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Bringing Back the Dead: How to Revive Your Lost Leads

You’ve done it all: you’ve invested money in a software system with CRM capabilities. You’ve set up your system to personalize the customer experience, so customers feel that you’re invested in them. You’ve spent countless days charting that customer experience with all the right touchpoints to lead them up the mountain. Your sales are up, but some leads aren’t converting – you’re losing them to the abyss. Why?

And how do you bridge the gap?

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As Entrepreneur points out, a dead lead doesn’t necessarily mean game over. “Just because you lost a client, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow up—you never know when fortunes might turn,” writes Tina Garg. “[CRM] provides clarity on potential roadblocks in the process. [It] gives you the ability to review all your past deals and uncover common challenges underlying the same.” 

You might be able to resurrect those dead leads. CRM software allows you to master analyzing your lost opportunities, at what point you may have lost them, and consider how to resurrect them for potential future conversions.

What matters in the end is how you approach and re-engage those lost opportunities. You need to evaluate each lead carefully, and deploy a strategy that addresses the needs of each individually. 

It’s called resuscitation marketing. And here’s a simple 3-step process to make it work for you.

Evaluate Your Losses

Your first step in the resuscitation marketing process is to analyze the types of leads you’ve lost and categorize them.

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There are several types of lost leads:

  • The ‘MIA’ lead. A client came to your website and left, or a client dropped the conversation without indication of their decision
  • The delayed lead. You can categorize this client as one who indicated they will purchase, but not until a certain date or time frame
  • The dead lead. This is a client who purchased from a competitor or opted out of buying

It is possible to have multiple combinations of these lost leads, by the way. You may find that your potential client came to your website, filled out a form, and never responded to your email because you took too long to get in touch. They went on to engage with, or buy from, your competitor in the time it took you to respond. 

You may find that other leads indicated they were looking for a specific time window to buy, and when you didn’t follow up again in that time frame, they forgot about you. Even if they start the process over again and your name comes up in their search result, they may not contact you—or worse, they’ll remember that you didn’t follow up at the right time.

“By understanding why your lead failed to convert and constructing an offer to suit their needs,” writes Jia Wertz for Forbes, “your campaigns have a much greater chance of success.” Segmenting these types of lost leads can help you organize your approach to each, and establish pathways for similar future interactions.

Find The Catalyst

The next step is to evaluate how to reignite the spark without burning the bridge.

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Re-engaging lost leads can get a little tricky—it’s always a good idea to ask someone who has years or even decades of knowledge in providing great customer experience. We asked a few experts to weigh in on a successful re-engagement strategy. 

“If you accidentally let a prospect or lead ‘fall off the radar,’ don’t make excuses about how it could have happened,” writes Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert and NY Times bestselling author. “Just be transparent. Obviously, apologize first and then let the prospect know you have a system that someone failed. Then follow up with the assurance that you’re back on track, and offer some value to get their attention. Make it genuine and personal. Follow up with an email to confirm what you talked about, and respond quickly to any request or question they have. Your goal is to restore confidence as you move the relationship from lost to mutually lucrative.”

“Engaging prospects is a never-ending project,” writes Christoph Trappe, CCO of The Authentic Storytelling Project. “In fact, today it takes like 30 touch points to move people along in the funnel. There are a number of strategies to do that. They could include: 

  • Easy sign up for email newsletters
  • Use of tools that allow you to quickly follow up with what previously was unknown traffic
  • Constant sharing of relevant content on all channels

“The last one particularly is a fine line. The line between spamming people and the line of sharing value can sometimes be easy to cross. I am a big fan of automation—once you have them in your email database, send them useful information on a regular cadence. That cadence feels personalized to them. Remember that connecting with prospects is a marathon – not a sprint.”

Rewire the Connection

The third step of resuscitation marketing? Use the advice you glean to resurrect your lost opportunities—now.

Rewire the connection between you and your lost lead and solidify your business relationship

Let’s say you’re the travel company from our third blog on CRM software. Your opportunity was interested in Alaska, and they started a conversation chain with you about seeing the Northern Lights. Your system pushed out the appropriate information, and your potential client seemed interested, but after a few conversations by phone and email they dropped off the grid. Eventually, they reply to one of your emails to let you know they’ve chosen to go elsewhere. That isn’t what you were hoping to hear—but now you have the catalyst to reignite your lost lead’s journey a month or even a year down the line. It’s all about your avenue of approach.

One approach to consider when re-engaging is your market—especially if you’re a service-based business and you offer more than one avenue of service. If you’re the travel agency in the example above and you serve multiple regions, you might: 

  • Follow up with them after the last communication,
  • find out why they didn’t use your company,
  • ask what attracted them to your competitor,
  • see what they thought about their competitor’s services (after their travel dates), and
  • give them reasons to discover something with you.

Your touchpoint email—sent a few weeks after their return date—is the trigger for a conversation on how travel companies can better handle their overall customer experience. You find out that your ‘dead lead’ for Alaska ended up having a poor encounter with their chosen service provider. You follow up often and quickly. You use your lead’s complaints and examples to refine your touchpoints. 

You follow up again with them—where do they want to go next? Iceland’s the next destination on their bucket list, and now that you know even more about your once-lost lead’s preferences—and how best to communicate your information to them—you nail it. They travel, and they rave about their trip.

You’ve regained their trust. They went because you pursued them, listened to their needs, and delivered on a promise of better things to them. And the best part is: you’re going to be top of mind for their next journey.


Sometimes the way to make a sale isn’t to do everything perfectly at the start—it’s to follow through when things get rough. It’s to regain trust and understand the pathways your customer has already explored. It’s about building a bridge with better materials to a different mountain.

So don’t snuff out your fires—let them smolder a little bit. There’s something you can do with each of those challenges, no matter what stage they’re at.

This is our final article in a series on CRM software. See our previous CRM articles to find out more about CRM, its uses and functions, and how it can help your business grow in 2020.