How do you handle lost sales opportunities? Does all the follow-up responsibility lie with Sales?
Do you ever worry that sales that end in no decision (or aren’t ready to close right away) fall through the cracks because your sales team forgot to follow up?
A 3-Year-Old Proposal
One of our clients had an exciting thing happen recently. A prospect – a very large investment bank – whom they’d been trying to sell to three years ago, called out of the blue. They told our client that they want to move forward and asked for an update to a 3-year-old proposal. The bank plans to make a decision very quickly.
Our client had not been in contact with this prospect since the decision was tabled three years ago, and they were caught by surprise at this opportunity.
How Many Deals Fall Through the Cracks?
Most of us dream of having deals fall in our laps like that. But the CEO of this client had a distressing thought, “how many other opportunities have we lost because we didn’t follow up and nurture the relationship over time?”
Nurture Your “No’s”
I’d encourage you to ask the same question. How many proposals have you or your team submitted in the past few years where the client said “no” or “not now” or made no decision at all? It’s short-sighted to let these qualified leads fall through the cracks. Establish a recycling program and send all the members of the buying committee back to marketing for systematic personalized nurturing.
Send them compelling thought leadership articles and other content that will keep your company on their radar. Use your content to build up awareness of the business problems that led them to you in the first place. You never know when priorities will change and they’ll realize that they need help. What’s important is that they remember you when their needs change.
Monitor with Marketing Automation
If you have a marketing automation system, you can monitor what they’re doing with the lead nurturing content. When they start responding, then send the lead back to sales for another try, with notes about the original proposal. Maybe you’ll catch them at the right time on this go-around.