How to Create a Short and Long-term Follow Up System

September 5, 2019

Rarely does a lead close immediately. If you want a strong and growing pipeline, you need to create an efficient and consistent follow-up system. Let’s take a look at my follow up framework.

Every product and service needs a slightly different sales process, but the actual follow up process (timing, tempo, and context) can be pretty cookie-cutter. Here is the framework that I use for all of my follow up campaigns.

Short-term Follow Up

When you receive a new lead, time is of the essence. Whether it’s a referral, internet lead, or even aged leads and consumer data, the longer you wait to follow up on that lead the lower your potential return on your marketing dollars. Therefore, we’re going to aggressively follow up starting the moment that lead comes into your CRM (yes, you must use a CRM!).

Here we go…

Day 0

  1. Immediate reply with an email to acknowledge that you have received their inquiry. If you’re loading in aged leads or consumer data (make sure you have permission to email them) you still want to immediately reach out and let them know that you’re following up on a past inquiry and want to reconnect. Something simple like: “A few months ago you inquired about [service/product]. We didn’t get to connect then, but I wanted to make sure you got the information you were looking for. If not, I’d love to connect and answer any questions.”
  2. Phone follow up with voicemail – Don’t forget the power of the phone! No one calls anymore, kind of like direct mail. Because it’s so rare you’ll stand out. Using this same line of logic, make sure to leave a voicemail. Let them hear your voice and know that you’re a real person with real interest in working with them.
  3. Request for an initial discovery call/meeting

Day 3

  1. Send a very brief email follow up. Something like: “Just bubbling this up to the top of your inbox. When is the best time to connect?”
  2. Do another phone call and leave a voicemail.

Day 7

  1. Send another brief email follow up. Still, keep it simple, but pressing: “Hoping to connect this week. [Urgency statement: rates are rising/dropping, I’m scheduling out my appointment for the next couple of weeks, etc.]. Also, I thought this article might be helpful: [link to content].”
  2. At this phase, we are starting to condition them to value our emails even if they aren’t ready to buy. This prepares them to be inserted into the long-term, lead nurturing follow up campaign.

Day 14

  1. Email that leads with content and suggests that you are still interested in having a brief 10-15 minute call to better understand their needs.
  2. Make a phone call and leave a voicemail message.

Day 21

  1. In this email your goal is to try and get some reaction. So, this is the Goodbye email. Try something like: “We still haven’t been able to connect. I’m assuming that either your needs have been met with another provider, your situation has changed, or you’re just busy with other priorities. In all cases, I totally get it. I just want to let you know I’m still here to help the moment you’re ready. Otherwise, I’m just going to occasionally send you some tips and reminders that might be helpful.”
  2. If you have active social media channels, I would suggest they follow you there.

Long-Term Follow Up

Content

Social Media

Email List

Automation

SHOW TRANSCRIPT
HIDE TRANSCRIPT

Hey Aged lead store fans. Today I want to talk about creating a short term and a longterm followup process. Um, so often we’re kind of doing one or the other and we don’t really think about how these work together as we get an inbound lead or even a referral for that process. What are the steps that we should be doing in the short term and what are the steps that we should be doing in the longterm to make sure that we’re following up and closing every single one of these leads? That’s possible. Stay tuned. We’re going to talk about that in a sec.

[inaudible]

okay. We’re going to talk about followups specifically and again, when we’re following up on leads or any sort of [inaudible] marketing and inbound marketing channel, uh, there is a real, uh, opportunity to kind of let these things fall on the floor, uh, because when we get them in, we’re often excited, our sales team’s excited to get a new lead, we make some initial contact or we try to make some initial contact. And then from there we just don’t have a good system for following up and making sure that we’re working on that prospect that lead until it comes to some final conclusion. And that’s either a yes they buy or a no and sometimes even the no is kind of something that we may want to continue to nurture as well. So the way I think about this is building a short term followup program and a longterm followup program.

And I want to go through what each of those will look like. Now I’m going to give you almost a script here, a to follow and building out these plans. But again, depending on what your industry is, uh, you will have to tune this a little bit. So it may be a little too aggressive. Uh, it may not be aggressive enough, but at least you’ll get the flow now that I’m looking for when we’re building out these programs. And this is literally the framework that I start, uh, with every single client that we’re building out a, some sort of followup programs. So, um, first and foremost, when we’re thinking short term follow up, I want to actually use as many touch points as possible so I’m not really throwing anything out of the mix. Um, and even as we go into longterm, uh, there is a, a tendency for us to just rely on email exclusively and not think about all the different ways that we can touch someone and build a program, uh, to reach out to these leads over a longer period of time and create more opportunity for them to convert.

