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What to Do with Sales Leads That Aren’t Ready to Meet or Buy

Whether you’re in sales or marketing, you have a list you’re targeting — and you’re using email nurturing and lead generation campaigns to uncover who’s interested right now. But are you doing more than looking for immediate appointments from your target list? Because you should be.

Yes, your ultimate goal with nurturing campaigns is to identify qualified prospects who know about you, read what you send, and want to talk with you. But only a small percentage of your list will be ready right now.

If you’re using a nurturing approach with a defined end date, what happens to all those prospects who you’ve warmed up, but aren’t ready just yet?

Let me give you an example. We wrote a 19-week nurturing campaign for ShoreTel partners to send to their commercial list and identify those companies who may be in the market for new phone systems. We targeted companies who are early in their Client Buying Cycle, doing research and starting to explore their options. During the 19 weeks, we identified who was reading the content we were sending, and salespeople called those contacts to see if it was an appropriate time to set an appointment. At the end of the campaign, there were appointments, and then there was the list of everybody else.

Most companies think that their list of everybody else is just a bunch of unqualified people. Some even call it garbage because it didn’t result in more appointments.

What you really have is two “everybody else” segmented lists:

  1. A list of people who never opened anything. They didn’t open or click through on any email or event invitation in your campaign and they didn’t take any sales calls.
  2. A list of people who were paying attention. They opened and clicked on some of what you sent. They may not have returned any calls, but they were watching and reading.

The first list probably is garbage – or very, very cold. The second list, however, is unpolished gold. They’re the contacts who are starting to recognize the value of your company. They may not need you right now, but if you continue to nurture them, when they do have a need, you’ll be top of mind.

So what’s your strategy to continue nurturing them? Don’t stop now just because your campaign has ended. You need a process in place to avoid dropping these fledgling sales leads. Either continue nurturing them through consistent sales check-in calls, sending them good, educational content, or use a combination of both. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste just because your list isn’t yet ready for an appointment. They may not be ready today, but in Q3 or Q4, they could be your hottest sales leads.


kendra-leeKendra Lee is president of KLA Group, which works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Read more blogs from Kendra here.

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