Why Your Sales Team Needs to Take Follow-ups More Seriously

Why Your Sales Team Needs to Take Follow-ups More Seriously
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David Chevalier
by David Chevalier

2 Min. Read

You’ve done your research, executed a script-perfect discovery call, and had great feedback from your prospect. They love your product or service, and the timing is just right for them to buy. The hard work is over and the sale will just make itself, right? If only it were so simple.

Follow-ups are a crucial part of the sales cycle. In fact, 80% of sales require at least five follow-up calls to complete.

Why, then, are 44% of sales representatives giving up after the first follow-up call? 

Let’s dive in to why your team needs to take the bull by the horns and make follow-ups part and parcel of their sales process.

In this article, we’ll cover:

What is a follow-up and why do I need them?

A follow-up is another touch in your sales cadence that is designed to keep your customer engaged and push them closer to conversion. You can think of it as a reminder that brings the value of your product or service and the concerns it is solving back to the front of their mind.

Think of it as a value adding exercise or an opportunity to give your prospect more of an incentive to buy your product or service. 

The follow-up call is where, ideally, the customer commits to your relationship. They have expressed an interest in what you are offering; and to make a purchasing decision, they need a little extra nudge to commit. A follow-up is a trust building exercise. It gives your prospect the chance to get to know you and your team better, and raise any questions or queries about the investment they might be making.

It’s also an opportunity for more discovery and gives you the chance to ask deeper questions about their concerns or needs.

With only 2% of sales being made on first contact, a solid follow-up strategy can be the difference between a brilliant sales team, and an underperforming one. Simply put, following up can lead to more conversions, more sales and increased revenues. So it’s a no-brainer to include follow-ups in your strategy. But how often should you follow-up and when should you reach out to your prospect?

After initial outreach

If you’ve tried to call and gone straight to voicemail, or you haven’t received a reply to your cold email, it can be easy to assume that your prospect isn’t interested in what you have to sell. But in today’s world, where we’re busier than ever (and receiving an average of 121 emails per day), a little persistence can go a long way – in fact, persistence is what gets you all the way to deal closure.

Post demo call

The demo call is your opportunity to show your prospect just what your business can do to help solve their challenges. Once you’ve wowed them with your script and your deep understanding of their specific hurdles, touch base with your prospect to reiterate the benefits of your product or service.

Late stage lead conversion

Decision-makers often need a final hand-hold when it comes to crunch time. While it might seem pushy to reach out to a prospect late in the sales cycle, it is precisely at this time that you should ensure your offering is front of mind. Clearly outline the value-add of your product or service so that your prospect has all the data to hand when making the case for budget to their relevant stakeholders.

Different ways to follow up with a prospect

There is no single road to success when it comes to landing a sale. We live in a hybrid world – different prospects will have a different blend of in-person, on mobile, and at-desk time in their workdays. Use your specific industry knowledge to identify which follow-up tactic will have the most cut through in converting leads, and keep a record of what works and what doesn’t for your team. With this data, you will be able to design the perfect follow-up strategy that resonates with your target market.

Email follow-ups

A well-drafted email can be the most powerful follow-up tool in your sales arsenal. Clearly lay out the proposition, reiterate how your offering can help the prospect meet key deadlines or milestones, and further build your rapport by including a relevant anecdote or further comment from your last conversation. Emails are handy for prospects because they can refer back to your sales pitch and forward it on to any stakeholders as needed. 

Phone calls

Sometimes a rejection is harder to deliver on the phone. Use this to your advantage and call prospects to follow up on whether they are any closer to a purchase decision.

Social media interactions

Social selling is here to stay, and following up with a LinkedIn connection request or direct mail is a great way of building a less formal relationship with your prospect. And the numbers speak for themselves, 78% of sales representatives who use social media to sell outperform those who don’t.

In-person meetings

Nothing makes up for face-time. While coordinating diaries and office days can be tricky due to flexible working patterns becoming more normalized, the pay-off can be significant. Consider how you can incorporate networking and industry events into your calendar as an opportunity to follow up with warm leads. 


Strategies for more effective follow-ups 

Timing is everything

We’ve already talked about when you might want to send your follow-up (after your initial outreach, once you’ve completed a demo call, and in the late stages of lead conversion) and how many touch-points prospects need to confirm a sale (no less than five follow-ups!). But you should also consider the prospect’s timelines, is there a key deadline or milestone they are hoping to hit? Is there a budget meeting that will inform the decision? Capitalize on these calendar hooks to nurture the lead. You can also automate timing. More on that below.

Keep it personal 

If you’ve reached the stage of following up with a prospect, there is already some familiarity with your business and your offering. Be sure to build on the relationship and create rapport by avoiding standardized messages. With Surfe’s personalized message templates for LinkedIn messages and InMail, your outreach will always have that personal touch without countless hours of manual drafting. It’s also a good opportunity to draw in some buyer intent insights – what highlighted this prospect as someone who would be interested in your product?

Address your prospect’s pain points

This is so basic but so crucial that we have to keep reiterating it. The customer isn’t just buying your product for fun (unless you’re selling bouncy castles or board games). They need your product because it solves a specific need or concern that they need to resolve. Pay attention during your initial discovery or demo call to identify exactly what is keeping your prospect awake at night. These pain points should be front-of-mind whenever you are following up, so your product or service can start to be viewed as the solution.

