Are you the type of person who forgets to follow up?
They have a name for those types of people: human beings.
As much as we’d like to pretend we’re on top of every aspect of our professional lives, it’s only natural that a few things fall through the cracks. You get busy. Your email is harder to navigate than you’d like. The holidays arrive. Things happen. And when you’re busy, yes—you might even forget about a potential lead or two.
But just because it’s natural doesn’t mean you have to acquiesce to fate. You can improve your ability to follow up with potential customers and clients with the careful application of the following tools:
Admit it: most of the time, you forget to follow up on something because you send off an email and then immediately forget about it. A calendar reminder would be nice, but you sometimes get distracted—or even outright forget to add the reminder.
FollowUpThen lets you skirt the system entirely. By forwarding your pending emails to an email address at FollowUpThen (along with the timing of the reminder in the address itself), you can then clear out the old email from your inbox and receive a message reminder at the appropriate time.
What happens if you meet someone and want to follow up on them—but all you have to show for the conversation is a business card? Use Evernote Scannable to digitize the experience of following up on a business card.
Combine that scan with a calendar or email note to remind yourself that you need to follow up and you’ll have no problem making full use of every business card you encounter. And when you’re done, you can recycle the card—or even simply take a picture of it and hand it back.
One problem with using a line that you use for both personal and work calls: things get lost in the shuffle.
Grasshopper makes it possible to use one device but separate your personal and work calls—even using two distinct numbers for incoming calls. And automatically-transcribed voicemail means you can always read and review your voicemail messages for later responses at your leisure.
If you already have customer relationship management (CRM) software, there’s a good chance you might have follow-up features you don’t know about.
The only question: which CRM should you use? There are plenty of options out there, so it’s worth exploring a few:
- Apptivo. Apptivo’s Leads app includes an entry for scheduling the follow-up with a lead after you’ve input the lead into your software. You can even email leads directly from the app using a “bulk” method, which saves you time from emailing each individual potential customers.
- Highrise. Highrise features a robust follow-up system that lets you customize a wide range of variables for your reminders: for example, when you add a new contact, the follow-up feature is only a click away.
- Zoho CRM. Zoho’s pipeline management process makes it easy to spot where there may be leaks in your sales funnel, which means you can avoid missed follow-ups with ease.
This is just a sample of what you can accomplish with robust CRM software—so before you go shopping around for something new, make sure you explore the software you already have to make sure you’re using it to its full potential.
The beauty of Calendly is that it engages your potential lead in the process of following up—they get to choose the time from your calendar that’s best for them.
How does it work?
When you have a prospective lead, you can send them a link that lets them choose from available slots in your schedule. The app will then send both them (and you) and email reminder when the phone or in-person meeting is scheduled to take place. By involving both parties in the follow-up, it helps you to solidify the sales process into something more engaging and tangible.
You might know Slack more popularly as the project management workflow app. But when Slack acquired Astro this year, they signaled that they’re going to get better at following up and organizing emails—which is exactly what busy Slack users could use.
If you already use Slack to some extent, try using a few more of its features. And if you need to stop cluttering up your email with in-house exchanges, Slack is a great way to take the process of managing projects from the inbox to independent software.
FollowUp.cc seamlessly integrates with your Gmail to add specific reminders for following up. What separates it from other tools on this list is that it also integrates a “personal CRM,” a contact manager you can integrate with a browser like Google Chrome to manage your life like a business. You can view individual contacts and even sort by how long it’s been since you’ve last contacted them, giving you a priority list that helps you reach out to old leads and clients you might have forgotten about along the way.
Imagine if you could instantly convert an email to a to-do item.
Would you ever miss a follow-up again?
That’s what TaskForce does. It makes it possible to convert old email messages into follow-up reminders, which means you no longer have to search through your inbox to get a sense of what you should do with your time—you can simply listen to your reminders.
Making Follow Ups Happen
While the tools on this list will give you a leg up when dealing with leads and potential customers, they won’t work until you gain control over your inbox and your communication systems.
With that in mind, here’s one more tool: try Mailstrom to de-clutter your inbox and re-prioritize it so that new client emails get priority—and old messages you never intend on reading get tossed in the trash. Either way, you’re sure to become one of those effective people who somehow always remembers to follow up.