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Following up is a key part of any sales job. It's extremely rare that a rep will connect with their prospect on their first attempt, and so they must try again. And again. 

But just because this is common sense doesn't mean it's common practice. According to research from InsideSales.com, the median sales outreach persistency rate for inbound leads is a measly one attempt. So much for following up.

Maybe sales reps don't follow up as much as they should simply because they don't see the value. But consider that even if a lead isn't a good fit for your product or service, that contact could still provide a referral to someone who is. For this reason, it's critical to follow up with each and every single person you meet at an event. 

The infographic below from CassiusBlue Consulting lists the do's and don'ts of following up after a networking event. While some tips might be akin to reflex -- for instance, connecting on LinkedIn, and personalizing your message -- others are less obvious. Did you know that adding a contact's email address to your marketing list without permission violates the CAN-SPAM act? And forgetting to set a goal for your outreach (an all too common mistake) can result in a squandered opportunity for a referral or meeting. 

If you only take one thing away from this graphic, make it this: Following up is central to sales. Just 2% of all sales are made on the first attempt. If you don't persist, you're bound to leave money on the table. 

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Originally published Jun 18, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Networking for Sales