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sales follow-up mistakes
6 min read

5 Common Sales Follow-up Mistakes To Avoid

Sales follow-ups are a tricky business. In this article, we will explore common follow-up mistakes to avoid when engaging prospects and leads.

You don't want to overdo them, but you cannot underdo them either.

You cannot be too aggressive, but you cannot be laid back either. 

You don't want to overshare, but you don't want to under share either.

To sum it up, yes, sales follow-ups are a tricky business. 

But with years and years of careful maneuvering on these tricky roads, sales gurus have discovered methods to finding the right balance for sales follow-ups.

And based on our research of these full-proof methods, we have identified five sales follow-up mistakes that you must avoid at any cost.

But before that, let's understand what sales follow-ups are and why they are so important.

What is a sales follow-up?

Hubspot defines sales follow-up as what you do after your initial pitch to encourage the prospective customer to take action. Sales follow-ups are conducted in several ways — the most common methods are telephone and email.

Not every prospect who shows interest in your product or service has a clear intent to buy. Some are:

  • Considering other brands/products/services

  • Just exploring your solutions for reference

  • Are not the decision-makers when it comes to buying

  • Don't currently have the budget to make a purchase

There are many more situations where the prospect needs more convincing to make a purchase.

A sales follow-up aims to nudge the prospect in the right direction so they are pushed further down the customer journey. 

This may include activities such as sharing supporting documents, competitor advantages, case studies, testimonials as proof of expertise, technical consultations, discounts, and more.

According to a study by Brevet, a sales consulting firm, 80% of sales require an average of five follow-ups in order to close the deal. 

That's a lot. But it's not just the number of follow-ups that matters. There are some critical factors to consider when accomplishing a successful follow-up strategy.

Let's look at the top five mistakes sales teams make when it comes to sales follow-ups.

5 Common Sales Follow-up Mistakes To Avoid

Here are five common pitfalls of sales follow-ups and tips for avoiding them.

Not automating sales follow-up emails

Automation is a lot easier said than done, and I understand why. It requires a lot of time and effort to identify opportunities for automation and then actually plan and execute the automation strategy. 

But so does following up with individual prospects over and over through emails. 

To increase the efficiency of your sales follow-ups, you can use your CRM to create automated workflows to follow up with your prospects. 

Here are a few steps to implement automation in your sales follow-up process:

Identify key categories of your sales follow-ups - There are various reasons you to follow up with your prospects. Some common examples are check-in based on the last conversation, requesting to connect with the right person, asking for critical challenges requirements, etc. Brainstorm with your sales team and identify the primary types of follow-ups.

Create email templates based on follow-up categories - Create email copies for every type of follow-up you have identified - there are tons of templates available online to choose from.

Build automation workflows -  Using the templates, create automation workflows in your CRM to enable follow-up emails to prospects. Leverage automation features such as segmentation, lists, scheduling, and conditional filtering to improve the efficiency of your workflows.

Personalize your follow-ups using dynamic content - CRM and automation tools enable you to personalize your email copies based on prospect activity. For example, suppose your prospect has interacted with your website after the first sales call. In that case, you can schedule a personalized email to the prospect with a notification that provides more information on your product, service, or brand.

Automation can save your sales team time and effort, subsequently fastening your sales cycles with effective follow-ups. If your team does not have the resources to plan and implement and sales automation process, consult process experts like Processology to do the work for you.

Not setting reminders for follow-ups

Sales is a dynamic and fast-paced business function. Attention to detail is critical, and human errors are common.

But did you know that 48% of salespeople never follow up, only 25% make a second contact, and only 12% make more than 3 contacts?

One of the easiest ways to lose out on good conversions is to forget to follow up with interested prospects. 

Hey, I get it. It is not easy. Your team makes tonnes of calls, emails, and conversations. It is normal to forget about a commitment to check in late.

But this can be avoided. Scheduling reminders immediately post a sales conversation can end up with you closing one of your biggest deals. 

Here is one of the most common examples of forgetting to follow up with a prospect - You have a conversation with the prospect. They show interest. They check in with their team and come back saying they do not have a budget for you this quarter. They ask you to check with them in the next quarter. You get busy with other warmer leads, and the next quarter comes and goes, but you forget to follow up.

Voila. You lose out on a perfectly good prospect.

So to avoid such tragic losses, include setting reminders to follow up in your sales process. 

Delayed Follow-ups

Following up is important, but so is following up at the right time. There is a small window for your team to generate prospects' interest in your product or service, and then leverage that interest to make further conversation. 

Delayed follow-ups mean you lose out on that window and the prospect loses interest by the time you check in again.

It is a small but impactful mistake. To avoid such blunders, you can brainstorm with your sales team to build appropriate time frames for following up after a sales call and then schedule reminders on your calendars to follow up before it is too late.

Excessive follow-ups

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You understand how too much follow-up can frustrate the prospect.

Excessive follow-ups can lead to more than just a frustrated prospect. It can negatively affect your customer experience and brand reputation, and the prospect can choose to never interact with your brand again.

This is why it is essential to limit the number of follow-ups and draw a line based on your prospect's reaction. Use pre-defined signals to identify the level of engagement with your prospects, and as the level goes lower, it is time to realize that your follow-ups must stop too.

Not leveraging marketing data to prepare for sales follow-up

There is a common misconception especially among younger sales professionals that sales follow-ups do not need as much preparation as compared to the first sales pitch.

You pretty much lose the sales battle if you believe in this notion. Follow-up calls and emails are supposed to be more data-driven, interactive, and engaging as you have more data on prospect interests, challenges, and behavior. This gives you an opportunity to research and personalize your next pitch in the follow-up 

Leverage the information you have about the prospect to gather the right marketing and sales enablement collateral. Be prepared before your follow-up call with all this information so you get an opportunity to speed up your sales cycle. 


As markets become more and more competitive in the post-covid era, it is imperative for your sales team to make the best out of every opportunity. As you do that, make sure you avoid these common sales follow-up mistakes.