June 20, 2012

How often should you follow up?

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So you have prospect and need to keep in touch -- but how often should you do so? Hillel Porath aims for somewhere around three or four within a two week period for new leads. Others aim for at least once every few weeks depending on the kind of relationship.

Besides the voodoo magic that goes on in Contactually's algorithm, here is Zvi Band's general rule of thumb for keeping in touch:

    • Top Users (keep in touch every 15 days) - I ensure that I or another co-founder talks to all of our top users every couple weeks. We ping them about new feature releases, ask for their support, and in general, just touch base to see how Contactually is working for them. They love it. We also sync these contacts to our company CRM.

    • Partners (keep in touch every 30) - These relate to some of the deals we have in the pipeline, API providers, business development relationships, resellers, etc. I'm usually in touch with them more often, but I set up Contactually to ensure I don't fall out of touch with them. We also sync these contacts to our company CRM.

    • Sales Leads (keep in touch every 10) - While we're a self-serve software as a service, I'm in touch with many people who are actively considering Contactually, and I use our own product to follow up with them until the sale is closed.

    • Advisors (keep in touch every 30) - Through our network, as well as 500 Startups, we've gained an incredibly valuable set of advisors and mentors. Again, I'll reach out to them as we need something, specifically, but it's helpful for me to touch base with them, give them a quick status update, and ask them for a particular connection. Some of our advisors are close enough that we can simply ask "how are we doing?" and they'll give us an all-around review.

    • Current Investors (every 15 days) - Given our early stage, we stay especially close to our angel investors, given them incremental status updates, asking for guidance and introductions, and in general, giving them some pride in their investment. It also helps to have a high frequency of communication, as it helps me ensure that we are making enough progress that it's worth reaching out.

    • Potential Investors (every 7 days) - Every entrepreneur in fundraising mode will tell you how important it is to be persistent and continually follow up with investors who are evaluating your company. I provide constant updates on metrics, answer any questions, etc.

    • Future Investors (every 30 days) - If you haven't read Mark Suster's excellent blog post about investing in lines, not dots, read it now. Read it, and you'll understand why this bucket exists.

    • Potential Hires (every 7 days) - We're in touch with a number of potential candidates - keeping in touch with them often works both ways, as we're able to show interest, at the same time ask them any questions we may have.

    • Other Entrepreneurs (every 30 days) - We've had the chance to meet so many other awesome founders from other companies - both through networking, then also our 500 Startups batch. While we're always exchanging introductions, support, etc - it's generally nice to get in touch with each other just to see how things are progressing.