Follow-up is the final step of the Seven Step Sales Process. Whether they are selling IT solutions or Managed Services, proper follow-up is a simple activity that many sales professionals overlook, and as a result fail to realize the benefits of this important step. While the concept of following up on sales opportunities should be a standard and automatic function for the Sales Professional, from the perspective of the 7 Step Sales Process, the follow-up occurs after the Prospect has signed an agreement or purchased a solution. While this is the easiest step of the sales process, many Sales Professionals miss cross-selling opportunities with existing clients due to a lack of proper follow-up.
The first and most important step to a powerful follow-up is to track and keep all client information updated and current in the organization’s CRM (Client Relationship Management) or PSA (Professional Services Automation) solution. Using these tools to manage sales opportunities allows the sales professional to schedule and execute on specific time-sensitive tasks governed by their specific sales processes.
Some specific dates all Sales Professionals should keep in mind and take action to recognize for the client are:
- The anniversary date of the client’s Go-Live
- Other event dates specifically significant to the client such as business anniversaries, births, weddings and newsworthy business events
Activities the Sales Professional can take to recognize these types of events for their clients include sending out a handwritten congratulatory card, an email, flowers, balloons, cookies or undertaking any other occasion-appropriate actions to remind their clients of the close relationship between their respective organizations as evidenced by their celebration and congratulations of their clients’ successes.
But celebratory and congratulatory activities are not the only activities included in proper and correct follow-up. A good example of this type of strategic follow-up includes the sales professional’s regular business reviews with their clients. Depending upon the length of the relationship, these may occur on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis.
The intent of a standardized, consistent follow-up procedure is to continue to earn and hold client mindshare longer while maintaining a strong brand promise.
Some examples of tools available to help automate the follow-up process include solutions such as Kutenda, Constant Contact and ExpressCopy. The use of automated tools and services such as these allow the calendaring, alerting and scheduling of follow-up activities in advance allows the Sales Professional to focus on the more labor and time-consuming aspects of executing the sales process and ensures that consistent mindshare is garnered. In fact, it is a good idea for the sales professional to gather the dates of these significant events during the client on-boarding process and configure their tools to alert on and/or execute specific follow-up activities as appropriate, ensuring consistency in basic follow-up execution. The Sales Professional should keep in mind that executing a consistent follow-up process correctly with their clients can lead to opportunities to receive targeted referrals from these satisfied clients.
Genuine appreciation for clients and their business is the foundation for the entire relationship moving forward. The demonstration of the Sales Professional’s appreciation for their clients is typically reciprocated via consistent referrals. If the Sales Professional is doing a good job of consistently reaching out to their clients on a regular basis, the foundation that was built on professionalism and consultative business advice during the sales process will be solidified. This greatly reduces the client’s desire and/or need to seek out a different relationship. Sales Professionals should work hard at not letting the easiest and most overlooked part of the sales process get in the way of diminishing the hard work and credibility that they have developed during the execution of the Seven Step Sales Process.
The previous posts in this series can be found here: