Step-By-Step Guide To Following Up With B2B Leads Generated By SDRs

Post written by

Chris Marin

Founder at Convertist, which runs outbound B2B lead generation for some of the fastest growing public and private companies on the globe.

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Your sales development representative (SDR) is responsible for generating leads for you to turn into sales, and once you have those leads, you’ll have your initial introduction or phone call. But what’s next? As a founder, what should you be doing to secure a meeting and move the sales process forward? 

Here's a step-by-step guide to following up with business to business (B2B) leads generated by SDRs, giving you the tools to create an effective and robust sales campaign.

Prospecting And Conversion Rates

Prospecting is the very first step in the sales development process and where you’ll identify potential customers. In terms of the conversion rate to aim for, Salesforce reports "13% of leads convert to opportunities, and the average time for conversion is 84 days." But, for reasons like not knowing how to prioritize leads and not having a properly calibrated messaging campaign, 71% of qualified leads are never followed up on, and when leads are used, only 1.3 call attempts are made before giving up, killing conversion rates.

How To Follow Up With Outbound Leads

Our partners consistently report that integrating persistent follow-ups via multiple channels, including emails, phone calls and social media, closes the most sales. 

It’s not enough to just make contact on a regular basis, though. Instead of checking in, send something of value, such as case studies, webinars, whitepapers, ebooks or other free resources. Reconsider your sales enablement processes if your team doesn’t already have access to these resources.

Statistics show the average response time for a lead is almost 47 hours, which is too long. The same research states replying to a lead within five minutes is 100 times more successful than calling 30 minutes later, so it’s best if your salespeople are being proactive.

Wondering “How many times should I follow up with leads?” It's often said a lead requires 7-10 touches to convert. By committing to at least six touches, you increase the likelihood of making contact by up to 70%

What Mistakes Should I Avoid When Following Up With Leads?

Giving Up. To keep your sales team on track, create a follow-up schedule and ensure that they stick to it.

Failing To Offer Value. Prospects don’t want to feel as though they’re being sold to, so you need to offer value. This could be social media posts relating to their industry or a relevant news article, for example.

Losing Momentum. You need to thoughtfully follow up every few days, not once a month. Frequency matters as much as the content of the messaging itself. 

What Are Best Practices For Following Up On Outbound Leads?

Scoring leads will ensure your sales team members are working the best, hottest leads. A prospect’s job position, company size, online following and engagement with your website are valuable information for your scoring system. 

Lead Follow-Up

Email

With sales follow-up emails, it’s all about saying the right thing at the right time:

Initial Follow-Up Email. Make it clear you listened to them in the introduction call or meeting, and demonstrate value by offering initial solutions.

After A Meeting Or Call. If a prospect hasn’t followed up, ask them if they're still aligned with the next steps you decided on during your initial call.

After A Trigger Event. If your email software indicates a prospect has reopened your email or proposal, offer to set up a call to answer any questions. Better yet, make the call.

After Leaving A Voicemail. Reiterate the purpose of the call, tell them when you plan to call again and emphasize what’s in it for them.

Following Up On A Previous Email. If you haven’t heard back, ask them when would be a good time to talk or if you should contact another team member.   

Phone Calls

Gong analyzed more than 100,000 connected outreach calls and found the following to be true:

• Make the first five seconds count. This is when you earn five minutes of your prospect’s time.

• Intent matters. Start your call by stating its purpose, and your success rate could be 2.1 times higher.

• Successful calls run for an average of just under six minutes, and successful salespeople are found to do 54% of the talking.

• Harness the power of “we.” Ditching “I” from your vocabulary can increase success rates by 35%.

Voicemail

Voicemail is a powerful tool, and here’s how to get your message right:

• Keep it between 20-30 seconds.

• Use your natural voice.

• Avoid being aggressive or pushy.

Lead with relevant information.

• Avoid a traditional close. Instead, end on a specific question or action point.

Other Best Practices

Automation. By using automation, you’ll be immediately notified when a prospect replies so you can follow up quickly.

Protocols. Even before a prospect contacts you, have a plan in place for what you’ll do when that happens. 

How Do I Track My Follow-Up Sales Cadence With Leads?

Enforce Global CRM Use 

Using a customer relationship management system (CRM) alongside an email marketing automation tool is essential to managing lead follow-ups. These tools will allow you to track each prospect and log progress without labor-intensive admin.

Categorize Leads

Here’s one way to codify the stage of your company’s prospects:

New Leads. Respond to these prospects first.

Marketing Qualified Leads. These leads are more likely to convert, so follow-ups should be timely and proactive.

Sales Qualified Leads. Your prospect has been vetted by marketing and sales and is ready for the next stage of your sales process.

Nurture. You’ve had a discovery call with these prospects, so they need additional follow-ups.

Opportunity. Follow up with your potential interested buyers next.

Closing. You’ve sent your proposal and contract over; now the aim is on ringing the register. 

Conclusion

Companies frequently fail to systemize their approaches to closing enough deals. To hit forecasted numbers and secure your next round of funding, your sales funnel and team need to be working for you, from the content of your communication to the speed and frequency of your follow-ups.

