How AI Revolutionizes Sales Follow-Up: 3 Ways to Use AI for Sales

How AI Revolutionizes Sales Follow-Up: 3 Ways to Use AI for Sales Featured Image

Sales follow-up is a crucial yet underdeveloped part of most sales organizations. While most prospects require a considerable amount of follow-up before even responding, many salespeople will give up too early, leaving money on the table.

Let’s break down the reality of the situation and explain three key ways to use AI for sales to help your team improve follow-up and close more deals.

How many times should sales follow up?

Studies show that on average, it takes six to eight cold calls to reach a prospect. It takes around 18 calls to develop a connection with a buyer. 

Cold calling and follow-up are not easy, and require persistence, time, and energy that many salespeople don’t have all the time. Studies also show that 44-48% of salespeople will stop contact after the first follow-up call.

On average, it takes six to eight cold calls to reach a prospect.

However, follow-up is extremely important to actually reaching prospects and closing deals.

Hanging up the phone

The reality of sales follow-up

A study by Dartnell Corp found that the majority of salespeople will give up after the first or second call.

Broken down, the study showed that:

  • 48% quit after the first contact.
  • 24% quit after the second contact.
  • 12% quit after the third contact.
  • 6% quit after the fourth contact.

That means only 10% of salespeople that persevere past the fourth call. And as we just mentioned, it takes at least six attempts to reach a prospect. 

“The fact is that only 10% of salespeople make the fifth call, and 80% of sales are made after that fifth sales call.” –Adam Uzialko, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Editor, Business News Daily

 

With the average salesperson’s behavior right now, companies are almost certainly missing out on opportunities simply due to lack of adequate follow-up. 

But it gets even worse:

In addition, only 20% of sales leads are ever actually followed up with, leaving the other 80% lost.

 

Why persistent sales follow-up is so important

It’s clear that sales follow-up is extremely important, as 80% of sales are made after five or more calls. 

Taking it a step further, those who are harder to reach and do end up closing will be harder to churn. In other words, the harder a client is to get, the harder they are to lose to the competition.

When you are persistent in building a relationship, the client will see that and when they convert into a customer, they will remember that.

Older businessman on the phone

Why people REALLY don’t respond

The lack of sales follow-up isn’t surprising; cold calling is a difficult job. You don’t want to be viewed as annoying, pushy, or aggressive.

On the other hand, it’s important to understand the real reason why prospects take so long to reach. It’s not always because they’re not interested. In fact, that’s usually not the case. 

Decision makers are very busy individuals. More than likely, they didn’t even see your email or listen to your voicemail. 

 

“On average, professionals have more than 200 emails in their inbox and receive 120 new ones each day but respond to only 25% of them.” –Matt Plummer, Harvard Business Review

 

People are also more hesitant to answer unknown phone calls. Ensuring your calls have caller ID on them can help to boost answer rates.

How AI for sales can solve the problem

While many have tried to discipline their sales team to improve follow-up, these efforts often do not create lasting or measurable results in the long-term. It’s clear: salespeople don’t want to or don’t have time to manually follow up more than one or two times. 

Rather than having sales teams focus on continual follow-up—a task that they don’t want to do—companies are starting to opt for artificial intelligence (AI) for sales that automates follow-up.

Though people tend to believe that manual response is superior to automated response, automated responses actually get the job done better, at lower cost and with more time saved for salespeople. Why?

 

AI ensures sales follow-up

It’s natural for salespeople to forget to follow up, or be hesitant to do so. They might feel that it’s a waste of their time, the prospect isn’t interested, or they don’t want to be annoying. Some salespeople may just never follow up with a prospect that didn’t seem interested, but actually was. 

Looking at the facts, only 10% of salespeople make it past the fourth follow-up. We can’t only rely on those 10%. 

AI, on the other hand, will always follow up. It leaves no room for error, forgetfulness, or mistakes. With AI, you can also choose how many times to follow up, so you will get that fourth, fifth, sixth follow-up (and so on) every time.

With most prospects requiring six to eight follow-ups before responding, AI for sales improves response rates simply by following up the ideal amount of times without giving up.

 

 

AI standardizes sales follow-up

What if you could get the best messaging to every client, every time? While salespeople may aim to do that, they often get busy with other tasks and might even be using ChatGPT to write their follow-up emails.

When you use advanced AI for follow-up, you can use the most effective messaging every time. By integrating an AI platform, you can test messages to see which ones perform best, and then program the AI to use that follow-up message every time. This helps to create a consistent customer experience, every time.

In addition advanced AI can use personalized follow-up messaging based on certain criteria, such as industry, interest, behavior, and so on. Once it’s up and running, AI will take this extra step—where some salespeople will not.

Although some people think that AI responses are impersonal and inauthentic, advanced AI combined with human-in-the-loop can leverage authentic messaging that is written and pre-approved by your team. The AI just handles automatically sending it to the right people at the right time.

 

AI saves your team time

The lack of follow-up by sales teams is understandable: salespeople are busy, and every call and email takes time out of their day. They need time to focus on warm opportunities and closing deals.

On average, sales reps leave 70 voicemails per day, spending 25 hours each month on voicemails alone. If AI took care of that outreach, sales reps could use that time on warm prospects and opportunities.

Another example. If each cold call takes five minutes, salespeople can only make 12 calls an hour. If your team has 100 follow-up cold calls to make in a day, that’s 8.3 hours of your teams’ time saved by employing AI to follow up with those 100 leads—in just one day. In one workweek, that’s 41.5 hours.

In the same vein, AI enables your team to reach out and follow up with more leads without adding headcount. Quickly, the cumulative effect of AI for sales will save your team both time and money.

Happy salesman on the phone

Verse AI for sales

Manual responses are time-consuming, never quite standardized, and often don’t actually get sent out more than once. AI-enabled automated responses are instant, always standardized, and will always get sent out.

With the importance of sales follow-up versus the reality on most sales teams, AI can add efficiency and efficacy to your sales process. But choosing the right AI platform is vital to get quality results.

Verse is the conversational AI platform for sales and marketing. Verse is fully-managed, so we send your team warm opportunities—and we take care of the rest. 

With Verse, you can customize the amount of follow-up as well as messaging, with our guarantee it will always be done the way you specify, for every lead. 

Our platform engages every lead via SMS, the most popular conversation platform. Our advanced AI leverages human-in-the-loop to ensure quality responses. With Verse, you’ll also get:

  • Omnichannel follow up
  • 24/7 lead engagement
  • Automatic lead qualification
  • Compliance enablement and guidance from our expert team
  • Customizable scripts and conversation flows
  • Fast, easy integration with your CRM

If you’re ready to optimize your sales process with AI, get started with Verse today.