What Sales Opportunities Live In Your Database Graveyard?

February 7, 2017 11:54:04 AM | By Matt Benati

Dead leads dragging down your database? Before you do a mass delete, a strategic Wake The Dead campaign can breathe new life into lifeless leads. As a bonus, if you’re mining the reply emails that come back from snoozing leads, you can gain valuable insights that help to keep your database fresh and your messaging relevant.

Here’s what you need to know about Wake The Dead.

The Problem With Dead Leads

If you pay Marketing Automation fees based on capacity, or email service provider fees based on volume of sends, the obvious problem with dead leads is that you’re paying to keep them around.

The other problem with dead leads is that since you haven’t engaged with them recently, you don’t know anything about them. Are they still even viable contacts within your target accounts? Did they get promoted? Have their needs changed? Do they even still need your solution? If you haven’t heard from them lately, how do you know if what you’re sending every month is even relevant anymore? Instead of continuing to send untargeted content with no results, reallocate that time and resources to actively trying to re-engage those inactive leads.

From a metrics standpoint, dead leads skew your marketing efforts. If you’re sending to a database with a big chunk of inactive leads, your results – opens, clicks, and conversions – are naturally going to be lower. This is an important indicator of the cleanliness of your database, and reengaging – or deleting – dead leads will help normalize your reporting.

How A Wake The Dead Campaign Works

Clearly, it’s not enough to continue sending your standard messages to dead leads. They’ve either moved on and you need to delete them, or they’re ignoring you. You need to shake things up, rattle some bones, and get their attention.

A Wake The Dead campaign is a strategic lead nurturing process that specifically targets the inactive leads in your database. There are a variety of ways to go about it, and your strategy will depend on your business and customers. For example, a lot of B2Cs can get away with a simple, “We Miss You! Come back and get 50% off your next purchase!”, and it’s a fast and extremely effective WTD strategy. B2B Wake The Dead campaigns, on the other hand, require a bit more finesse, and you may find a series of emails with diverse offers and topics nets more engagement.

The goal is to re-engage inactive leads. Even an open is a win as it tells you the lead is still at the same organization and your subject at least caught their attention. This is where your marketing automation really comes in handy; an open can trigger a new workflow that sends another, more targeted and relevant message that furthers the rapport and deepens engagement with the lead. Next, a click, a download, a request for information… and all your hard work begins to pay off as a previously-inactive lead is reengaged, recognizes the value you provide, and becomes a fresh opportunity in the funnel.

What To Do When Your WTD Returns A Ton Of LTC

When you send strictly to an inactive list, don’t be surprised (or discouraged) when you get back a bunch of Left The Company (LTC) replies. Remember, 30% of people change jobs annually; that your dead leads are simply no longer with the company is a very real possibility!

But instead of deleting the record and moving on, look at a LTC as an opportunity. Find out who replaced your lead. Find out where your old lead went. Keep digging and see if you can find out where your new lead came from, and who your old lead replaced in their new role. Now, instead of a dead end, you’re sitting on four potential sales opportunities!

Here’s the thing though: if you’re getting hard bounces, your lead is long gone and the window of opportunity is cold. If you’ve been mining your campaign reply emails all along, however, then you would’ve learned right away that your lead left – when a LTC auto-response was still active to alert senders of the change within the company.

This timing advantage could be the difference between a truly dead lead and four new opportunities.

Other Advantages Of Mining WTD Reply Emails

Now you know how to leverage LTC reply emails, but what about the others like Out Of Office, change of email, or change of position? Those, my friends, contain gold nuggets as well — insights that you can use to append and cleanse your database, add net new referral contacts, and send more targeted messaging.

Your lead is out of the office? Great! You know exactly what day to send a personal follow-up.

Your lead changed positions? Nice! Maybe now they’re a buyer instead of a user and you can change your messaging to get their attention.

Your lead changed emails? Interesting! The organization may have undergone acquisition or rebranding, which is an excellent opportunity to reevaluate their needs.

By paying attention to the “customer whispers” in your reply emails, you gain a wealth of information about inactive leads. A lot of times, this information actually tells you WHY they’ve been inactive and virtually hands you the solution to reengaging them on a silver platter.

And here’s the great thing about mining your emails: once you start doing it, it becomes a continuous tool for generating opportunities and cleansing your database. Instead of waiting to do a Wake The Dead campaign when leads have been inactive for 6 months or even a year, you gain real-time insight into your leads’ movement every time you send a marketing email. This allows you to keep your data fresh, your campaigns timely, your messaging relevant, and your need to reawaken dead leads to a minimum!

Find out more about the intelligence you can mine from campaign reply emails with our FREE Quickstart Guide To Turning Reply Emails Into Revenue:

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