One of the biggest goals for any business is to convert leads into sales opportunities and, eventually, long-term customers.
More often than not, however, this is easier said than done. More than 63% of marketers say that generating traffic and leads is their top challenge and only 25% of leads are considered legitimate. No matter how you slice it, this kind of conversion challenge hurts your bottom line - every lost lead means that your nurturing efforts have failed and that you are not going to get a return on investment for that individual.
So how do you stop this from happening and keep your leads from going cold? Well, in some cases you can’t. In other cases, your leads can be recovered, re-engaged and turned into valuable contacts and opportunities. Here, we break down how to recover your leads and how your CRM can help.
Why You Lose Leads
Oftentimes, a lead simply becomes distracted and does not make the effort necessary to follow-up. Let’s consider the following example: you run a business that leases office space to companies. You attend a conference where you meet a man named Ron who is interested in your services. The two of you chat for a bit, but after the conference he gets distracted and forgets to contact you. Your business card sits at the bottom of his laptop bag for months, and eventually his company leases space from someone else.
Your Products or Services Are Not Required
There are very few products or services that customers are consistently going to need, which means that this issue is usually inevitable. In these cases, your lead may be very interested in your product or service - but they just don’t need it at that moment and they can’t justify the expense. This issue is all about timing and staying on your lead’s radar.
Your Lead Has Moved On, and Your Emails to Them Bounced Back
The older your database, the more frequently this will happen. Over time, as your customer data sits in your database, it tends to degrade and become full of old, outdated or inaccurate information. Going back to our first example, let’s say that, a few years down the road, Ron leaves his company and moves on to a new firm. You send your regularly scheduled email to him asking if his company requires your service and it bounces back. For all intensive purposes, it seems like the lead is gone.
They Are No Longer Interested
This can happen for many reasons. Maybe your lead found another company that better met their needs, or perhaps your company was just too expensive for their current budget. Maybe Ron really wanted to sign on with you, but his boss wouldn’t get on board so he had to go in another direction.
How to Recover Lost Leads
In each of the above scenarios, it is possible to recover the lost leads and turn them into sales opportunities and return customers - and your CRM can be a great tool to help you do so. Here, we break down exactly how to use your CRM to recover your lost leads and discuss some overarching lead recovery strategies that you can use.
How Your CRM Can Help
First, let’s discuss the role that the CRM has in lead nurturing and recovery. For many, the CRM is where you monitor your leads, track your interactions with them as they become opportunities, analyze the possible revenue they could bring, and see exactly where they drop off and become lost leads. It’s your best source of information about your customers and the number one place where you can proactively and reactively keep them from becoming lost leads. Here’s how it can help you in each of our scenarios:
There are many strategies that you can use to keep your leads from becoming distracted and forgetting about your business. The first, of course, is contacting them manually. However, while this could work on a small scale, it’s both time-consuming and inefficient in the big picture. For more effective follow-up, use your CRM.
If you are diligent about importing your new customer data into your CRM, you can use your automated marketing tools to send personalized messages to each of your distracted leads. For example, say someone became a contact one month ago. They filled out a form, read a blog or downloaded an eBook that show genuine, bottom-of-the-funnel interest in your service - and then they suddenly disappeared. Well, if your CRM data is complete and organized, you can set up an automated email to be sent to those individuals after a certain period of time. If they were truly interested, it could be just the reminder they need to get back onto your site.
This can work even if your lead has not taken such a definitive step. For example, say a lead is browsing for your tool or service and they stumble across your site. They are extremely interested, but they get called away from their computer. In this case, you haven’t had an opportunity to capture all of their customer information, but that doesn’t mean they’re lost.
In such instances, your CRM can capture their data and allow you to send an automated reengagement message. This can be via email, social media, or whatever your prefered customer contact method is, and it can simply be something like “We hope you enjoyed browsing X product or service, and we look forward to seeing you again. Please contact us at this address if you have any questions.” That said, the more specific the better - if a lead thinks that you are talking specifically to them, he or she is more likely to pursue you and respond.
To help personalize your message, use your CRM to gather data about what area the lead was looking at on your website. Maybe, for example, they were looking at one specific item. You can acknowledge that in the email to increase the personalization and pique their interest.
Your Products or Services Aren’t Required
In this situation, there are several different tactics you can take to re-engage that lead. In each case, however, the most important thing to keep in mind is to always be focused on your customer’s needs and desires, rather than on selling them a product. No one likes feeling like they are being sold to, and people tend to filter out obvious salesmanship almost automatically. So how do you avoid sounding like a salesperson and still make a sale?
