Sales

Your guide to a higher response rate—A B2B sales follow-up timeline

Summary

Following up with prospects isn’t easy, as one phone call won’t cut it. That’s why we’re sharing an example B2B sales timeline you can use to follow up with leads and transform companies into paying customers.

A lot of B2B sales entails following up with prospective companies. Because most of your prospective customers will not buy from you instantly. In fact, 80% of sales leads require five follow-ups after the initial contact, but only 8% of sales reps follow up this many times.

Why? Because creating the right follow-up sequence is hard. However, with the proper processes in place, you can achieve your revenue and growth goals.

So let’s talk about what a sales follow-up sequence is and go over an example timeline you can use to turn leads into clients.

What is a follow-up sequence?

A sales follow-up sequence is all the actions Sales people take to turn a lead into a customer.

Sales Representatives use a variety of touchpoints, such as phone, email, LinkedIn and even paid campaigns, to contact and nurture leads over a few days or weeks.

The aim? To build trust, tell your brand story and introduce your products or services. So that when a company is ready to buy, they think of your brand first.

A follow-up sequence allows you to move leads through your sales funnel and ensures no lead is forgotten. It also provides structure to your sales team, which improves their focus and productivity. Lastly, a follow-up process removes some guesswork from the selling process by streamlining communications and platforms. Enabling your Sales team to focus on listening to a company’s needs and personalising conversations and emails.

Follow-up with your website visitors

Identify your anonymous website visitors in real-time. By knowing the company name of each website visitor, the source of their visit and the pages they visited, your sales team knows exactly who to follow up with. And it increases their odds of conversion too.

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Example of a sales follow-up timeline with a step-by-step breakdown

Here’s an example of a sales follow-up sequence:

This follow-up sequence is based on the Agoge Sequence, a popular sales outbound outreach method developed by Sam Nelson. It’s a strategy that uses numerous communication touchpoints toward a lead within a short time frame.

Why include so many touchpoints? Because Sales Professionals, CMOs and Founders are busy. One email will not do the trick. The Agoge Sequence boosts your odds of not being ignored and can increase your response rate.

Before you begin – prioritise leads

The Agoge Sequence is time-consuming and shouldn’t be used for all prospects. So, before you begin, have a clear buyer’s persona and use that information to identify target sectors and job positions.

Based on this information, make a list of high-priority roles. For example, VP of Sales Development, Inside Sales Manager, Director of Sales Operations, VP of Marketing, Owners and CEOs. Use the complete Agoge Sequence for these people only. Then adapt and shorten the sequence for low-priority prospects. For example, remove time-consuming tasks like phone calls or include fewer touchpoints.

If you’re using Leadinfo, you know which companies are visiting your website. Use the information about your website visitors combined with your buyer’s persona to know which decision-maker to reach out to.

Now that you know who you want to contact, let’s delve into the sequence.

Day one

Start by following your target decision-maker on LinkedIn. Then, call this person. Because a phone call is the best way to establish a personal connection and learn more about them. Regardless of whether you manage to speak with the decision-maker on the phone, send them a follow-up email. And all of this happens on the same day.

Three touchpoints in a day is also known as “The Triple” by Justin Michael. It’s an effective way to start the Agoge Sequence as you make three different attempts to engage with the lead on their prefered platform—giving you the best chance of success.

Now, the first email you send is the most important. A great first email sets the bar for the rest of your sequence. Therefore, aim to give a lead a lot of attention via personalisation in your first email.

Do your research before reaching out to a company. Then, write a short email with a strong first sentence that proves you’ve done your research. A strong hook demonstrates that you know who you’re emailing and that you’re not simply reaching out to 100 random people. Your second sentence should tie in your product value proposition. End with a call to action.

Day four

After all the activities of day one, give leads a three-day break. This gives decision-makers the time to read your email, call you back or reach out to you on LinkedIn.

When editing our follow-up schedule or creating your own, it’s essential to build in wait time between each contact moment. You want to give leads time to respond, but be persistent enough that they don’t move on to a different solution. 24 to 48 hours between touchpoints is standard practice. And 72 or more hours further down the sales funnel or the longer a lead doesn’t respond.

On day four, send a reply email to bump your email from day one back to the top of a lead’s inbox. A short email saying something like, “Just seeing if you received my previous email…” will do the trick.

Day five

On day five, follow up with a lead via phone. Include personalisation elements in your phone call as well. Use the research you did for your first email and weave that into your call script to capture the attention of a lead. Alternatively, you can use the first two sentences of the email you sent on day one.

It’s also best practice to try calling at different times. Why? To not miss a conversion opportunity simply because of a reoccurring meeting.

Day seven

On day seven, try making yet another phone call to the lead. If you don’t reach this person, feel free to leave a message.

Day eight

On day eight, reply to your previous two emails. Send a short and friendly email bump to move the email you sent on day one to the top of a lead’s inbox.

If you have a CRM in place, you can automate your reply emails—one less aspect to keep track of.

Day nine

If there is still no response from a lead, it’s time to pause emailing them and try something else like sending this person a LinkedIn InMail.

Personalise your message by rephrasing the first sentence of your email from day one. Alternatively, analyse a lead’s recent activity on LinkedIn and tie that back to your value proposition by highlighting how you can help them.

Day ten

On day ten, try calling a lead again.

This is your fourth attempt at calling a lead. It might feel like a lot, but 93% of leads that convert are reached on the sixth call attempt. So don’t get discouraged.

Day fourteen

You’ve given leads a few days to get back to you or tell you they are not interested. If you haven’t heard anything, it’s time to craft a new email. So don’t reply to your previous emails. Instead, send a new one.

This email doesn’t need to be as personalised as the first one. It can even be automated. It needs to be generic enough to be used for all prospects while highlighting your value proposition. End the email by asking for a meeting at a specific time.

Day fifteen

Bump your email from day fourteen back to the top of a lead’s inbox by replying to it. Keep it short. The goal is to get a lead to read your previous email. Use automation to streamline this process if possible.

Day seventeen

Send another automated email to bump the email you sent on day fourteen back to the top of a lead’s inbox. You can either keep it short or highlight another pain point your product or service can solve.

Day twenty

Time to try calling a lead again.

Day twenty-three

This is your last attempt to reach a lead by calling them. You’re looking to get a clear yes or no answer from a lead.

Day twenty-seven

Day twenty-seven consists of sending one final email. A “breakup email”. This is the last email you send to a lead that is not responding to you. It’s a last-ditch effort to get a lead to show interest before you move on.

You could say something like this:

Breakup email example

Hi [name],

I’ve tried reaching out to you several times but haven’t heard back from you.

I believe that your company would find our services helpful. However, I’ll take your silence to mean that you don’t need any help from our side.

In case something changes, feel free to get in touch with me.

Kind regards,

[Name of Sales Representative]

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Putting together your sales follow-up sequence

The Agoge Sequence is a strong sales follow-up sequence that your B2B company can use to increase its response rate. However, the above is just a guideline. Tweak it to your needs. And if leads respond positively to a particular communication channel, accommodate that rather than try to fit them into this sequence.

Armed with a follow-up sequence, don’t set it up and forget about it. Buyers’ behaviour will change over time. Instead, analyse your results from your follow-up sequence and adapt them accordingly.

Once you’ve captured a lead’s attention, you must nurture this relationship until a company is ready to buy. Discover how to best nurture leads from cold to hot.