customer list based on their previous buying behavior. Whatever the profile, SMP allows you to quickly create follow up activities for hundreds of customers with a few clicks.

Visibility into Pipeline and Opportunities

You have total visibility into opportunities and pipeline so you can coach your team for better follow up where it counts. SMP provides you with an aggregated list of all of your sales opportunities so that you can see what’s important in your sales pipeline, forecast revenue, collaborate with your team to solve sales issues and more. By using SMP’s built-in reporting and dashboard tools, you can know instantly where your sales forecast stands and which deals need more attention.

Close More Open Bids and Quotes

SMP helps you close more open bids and quotes. We created a special process for SMP users to follow up on open bids and quotes and the results have been astounding. Sales teams using SMP’s Bid Closer tools are consistently closing more business than they were previously. With SMP, you can automatically creating follow up activities for your sales reps for any bid or quote over a certain dollar amount. This helps by increase visibility into your pipeline, bridge the gap between inside and outside sales and coach your team to wins on important bids and quotes.

Ready to Learn More?

Are you 100% happy with your sales processes and follow ups? Download our Green Paper, “How Effective Are Your Reps,” to learn how the most effective distribution sales reps are using CRM and business intelligence to stay focused during their sales process.

 

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