Salespeople are known for:
1. Following up only 10-25% of the inquiries given to them.
2. ‘Downgrading’ a lead after about four weeks if they haven’t yet called the prospect. At that point, reps consider the lead old and would rather follow up with “fresh” leads. Translated this means: “I haven’t followed up and I am embarrassed to do it now; so I will say I did, but I won’t, and I’ll look for fresh, new, urgent leads. I will send an email instead.”
3. ‘Downgrading’ a lead that doesn’t have an immediate (plans to buy within 3 months) need. Once the lead finds its way into the sales funnel, reps most likely forget about it and look for a new, better, fresh lead. Then they think an email is follow-up.
4. Dumping a lead if the person inquired before and didn’t buy. Maybe the rep will send an email.
5. Ignoring an inquiry if there is no phone number; the rep instantly knows this person isn’t serious. Maybe an email will fulfill their obligation.
6. Considering an inquiry DOA, dead on arrival, if there is a “Gmail” or “Hotmail” email address. By sending an email, maybe a real person will surface. If that person is serious, the rep will follow up.
Want another six reasons for lack of follow-up? It’d be easy to give them to you. Same result.
This is why, in spite of research indicating a 45% buying rate of even unqualified inquiries, reps only follow up 10-25%.
I am amazed how they know which exact 25% to follow up, and how they identify the deadbeats. (Of course, even with a 25% follow-up they’re still only talking to half the buyers, if they guessed right. Not likely.) So the rep who follows up 25% will only statistically talk to 25% of the buyers. What a waste!
"The only way I know to fix the issue is to make sales lead follow-up a condition of employment for all sales representatives"
Oh, by the way, research not only says that 45% of the inquiries will buy in one year. Another 10-15% will buy in three months, and another 26% in six months.
So, if the majority of sales leads are ignored by the majority of salespeople, the rep who follows up older leads will have a 3-to-1 advantage. The rep who follows up all leads until the lead buys or dies, will reap a better return on their time with less stress
How do you fix this?
The only way I know to fix the issue is to make sales lead follow-up a condition of employment for all sales representatives. Inquiries, whether qualified or unqualified, need to be contacted. Their status makes no difference: 100% follow-up is the only answer and you give salespeople no choice. You make them do what they don’t want to do, but are glad afterward that they did.