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Getty
Your sales development representative (SDR) is responsible for generating leads for you to turn into sales, and once you have those leads, you’ll have your initial introduction or phone call. But what’s next? As a founder, what should you be doing to secure a meeting and move the sales process forward? 

Here's a step-by-step guide to following up with business to business (B2B) leads generated by SDRs, giving you the tools to create an effective and robust sales campaign.

Prospecting And Conversion Rates

Prospecting is the very first step in the sales development process and where you’ll identify potential customers. In terms of the conversion rate to aim for, Salesforce reports "13% of leads convert to opportunities, and the average time for conversion is 84 days." But, for reasons like not knowing how to prioritize leads and not having a properly calibrated messaging campaign, 71% of qualified leads are never followed up on, and when leads are used, only 1.3 call attempts are made before giving up, killing conversion rates.

How To Follow Up With Outbound Leads

Our partners consistently report that integrating persistent follow-ups via multiple channels, including emails, phone calls and social media, closes the most sales. 

It’s not enough to just make contact on a regular basis, though. Instead of checking in, send something of value, such as case studies, webinars, whitepapers, ebooks or other free resources. Reconsider your sales enablement processes if your team doesn’t already have access to these resources.

Statistics show the average response time for a lead is almost 47 hours, which is too long. The same research states replying to a lead within five minutes is 100 times more successful than calling 30 minutes later, so it’s best if your salespeople are being proactive.

Wondering “How many times should I follow up with leads?” It's often said a lead requires 7-10 touches to convert. By committing to at least six touches, you increase the likelihood of making contact by up to 70%

What Mistakes Should I Avoid When Following Up With Leads?

Giving Up. To keep your sales team on track, create a follow-up schedule and ensure that they stick to it.

Failing To Offer Value. Prospects don’t want to feel as though they’re being sold to, so you need to offer value. This could be social media posts relating to their industry or a relevant news article, for example.

Losing Momentum. You need to thoughtfully follow up every few days, not once a month. Frequency matters as much as the content of the messaging itself. 

What Are Best Practices For Following Up On Outbound Leads?

Scoring leads will ensure your sales team members are working the best, hottest leads. A prospect’s job position, company size, online following and engagement with your website are valuable information for your scoring system. 

Lead Follow-Up

Email

With sales follow-up emails, it’s all about saying the right thing at the right time:

Initial Follow-Up Email. Make it clear you listened to them in the introduction call or meeting, and demonstrate value by offering initial solutions.

After A Meeting Or Call. If a prospect hasn’t followed up, ask them if they're still aligned with the next steps you decided on during your initial call.

After A Trigger Event. If your email software indicates a prospect has reopened your email or proposal, offer to set up a call to answer any questions. Better yet, make the call.

After Leaving A Voicemail. Reiterate the purpose of the call, tell them when you plan to call again and emphasize what’s in it for them.

Following Up On A Previous Email. If you haven’t heard back, ask them when would be a good time to talk or if you should contact another team member.   

Phone Calls

Gong analyzed more than 100,000 connected outreach calls and found the following to be true:

• Make the first five seconds count. This is when you earn five minutes of your prospect’s time.

• Intent matters. Start your call by stating its purpose, and your success rate could be 2.1 times higher.

• Successful calls run for an average of just under six minutes, and successful salespeople are found to do 54% of the talking.

• Harness the power of “we.” Ditching “I” from your vocabulary can increase success rates by 35%.

Voicemail

Voicemail is a powerful tool, and here’s how to get your message right:

• Keep it between 20-30 seconds.

• Use your natural voice.

• Avoid being aggressive or pushy.

Lead with relevant information.

• Avoid a traditional close. Instead, end on a specific question or action point.

Other Best Practices

Automation. By using automation, you’ll be immediately notified when a prospect replies so you can follow up quickly.

Protocols. Even before a prospect contacts you, have a plan in place for what you’ll do when that happens. 

How Do I Track My Follow-Up Sales Cadence With Leads?

Enforce Global CRM Use 

Using a customer relationship management system (CRM) alongside an email marketing automation tool is essential to managing lead follow-ups. These tools will allow you to track each prospect and log progress without labor-intensive admin.

Categorize Leads

Here’s one way to codify the stage of your company’s prospects:

New Leads. Respond to these prospects first.

Marketing Qualified Leads. These leads are more likely to convert, so follow-ups should be timely and proactive.

Sales Qualified Leads. Your prospect has been vetted by marketing and sales and is ready for the next stage of your sales process.

Nurture. You’ve had a discovery call with these prospects, so they need additional follow-ups.

Opportunity. Follow up with your potential interested buyers next.

Closing. You’ve sent your proposal and contract over; now the aim is on ringing the register. 

Conclusion

Companies frequently fail to systemize their approaches to closing enough deals. To hit forecasted numbers and secure your next round of funding, your sales funnel and team need to be working for you, from the content of your communication to the speed and frequency of your follow-ups.

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger. YEC members repre...">Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger. YEC members repre...