How to Follow Up With Sales Prospects Effectively

Looking at your fourth-quarter sales forecast and strategizing how to reach your quota can require an all-out blitz. The first installation of our sales crunchtime blog series looked at how to effectively manage your time to be as efficient as possible. The second dove into how to prioritize prospects and reach out to leads. In this final installment, we’ll look into ways to follow up with sales prospects to close deals and how to begin building your pipeline for a strong start in the new year.

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Following up with sales prospects and closing deals

Having an effective follow up strategy (and sticking to it) is the key to remaining relevant in the eyes of a sales prospect. Keep in mind that this pertains to prospects that have been contacted and have left the door open to working with you. This doesn’t include prospects that are uncontacted or have closed the door.

1. Secure a follow-up date

If you find yourself nearing the end of a conversation and the prospect is still not ready to do business with you, start steering the conversation towards next steps and when you can follow up. Obviously, you’ll want to follow up as soon as possible, so work with the prospect to find a time that works for everyone. Be direct with your intention to follow up and even offer a concrete timeframe to eliminate the potential for uncertainty.

We’re getting close to our time so I’d like to schedule another meeting next week to keep the conversation going. How does your Thursday look?

Photo Credit: Max Sale Solutions

2. Leverage calendars

Once you secure a meeting or agree to an additional touchpoint, send a calendar invitation right away. Setting a formal appointment makes it more difficult for a potential customer to avoid your outreach efforts. In addition, by having a follow-up meeting on the books, you can better manage the timeline of your deal. When time is of the essence, an organized calendar can make or break your ability to hit your quota.

3. Get ahead on documentation

Get ahead on documentation that will be included in a potential deal. Utilizing document templates and even contract management organizations, like Concord, can aid in this.

The goal here is to prevent delays resulting in paperwork backlogs. As a salesperson, nothing sucks more than receiving a verbal commitment from a prospect for a deal that gets delayed until the new year as a result of shotty paperwork. Prevent this by building out as much of the documentation as you can ahead of time. Once an agreement is made, update the necessary information and get the paperwork over to the prospect as quickly as possible to close the deal.

4. Add a personal touch

Email communication may be preferred by many in sales, but it lacks the timeliness and personal touch needed to close a deal at the end of the quarter. Given the time-sensitivity faced by sales teams at the end of the year, there is no substitute for picking up the phone and wooing your prospect over the finish line. Who has time to wait for an email reply?

Here are a few things you should be ready to address on your closing call:

  • Cold Feet – Be ready to make a final “pitch” that reminds buyers of your value.
  • Review Onboarding – Walk the prospect through the onboarding process so they know exactly what to expect after signing.
  • Finalize Pricing – Make any last-minute negotiations and agree to a price point.
  • Next Steps – Discuss immediate next steps to keep things moving forward.

5. Prepping for next quarter

Sometimes, closing a deal before the end of the quarter may not be possible. It’s not the end of the world. Look at it as an opportunity to get a leg up on your sales for next quarter.

6. Track the rollovers

Keep in mind that your sales prospects may not follow the same fiscal calendar as you do. So the urgency that you have in may not always be reciprocated. For those prospects, create a list to follow up with. This is an easy way to fill your pipeline so that you can get an early start on next quarter’s quota.

7. Lay the groundwork

Closing deals should be your priority through the end of the year. For those who have met their sales goals, however, Q4 is a great time to do some leg-work for next quarter.

Set yourself up for success in the new year with some basic preparation.

  • Perform a pipeline audit – Are the prospects in your pipeline legitimate opportunities?
  • Make a wins list – Review your wins from the past year and identify any trends and lessons learned.
  • Set SMART goals  – Establish quarterly and yearly goals for yourself.
  • Plan ahead – Outline inbound/outbound initiatives to streamline lead prospecting.

How Crunchbase Pro can help

Crunchbase Pro is the ultimate tool to help you research and identify your next lead. With easy-to-use filters to comb through our expansive database, you’ll be able to replenish your sales pipeline with highly qualified prospects. Our marketplace apps help take the guesswork out of sales prospecting and ensure that you are always finding the perfect prospect for your product or service.

  • Originally published November 28, 2018, updated April 26, 2023