Fact:

Following up with prospects is an essential part of the sales process.

And I’m sure you know this already.

You also know that you need to nurture and develop relationships with prospects until they’re ready to sign on the dotted line.

But I bet you struggle with cultivating new prospect relationships, right?

For one, you quickly run out of ideas about what to say when you follow up with them.

Should you ask whether they’ve seen your proposal?

Request another meeting?

Send them your company’s brochure?

Lucky for you, I’m going to help you solve this problem once and for all.

In this post, I’ll show you 3 simple email strategies that will help you effortlessly follow up with prospects who aren’t ready to hire you yet.

But before we begin, let’s take a look at some numbers that will put your follow up efforts in perspective.

Why It Is So Important That You Keep Following Up

Did you know:

Only 2% of sales happen on the first contact.

80% of them, though, require anything from 5 to 12 follow ups to close.

But…

Nearly half of salespeople give up after the first outreach. And only 22% send more than one follow up.

Why? Because they interpret the lack of response as a sign that a prospect isn’t interested.

In reality, though, as Marketo discovered, a prospect’s interest doesn’t change over time:

prospect follow up interest breakdown

(image source)

And a continuous follow-up will allow you to stay on top of their mind until they’re ready to hire your IT firm.

The question is, though, how to do it without spamming their inboxes?

Here are 3 strategies you should consider:

Strategy #1. Deliver Value with Curated Content

It’s not your price or the set of services you’ll provide that convinces prospects to hire you.

It’s the perceived value they see from partnering with you.

Therefore, you should aim to communicate that value as early as possible in the sales process, ideally, BEFORE a prospect has even had the chance to make up their mind about hiring you.

And you know what:

Content curation offers you the perfect opportunity to do just that.

The basic idea behind curating content is to find and share relevant content someone else created on the web (of course, giving the appropriate credit).

This typically means finding content on a specific topic, or sharing the most recent articles you think your prospects would find interested and educating.

And you can use content curation to develop relationships with prospects.

Instead of following up with typical sales questions, meeting requests or brochures, send your prospects regular email with hand-picked content you think they might find useful.

And the best part? You don’t have to use any design to send curated emails. In fact, you could even create one right in your email program (although I’d recommend you use an email marketing software also to track and measure your efforts).

For example, Alex Lee from MarketingthatSells.net uses a simple, text-based template to send a weekly email with 3-4 content pieces he thinks his audience will find worthy of reading.

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Note that he also provides a short description for each link, to highlight the main points of the content and tell his audience why they should read it.

This is hugely important in a follow up strategy. By doing so, you instantly make an impression as being someone willing to take the time to educate his audience.

Ruby Weekly uses the same approach, sending their subscribers a list of relevant articles with a quick note about every one of them.

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To get started with this strategy:

  • Invite every new prospect to your curated newsletter. Don’t just start sending prospects regular emails. Instead, first confirm if they want to receive them. I typically do it in a separate email, sent right after I submit my proposal.
  • Set Google Alerts and subscribe to your industry blogs’ RSS feeds to get notified of every new content.
  • Once a week (or at any regular interval), select 3-4 content pieces you think prospects would find interesting and send them in an email.

Strategy #2. Launch a “Top-of-the-mind” Drip Campaign

True:

Sending a regular curated content requires the time commitment from you.

After all, you need to collect relevant articles and send them to prospects.

And if you feel you might not have the time to commit to it, then consider setting up a top-of-the-mind drip campaign instead.

In case if you’re not sure what a drip campaign is, let me explain that really quickly.

A drip campaign consists of a set of pre-scheduled emails sent in a sequence.

In his fantastic complete guide to drip campaigns, Raphael Paulin-Daingle defines a drip campaign as a sequence “delivered, piece by piece over a certain period of time. In metaphorical terms, think of each piece of a drip campaign as a droplet of water that, over time, nurtures a crop from seed to maturity.”

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(image source)

Typically, a drip campaign works like this: the first email goes out right after a person signs up (or gets added to the list). Then another one goes out after a pre-defined interval (say the next day or so), and so on until a person receives all emails in the sequence.

Among many different types of drip campaigns, one is especially helpful for following up with prospects – a top-of-the-mind campaign.

As the name suggests, this campaign aims to keep you on top of the prospect’s mind, connected with them until they’re ready to buy.

As Jenna Hannington points out:

“Your sales team shouldn’t be wasting time crafting follow-ups for leads who aren’t ready to buy — or even talk for that matter! The easiest solution is to have reps add prospects to drip campaigns that can nurture them over time, removing the manual process for sales.”

A top-of-the-mind campaign allows you to automate regular follow ups and present prospects with calls to action to try and entice them to move further with the sale.

What information your top-of-mind drip campaign should include?

Although you will be setting this campaign as an automated cadence, you should include emails that sound natural, as if it was a once-off communication between you and the prospect.

Here are some ideas what information you could include:

  • Notifications of new educational resources your company produces (i.e. an eBook or whitepaper)
  • Invitation to your company’s webinar,
  • Personalized content recommendations,
  • Helpful tutorials,
  • Case studies.

#3. Send a Once-Off Survey to Gauge Their Interest

This strategy works particularly well for prospects you haven’t followed up with for quite a while.

You see, when prospects stop responding to your emails, it’s typically for one of three reasons:

  • They’re still considering hiring you. However, other, more pressing issues in their businesses might be taking their attention right now.
  • They’ve decided not to hire an IT firm after all.
  • They’ve hired someone else already.

And sometimes the best way to reconnect and gauge their interest is by asking them directly about it.

Nidhi Singh recommended this strategy in her Quora answer here. She suggests to send prospects a quick questionnaire, asking them to pick one of the three scenarios that best represent their current situation:

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Conclusion

It’s true, constantly having to follow up with prospects is frustrating. For one, you quickly run out of ideas about what to say. And then, begin to feel like as if you were just bothering the person with your constant outreach.

But that doesn’t mean that you should stop following up altogether. Quite the contrary, in fact.

And hopefully, now you know what strategies guarantee to engage prospects until they’re ready to buy.

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