The Lost Value of Sales Leads – Does a Sales Lead Ever Die?


Telesales lead quality is a clear determiner of commercial revenue and ultimately, growth. However, it’s not uncommon for leads to be discarded for one reason or another. Not least being that if they don’t show immediate ROI, the specific lead is, effectively, dead. Then it’s onto the next.

Is this a marker of a successful, thorough approach to lead generation? Not really. What if that one discarded lead was a golden opportunity to build a fruitful, longstanding commercial relationship? A single decision could potentially cost your business thousands – even the best opportunity you’ve ever had!

What if there was a way to catalogue dropped leads – converting lost chances into golden opportunities? By pivoting how your business nurtures telesales leads, especially lost leads, you can do just this.

Why Are Sales Leads Lost?

Regardless of the potential or existing customers’ position in the sales funnel, be it awareness or even loyalty, there are a plethora of reasons why sales leads are lost. Of course, there could be a breakdown in communication, and prospects not being fully cognizant of the true benefit of a sales lead.

Then there’s the ethos of salespeople. Let’s say one salesperson’s focus is on quick wins as opposed to playing the long game. This results in an inevitable problem – a dwindling funnel. The bottom line? If you don’t build personal relationships, you compromise your chances of turning prospects into advocates. It’s that simple.

Another glaring reason why sales leads are lost – one that’s true of some salespeople, but the anthesis of our previous point – is that sometimes the volume of actionable leads is too high. This results in some, potentially high-quality leads slipping through the cracks. The result? Encouraging leads are forgotten.

Of course, there are more reasons why sales leads are lost. If nothing else, letting a lead go cold isn’t exactly the best way to nurture any commercial relationship, especially if the prospect is ready to get their wallet out! However, there is a solution to this – one that improves commercial revenue and growth – having a robust lead recovery strategy.

The Value of Leads

Leads might not immediately convert, but that doesn’t mean that they have no inherent value. Remember, a lead can be re-evaluated at a later date and a simple call could turn a prospect to a customer.

The mistake businesses make is discarding perfectly good leads if, for instance, they cannot speak to a decision maker after one or two calls. Examine all those leads at all stages of the sales funnel against their potential value, and you might just find an extra £50,000, even £500,000 worth of business could be yours. All it took was a little perseverance!

But to access any potential lead revenue, you need to have a process in place.

There’s the qualified recycle whereby a company is in the market for what you’re selling, but not at this moment. Shrewd salespeople know they’re buyers, but not yet a lead, Therefore, the opportunity can be recycled with a call at a later date.

Conversely, there are leads that just require conversations with the right person – a sales director, finance director or managing director. Building a relationship with decision makers helps them to understand the true value of the opportunity. It’s all about recognising where the value is. If you’re stonewalled, dismissed or if a lead is out of scope, it might be best to move on. If there’s potential, a relationship can be developed and revenue brought into the business.

A Sales Lead Never Dies… With a Handful of Exceptions

When leads go cold, there are a handful of things that can be done to resurrect an opportunity that was once quite promising. Know how to do it and you won’t ever have to wave the white flag and admit defeat.

The key to making sure that a sales lead never dies is really quite simple: keep the dialogue going, sometimes over weeks, months or even years. The cornerstone of a business is relationship building. It’s about the rapport that you develop. With one exception… when a lead is out of scope.

Now, there are several ways that a lead can be out of scope, but the most obvious is when an existing decision-maker informs you that they have decided that you’re not their preferred supplier and that they have a relationship with another business.

Another exception is when, let’s say a business has decided to cut operational costs and partner with a cheaper partner out of, for example, India. Again, this is out of scope and, for the moment at least, this lead is dead.

Yet, a change in circumstances doesn’t mean that all is lost. Remember, the odds are that your prospects and customers don’t have an endless supply of businesses in the nurture pipeline to partner with. Business relationships are severed all the time and should a prospect or former customer experience such an event, you want to be there to resurrect the relationship.

Resurrect Lost Opportunities

It can be easy to discard a lead and move on to the next. Don’t forget, it’s not uncommon for salespeople to go after the low-hanging fruit – leads with the greatest potential to convert quickly. But is this the right approach? Not if you want to play the long game and turn a lead into £1000s, £10,000s or more worth of business.

The truth is that when you venture into those dropped leads, regardless of where they are in the funnel, there are opportunities to resurrect what once had great potential… and still does.

When all’s said and done, a sales lead only dies when it’s out of scope. But things change. A lead that’s dead in the water could one day be vital the next.

Joe Green

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