How to do a follow up call from a Dead List

Dead List to Un-dead List: Plan for reviving lost deals.

Re-engaging old leads which some might want to call “dead leads” too, is a great way to re-generate the lead pipeline. Uncertain scenarios that develop en route to a sales closure makes the sales process challenging, sometimes even to the most experienced sales leaders. Dead leads are most of the times results of unpredictable outcomes during a sales interaction,where further action cannot be taken on a lead at least temporarily and it has to be “shelved”.

While companies spend a lot of time and money generating new leads and contacts, follow up on old contacts (‘Dead Leads”) is a cost effective way of recycling the existing lead pipeline any day. If you would like to see some good results on your lead “regeneration ” process it’s time to follow up! There are several reasons why some of your leads become part of this inactive/dead list, here are some examples:

1) Prospect who became uninterested in your offering after initial interactions.
2) Interested contacts but situations changed for them, so the sale did not happen then. Does not mean it can not happen now-so one could get back to such leads.
3) Interested contact but just went cold. Meaning they were interested but stopped responding all together after some time.

In our experience,we have seen around 9 – 10% revival rate of dead leads if they are not beyond 2-3 years old. Some careful handling of the leads while reconnecting efforts are made are important to get positive responses. Converting an old lead into a sale is not a simple task, but here are a few tips for your sales team to start with when reviving old leads and the lead recycling process. There are several ways to run a campaign on these contacts: using an Inside sales or sales team, sending targeted emails, mailers or text messages. If your product value is high-typical in case of real estate and B2B product/service offerings, I would recommend a three pronged approach-email, text/SMS(if you can) and most importantly a direct call from Inside sales. While building this communication plan, ensure that there is a generous dose of empathy and the entire message comes across as non-salesy. Let me give you an example- Assume you are talking to a prospect who has been classified as not Interested -Budget and that you are in the real estate sales profession. For such a scenario, my opening lines would be as follows:

Saiyed : Hello Mr. X, You may have forgotten, but you have interacted with us last year in the month of June. My name is Saiyed and I am calling from ABC constructions.

Mr X: Yes I faintly remember

Saiyed: Well, Sir, I will keep it short as I have called you without a schedule. You have probably already found a good apartment to purchase? You will not be interested in purchasing any more real estate would you?

Mr. X: Actually, Yes I may be interested/ No I am not interested.

If it is a yes- then you know what to do, talk about how his needs may have changed in an year and schedule a meeting. If he says not Interested, ask if the prospect wants to be contacted again, ever. In either case be cordial and genuine. In general, here is a quick list of approaches and best practices that you can follow:

1) Recheck the current designations of the contact person on portals like linked-in before making an effort to reconnect. Use this information in your discussion or emails
2) An email explaining the “past interaction” to refresh their memories followed by a phone call will help leads have some context before you call them.
3) When on a call with the prospect describe clearly when you had spoken previously and the reasons that led to the “hold” on communication.
4) If the lead has a clear memory of the previous connection, take the opportunity to tell them of developments and “whats new” in your organization.
5) Inquire how things have been with their business or work, since the last call. How have his needs changed, if at all.
6) It will be helpful to have your “activity notes” handy and mention of things they mentioned or referred to during their previous call.
7) Request for  “referral” .Money grows on trees. Referral trees.

More and more marketing teams are embracing re-connect campaigns as a standard practice. First task for marketing is to identify “dead leads” once every six months and second step is to start the recycling process. Businesses cannot afford to waste leads calling them “non workable”, so please start including reconnect campaigns in your marketing and sales plans. The mathematics behind this approach is very clear. In most businesses lost deals can be classified to a great extent in various causes. eg Lost to competition, Budget Mismatch, Timing-Postponed, Needs Mismatch, On Hold, Cold-No response, Unknown reasons, Others etc. As a marketer, if your closure ratio is 5% of all leads (Just an Example guys!) then there are at least 2 or 3 groups of lost deals you should be going back to. Time is the biggest healer- who knows, those who postponed their decisions, did not have budgets back then, or were lost with unknown reasons -Should’nt this 5% success ratio be applied to a few of these dead or cold leads? To extrapolate this- Assume you get 500 leads a month, your win rate is 5% and Lost/Not Interested rate is 10% (assuming in this case, that ABC co. closes one for every two deals in NI/Lost status). By the end of the year, you should have :

1: 6000 Leads

2: 300 Closed Deals

3: 600 in not Interested or Dead List.

4: Again Assume you have a meaningful discussion with 300 of these 600 in the dead list, which were not lost to competition or needs mismatch.

5: You would 5% of 300, ie 15 More closures. Now just to bring this to a real life road test- what if your company has 6000 Leads in not Interested/Dead List? And you have greater than 5% closure rate, which is not very unusual-And you have flexibility of pricing that was unavailable in the past. What would those results look like?

With the right focus, tools and structured processes, working on old leads could unlock tremendous growth potential. This is something Paramantra CRM does automatically. It can identify which leads you should be following up with-sometimes the prospect forgets the sales rep and some times sales reps forget the prospect. In this day and age of hyper activity everyone’s life is on overdrive. So forgetting, or change of priorities is sometimes intentional and sometime unintentional. Paramantra keeps track of every single lead even if they are dead to uncover and present sales opportunities that you may have otherwise missed.