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Are you sitting on a gold mine of untapped forgotten leads? If you’ve been in business for a while, odds are you’ve got a stack, or a closet, full of forgotten leads.

Business owners and sales people naturally pursue the newest and hottest opportunities – the ones with the greatest probability of closing in the near future. You’d be crazy not to! But, that leaves a mountain of overlooked leads.

These are leads that once expressed interest but backed down. Or, you called and called but never got anywhere. Perhaps the prospects just didn’t have the budget. Or, you came back from a trade show with a roster of leads that you never touch again.

Some sales people forget that these leads cost money, time and effort to find. It’s always easier pursuing old leads than finding brand new ones.

Sales is all about timing. If the leads weren’t fully qualified the first time, maybe they are now. Sometimes, leads are a lot more promising the second time around. I call these “Cinderella leads”.

I once had a client who had generated an amazing number of leads through a website form, much more than anticipated. The client put all the leads through a rigorous internal scoring process and had the sales team pursue the best ones. The rest were left to collect dust for over a year. One day someone took ownership of the orphaned leads and sent them over to us to see what we could unearth.

Sure enough, we found some gold, including big name leads like Toyota Motor Sales USA, NBC Universal, and Bank of America. These companies were finally ready to meet with our client about a sale. Talk about Cinderella leads!

The moral of the story is: Don’t let your old leads collect dust forever! Take them out for a spin and see what kind of gold you might find.

Here are our top five tips for unearthing the gold in forgotten leads:

  1. Do it on a consistent basis.We recommend sifting through your old leads two to four times a year, every year. Otherwise, the connecting with them will become more and more daunting.
  2. Stay the course.It can be a little tedious and frustrating at times, similar to the process of sifting for gold. Keep faith and stay the course.
  3. Find a way in.Sometimes it can be awkward to reach out to old leads without a viable reason. This could be news on their end, such as a new website or partnership. Or, it could be news on your end like an upgraded feature or benefit. Sometimes companies use new free information such as a white paper or webinar.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask why. If the forgotten leads you are pursuing are ones who seemed interested but fell off the grid, don’t be afraid to ask them directly what happened. Do it in a non-confrontational “just gathering information” way. You’d be surprised what an excellent conversation starter it can be. Also, their answers will provide you with some great insight as well.
  5. Organize as you go. This is crucial. What you don’t want is a CRM wasteland of forgotten leads that is so huge it becomes overwhelming. Instead, you want to organize your leads into several categories that let you know when and how frequently to follow up with them. Of course, your goal is to continue to cull out the gold within an otherwise overwhelming roster of uncategorized, forgotten leads.

It’s natural to worry that spending time on leads that you once called “dead” throwing good money after bad. The truth is I have yet to come across a ‘forgotten leads’ campaign that didn’t produce viable results. In the B2B world, one customer is often worth quite a lot, both initially and over time. Almost always, campaigns to old leads generate more revenue than they cost to implement.