August 20

3 Tips to Reengage Stalled Marketing Qualified Leads Fast

Inside Sales

26  comments

Longer selling cycles and stalled deals are impeding sales funnels everywhere. Use these three tips to convert more leads into revenue:

Use Sales Funnel-Specific Market Research

If you really want to understand what’s happening with customers at a particular point in your funnel, then you have to ask them while the last interaction with you is relatively fresh in their minds.

As such, an interview or survey should happen close enough to the event that the prospect will recall the context of the decision. Be sure to include questions on customer decision dynamics.

In many industries, for example, executives are scrutinizing much smaller transactions, so lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales enablement tactics must address this shift in buying behavior. Typically, such research reveals a few issues that can be resolved relatively quickly.

Integrate this research into your demand-generation and lead-nurturing framework by making such surveys or interviews automated trigger events. For example, let’s say you’d like to gain a customer perspective of your teleprospecting operation. Here’s how you can go about it:

1. Create an automated rule – on the first business development conversation send an email to the prospect moments after the call.
2. Reference the dialogue and the name of the representative, then ask for confidential feedback.
3. Provide a link within the email to a simple survey that asks about the knowledge and professionalism of the representative. The web form might also allow for free-text feedback.

Use this type of feedback to improve training for the individual or team. Similar context-sensitive surveys could occur when customers download a white paper or a case study, attend a webinar or visit a tradeshow booth. Use this kind of information to improve white papers, case studies, webinars, or other specific marketing outputs.

Use Inside Sales Reps to Re-Engage old MQLs 

Inside sales representatives should consistently approach “dead” leads as a simple market-research project. The message can be straight and true.

The representative is trying to find out what went wrong to better serve customers in the future. The rep should ask the customer to be as candid as possible, then listen and thank the customer for his candor.

Open-ended questions should be used at the outset, with probing and clarifying questions after that. In many states, B2B calls can be digitally recorded so crucial stakeholders can actually hear what customers are saying.

Obviously, for this approach to work, the inside sales team must be listened to as a voice of the customer.

The company can then use this intelligence to develop incentives that address the problems of delay. For example, if prospects lack capital budgets, perhaps a “buy-now-pay-later” program will get the sale back on track.

Commonly, nothing has happened because the project was never a priority. In such cases, lead nurturing, and campaigns targeting more senior executives can be of value.

Make this type of effort a two-part campaign. In the first phase, the team does the research. In the second, after huddling with product marketing and sharing the answers, the group reaches back out selectively to offer solutions that respond to the prospect’s reason for stalling. Of course, the solutions can then be applied moving forward to all stalled opportunities.

Update Your Ideal Customer Profile

Sometimes, less is more. If your research reveals that your product or services are not a particularly good fit, you might want to revisit the ideal customer profile for each product or service and adjust your targeting and qualification tactics accordingly.

Better targeting won’t salvage stalled leads, but it will allow you to allocate more sales and marketing resources where you can win more frequently. That strategy, in turn, may buy your company more time to change the product or service to make it more competitive.

While no one can change the economy, you can increase the yield from demand-generation investments by using these three practices.

They’ll help you attain a better understanding of the buying behavior and obstacles that prevent customers from moving forward.

This approach will help you identify the best tools to move them down the sales funnel or reallocate resources that will yield a better return on investment.

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About the author 

J. David Green

J. David Green is the CEO of PipeAlign, a company that helps B2B companies tell a winning story, scale that story across sales and marketing, and measure and improve what matters most. Among other accomplishments, Dave generated a billion dollar sales pipeline in 20 months for Avaya, increased SMB revenue for Symantec from $2MM a year to $25M a year in twelve months, wrote a book on scalable lead generation, and has spoken at the DMA, MarketingSherpa, the BMA, the AMA, and many other events.

  1. I couldn’t agree more. B2B lead generation seems to be getting back to quality after seemingly a period of panick and trying to sell to anybody.

