Ask any writer and they’ll likely agree: Occasionally you miss a mistake when editing.
No matter how much time and effort you put into reviewing a post, odds are something is going to fall through the cracks. Maybe a word was spelled incorrectly, or a comma was used improperly. Either way, the most experienced editors and writers can still make mistakes.
Just like writers, great salespeople can make mistakes too. The most common one? Missing out on an ideal prospect. Despite a rep’s best efforts, great fit buyers sometimes fall through the cracks of their pipeline.
This can happen in a number of ways. The good news, though: all of these pitfalls are correctable. Below are five common ways a qualified prospect can fall through the cracks.
1) The prospect’s activity was ignored.
Reps who don’t respond to inbound leads, referrals, or prospects opening emails or visiting your website miss out on potential buyers who are actively expressing interest. Unfortunately, salespeople tend prioritize leads based on when they come into their pipeline. However, a great prospect isn’t based on their title or how they look on paper; a great prospect should be pursued based on the amount of interest they are expressing.
When a prospect downloads an ebook, opens a sales email, or views your pricing page, they’re raising their hand. Failing to note this critical activity means an interested prospect just fell through the cracks.
2) An introductory email wasn’t sent fast enough.
Alternatively, a prospect can fall through the cracks because they weren’t contacted at the height of their interest. Studies have shown that when an inbound lead is contacted within five minutes of visiting a website, reps are 100 times more likely to connect with them. Another study shows that connection rates drop by 400% if a rep responds in 10 minutes instead of five.
Time is of the essence. Reach out to inbound leads ASAP … or risk losing them forever.
3) The rep lost track of where the prospect was in the funnel.
Losing track of where a prospect is in the funnel can result in the rep not providing what the buyer needs when they need it. A prospect in the early stages of the process might be looking for more information and not receiving it because the rep thinks the prospect is at a later stage in the buying journey.
To avoid this problem, salespeople can use their CRM to remind them of when a prospect needs to be sent an initial email or a bottom-of-the-funnel piece of content. In addition, look for a CRM that makes it easy to customize and visualize deal stages.
4) The prospect didn’t receive a follow-up email.
Whether it’s after a discovery call or a product demonstration, not following up with a prospect results in an uncomfortable limbo situation -- neither party is sure what to do next. By forgetting to send a follow up email, a prospect can feel as if the rep has forgotten about them and simply move on.
Don’t let a forgotten email kill a deal. Send a follow-up email after every touch with reminders about what was discussed and a clear set of options for the prospect going forward.
5) The salesperson didn’t provide value.
When a rep doesn’t provide value, they turn buyers away because their touches are more annoying than useful. Any touch could be the moment when the buyer decides whether or not this product is for them; consistent valueless touches can make the buyer dread hearing from the rep and result in a lost prospect.
To provide value in every touch, include pieces of blog content, testimonials, and customer reviews. The goal of every touch should be to educate the prospect and provide new information about the rep’s product.
Unfortunately, things fall through the cracks more often than we’d like -- but that’s a part of life. When it comes to sales, however, there are steps a rep can take to ensure that their most highly qualified prospects aren’t left behind.
Closing a deal is hard enough. Trying to close with less-than-stellar prospects only makes it more difficult.