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When you launch a lead generation campaign, do you have plans in place for follow up?

I recently received a marketing piece from a local company that does wardrobe consulting.

The piece sat in a stack of mail that was about two weeks old, and when I went through the stack it completely caught my attention.

The package was a pretty envelope with my name and address handwritten. Inside were a well-designed brochure, a business card, and a hand-written note. The note came from a wardrobe consultant, congratulating me on an award I recently won.  She offered me a consultation, and help selecting an outfit for the awards event.

This approach obviously took time, creativity, and a personal touch.  I was instantly interested and excited!

I called her back at the number on her business card, got her voicemail, and left a message.  I knew I was a bit late in responding, but with close to two weeks before the event, still plenty of time.

It was a Thursday when I called and left that message.  What do you think happened?

  1. She called back that same day.
  2. She called back within 24-48 hours.
  3. Radio silence.

If you guessed 3, you’re correct. I never received a response back.

After all that time and effort on her part, and my initial excitement, I received no response to my voicemail. At the time I’m writing this, it’s going on six days with still no response.  Six. Days. And even if for some reason she didn’t receive my voicemail, there was no other follow-up on her part.

My initial interest is gone, and so are her chances to land a new and potentially long-term client.  I was actually in the market for this type of service, and excited that someone reached out to me!  Now I’ll likely take my interest and investment elsewhere.

Now apply this story to your outbound business development efforts and even your inbound leads.  Consider some of these statistics:

  • The biggest challenge B2B marketers face in regards to lead generation is generating high-quality leads (61 percent). (B2B Technology Marketing Community)
  • Event-triggered marketing can potentially save 80 percent of your direct mail budget. (Gartner Research)

This consultant had hit on both of these areas in reaching out to me.

Even a few minutes of research would validate that I was a high-quality lead for this service based on my professional background.  A direct mail piece with a handwritten note was thoughtful, targeted, and effective.  It created the desired outcome – an inbound lead with specific interest.  The event trigger would create a time-bound opportunity for a decision to engage in her service.

I know I’ve missed golden follow-up opportunities over the course of my sales and entrepreneurial career.

The lessons I’m taking away from this experience:

  • Lead generation is challenging, so don’t miss out on potentially high-value clients.  Without follow-up, the connection is lost and you may never get the opportunity to re-establish it.
  • Initial follow up should happen within 24-48 hours at most. You have the best chance of connecting with a prospective client who has high interest in hearing from you.
  • Didn’t hear back on your initial outbound efforts?  Create an outbound follow-up process. If these prospective clients that are a perfect fit, it’s worth the extra effort!
  • If your company makes the investment in these efforts, it’s your role as a sales professional to nurture leads and follow-up on active leads.  Sales leaders, this is an opportunity to incorporate lead generation follow-up into your daily team cadence and coaching.

The magic is in the follow-up, and it’s one habit that will differentiate you from everyone else.


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