So even in the short term, um, this is what I’m looking to do. So Day zero, the moment that I get this contact information, web lead comes in or phone call or however that inbound lead kind of gets to be, maybe I’m actually buying the lead. Uh, maybe actually I’ve even taking, uh, some consumer data or some aged and actually trying to warm them up. The process is really the same. And you want to think in terms of this short term process. So the best that I can, and sometimes depending on the volume and the scale your business, you can’t do this perfectly, but the best they can. I want to first try to think about the mindset of the person that has that lead. Where did they come from, what are they expecting, what do they need to happen next when they reached out to you?

And then I want to start my short term followup. So Day zero, of course when they come in, which is oftentimes a web form, uh, or potentially a phone call, I want to immediately respond to whatever that contact was and I want to respond in the same channel. So if I get a lead as a direct message on Instagram, my immediate followup needs to be on Instagram direct message. Hey, I’m going to make my first communication there. If I get it through email, I’m going to respond via email. If I get it through a web form or respond via email, uh, the web form, if they give me a phone number, I’m going to also respond via the phone as well. Of course, if they called me and left a voicemail, I’m going to respond, uh, to the phone call. So that initial response, I want to happen immediately if I can, I even want to automate it and I want to stay in the channel that they approached me with.

And then at some point I may migrate to a more efficient channel. If they contacted me on Instagram, I will probably try to make a connection, uh, such that we can talk via email. Uh, and then potentially on the phone. Of course, a lot of, uh, what, uh, you folks do requires a phone call or discovery or some sort of, um, in person meeting. And so we definitely want to get to that. But first step, respond as fast as possible, potentially automated in the channel. Then within, uh, two to three days. If I haven’t made an actual meeting appointment or set that or actually had a true conversation, uh, that, uh, around that day two or three, I’m going to reach out again. Uh, and then again, this sort of depends on how your leads flow, but generally I’m going to reach out via email and start to kind of give that nurturing process and help me to automate at scale, can’t really scale a direct message in Instagram or a message.

And I and I iMessage in our, uh, a messenger, um, message in Facebook. Um, so those kind of like social media messaging platforms, sometimes it can be hard for me to really sort of automate the followup. And even in day two, I need to start to, uh, to create that automation. Now, if you’re working those social media channels and you’re super active on it, um, you should absolutely make sure that you’re going and following up until you kind of get them into a sort of your more scalable channels. So go back through those messages. If they haven’t responded to you, go ahead and hit them up again. Again at that day two day three, but by day three, I’m sort of trying to funnel them into my email automation process. Um, then of course I want them in my CRM because I want to be able to email and I want to be able to call them on the phone.

I think calling on the phone, uh, is so often neglected. Uh, but it can be super powerful because it doesn’t necessarily happen that often. Uh, if you are fortunate enough to get an address, direct mail is another opportunity like that to drop them a card, drop them a thank you note, drop them a personal note. Again, no one ever does that. Um, and so you’re really going to stand out and differentiate yourself, uh, if you do do that. So as we’re going through this flow, I would always, um, put them in my call list and devote some time during the day to just go in through and calling, uh, the folks on my list and making that connection there as well. Um, so I’m going to do that on day three. I’m going to also do that on day seven. By Day seven, I’m starting to create some, they’re starting to create some distance and probably disconnect, um, in a couple ways.

One, they can in seven days simply forget, uh, that they actually inquired with us. And so that causes a problem. Um, in seven days they could potentially have found another solution or gotten distracted with some other priority and it’s not a priority anymore. So, um, by day seven, because of this distance, and it sounds like not a very long time, um, I don’t want to assume that they’re not interested, but I want to change the way that I communicate. So by day seven, I’m starting to include some content and some value. I want to in the day seven email, I want to either talk about some other things that we’re doing, the way that we’re serving clients. So they get an understanding of where we could add some value or simply adding in or create or delivering some content that maybe even just shows them a little bit of a DIY approach to what they’re trying to do.

So you and your industry, your contacts are going to have to kind of think what that content is. But as of day seven, I’m starting to give sort of value added content, non-sales value added content to say, hey, here’s something that might help you, or here’s something I saw that you might be interested in. Or, um, here is a way to kind of do what you were asking me about. Or here’s an example of how we’ve done it for another client. Again, value added content day 14. So now I’m going to have kind of a weekly, uh, tempo here. Um, again, I’m going to put some more content, uh, into a day number 14, or I’ve tested this as well. And sometimes this is just as valuable. Stop the content for a second. And in day 14, I’m going to do a super, super, super, can’t say that enough short email that just says, hey, I just wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss each other.

Are you still interested in setting up a time to talk? Um, so again, one sentence or even it could be just a simple, I’ve done this as well. Hey, just checking in. Um, are you still interested in talking question mark. Um, again, make it super simple, make it super personal. Um, and you can again apply that. Now you’re at week two, you kind of break up the flow. Then as we go into week number three at day 21 ish, again, we’re trying to do that content because at day 21, week three, because of the distance, we’re actually starting to get them conditioned to be more of a longterm nurture prospect. Um, and so that actually we want to start to condition them what they’re going to experience in my longterm and our trend campaign. So about day 21, I’m actually just going to, um, through automation going to transition them into my lead nurturing process.

