Sometimes even the most promising lead goes silent.
Experienced sales reps have come to expect silence as the default answer. Even in the most perfectly crafted target list, over 60% of all engaged will leave you on “read” (if even that!). And that’s a huge chunk of people to simply dismiss!
Leads gone cold or silent doesn’t mean they are lost forever. More often than not, these leads present the opportunity for further business, they just require a little bit of nudging in the right direction.
Tom Sather, director of email research at Return Path, has demonstrated that 75% of re-engaged email leads will open a second or subsequent re-engagement message within 90 days. This means that careful nurturing, creative ways of re-engaging your leads and persistence will pay off.
Here are just a few tips on how to chase those that got away and avoid leads escaping the funnel.
The first advice anyone will give you to engage a silent lead is just to keep chasing them down.
Real tenacity is rewarded with results and statistical evidence supports it.
92% of sales people give up after four “no’s”, and only 8% of salespeople ask for the order a fifth time. When you consider that 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”, the inference is that 8% of sales people are getting 80% of the sales.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to double down on your efforts and keep pitching your product or service in the same way for the 10th time.
If a prospect doesn’t respond after 4 messages, it is time to rethink your approach.
Is this the best way to reach this prospect? What other communications can I use? Is the message compelling, informative and evocative?
Understanding the needs of your client and focusing on helping instead of selling is another ingredient in the recipe.
The best way to go about a perfect follow-up is to get creative and nail down the exact communication style your prospect would appreciate.
A good rule of thumb is to be persistent and helpful, but not pushy. Here are a few original ideas for a successful follow-up for inspiration.
Are you tired of guessing why your lead is not engaging with the marketing material? Just ask them directly!
People might not like speaking with sales reps, but they do love giving feedback — there’s a Karen in every one of us wanting to describe her experience to the manager.
In our experience, survey follow-ups increase reply rates since giving feedback is a much smaller ask than setting up a call. From the prospect’s perspective, it looks a lot more manageable.
A survey might be framed as a short and simple question at the end of a personal email.
Alternatively, it could look something like this:
The trick is not to make it look very fancy or direct them to a separate survey page — the less work it seems like, the better the response rates!
While you may get a few annoyed replies expressing how much of an inconvenience your persistent follow-ups caused, there will always be a wealth of valuable responses.
Survey follow-ups are genuinely a great way to gather data on your market audience, find market gaps and identify the clients’ needs more precisely. Almost always they provide valuable insight into how your next marketing campaign should look like.
Moreover, each response is a gateway to communication with a potential lead — only now they’ve given you the tools to approach and address their needs in a personalised way!
The next 3 tips will work beautifully if you’ve established a connection with your lead personally on social media, for example, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the most popular ways to find leads and do business because of the unmatchable level of personalisation and different marketing strategies it provides.
Many sales reps seem to think that content is only for marketers. However, evolving selling practices in 2021 show us that sales and marketing working in tandem is the future.
Why sweat away trying to get a response from a silent lead, when you can let your content do the work and encourage the prospect to reach out to you first?
Creative content on social media plays a big part in successful lead nurturing without coming off too pushy. It can do many things that sales people often have trouble with: bringing genuine value to the prospect, raising awareness, informing, nurturing and encouraging.
If you have your prospect on LinkedIn or Twitter, think about what kind of things you are posting. Is there a short video your lead might be interested in? Or a helpful article addressing their painpoints? Or a compelling case study for their industry?
The possibilities of content are endless.
Even your personal LinkedIn page can play the role of content — the more interesting you make it out to be, the more incentive there will be for your prospect to initiate a conversation.
Using existing content as a follow up not only saves a sales rep time, but it also shows the prospect that you were attentive to their concerns, needs or wants.
Perhaps the reason why you were not able to get the lead over the finish line is because it wasn’t the right time. Trigger events — openings that create an opportunity to approach the lead — can be a great way of re-engaging a lost lead naturally.
This type of re-engagement requires a bit more time and effort on your part, but it yields great results.
Congratulating your lead on a promotion or referring to the same online event you are attending adds a much needed human touch in communication driven by automations and provides a new level of personalisation.
LinkedIn is a great tool to track such trigger events.
In short, retargeting is a tactic that involves positioning yourself in front of potential prospects already familiar and engaged with your brand.
Why should you try it?
Because statistics show that 80 percent of the buying process is over and done with prior to the first direct interaction.
Retargeting won’t only help you re-engage lost leads, but also keep raising brand awareness and nurture potential prospects’ interest.
One of the most popular B2B retargeting strategies is running paid ads on social media for leads that already have a certain awareness of your brand.
“Ads are for the marketing team,” you say and would be right. However, feeding the same leads you are nurturing to the ad machine on LinkedIn will create an information bubble around your prospect, most likely increasing their trust in the brand and encouraging them to give a response.
The more often your prospect sees mentions of your product in their information circle, the more likely they are to trust your brand and feel compelled to reply.
No lead can truly be lost — simply forgotten. Instead of thinking of silent or cold leads as lost, think of them as sales opportunities to be won.
Creativity and persistence are the two qualities that will make or break a successful sale in that one lead that got away.
Giving up after a single follow-up will put you in the 44% of sales reps who don’t see the deal through to the end, and that’s an awfully large number to stand out among the crowd.
Best lead follow-up practices are evolving — and you should too.