Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Follow-up for sales!

Sales is all about moving an opportunity through a process that takes it from the first contact through to sale and beyond.  Two things are implied:  Firstly, you have to have a process (that is a repeatable series of steps from first contact through to close – a pipeline) and secondly, you have to do something to move an opportunity through the pipeline – the follow-up.
The follow-up is therefore a defined and repeatable action that kicks-in whenever an opportunity needs to be moved through the pipeline.  For instance, when you meet someone at a networking event your follow-up might be a) send an email saying how much you enjoyed your conversation about topic x and b) add them to your database for future newsletters.
If someone subscribes on your website your follow-up might be an automatic email with latest offers.

If you finish a job for a client your follow-up might be a phone call three months later to discuss any other requirements.
An effective follow-up will be:

-          Consistent and controlled rather than left to chance or whim
-          Persistent (without being irritating)
-          Personalised, even if automated
-          Related to the prospect’s needs, not your product’s features
-          Designed to move the opportunity on in a specific way.  For a suspect, say, to establish whether they do in fact have a need for your service.  For a prospect, to establish whether they have the money – and so forth
-          A call to action
-          Intriguing and original
-          Via an appropriate medium, or mixture of media
-          Recorded, analysed and the results fed back into the design of the process

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system will help you define and control this process – but you can do it quite simply without one.  What you can’t do without is a documented sales process and a bit of organisation.
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