Your sales team gets a sales qualified lead that has great potential to convert at the end of your company’s lead funnel. That lead seems to be going through the sales funnel stages smoothly. Then they suddenly seem to drop out of the funnel before they reach the conversion stage. A sales deal that was on track to close in a timely manner now seems to come to an abrupt halt. Depending on the size of your company, your sales rep may choose to simply give up on the lead and move on to the next sales qualified lead. This decision to no longer dedicate time and resources to a “lost cause” seems like a reasonable one. However, is it the only one? Is it ever worthwhile to pursue stalled leads?
What is a Stalled Lead?
Stalled leads are often frustrating and stressful. They are what many sales people dread and try to avoid. In a nutshell, a stalled lead is sales qualified lead that fails to progress through the sales lead funnel. A lead can stall at any point on the sales funnel. However, a sales qualified lead is more likely to stall in the earlier sales funnel stages when there is less of a commitment. A few leads can stall at the later stages, which can cause the greatest angst for your sales team.
What Causes Stalled Leads
There are a variety of reasons why a sales qualified lead can stall. Some of the reasons can be mitigated and prevented by a solid sales strategy and process. Others are outside of your sales department’s control. Some of the most common reasons leads stall are:
A Poorly Developed Sales Process. If you think that your sales person can make a lead convert in a matter of a few days, you’ll be disappointed. The sales process is a relationship. Trust must be formed as well as communication and give and take on both sides. As you take the sales qualified lead down through the different sales funnel stages, he or she should become more comfortable, confident and excited to do business with you. Developing a sales process guides and directs each member of the sales team and teaches them how to proceed with prospects through the sales funnel in the most effective way. When there is a formal sales process in place, it is easier to pinpoint trouble areas and make improvements while not completely deconstructing your funnel.
If there is no sales process or if it isn’t great. It won’t be effective in resulting in conversions. Likewise, there will be more gaps in the process where there is a greater chance for miscommunication, lack of follow-up and leads either falling through the cracks or stalling.
Sales Process Isn’t Followed. There are some overly ambitious sales people out there who rush sales qualified leads through the sales funnel in order to get a faster close. This often involves the skipping of sales funnel stages. While it is commendable to get sales to close as quickly as possible, the rushing through the funnel and bypassing funnel stages only results in disaster. The leads will either walk away from the deal or they will stall. Remember, it is a process to convert sales qualified leads. The funnel and sales funnel stages are designed to gradually move the lead to convert. Skipping stages can confuse or intimidate the lead and they will stall.
A Poor Value Proposition. What sets your company apart from your competitors? What value do your products or services offer to customers and clients? If you can’t confidently answer these questions, sales qualified leads will think twice about signing a contract and doing business with you. When your sales personnel can’t clearly communicate your company’s value, prospective leads will stall or worse, choose to work with a competitor.
You Allow the Prospect to Control the Sale. Regardless of whether the sales qualified lead is your dream client or you’re eager to gain your first customer, sitting back and letting the lead prospect call all the shots is a recipe for disaster and stalled leads. While you may think you’re being nice, you’re forfeiting your value to the prospective customer. The sales qualified lead likely doesn’t know much about the sales process or sales strategy. They may know what they want, but they don’t know the steps to take to achieve those desired results. Unless your salesperson steps in, the sales lead will wind up confused and overwhelmed. This anxiety and lack of guidance and direction can make them stall.
Failure to Get Everyone on the Same Page. Most business decisions require approval from multiple people in leadership at a company. Just because the qualified sales lead wants to work with you doesn’t mean other decision makers of their company are on board. The lack of consensus among a company’s leadership can cause leads to stall. Sales people who communicate with all the decision makers of a company instead of just the sales prospect, are more likely to build that consensus in order to keep the sale moving.
External Events. Sometimes a lead stalls for reasons outside the sales person’s control. Company shake-ups, resigning or retiring leadership and financial issues are common circumstances that can cause a lead to stall.
The Value of Stalled Leads
While the value of each lead may be different for each company and industry, every prospect, including stalled sales leads have the potential to become customers and increase the profitability of the company they do business with. Depending on your company’s size and the value of your products or services, stalled leads can be worth a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Just because a sales lead has stalled doesn’t mean they are a lost cause and a missed sale. Additionally, that missed sale also means a company missed out on gaining a potential repeat, loyal customer. Stalled leads can be “revived” and continue their process through the sales funnel. Whether the stalled lead is a result of lack of communication or follow up or hesitancy by the prospect, Aktify can help your company revive those dead leads and make them into converting customers.
We have helped many business generate revenue and profit from their stalled leads. To learn more about our services and how we can help you revive your dead leads, please contact us.