Sixty-one percent of B2B companies believe that generating high-quality leads is the hardest part of running a business. The average B2B marketing team spends hours crafting the perfect copy, converging social media ad strategies, and executing well-laid conversion plans. Despite all of this effort, many of us can find ourselves coming up short during times where many things – including both your results and the economy – are unpredictable.
So what do you do when your pipeline falls short? What you may not know is that you have a goldmine of precious leads sitting right under your nose. Every marketing campaign generates more interest than leads. The majority of prospects slip through your fingers and fall back into that never-ending well of “could-have-been’s.” But are they really Closed Lost?
Think again. Your lost opportunities are still a deal waiting to happen, and those ghosting leads are waiting to be refreshed and revitalized with new interest. Here’s why you should be re-engaging failed conversions and funneling them right back into your carefully crafted pipeline.
How Reviving Old Leads Fueled Our Record-Setting Month
In the middle of Q4 2020, we knew that we needed to hustle to reach our ever increasing revenue goals but we were still bound by the same limited resources as every other quarter. How could we increase our output without increasing our spend on prospects?
Then it hit us – Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Re-engage.
All of those old meetings, no-shows, and last-second misses – why not reach back out? After all, when a prospect reaches the final phase of the funnel, they’re primed to buy. We’re confident in our marketing funnel and pipeline. We know they’re a good fit for our business. They know that we can provide a solution that could help them win…but something just doesn’t click on the final lap.
So, why not try again? What was stopping us from picking up the phone and re-engaging with failed conversions? If we wanted to end 2020 on a high note, we needed to dig deep.
So that’s exactly what we did. We had our sales reps crank out dials and re-engage with last-second misses. Sure. It can be a little awkward at first. It’s sort of like calling an old crush. But guess what? It worked. We had a record-breaking month with 25% of our meetings booked and 20% of our deals created from “prospects of pipeline’s past.”
In total, we won back 5 past clients and generated 25 new deals from prospects we thought were dead ends rotting in the pipeline.
It’s always important to fill the top of your sales funnel with new leads, but it’s just as important to re-engage the leads that are already familiar with your solution. Re-engagement works. It’s like finding a free bag of leads sitting on your desk. Here’s how you can make re-engagement work for you.
Why You Should Re-engage With Old Leads
Did you know that 44% of salespeople give up after just one rejection? Here’s the problem: only 2% of sales occur at the first meeting. Most leads grow stale. Maybe your client is playing hard-to-get, and they’re the type to spend days, weeks, or months researching before deciding to pull the trigger. Or maybe you didn’t have a solution to their problems during that initial contact. But that doesn’t mean you can’t solve their problems today.
Remember, old leads passed through your pipeline for a reason. They dripped down your marketing funnel because they expressed genuine interest in your products or services. These are people that:
- Are already familiar with your company
- Have expressed interest in your product or service in the past
- Have business goals that have likely changed since your last conversations
- May have previous objections that are no longer relevant
Nurturing shouldn’t stop when the prospect ghosts or a client jumps ship. Think of your nurturing cycle as a long, never-ending circle. You still have a chance to convert those no-shows, and every lost client is a future opportunity waiting in the wings.
Who Can Be Revived From My Sales Pipeline?
Any failed conversion can be revived. Only 3 percent of your current market is actively purchasing right now. Fifty-six percent of them aren’t ready, and 40% are on the cusp of consideration. So, pretty much every past failure is a success waiting to happen. But, in our experimentation, we found the following sources of dead leads to be the most conversion-ready.
- Past no-shows: Not showing up to a scheduled meeting feels like the harshest type of rejection. But with a little TLC, these wilted flowers can spring right back to life. Prospects fail to show up for a variety of reasons. They may have had to deal with other business obligations that day. They might have been on-the-fence about your product or service. Or, most likely, they simply weren’t in the right position to buy at the time. Plenty of people no-show instead of turning you down. These are still convertible leads. Here’s a secret: sixty-three percent of customers requesting info on your company aren’t ready to purchase for at least three months.
- Past meetings: Qualified leads aren’t always ready to buy. Some companies have long budget cycles. And other clients may have hit a patch of bad timing that prevented them from pursuing your opportunity. But maybe things have changed. There’s a good chance they still need your solution (they wouldn’t have been MQLs if they didn’t). See if they’re ready now.
- Past opportunities: We know that it hurts when a deal falls through. But if you reached the deal stage, you know this is an insanely qualified lead. Wait a few months and see if you can’t get that deal again.
- Past clients: Any clients that left with a good standing are great targets for re-engagement. But, in today’s mid-COVID ecosystem, almost any past client is a potential target for re-engagement. Budgets are tight, and companies are still trying to maneuver around their freshly digital landscape. See how they feel about your service in a few months. Chances are, they miss you.
5 Tips to Help You Win Old Prospects
1. Avoid Foolishly Rehashing the Past
We think bringing up past obstacles (and how you can overcome them) is a great way to start a re-engagement campaign. But trying to leverage the past to secure a sale looks tacky. It’s fine to discuss how you’ve changed your product/service to make it more of a fit to what they needed. But it’s not fine to bring up past conversations in an attempt to guilt them into a purchase. Try to be tactful about any past conversations.
Emails are a great choice for that initial touchpoint. You can easily bring up past experiences without diving too deep into the nitty-gritty. In fact, 45% of people that receive re-engagement emails actually read them. There’s a reason for this: that client still probably wants your service. Lure them back in with value and meaningful conversation — not awkward attempts at friendliness.
2. You’re Not Friends (Unless You Are)
Having a past conversation or experience with a client doesn’t make you friends. Treat them with respect and keep things business-oriented. Now. There are exceptions. Past clients that left in good standing are exempt from this rule. We reached out to some old clients that we were incredibly involved with. These were people that we worked with weekly, and we spent hours pouring our souls into their projects and company. In this case, it’s fine to reach out as a friend. In fact, it might be awkward if you didn’t. But, in general, keep things professional. You don’t want your re-engagement to feel like a guilt trip.
4. Use Multi-channel Sequencing and Automate Re-engagement Touchpoints
You need to glue re-engagement to your nurturing cycle and pipeline strategy. Don’t treat it like an ad-hoc, once-in-a-blue-moon type of strategy. We built ongoing, multi-channel sequences within our CRM to automate the majority of our re-engagement efforts as deals move through different stages of our sales pipeline.
Since these were past experiences, we went in and manually added conversation to each email, and we always sent valuable content to them based on our past interactions. However, you can’t fully automate re-engagement; it’s antithetical to the entire process. Keep in mind that automation is still essential to re-engage, especially at scale.
5. Give Them Something New
Why didn’t your lead convert? Identifying the reason for their past objection is the ticket to winning them back.
They may have felt that your solution was too expensive. If you’ve changed your pricing model, let them know. If not, send them a client testimonial that highlights the ROI your solution offers. It’s possible they went with another provider to help them solve their problem. Did their alternative solve their pain point, or could they still use your help? Check in and see how they’re doing. Failed conversions obviously need something new. Whatever you gave them last time didn’t work. Get creative and deliver new, amazing experiences to them.
When your pipeline runs empty, you don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. Recycling old leads can make the most of your resources, leaving little to waste and little to want. Need some help? At Sapper, we specialize in nurturing leads from cold email to sales meeting. We don’t just grow your funnel: we grow your brand. Contact us to learn more.