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SMALL BUSINESS ESSENTIALS: How to stop missing sales opportunities


There are effective ways to keep follow-up emails rolling. (123RF)
There are effective ways to keep follow-up emails rolling. - 123RF

In my last article, I reviewed some tips from the owner of Mind’s Eye Creative, Ashton Rodenhiser, on how to use cold email pitching to grow your business. The other key to Rodenhiser’s success in tripling her annual income is how she organizes her email into followup pipelines.

Pipelines are commonly used in sales and are a visual representation of where your leads are in the buying process. You use it to organize potential, new and existing customers so you always know the right message to send at the right time. HubSpot reports that businesses effectively using a pipeline see 28 per cent higher revenue growth.

A pipeline is organized into stages that fit any workflow or process your business has for making a sale. Some common pipeline stages for small businesses are:

Lead — Any business or person that has the potential to become your customer. Typically, a lead is generated through a previous conversation or has inquired about your business.

Proposal — The lead has received pricing for your products and/or services.

Negotiating — Contract and pricing negotiations.

Closed-Won — You made a sale! The lead is now a customer.

Closed-Lost — You didn’t make a sale, but remember to create reminders to followup with the contacts that are still interested and may become customers in the future.

To keep her followup game on point, Rodenhiser uses a Gmail app called Streak. With this app, you can save customer profiles, as well as track and organize all customer interactions including emails, call logs, notes, tasks and more. If you’ve ever missed a sales opportunity because you forgot to followup, consider using an app like Streak to take advantage of every opportunity for creating new and repeat customers.

If you are working with a team, a pipeline becomes even more useful because now everyone can share the same workflow and sales process. For example, if one of your leads calls in on a day you’re off work, your co-worker can quickly pull up the shared pipeline and see all of the interactions with that lead to better inform their conversation.

Do you have an email that works particularly well for making a sale? You can save it as a template and share it with your team. Streak enables mail merge to automatically personalize the email template with the recipient’s name and company details. This helps make every email seem like it was custom-made for the individual. Using something as simple as the recipient’s name in the subject line can increase your email open rates by as much as 35 per cent.

By using resources to make your email inbox do more for your business, you will never miss another sales opportunity.

Candice Reeves is a local copywriter and the owner of Reeves Creative Copy. Laptop and coffee cup in hand, her mission is to help small businesses turn their brilliant ideas into words that will build their brand and drive sales.

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