4 Foolproof Strategies to Re-engage Leads that Have Gone Cold
Every sales professional has been there; the frustrating experience of trying to re-engage a prospect that’s gone cold. The initial call seemed to go well, so why did they suddenly fall off the map? Join Laura Lloyd, Regional VP of Sales, and Anita Greenland, VP of Client Experience as they reveal four simple techniques your salespeople can use immediately to warm up prospects that have gone cold, and keep them moving swiftly through the pipeline.
In 19 hyper-focused minutes, we’ll cover:
- The crucial step that needs to be taken before any time is spent trying to revive an inactive lead
- The types of emails disengaged prospects actually want to see in their inbox
- How to bypass the other messages that are taking your prospect’s attention
- Tactics your salespeople can use to make their prospect’s life easier—and move the sale forward to the close
Read the Full Transcript of the Briefinar Below:
Anita: Hello and welcome to Briefinars For Sales Leaders. We promise to be brief, bright and bring it all do you in 19 minutes or less. Today we are talking about the 4 foolproof strategies to re-engage leads that have gone cold.
Anita: I'm Anita Greenland, the Vice President of Client Experience at the Brooks Group and today I'm here with Laura Lloyd, regional VP of Sales. Laura has worked with many sales professionals over the past decade providing targeted solutions for a variety of clients.
Laura: Well hello everyone and thanks for joining us today. I'm really glad to be here with Anita to discuss this topic and share a few tactical approaches that I've had success with. So let's go ahead and get started.
Anita: All right. Let's do. So first thing's first. Laura let me ask you, should your sales reps spend their time trying to revive those leads that have gone cold, or should they just cut their losses and move on to the next opportunity?
Laura: Anita that is a great question. Remember there are five qualifying characteristics for a fully qualified opportunity. The first one being that they have a need and are aware of it. That translates to do they recognize the need for your solution? The next thing is that they have the legitimate authority and ability to buy or commit. Do they have access to the decision maker? Really not just the decision maker, but do they understand the decision making process? Do they have a sense of urgency about making a buying decision? Do they have an established timeframe that they're working within? And do they trust the salesperson in the organization? Do you have credibility with that buyer?
Anita: Yeah, and as a sales leader I would be asking my managers and reps, how do they know that they have got that trust? That they've earned that trust. How do they know they have that credibility?
Laura: Another good point. And are they willing to listen to what the salesperson has to say? Can you actually get in the door and get in front of them. The more qualifying characteristics the buyer has, the more strongly qualified the opportunity is going to be. And if the opportunity is truly qualified, then we've got four strategies that your sales reps can take to get that sales process moving forward and get that opportunity through the pipeline.
Anita: Alright, let's talk about those strategies. There's only so many, hey I'm just checking in, emails that your salespeople can send before they really start to sound desperate and pesky to the prospect. So, Laura what do you recommend they do instead?
Laura: We've all been there before and done that. Instead of that approach, I think a more effective strategy would be to suggest that your salesperson reconnect with their prospect. Give them something of value rather than asking for something.
Anita: Explain, elaborate a little bit more on that.
Laura: Well for example, maybe your salesperson runs across a blog post that's helpful for your prospect's situation. Have them craft an email or something with an enticing subject line such as, saw this article, thought of you, or some thoughts on whatever the specific problem that your prospect is having. If the content is valuable, it just might spark some productive conversation and bonus points, if the blog post, research article or whatever it is that you're providing highlights an area that your product or service can provide a solution to, then it will be even more valuable to your prospect.
Anita: I see that all the time because here in my role at the Brooks Group, I get solicited all the time from vendors that want to do business with us and it's the ones that really send me thoughtful, thought provoking information, those are the ones that I ultimately do circle back when I have a need for something like that.
Laura: Yeah, they're the standouts. That's a great point, Anita. My recommendation it to try strategy number two and go where there is less competition for attention. So, where is that? Well, that would be snail mail. Suggest that your salespeople pull out the old pen and paper, hand write a note and send it to the prospect that's stuck in the pipeline.
Anita: What's old is new again.
Laura: Yeah, my suggestion is to include a branded notepad or calendar or something along those lines and for a larger opportunity, I would maybe send a relevant book.
Anita: That is such a great idea.
Laura: Remember the way that you felt in the 90s when you got an email? That's how your prospect's going to feel when they get a handwritten letter or note or something personal from you in the mail. It's an interrupter. It's likely to grab their attention more so than a regular email. So here's an example. I recently sent one of my prospects a handwritten note along with a copy of a book from our library. I thought it was going to be beneficial to them because they were having some challenges selling against lower priced competition and that was the topic of the book. It provided something of value, but I also wanted to be top of mind when they're actually ready to move forward and are making that buying decision.
Anita: Yeah, that's, what a great testimonial that is. So, there's always a possibility that the person that you're meeting with is, the organization would benefit from your solution, but you're just not talking to the right person. They're just not able to pull the lever on making the decision to move forward. How do you suggest coaching to that situation?
Laura: If a deal is stalled but all signs are pointing that it really is a good fit for both parties, direct your sales reps to research other contacts within the organization. Maybe they can help get that ball rolling. A great recommendation, LinkedIn. That's a great place to start. Just be sure that your reps are very tactful when they're reaching out to someone new, because you do not want to offend the original contact that you've made within the organization.