The value add

Thou must give to receive. What can you give to the potential customer to keep them engaged, convince them your product is the solution, and to genuinely add some value to their day-to-day? Could it be an extended free trial? Have you got any playbooks, templates, or downloadables they might find useful? Even just relevant articles, statistics, and use cases can go a long way? Don’t be afraid to lean on existing materials within your business to close the deal.

Call to action

Never leave a follow-up without a clear plan of what needs to happen next to secure the sale. Encourage your prospect to book a meeting, sign a contract, or share their time plan so you have a next step in your cycle.

Automating Follow-ups

Your sales outreach should be a series of automated touches across several channels – we call it multi-touch, multi-channel. These cadences should include your follow-ups. You can include rules in your workflows to send follow ups based on certain conditions. Here’s some examples:

  • If the customer did not sign-up after their free trial: send a follow up email or set a reminder to call them to nudge them towards a conversion
  • If the customer does not reply to your last email after 2 days: send a follow up email or LinkedIn message to reiterate the value and ensure you’re still front of mind
  • When 10 days have past since your last interaction with the customer: break up messaging still works! You could include a message like “It looks like {insert_pain_point} isn’t a priority for you anymore. We’re still here if you need support solving it.”

Bonus tip!

How to follow up after no response

No response to your last email or call? Wait no longer than three days to send your follow-up. 2 days is already enough time for them to forget about you and move on. Don’t be afraid to have 2 touch-points in one day. The best cadences start with a high-density of touches (like an InMail, cold-call, and email on the first day), then slowly decrease in frequency – they’ll move to one touch per day, then one touch-every few days, before dropping to one touch per week and then dropping them from your cadence. You should avoid re-sending your first email, and instead tailor your follow-up to include any new insights or information that might be of interest to your prospect.

And always start the email with a reminder of your last touchpoint. 

It might look something like this: “Hi Sarah, after our call on Wednesday, I wanted to check in to see if your budget meeting had taken place? I know you said your boss wanted some more information about our product, so I’m attaching an article our team recently wrote about how our AI tool is helping architecture firms like yours do better business.”


Tools, technology, and turning follow-ups into sales

While the follow-up process might seem like a lot to take on, there are a number of tools and technologies to help lighten the load and automate some of the tasks. Consider how you can enhance your CRM with automated reminders, so that your contact records are up-to-date with the most relevant and accurate data. This ensures that you are reaching the right people at the right time so you can have the best chance of landing your sale. 

Integrating your CRM with your LinkedIn account can also drastically improve the efficiency of your follow-up campaigns. With Surfe, your CRM data is updated in real-time, and our 93% email find rate means that your sales team can rest easy knowing they are talking to the right prospects at the right time. 

Common mistakes to avoid when conducting follow-ups

Spamming your prospects 

Being seen as a nuisance is the nail in the coffin of any sales representative. It’s important to tread a fine balance between staying front-of-mind without being overbearing or pushy in your tactics. Avoid ruining your chances of landing a sale by looking at how and when you have already reached out to your prospect. Which leads us on to our next piece of advice…

Disregarding previous interactions

You’re more likely to be perceived as spamming if you don’t have a comprehensive overview of your communication trails. Surfe helps you track all your sales activities in your CRM system so you know what you’ve sent and when you sent it. Every LinkedIn message and cold call, as well as deal info and even what cadence stage they’re at – you can keep it all up to date and tracked in your CRM with Surfe.

Literally nobody likes generic emails

Sales is all about building a relationship with your prospects. Don’t fall into the trap of sending blanket follow-ups that are irrelevant to your target’s individual sector or pain point. With Surfe, you can tailor your follow-ups with our personalized templates to give you the best chance of encouraging your prospect to purchase your product or service.

Let’s wrap it up!

We’ve outlined the importance of follow-ups, how to nail your strategy, and the prospecting pitfalls to avoid. Remember to be persistent in your efforts, tailor your channel mix based on your specific industry and the relationship you have with individual prospects, and to steer clear of generic blanket emails.

Technology like Surfe can arm you with the right tools to make following up a seamless part of your sales cycle so you can convert more leads and drive revenue for your team.

Surfe is trusted

Automate your prospecting and your follow-ups will follow themselves

Surfe handles prospecting for you so you can focus on selling. From identifying target accounts and sourcing contact information to sending personalized follow-ups with InMail templates and logging all of your sales activities in your CRM so you never lose track of a relationship.

It all happens with Surfe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about follow-ups

  • How many follow-up emails should I send? 

While there is no silver bullet number, studies show that prospects need at least five follow-up touchpoints to commit to a buying decision.


  • What is the best way to follow up a sales call?

There is no one-size-fits-all model to follow-ups. Tailor your strategy to the specific industry and relationship you have with your prospects and consider a mix of phone calls, emails and social interactions to improve your chances.


  • How can I track my follow-up emails?

Tools like Surfe connect LinkedIn to your CRM to give you full visibility of your email communication with prospects.