Sales Best Practices
Outreach for Closers: Maximizing the Follow-Up (FUP) Sequence
Good Call Gone Bad
The discovery call went great. Your prospect, Lauren, saw the value, expressed a need, and said she was in a position to buy. You agreed on a next step – a call with a few other folks on her team – to be scheduled after she checked their calendars. You followed up with a summary of the call and your availability for the following week.
And then, nothing.
A couple of days pass without a response so you resend the email. “Want to make sure we get our next conversation scheduled…” Still no reply. A phone call the next day goes to voicemail. Then a message on LinkedIn. Silence. Before you know it, the next week has come and gone, then a second. Lauren is officially AWOL. And by this point, you’re struggling to remember that you’re even supposed to be chasing her down.
How long do you keep working on getting Lauren back? The most precious commodity to a closing rep is time, but time spent chasing the Laurens of the world trades off with time that could be spent working active opportunities or finding new ones. At some point, you just have to mark the opportunity “Closed Lost – Unresponsive” and move on.
Some sales reps will dismiss a loss like this by telling themselves that Lauren wasn’t really interested in buying in the first place. She was just window shopping, so nothing was really “lost” here. Managers might point to your performance on that discovery call as the reason Lauren bugged out, and sometimes they’ll be right. But more often than not, the problem is that our selling cycle isn’t aligned with the prospective customer’s buying cycle.
Maybe Lauren is in the early stages of a product evaluation for a purchase her team expects to make next quarter. Maybe she really did plan on scheduling that follow up meeting, but her boss or teammates asked her to pump the brakes. Maybe a half dozen competitor reps are hammering her with follow-up, and her coping strategy is just to ignore the whole lot of you until she’s good and ready to proceed.
Whatever the reason, there’s a good chance that letting Lauren go means losing out on potential revenue. But time is finite, and we have to make choices. Or do we?
Outreach to the Rescue
As a closing rep primarily responsible for driving new business revenue, I fell in love with Outreach’s ability to give me back hours every day by streamlining and automating follow-up, simplifying task execution, and taking the guesswork out of my sales process. With Outreach, chasing Lauren doesn’t mean losing out on other opportunities.
With Outreach, I’m not forced to choose between spending time chasing Lauren or focusing my time and energy on other opportunities. After that discovery call, when I compose my follow-up email and send my calendar availability, I simply drop Lauren into a Follow-up (FUP) Sequence designed to ensure our next conversation gets scheduled with minimal effort on my part.
Maximizing the Reply Follow-Up Sequence
The purpose of the Reply Follow-Up Sequence is to leverage automation to eliminate low-value tasks, simplify manual follow-up steps, and prevent prospective customers from “going dark.”
I use this FUP whenever I need a prospect or customer to respond to an email, provide more information, set up a meeting, deliver a document, or otherwise complete an agreed upon next step.
This example of a FUP Sequence includes 3 fully-automated email bumps which require no effort whatsoever on my part. If I haven’t received a reply, or connected by phone or on LinkedIn, those messages fire off automatically. Even the 4 manual steps - a combination of phone calls, LinkedIn messages, and manual emails - are easier because I don’t have to remember where I am in my pursuit of Lauren, and what needs to happen next. I simply execute those tasks when they appear in my Outreach task queue, freeing up my memory and bandwidth to focus attention on higher value activities.
At the 8th step, I have a choice to make. If Lauren is a high-value prospect - someone in a position to make a decision at a high-priority target account - I can place her in a Nurture Sequence that I’ll continue to manage. Otherwise, I can end the Sequence and send her back to our marketing team for further nurturing.
To give you an idea how well Reply FUP Sequences can work, these are the results of the version I’m currently running. Of the 201 prospects I’ve placed into this Sequence, 149 eventually replied.
Of those 149 responses, more than one-third occurred after the first follow-up email and phone call, which is also the point that many reps would simply give up. Time and memory are finite, and without the assistance of Outreach, I probably would’ve given up, too.
The Tip of the Iceberg
While the Reply FUP Sequence is a fan favorite, Sequences can be used for a variety of closing purposes:
- prepare for or follow-up after meetings
- nurture prospects who aren’t quite ready to buy
- promote or follow-up after events
- champion your product and service with stakeholders and influencers beyond your decision maker
As part of the Outreach on Outreach series, we’ll continue to unpack more Sequences for Closers, and show you how Outreach helps reps manage the myriad communication challenges that happen after the initial meeting, tame your inbox, take the hassle out of scheduling meetings, and master your territory and pipeline.
With Outreach, the hard job of closing has never been easier.