Rescue your prospects from the “Island of Forgotten leads”!

What happens to your ad sales leads when it’s clear they are not ready for your services at this time?  Are they banished to the island of forgotten leads?  Or are they cultivated and returned to the sales pipeline for follow-up somewhere in the future?  B2B sales cycles can be notoriously long.  Research firm SiriusDecisions found that over the past 5 years, sales cycles have become 22% longer and typically include three more decision makers.  Adjust your prospecting time accordingly.  Invest time in nurturing quality leads.  Don’t assume a prospect who does not want to advertise right now is a lost lead.  Situations change and organizations restructure.  Management and personnel roles shift.  Budgets sometimes increase and marketing needs that didn’t exist at first pitch, may now be wanted!

Organization is vital. Manage your CRM systems to follow up with “not right now” prospects.  A “not right now” prospects can be a former client who has not used your service in a while.  It can be a person you pitched 6 months to a year ago that seemed interested, but pulled out because they didn’t have the budget.  It can be that prospect who was very new to the role and assessing their needs.  It can be someone who opted for your competitor, but is close to the end of their contract.  A “not now” from a prospect shouldn’t be the end of the conversation, it should be the start of a relationship.  Stay in touch regularly but don’t be a nuisance, no one likes a stalker.

If you have a new promotion or savings opportunity, reach out to those prospects first.  If you read a new article or meet other services or program that could be useful, send them their way.  If they’re already a customer, make sure they’re maximizing their current services.  Once you find worthy candidates, it is your duty as a salesperson to show them you are there looking out for them.  Lead nurturing is very much a courting process.  Invest the time, be sincere, and it will pay handsomely down the road!