We've recently written about the importance of responsiveness and the use of the exploratory process in inside sales. This week, we're writing about the third key aspect of any inside sales process, follow-up. As an inside sales professional, operating with accountability and integrity at the forefront of your mind is key. One way to maintain accountability and integrity in an inside sales scenario‚ where you're not face-to-face with your customer‚ is to show your dedication to them from the first conversation to the last. Perhaps even more important is connecting with prospects and customers at the right times to prevent yourself from being perceived as "pesky" rather than helpful.

Following Up in a Digital World

Proper follow-up in inside sales is the cornerstone to completing the sales cycle. As our society grows increasingly dependent on mobile means of communication, it's more likely you're communicating with your customers through text, e-mail, chat and social media rather than face-to-face or over the phone. Because of this, it's easy for your customer to lose track of their own inquiries and, at this point, the burden falls on you to ensure quality service and attention to detail.

Try placing yourself in your customer's shoes. Say, for example, your boss comes to you to investigate changing vendors for paper products, so you take time to research the top five paper companies and send inquiries to all of them. From there, you wait. You already know that the company that reaches out to you first will likely get priority and that the exploratory process will help that company build a relationship with you. The follow-up the company provides, once it has established itself as a priority partner, will ultimately be what keeps you there and wins your business!

Effective Follow-up Demonstrates Awareness

Persistence in follow-up can be intimidating for the inside sales professional because the last thing we want is to be perceived as overbearing. When it comes to follow-up, it's important to show your emotional intelligence. Let your customer know you're aware of the many obstacles that may have gotten in the way and that you're sending a gentle reminder to put this back on their radar. Most customers will appreciate the consistency and get back to you as soon as they can.

It's important to realize that customers cease communication for a variety of reasons, and you must put yourself in their "operating reality" in order to effectively communicate during follow-up. Don't reach out to a customer via email with an accusatory tone because you haven't heard from them. This type of approach can backfire on you.

When it comes down to it, in inside sales, you can't get the business if you're not there. You must consistently respond as quickly as possible to inquiries, build meaningful relationships by asking the right questions, and remind your customers that you're there to help them when they're ready by persistently following up on their inquiries.

Give your inside sales team the skills and confidence to convert prospects into customers with Carew's Excellence in Inside Sales™ sales training program!