You just got off a great call with a prospective client. You did your due diligence in sending a follow-up email with the summary of the call and the materials requested almost immediately after. A day goes by, and another, and another until it’s already been a week since the meeting and the prospect hasn’t replied. At this point, it might feel awkward to follow up, thinking they surely would be replying if they are interested, right? Well, no. It’s your job to follow up and to do so relentlessly.
Following up over email can be a soul-sucking experience. After 2-3 follow-up emails you feel like you are speaking to a wall, you begin to question and examine every word said at the meeting, every word written in previous emails, you try to remember their facial expressions and think if they only feigned interest. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way, after all, we are social animals and the feeling of abandonment is a pain we, as human beings, try to avoid at all costs. As a salesperson, you need to get past this feeling and continue to follow up after a week, a month, three months, or even a year.
Sales cycles in life sciences take up several months anyways, so at no point should you drop a line unless the prospect explicitly asks you to or informs you that they are no longer interested in your product or service.
At Meetings.bio we keep calm & follow up with each prospect for over 2 months, around 85 days to be exact before dropping the ball and sending a “break-up email” Our data has shown that 94% of prospects who are willing to meet, schedule a call within 2.5 weeks of their initial reply. 98% of them do so within 85 days of their initial response. The last 2%? While we might stop regular follow-ups we will engage the prospect again; they will either receive a fresh set of campaign emails or we will pause the follow-up for a couple of months before trying again.
To illustrate a real-life situation that has happened to our Account Management team: we had a prospect that was eager to meet, we agreed on a date and scheduled the call. A few days later, the prospect told us that the call will need to be rescheduled and that they will come back with some slots for next month. 3 weeks go by, we follow up but no response. We continue to follow up weekly for another month and still, no response. We give it again a few weeks before following up again and no response. We were about to forego this prospect when an email came in: “Sorry, I was on jury duty and I’m finally back now. Let’s meet.”
While this scenario is definitely an edge case, it nicely illustrates that people are busy not just with work but also with their personal lives, and most of the time, they are not ignoring you out of spite, they are just simply preoccupied with something else. Sales cycles in life sciences take up several months anyways, so at no point should you drop a line unless the prospect explicitly asks you to or informs you that they are no longer interested in your product or service.
I’ll leave you with a few tricks on how to efficiently follow up & how to avoid having to do it in the first place:
Agree on the date of the next meeting at the initial call: this is the easiest way to avoid the dreaded follow-up process, so if you can, find a new date to meet as soon as possible. Even if it’s months away, try to get some sort of a placeholder on the calendars.
- Involve their colleague: while speaking to a prospect, in case they are the only one present, try to get the name and contact details of their colleague(s) who might also be interested. In this case, you will have two or multiple lines of contact and increase your chances of somebody replying.
- Connect on LinkedIn: Email inboxes are busy and while email communication can be considered more professional, after a time of unresponsiveness, dropping a quick line on LinkedIn can prompt them to reply then & there.
- Send follow-up emails at different times of day: Research has shown that most people reply to an email within an hour of receiving it, after that the chances of replying go slim. You need to figure out when your prospect is usually looking at their inbox, so vary the time you are sending it. Is the prospect on a different timezone? No problem, schedule the email to be sent later, most email clients have this option, nowadays.
- Keep the follow-ups interesting: Effective follow-up emails are short & sweet but after a while one-liners can get pretty boring and they no longer signify your interest in the prospect or solving their problem. Try to remind them of the pain you are solving, present them with relevant data if it makes sense, or let them know that the feature they wanted your product to have is now available.
- Call: Last, but certainly not least – if they are not replying for a week or more, pick up the goddamn phone! 🙂