6 Tips to Re-engage Old Sales Leads

Here’s a guest post from Mary Aspen Richardson.

Despite your best efforts, from marketing to sales to post-sale engagement, you will inevitably lose leads. Most new leads will simply never convert, regardless of how much a powerful marketing funnel will help the odds. Many existing leads will eventually fall off, and it’s indeed important to know when to give up. However, some old leads will convert with proper re-engagement outreach, and it might be too valuable for you not to try. For those cases, we have gathered six tips to re-engage old sales leads, dividing each between dos and don’ts.

Why do sales leads get lost?

First, let’s briefly discuss why old sales leads get lost in the first place.

Research suggests much of the fault lies with marketing teams and sales representatives. Initially, Hubspot cites research that suggests lead nurturing is still distinctly lacking, especially for B2B businesses. Among other statistics, they report that:

  • “65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing[, and] 79% of B2B marketers have not established lead scoring.”
  • “79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.”
  • “46% of marketers with mature lead management processes have sales teams that follow up on more than 75% of marketing-generated leads.”

This already paints a bleak picture. Undoubtedly, new and old leads alike will slip through the cracks if lead nurturing is not present. Indeed, MarketingDonut research confirms this, finding that “80% of non-routine sales occur only after at least five follow-ups”. However, sales reps give up way sooner:

  • “44% of salespeople give up after one “no”.
  • 22% give up after two “nos”.
  • 14% give up after three “nos”.
  • 12% give up after four “nos”.”

Granted, they have the reputation of being “pushy” to compete with – as we’ll discuss below. However, there seems to be room for considerable improvement between the proper implementation of lead scoring and outreach insistence.

Re-engage old sales leads

So, how exactly can you re-engage old sales leads effectively? After proper branding efforts, which will make your leads more susceptible to re-engagement, you may consider the following six factors.

#1 Personalization

The fundamental first step lies in personalization, from copy to timing. Re-engaging leads with the blanket, soulless copy at random times will not suffice, as it doesn’t for traditional marketing. Thus, you should begin by leveraging each lead’s data – ideally gathered through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

Do: Consult your CRM.

In this regard, CRM is tailor-made for personalization and automation alike – as we’ll cover later. So, CRM can be your ally in this effort. Use its lead management features and leverage all the data it offers to re-engage old sales leads. There’s a reason why it’s currently the most prominent software market in the world, according to Statista:

Alt. tag: A graph on Customer Relationship Management software market revenues worldwide from 2015 to 2024.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/605933/worldwide-customer-relationship-management-market-forecast/

Don’t: let your database become outdated.

However, CRM’s database is only as accurate as you allow it to be. To avoid needless clutter, consider regularly scrubbing your database of invalid email addresses, definitively dead leads, and other outdated data. Coupled with good lead nurturing, this will help you focus your efforts.

#2 Emails

Next, having touched on emails, they are likely the very first option for re-engagement. Still, the fact they work does not mean they will work without proper care.

Do: use email meticulously.

Email is indeed one of the best ways to reach out to old leads. After all, they have opted to receive emails, so they’re more likely to open them and act on them. Moreover, emails offer room for considerable personalization, from subject lines to copy and timing. Thus, email is an excellent channel through which to re-engage.

Don’t: waste your customers’ time.

However, even with personalization in place, you should still opt for simplicity, clarity, and brevity. Baydin research finds that the average user receives 147 emails a day and spends over 2 ½ hours on them. To ensure old leads engage with your emails at all, you should ensure they’re short, sweet, and to the point.

#3 Social media

Another channel to consider, whether email outreach has failed or not, is social media. This channel, too, warrants examination.

Do: Use social media to re-engage old leads.

First, social media are indeed a demonstrably effective channel to re-engage old sales leads through. Such platforms as Instagram offer notable engagement rates, and social media outreach is often perceived as less intrusive. Should your lead data suggest there are opportunities in social media, you should act on them.

Don’t: become pushy.

That’s not to say, however, that you should do so indiscriminately or relentlessly. Responding to your audiences’ messages and posts or reaching out yourself can be effective, but there is a fine line. Where it is exactly will, of course, depend on your own data, but you should mind the “pushy” label. According to SproutSocial’s data, audiences definitely do:

Alt. tag: Statistics on “actions that make people unfollow a brand on social media”.

Source: https://media.sproutsocial.com/uploads/2018/10/graph-unfollow-actions-1.png

#4 Automation

Next comes automation. This handy practice offers unquestionable efficiency, especially if you’re addressing vast numbers of leads you can’t manage manually.

Do: re-engage old leads through automation.

To address the efficiency aspect, consider how CRM-backed automation can enhance your efforts through:

  • The ability to process massive numbers of leads
  • Integration with lead management tools for enhanced personalization
  • The extension of email outreach outside of working hours

Through these benefits and others, automation can offer a tremendous asset.

Don’t: do blanket automation.

Blanket automation can do more harm than good. Consider all of the statistics cited thus far; a lack of personalization will, in most likelihood, fail. Instead, consider custom event triggers for different lead segments and have your data inform your actions.

#5 Re-engagement copy

Now, having touched on personalization manifold, we may discuss re-engagement copy. Based on each lead’s history and status, this is where your re-engagement efforts will succeed or fail.

Do: Offer resources, relevant product information, and discounts.

Keeping outreach timing and overall copy simplicity in mind, you should strive to earn your leads’ interest. To do so, consider offering your leads any of the following, among others:

  • Resources; your leads may show interest in free webinars, guides, relevant posts, and other material.
  • Relevant product information; consider informational emails that remind leads of what they’re missing or provide updates on your products that may entice them.
  • Discounts; finally, nothing encourages new sales as much as discounts, as Steam sales cited by Gamasutra prove.

Don’t: Go for the hard-sell.

That said, going for a hard-sell message will most often, if not always, fail to re-engage old sales leads. Instead, you may go for softer warm-up outreach, offering proverbial gifts like the above. That’s because there is the dreaded aforementioned “pushy” label to avoid at all costs, as Hubspot notes:

Alt. tag: A graph on the perceptions of sales reps and buyers on their experiences with sales outreach.

Source: https://www.saleshacker.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/lead-re-engagement-content-image.png

#6 Re-engagement style

Finally, copy aside, there is also your outreach style to keep in mind. Here, too, we may consolidate all of the above into a simple pair of suggestions.

Do: Be professional, but personalize.

First, your outreach should, generally, remain professional. Consider a traditional email format for personal outreach and professional copy style for product updates. Still, your lead data may suggest you can try more casual styles to better effect. Thus, don’t be afraid to personalize your style depending on your data.

Don’t: Be too casual.

That said, however, you should, in most cases, avoid becoming too casual. Regardless of your lead’s status, you will most likely fail to re-engage them if you’re approaching them without due decorum. Avoid emojis, slang, and other inappropriately casual elements – unless your data explicitly suggest that you should use them.


To summarize, it’s no easy endeavor to re-engage old sales leads. First, you should ensure you leverage as much lead data as possible to facilitate proper personalization. Then, you should use email, social media, and other platforms wisely and in accord with your data. Finally, it would be best to employ automation in equally data-driven ways and carefully examine your copy and style to refine your outreach. In all cases, you should strive to avoid salesy language from the start and instead approach leads with helpful intent. In doing so, you may avoid the “pushy” label and instead offer meaningful outreach that attracts leads back.

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