As a salesperson, you probably find yourself feeling as though you’re talking to a wall, perhaps more often than you’d care to admit. If a prospect responds to your first attempt to reach out to them, you should thank your lucky stars (or maybe you’re simply a cold calling pro).
If not, you follow up. However, you no doubt are wondering: at what point do your follow-ups begin to be perceived as desperate by your prospective buyers?
Identifying the appropriate amount of touchpoints with customers and prospects (and the means to initiate these touchpoints) within your sales funnel is pivotal in order to optimize your selling strategy. The “how,” “when,” and “what” of following up is crucial to understand if you hope to hold your potential buyer’s attention and close the sale.
What is a Touchpoint, Anyways?
A touchpoint is any encounter where prospective buyers engage a business or sales rep to exchange information, address questions, or handle a transaction. Think of touchpoints as your prospective buyers’ every point of contact from the time they first become a marketing qualified lead (MQL) to the close of sale.
A touchpoint can be initiated through a variety of different mediums, as well as online and in the real world.
Different Types of Sales Touchpoints
Regardless of where or how you connect, all touchpoints should feel authentic, relevant, and compelling. Here are a few common examples of sales funnel touchpoints you are probably already familiar with:
The oldest, most traditional form of touchpoints. A cold call might seem outdated and aggressive, but, assuming you’ve prepped for the call by learning about your prospective buyer, their company and their interests, picking up the phone is actually a reliable step in any salesperson’s strategy. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone with a prospect to get the ball rolling.
These should be utilized after you connect with your potential buyer over the phone. Set follow-up reminders to stay in touch with your contact on a regular basis to stay top of mind.
Social Media Shares
Engage prospective buyers on various social media platforms by liking and sharing their posts. This is a great way to learn what’s important to them, as well as find topics for ongoing conversation. You can also share relevant content that may further their understanding of their issues or share a viewpoint from someone they know and trust (preferably from someone who is your brand’s advocate).
Real World Touch Points
Connecting with qualified leads in-person is an invaluable experience that cultivates long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. Emails and phone calls can only get you so far; what truly resonates with potential buyers is when salespeople go the extra mile to connect personally and authentically with them, as well as identify how they can be of assistance.
An in-person get together can consist of grabbing a coffee with your prospect, or taking them to lunch or dinner to discuss their needs and goals for the upcoming fiscal year. When possible, include the people involved in the decision-making process and the people who influence them.
Even though the tone of the get-together should be friendly, you should still enter as you would with any meeting to avoid wasting their time: prepared and with a concise agenda in mind.
Finding Potential Touchpoints Within Nimble
The AI-enabled Prospector tool integrated within Nimble helps with your touchpoint process by filling in the contact data gaps in your contact records, enabling you to reach out across multiple channels without spending time Googling phone numbers and social profiles, therefore providing you with more time to reach out to your potential customers. Nifty, huh?
Consider all of the times that the phone number you’ve been using for a given contact was out of date or not the most direct line. Prospector provides you with current, verified phone numbers and email addresses for your hottest leads. The dark days are over!
The Mighty BANT
The best way to determine whether and when to move forward with your sales process is by BANT-qualifying them as early as possible.
BANT is an acronym that refers to a sales qualification framework used to identify and pursue the most qualified prospects based on four factors: budget, authority, needs, and timeline.
Does the prospective buyer have an approved budget? If so, does your project fit within their budget parameters?
Does the prospect you’re speaking to have the decision-making authority, or are they an influencer in the decision making process?
What is the prospect’s business need, and how can you help to address them?
Is there a clear timeframe within which the prospect be implementing a product or solution your solution addresses?
With BANT in mind, you will be able to easily assess the type and frequency of touchpoints to engage while creating a meaningful relationship with a given contact.
How Many Touchpoints Should be in Your Sales Funnel?
Evidence points to a correlation between response rates and the number of subsequent outreach attempts you initiate. Don’t be deterred if your first attempt goes unanswered! On average, it takes approximately five to seven touchpoints to close a sale. Ultimately, you need to test which and how many touchpoints before a sale is optimal for your target audience.
When devising your follow up strategy, consider categorizing your prospective buyers based on their potential business impact. Segmenting follow up is particularly important because many salespeople are indiscriminate in their follow-up. Prioritizing follow-ups ensures you follows-through with critical contacts, a powerful strategy for nurturing relationships and increasing conversions.
Shane Gibson, a leading sales expert, keynote speaker, author, and trainer advises dividing customers into three categories.
- “A’s are 20 percenters who give us 80 percent of our business.
- B’s are beneficial; they’re great to call on. They’re decent, but they’re not as big as A’s.
- And then C’s, I’ll see them at the next networking function. I’m not going to follow up with them.”
Using Nimble’s Stay-in-Touch feature, Shane sets up his “A-list contacts” to pop up every 3 weeks so that he’s reminded to take an outreach action with these individuals. These actions might include sharing an article, inviting them to a webinar, sending a lead their way, asking them a question, or commenting on their latest LinkedIn update.
“I use Nimble to drive ongoing touches with my A’s,” says Shane. “It automates reminding me to do stuff, but it doesn’t automate the personalization. That’s one of my favorite hacks with Nimble.”
Factors that Affect Touchpoints
It may take a few tries to gain credibility with a given prospect that you understand their concerns and are qualified to help them solve their problems.. If someone isn’t familiar with your brand already, they may take a little longer to warm up.
To help streamline the credibility-building process, gain industry-wide credibility by building your personal brand on multiple social media outlets. Your goal is to become a thought-leading expert people can trust and turn to for advice.
When qualifying leads, determine their budget and build an ROI analysis based on your pricing fits their budget.
What are their business needs and how can your product or service help solve their short-term and long-term problems? Think of this relationship as symbiotic versus profit-driven, and your prospect will be sure to pick up on your sincerity.
The market is saturated with people who are trying to achieve the same exact goals as you. You need to stand out above the rest with a killer sales and marketing approach that positions you as a trusted thought leader versus an over-ambitious salesperson.
The “need vs. want” factor:
It’s your job to change your prospect’s “want” to a “need.” Communicate the purpose of your product or service in a way that adds value to your potential customer’s life, or solves an issue they’ve been trying to overcome.
Making the most out of touchpoints is critical to your lead nurturing process. Your sales strategy should aim to educate and inform your potential customers as they make their way down your sales funnel.
When planning your touchpoint strategy, prioritize your prospects based on their potential business impact. Segment your follow up to reach out to these different groups effectively and appropriately. This ensures that you are always completing the follow-through with critical contacts, which is essential for nurturing relationships and increasing your annual revenue to scale.
Every touchpoint is a new opportunity to help gain the trust of your prospects and lead them to the point of decision-making. The more valuable they find each experience, the more likely they are to view you as someone they can trust with their best interests in mind.