Anita: Yeah, I totally agree. That can be tricky. That is a great strategy. I totally agree, but if that approach seems a little too risky, what would be your suggestion?
Laura: My recommendation is that your salesperson suggests holding a strategy session or something along those lines. See who else in the organization could help move things forward. You never know, they might be relieved to actually have some outside help getting that internal project moving.
Anita: You know, often times your contact does have the authority to make the buying decision, but there's a good chance that there's a lot of other people that are involved in the decision making process. So, more and more multiple people are involved in that purchase decision. So how do you recommend handling that?
Laura: That's another great point, Anita. I have found that decision by committee is really becoming the norm nowadays, which makes it even more challenging for the sales person.
Anita: Oh yeah. You know, I've seen research that says today five to eight people are now involved in most buying decisions. And we've experienced that many times here at the Brooks Group. Most recently the project that I'm working on for our e-learning program that we've got coming up. I'm one of the key stakeholders. I'm the sponsor driving the project. But there are seven other people that are on that committee with me. So, what do you recommend for guiding salespeople through that situation?
Laura: Well, one idea is that for your salesperson to help their contact convince others of the value that your solution is going to provide and bring that to the table. Send a concise business case for your product or service. Something that is going to stand out.
Anita: Yeah, and make sure to include things that are benefits to that specific organization. Don't make it all about you.
Laura: The value.
Anita: Exactly. Building value for the organization. But what is also good, I think, are testimonials, references, case studies, ROI studies, you can have your sales rep compile a variety of supporting information. Even an RFP template. Anything that is going to make their life easier is going to be helpful.
Laura: Just this morning I spoke to a prospect. She's driving a training initiative for her company and she has a really narrow window of opportunity to actually get in front of the executive team. My PowerPoint slide deck, as much as I loved it, I do not think it was going to cut it for her small window of time that she had. So instead I drafted a two page executive summary. It outlined the objectives, my recommendation, the desired outcome, investment timeline, things like that. If their job is to convince the others to jump on board and sign off on an agreement or move forward, you've just made their life a whole lot easier and its something that everybody can appreciate.
Anita: Oh that is so, so true.
Laura: The other thing to keep in mind is that it's going to help your sales people be more successful is to help them understand and follow a sales process. We train sellers and sales leaders on the impact selling system, which is a linked, sequential sales process. We offer customized training programs as well as open enrollment programs and our next open enrollment program actually is scheduled for October 24th and 25th here at our corporate training facility.
Anita: I mentioned earlier about our e- learning project. Well, I am super excited to announce that we are just a couple weeks away from launching that program officially. It's called Impact U. It's our impact selling system training in an e learning format. It's a great way to do training and reinforce training or if you have a small organization, a great way to reach your sales people on the go. So, it's very highly interactive, very engaging. So for more information about this or any of our sales training, just go to Brooksgroup.com for more information. So we do have a few questions that came in. So thank you for submitting those questions. Laura, I'm going to let you handle the first question.
Laura: Absolutely, so the question is what tips do you have for prospects who are far down the path of buying from you, but who suddenly go off the radar? I mean, it's happened to all of us. This is about mindset. You're likely not at the top of their to do list, although you'd like to be. Today's buyers are very busy and you just want to make sure you've followed your sales process but sometimes you're going to do what I have a hard time doing. You're just going to have to wait.
Anita: Patience is a virtue, Laura. How many times have you heard that?
Laura: A lot.
Anita: Okay, thank you for our second question that came in. I'll share with the group. Have you come across any email templates that are useful in getting a response from prospects who have gone dark. So, I know something that's worked well with me to get my attention is the old breakup email. The breakup concept. It really did catch my attention. Short and sweet. To the point. Something like, hi prospect, I haven't heard from you so I am going to assume that you are going in a different direction or your priorities have changed. Let me know if we can be of assistance in the future.
Laura: Yeah, your time is valuable, their time is valuable. Let's see where we are and move from there.
Anita: And the hub spot, I've noticed, has some great templates available that you can use as a starting point. You know, just make it your own. Be creative with the messaging, but short, sweet and to the point.
Laura: I subscribed to all their sales and sales management emails, they're great. A great resource. Here's another question. How do you make sure you're not being seen as a pest but at the same time continue following up persistently and diligently. That's a great question. This can be really tricky, Anita. Certainly you start with an email but after some time has passed and you don't get any response, sometimes it's just best to pick up the phone and let the prospect know that it's not your intention to be a nuisance or a pest ad then also see if there's any insight into the timing of their decision. Finding something to move it along. I was recently in a situation like this and I picked up the phone, made the call and I found out that they had a big transition taking place within their organization. They had an annual meeting in addition to that and so it wasn't about me, it was about them but now they're ready to move forward.
Anita: So many times sales reps take it so personally and it's not necessarily about them. Sometimes it is, but it's not necessarily but just imagine using that what's old is new again idea, concept. Picking up the phone and having a one on one conversation. So much can be gleamed from that. So remember that, especially if you're coaching millennials who are so used to utilizing and depending upon electronic communication that the phone does amazing things.
Laura: It may be out of their comfort zone, but it's definitely worth a try.
Anita: Yeah. Well that wraps up all the questions that were submitted and we appreciate you joining us today and we hope that you have taken a few good takeaways on how to warm up that lead that's gone cold.
Laura: Yeah, thanks for joining us. Bye-bye.