How to Re-Engage Cold Leads: A 3-Step Plan for Software Providers

April 14, 2021
Contributor: Rupal Bhandari

To re-engage cold leads, software providers need to understand why leads go silent and use that insight to create a multichannel re-engagement strategy.

Almost every salesperson has experienced the silent treatment or ghosting from a potential customer. Initially, leads that go cold seem to progress normally. The salesperson has a successful phone call with the lead, followed by emails and possibly a meeting when information and ideas are exchanged. Sometimes even requirements and budgets for the solution are shared when suddenly, the potential buyer turns cold and no longer responds to emails or calls.

When a lead goes cold, it might not always be possible to get them interested again. And unsolicited communication, such as standard lead nurturing campaigns, won’t help. Instead, software providers need to understand the reasons behind the buyer’s silence, and use their findings to create a multichannel re-engagement and communications strategy. 

Try to find the reason behind the buyer’s silence

The reason behind a lead’s silence might not always be disinterest. Some of the top reasons why leads stop communicating with software providers include changing business priorities and abandonment of the project altogether. Other significant reasons include, reaching the point in the sales process where the provider's help is no longer needed or the feeling that continued contact with the provider would result in increased pressure to buy. 

Top reasons why sales leads go cold

Software providers should try to find the reasons why leads go cold by reaching out with yes-no questions that are easy for a buyer to answer. Ask questions like, “Is the proposal still being considered?” or “Has the project been canceled?” or “Has the bid been awarded to a competitor?” 

If your yes-no questions go unanswered, send a feedback request from a senior executive (not someone within the sales team). In that request, ask if the salesperson failed to understand their needs, and if so, how they could do better. Buyer feedback can be used for win-loss research and analysis, and help identify any weaknesses within your sales process.

Create a multichannel re-engagement strategy

A multichannel re-engagement strategy can be used for leads that are still interested in the solution but haven’t finalized a provider yet. Sending two or three messages at the same time, across multiple channels, increases the probability of reply rates by as much as 14% (full research available to Gartner clients). That method of multichannel engagement is known as a double or triple touch pattern. 

Re-engage sales outreach touch pattern example

To re-engage cold leads, a 13-day triple touch pattern is recommended. This touch pattern covers emails, cold calls, LinkedIn messages, video and direct mail. Software providers should decide which channels to use for a particular cold lead based on previous interactions. A re-engage touch pattern strategy should rely heavily on email and phone outreach and re-establish a personal connection with the salesperson. 

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Craft value-based communication for re-engagement

Relevant and value-based messages are a crucial part of a re-engagement strategy. It’s important to determine a communication theme for each set of touch points. Common outreach themes include account-centric (e.g., messages about similar accounts), buyer-centric (e.g., messages about those with similar roles) and content-centric (e.g., messages about relevant content). 

Sample communication templates for sales re-engagement outreach

Software providers should create standardized templates for re-engagement messages, but make sure at least 20% of the message can be customized to the lead. Customize using a combination of role, vertical, or use-case insights from previous contact with the lead and further account research. Personalization is an important part of re-engagement communication as it can double response rates, according to Gartner (full research available to Gartner clients).

Align re-engagement strategy to the buyer journey

An average buyer expresses interest in at least four to five companies or products when researching software solutions. It’s natural for buyers to narrow their search and supplier options as they progress from the awareness phase to the consideration and decision phases of their purchase journey. Usually, it’s during that shift from the awareness stage to the consideration or decision stages when a lead goes cold or ghosts a supplier. Be sure to align your re-engagement strategy with your buyer’s journey to increase effectiveness.

Rupal Bhandari

Rupal Bhandari covers sales and account management markets. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delhi, India, and has created content for some of the world’s leading technology products and companies. Connect with Rupal on LinkedIn.

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