Trigger events are one of the main ways to re-engage a lost lead without looking like you are trying to sell them something. Say, for example, that you see that a lead’s company has launched a new product, or that they have received a promotion. Use these trigger events to reach out and send them an email showing your enthusiasm for their success: “Hey, Ron. I saw you got promoted to vice president of sales at Company X. Congratulations!” This can remind your lead that he has an ongoing relationship with your company and encourage him to re-engage
To get this right, however, it’s important to approach it with the right tone. It’s the difference between an old friend tracking you down on social media and saying “Hey. Why haven’t you talked to me in the last year? Did I do something wrong?” and that same friend posting on your social media saying, “I saw you got a new job. Congratulations! I hope everything is going well for you.” The first scenario seems desperate and demanding, while the second has a more subtle, supportive tone. Trigger events should make your company seem like the second friend.
This Offer Will Self-Destruct
People are motivated by urgency. If you give your customers all the time in the world, they will take it. However, if you give them an offer with a brief window of time, they will be much more likely to follow up on that right away. Of course, this only works if you know exactly what the customer wants. Say, for example, that Ron was looking to lease office space on New York’s lower-east side. Show him the property you have available there, and make sure to highlight the location “Lower East Side property: 50% off your first 90 days when you sign a lease this week!” This targets Ron’s specific needs and interests and creates a sense of urgency, making him think that he will miss out on the deal if he doesn’t act now. Even if he wasn’t fully convinced before, he might be with this kind of motivation.
Your Lead Has Moved On, and Your Emails to Them Bounced Back
While it could seem like you’ve reached the end of the road with this scenario, it can actually be a good opportunity for your business to branch out and get new leads and opportunities.
To make this work, the first thing you need to do is to track down your lead’s new email at his new company. While this can be difficult to do manually, it can be fairly straightforward if you use a data enrichment tool - like Clearbit or Fullcontact - in your CRM to get a fuller view of the lead’s contact information. Once you get the new email, send the lead a message. Be sure to congratulate him on the new job (utilizing that trigger event), and reemphasize your desire to work with him if he ever needs some office space again. Because he is new to this position, it’s likely you will be one of the first contacts he receives, and he will be more inclined to read that email and pursue your company because he has worked with you before. Similarly, you can continue treating the lead as an ongoing contact - rather than a new contact - which can open up many new sales possibilities.
They Are No Longer Interested
Does this mean that the lead is dead? Not necessarily! While it is certainly harder to re-engage with these leads, it’s not impossible. A company’s needs and resources change over time, which means that, even though they don’t want your services now, they may see you as an attractive option in the future.
To maintain positive communication with this contact, however, it’s important not to overwhelm them with constant communication. After all, they have already made it clear that they don’t want to work with you, so make sure that you maintain contact with them at longer, but still regular, intervals.
Set up your marketing tools to send them an email every year with some offers that you think they will find appealing. Let them know when you have a new service, new financing plan, or new products to sell. Send the occasional e-mail when you post an article that they might be interested in. Most importantly, keep it about them. Make sure it’s clear that you are providing them with a service and not that you need their business. As long as that’s the case, they are less likely to become frustrated with you and much more likely to keep you in mind in the future, when and if their needs change.
What About Any Missing Pieces: Xplenty’s Data Delivery Platform
In each of the above scenarios, one thing that is extremely important is your lead’s data. To really know what their status is as a lead and where they are in their journey with your company, you have to fully understand their interactions with your business. As we mentioned before, a lot of this understanding comes from your CRM itself, and you’re already in a pretty powerful position if you can effectively organize and analyze your CRM data.
That said, for most companies the CRM is not the only source of customer information. What about your customer service software? Or your social media ads? Your Google Analytics? If this data isn’t taken into consideration, you may be missing some key insights about your leads.
Xplenty makes sure that this never happens. By helping you ensure that all of these sources are fully integrated and up-to-date, the Xplenty data integration platform can give you an even more proactive, holistic understanding of why you lose your leads, where you lose them and how to take control.
The moral of the story? A lost lead is not a dead lead. By maintaining your CRM, integrating your data from all of your sources and setting up proactive automated marketing services, you can successfully re-engage your lost leads and increase the lifetime of each of your customers, strengthening your business, your contact base and your ROI.
For more information about how the Xplenty platform can help recover lost leads, contact one of our experts today.