So at this point I’ve tried to connect with them. One, two, three, four, five, about five different times, done some phone calls along here. I’ve given them some good valuable information. At this point I’m going to transition them into my longterm strategy, uh, so that I can again, I can fill that database, stock that pond for the future, definitely want to stay in contact with them, any point in the short term process that you actually get a positive acknowledgement, um, and they want to set up a meeting or they do set up a meeting or you get them on the call and you’re talking to them, you should break that short term process then then you should determine kind of hand them, handled them manually as you move them through your sales process. And then at any point if they go to sleep on, you become non-responsive, you can push them back into that longterm nurturing program.

So that’s the short term program. Now going into the longterm program, I’m going to start to use as many channels as I can, channels that are already supporting with my digital marketing strategy. Cause at this point a, they’re kinda like, uh, just a brand new, um, sort of remarketing, uh, sort of lead or they’re just part of your audience at this port. So you want to get them into that audience building system. But, uh, it’s still gonna have a longterm followup. If you’re sophisticated enough, you can actually segment these as followups and you can actually talk to them slightly different, but the program’s going to be kind of the same. So for longterm followup, I’m thinking about content. I’m creating content that I know will be valuable to those folks. So I’m thinking about other problems they’re trying to solve, other challenges that they have.

It may not even be associated with my business or what I sell, but I want to add value and I want to create some diversity in that content so that they don’t just say, oh, all build does his pound, pound, pound, pound, website, website, website, website, website. Right. I want to talk about some other things. Let’s, let’s talk about, you know, challenges that they’re having with employees, with training, with prioritizing their own things, other marketing channel, whatever the case is. Whenever you sell, trying to think about all of those other problems in that, uh, potential client’s world that you can realistically, um, and have some value to add back to them. So we’re going to be building content. Uh, we’re going to try to, again, most of this is going to be on our email flow, but during that flow we’re going to try to encourage them to get into our social media audience as well.

So we’re going to encourage them to like and follow us in different social media channels. We’re going to push out and show them examples of what we’re doing and other places on the web so that they’ll hopefully subscribe. So if you’re on our, uh, email newsletter, you know that we often push you out to youtube and encourage you to subscribe there. Cause again, it gives us just one more channel, uh, to be able to, to talk to you and be a part of your day to day, um, workflow. So social media, we’re going to try to get them into our social media channels. Uh, of course the email list. We want to have some, um, regular, consistent, uh, and frequent, uh, pushing out of emails. Um, generally I encourage once a week, but some people feel that that’s too much. Uh, but you definitely want to talk to them via email.

It’s one of the most efficient channels. It’s easy to automate and it’s something that people are pretty comfortable with either taking, storing, um, looking at later. Uh, it’s amazing how many of our emails that we actually push out. Uh, maybe it was for two or three weeks ago and we’ll actually see a conversion on that particular email weeks later. So somebody obviously stored it, saved it or maybe it got forwarded to them. Um, and they acted on that email weeks after the email was actually set. Uh, so don’t look like that. Of course you’re wanting to automate everything that you can in here as you’re working through the channels. Again, focusing on social media, your email list. I’m also occasionally, um, and I would, uh, again, this is based on your, your tempo and how you’ve managed your call list. Uh, but what I would take these people in either once a month or once a quarter, I would insert them back into your call list, uh, and have I reach out and, and leave a voicemail so that they hear your voice, they know you’re real, they know you’re intentional about wanting to connect with them.

Don’t just put them on the email list and just forget them and make email, do all of the work. Try to again, be encountering them through as many touch points as possible. Uh, and then last but not least, um, and all of this kind of the inner glue, uh, to all of this and the mechanism by which to make it work is to make sure that longterm they are dropped into your CRM a database. And then there is a structure that actually puts people through this longterm followup workflow. So hopefully this has been a little introduction to how you can build a very basic framework, uh, for both short term and long term follow up. If you have any questions, definitely leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’re doing. Maybe things that I missed or things that you’re doing that are particularly effective both in short and longterm followup processes.

Uh, I’d love to get in. I love building these systems, love to get into that discussion with you in the comments. Again, if this was helpful, please give us a thumbs up on the video that helps us so much. It gives us great feedback and then of course allows the video to go further and do more for our audiences. And then if you want to make sure that you don’t miss any of these, we’d love for you to subscribe. Just hit that subscribe button, hit the little bell, the notification and then you will know every time we post a new video or go live, which happens about once a week. Until next time I encourage you to take a look at what you’re doing for followup short term. And Longterm and ask us any questions and we’ll see you next week.

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a digital agency. Bill specializes in providing law firms, attorneys, banks, and emerging technology clients with lead generation strategies enabled with content marketing, SEO, PPC, and email marketing.