    Telemarketing is still a key tool for lead generation if it is done well and these tips should get results for most companies.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. B2B lead generation seems to be getting back to quality after seemingly a period of panick and trying to sell to anybody.

    Telemarketing is still a key tool for lead generation if it is done well and these tips should get results for most companies.

  3. I particularly agree with the concept of consistently refreshing your “ideal client profile.” In thinking about it, I wonder if this actually COULD be a way to refresh stalled leads. Examining “traits” of an ideal client could still unmask in-roads into the stalled prospect, in the sense that a prospect’s needs are constantly changing. An optimization-driven (i.e. cost-cutting) executive THIS year may be an “accelerator” (i.e. “moving the business forward”) next year. This changes messaging, which could resonate better with a stalled lead. Either way, keeping a close eye on prospect needs, via consistent touch-points, is the way to go.

  4. I particularly agree with the concept of consistently refreshing your “ideal client profile.” In thinking about it, I wonder if this actually COULD be a way to refresh stalled leads. Examining “traits” of an ideal client could still unmask in-roads into the stalled prospect, in the sense that a prospect’s needs are constantly changing. An optimization-driven (i.e. cost-cutting) executive THIS year may be an “accelerator” (i.e. “moving the business forward”) next year. This changes messaging, which could resonate better with a stalled lead. Either way, keeping a close eye on prospect needs, via consistent touch-points, is the way to go.

  5. @Connor Keating
    Connor – Thanks for joining the conversation. I’m not sure what your level of experience is. But there are ways to gain clarity and to stay up with the latest trends. See our various blogs at MarketingSherpa, the B2BLeadBlog, and MarketingExperiments. We also publish advanced practices books and benchmark studies that are relatively inexpensive. Brian Carrol on our team wrote a best seller on, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale. And we do lots of conferences and workshops.

  6. @Connor Keating
    Connor – Thanks for joining the conversation. I’m not sure what your level of experience is. But there are ways to gain clarity and to stay up with the latest trends. See our various blogs at MarketingSherpa, the B2BLeadBlog, and MarketingExperiments. We also publish advanced practices books and benchmark studies that are relatively inexpensive. Brian Carrol on our team wrote a best seller on, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale. And we do lots of conferences and workshops.

  7. I would have to agree. These three practices can really convert more leads into revenue, so if all firms can swing them, it’s worth it. They are easy to follow, at least for me, and like you said, they are great for getting a better return on investment. Thanks David!

    Best of luck,

    Nadine

  8. I would have to agree. These three practices can really convert more leads into revenue, so if all firms can swing them, it’s worth it. They are easy to follow, at least for me, and like you said, they are great for getting a better return on investment. Thanks David!

    Best of luck,

    Nadine

  9. I agree with what has been said in the article, especially when it comes to outsourced teleprospecting. For me, reigniting sales leads through outsourced services is the way to go. Thanks for the share.

  10. I agree with what has been said in the article, especially when it comes to outsourced teleprospecting. For me, reigniting sales leads through outsourced services is the way to go. Thanks for the share.

  11. We’d very much agree with the second point of the article, constantly re-approaching “month old stale leads” from a legal sales perspective in telemarketing really works. It surprised one of my lead clients that a 3 month old prospect posted a retainer after 3 approaches, the initial, the followup, and then the close. The thing with consumer behavior, in this case, was that the prospect was out of the country on business for the entire summer. A match to teleprospecting and consumer behavior is key in driving the close ratio higher.

  12. We’d very much agree with the second point of the article, constantly re-approaching “month old stale leads” from a legal sales perspective in telemarketing really works. It surprised one of my lead clients that a 3 month old prospect posted a retainer after 3 approaches, the initial, the followup, and then the close. The thing with consumer behavior, in this case, was that the prospect was out of the country on business for the entire summer. A match to teleprospecting and consumer behavior is key in driving the close ratio higher.

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