I have heard all sorts of sales stats in my career related to the importance of good follow-up marketing and sales. Below are a few stats from the National Sales Executive Association.
2% of sales are made on the first contact, 3% on the second, 5% on the third, and 10% on the fourth. But the lion’s share of sales --80% --are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.
It’s the old 80/20 rule.
Let me give you another set of stats from the same Association:
48% of salespeople never follow up with the prospect. 25% make only a second contact, 12% make only three contacts, and just 15% of salespeople make more than three contacts.
The last stat is the most important. Because only 15% of salespeople make more than three contacts, this means 85% of salespeople are missing out of 80% of sales.
If your business does not have sales reps, but relies on marketing, the same statistics would be true, and maybe even worse. When there is no personal contact, it takes even more touches to get someone to respond.
I can tell you from my own personal experience in almost 40 years of sales, that consistent follow-up is a game changer when it comes to sales success. And the sad reality is very few salespeople or marketing systems effectively touch people more than a couple of times.
Let me define what I mean by the word “contact.” It’s any method of touching a prospect in a personal way. It could be a phone call, an email, a personal meeting, or a direct mail piece. For salespeople, personal face-to-face meetings are always the best, most effective method of converting leads into sales. But there is almost no sales situation where more than two or three personal meetings make sense. It is hard to keep meeting with someone over and over talking about the same project. That leaves the rest of follow-up to the other methods listed.
The most effective sales systems take a lot of the load of follow-up off the salesperson’s shoulders. Creating a sales funnel that involves automated emails and direct mail follow-ups is an ideal system for most companies. There are a variety of CRM systems for every industry that will allow you to establish automated email marketing campaigns, as well as reminders to call prospects or send mailers on a preset time schedule. The more you can automate the follow-up process, the more likely it will actually happen, and the higher your sales-conversion rates will be.
If you are like most companies and do not have an automated follow-up system in place that involves multiple methods of touching the prospect, you should make it a top priority to put a follow-up system in place. The fortune IS in the follow-up!