Aged leads – untouched for weeks, buried deep in the sales reps queue – a quick peek into this nightmarish situation can feel a bit like walking through a graveyard.
If this sounds all too familiar, it might be time to consider how you can remedy the situation. For many sales organizations, aged leads and opportunities can become their most productive source of long-term revenue. These sales organizations are efficiently working a blend of new and aged leads.
Here are five tips to help you breathe new life into aged leads and opportunities and tap into a new revenue stream:
1) Create a Feeding Frenzy
You may have heard the term “shark tank” in sales. It’s a tactic that can work very well to revitalize aged leads. This type of program can be automated to ensure all leads or opportunities that haven’t been touched by a sales rep after a certain number of days are automatically redistributed into a “shark tank” so sales reps can pull leads when they have some extra time.
If you don’t have a way to automate this process, you can run a report at regular intervals, monthly, quarterly and identify leads that have gone unworked for longer than you’d like, pulling them away from the assigned reps and reassigning or putting them into a pull program that reps can work when they have extra time.
The goal with this approach is to get a new sales rep working the lead. Sometimes a new voice or a new approach might be just what is needed to reengage an inactive opportunity.
2) Reframe the Conversation
If a once promising opportunity seems to go dark, dig into why that might be. You can try having a “retention analyst” follow up or the sales leader. Let the prospect know that you are trying to improve your sales processes and looking for feedback. Often this will get the prospect to open up about their experience and sometimes this can be an opportunity to try and remedy a situation that went bad somewhere along the way.
If you aren’t able to save the opportunity, at least you’ll learn something from the conversation that will help you coach your rep and help you win future business.
3) Run Re-marketing Campaigns
You’d be surprised at how often leads that make their way through the sales pipeline and then get disqualified are neglected for good. While the opportunity was marked “closed lost” it may not mean it is lost for good.
We also see the scenario where a lead that was never contacted just sits in a sales reps queue and is completely neglected for months.
Simply ensuring these leads and opportunities that have gone cold are sent back to marketing and pulled into the appropriate nurture paths, can help the company reengage when the time is right.
4) Work the Account
If you have a team of sales reps focused on prospecting into key accounts, make sure you are reviewing their target account lists with them on a regular basis. Look for how much engagement they’ve had with contacts on each account. If there hasn’t been engagement with a contact on the account for three or more weeks, encourage sales reps to add additional contacts at the company that may be more interested or have more purchasing authority.
And if your reps seem to be chasing contacts on the same accounts with no response, it may be time to send those contacts to marketing to be put into an automated nurture campaign, freeing up time for your reps to focus on more engaged accounts.
5) Consider Buying Aged Leads
If you are in a business-to-consumer industry—selling home mortgages, insurance, solar, etc.—purchasing aged leads can be an effective strategy. It’s a good way to get leads on a budget, as you’ll pay a fraction of the cost of a normal lead. And it will give your reps a lot of leads to work through in their down time.
Be thoughtful about how you work aged internet leads. You’ll lose the immediacy, even if you are buying day-old leads. Online internet leads see diminishing returns within minutes of a prospect submitting an online form. That doesn’t mean all value is lost, however, just as you would continue to work your own aged leads there are still opportunities to be had. Consider marketing programs to warm them up, or run filters against the list based on qualities that make them a better fit for your sales team. Then put promising leads into a pull distribution program so sales reps can pull aged leads to work when they have time. Think of it more like a prospecting activity with a cold list.
We know how hard your sales and marketing team works to uncover new accounts, contacts, and leads. Don’t neglect that untapped opportunity even if at first you don’t succeed. Leverage these tips to keep your leads and opportunities out of the graveyard.
About the author: Joshua Pittman is the Vice President of Inside Sales at Velocify. A seasoned Inside Sales expert with over 10 years of experience, Joshua specializes in architecting, growing and leading sales organizations within the technology space. He has built numerous high performing teams throughout the country; most recently designing and executing the sales growth plan of California-based startup, Cargomatic. Joshua also architected and implemented the sales structure and growth plan at Minneapolis based Sport Ngin, a leader in the emerging sports technology space. During his 4-year tenure at the high growth Washington DC social commerce startup Livingsocial, he built out an industry leading 100+ rep Inside Sales team while driving numerous successful pilot initiatives. Joshua studied at Anoka Ramsey in Minneapolis with a focus on business management and administration.