Re-engage Cold Leads in Your Sales Pipeline

So, you nailed your sales pitch – or so you thought. But now the emails you’re sending to your lead are going unreplied. And your calls? Well, they’ve gone unanswered as well. It happens to the best of salespeople. Leads just go cold. However, all hope is not lost. Here’s how you can turn a cold lead into a new customer.

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Identify your cold leads

As a salesperson, it’s important to divide your leads into categories. Start off by gathering all of your contacts’ names and email addresses. You can often find this information by checking the send list of an email marketing campaign. This will show the most recent group of people you have been engaging. Once you’ve gathered this information, begin sorting your contacts into one of the following four categories:

  • Positive relationship/positive interest
  • Cordial relationship/moderate interest
  • Little communication/little interest
  • No communication/zero interest

The contacts that you will want to focus on re-engaging with will fall into the last two categories. Regardless of whether the lines of communication went silent or the prospect was not interested in your initial pitch, it is always worthwhile to re-establish the relationship in case anything has changed on their end.

Email, call or in-person?

Now that you’ve narrowed down who you want to reach out to, it’s time to decide how you want to make a second impression. Email is one of the best ways to re-engage a former lead without being too aggressive. But, the best method of contact really depends on the actual lead himself/herself. If that cold lead never responded to your emails, it may be better to make a phone call. In cases where you may be attending a networking event where that former lead is present, an in-person greeting can be beneficial.

Yaniv Masjedi, Vice President of Marketing at Nextiva, notes that switching up your method of communication can have a positive impact. Masjedi says in a Salesforce blog that if you’re used to communicating via email and phone, actually dropping a note in the U.S. mail – one that’s not necessarily selling anything – can really capture a cold lead’s attention.

According to a recent study, messaging leads is crucial to improving conversion rates and re-engaging leads. Rather than choosing a single outreach method, the study showed that 80% of sales organizations are using three mediums of messaging. The top selections are email, phone, and LinkedIn. Only 2% of sales organizations chose email alone.

When to call

While a combination of phone and email is often the best option to re-engage old leads, it’s important to identify which option suits each situation. It’s more beneficial to call your lead if you’re looking to finalize your deal. If you’ve already communicated through email and are now at the tail end of making a sale, calling your lead will help make all the logistics clearer and more concrete.

As for the day and time, studies show that phone calls are better received at the end of the day and week. Try contacting your prospect on a Thursday or Friday from 3 p.m. onward.

When to email

Reach out to your lead through email if you’re at the beginning stage of reconnecting with an old lead. This method is more beneficial in re-engaging your lead’s interest. Phone calls can feel too invasive at the start of a sales relationship. Emails are also ideal for gauging if your old lead still has a desire for your product or service.

Timing is also extremely important when re-engaging. Many companies are bombarded with emails on Monday mornings. Sending out your re-engagement email later during the week can make you stand out from the rest and get it read by your prospect. Research shows that Thursday – especially between 8 and 9 a.m. – is the best day and time to send email campaigns with the highest percentage of opens. Wednesday and Tuesday are a close second and third. Sending an email in the morning will make it more visible in a recipient’s inbox. However, 2 p.m. is also the peak time for email opens because employees are usually wanting to take a post-lunch break by re-checking their inbox or surfing the internet.

When to meet in person

Surprise visits are rarely welcome. When it comes to meeting your lead in person, it’s best to see if he or she would prefer talking via phone or email first. However, if your lead has a multitude of questions and is truly interested in your product, it can be more personable to visit in person. A networking gathering can also be a great way to re-engage or get referrals for other potential leads.

Help your sales pipeline by using 3 different touchpoints.

Help your sales pipeline by using all three touchpoints: email, phone, and LinkedIn.

Things to do before re-engaging

If you’re trying to grab a cold lead’s interest, sending out an impersonal, mass email may not be effective. You are essentially trying to generate a new lead all over again, so be sure to do your research beforehand. Whatever your form of outreach may be, make sure the messaging is personal. Review the potential reasons as to why your cold lead went silent. Then offer solutions or showcase new features of your product or service that will negate those original justifications for not choosing your company.

You should also be cognizant of trigger events. These are the events that take place within companies that signal they are more likely to purchase your product or service. Some of these events could be changes in staffing, new investments, acquisitions, and company expansions. Re-engaging as soon as a trigger event takes place will give you a greater edge among the competition.

How to write a re-engagement email

Jeffrey Gitomer, an author of numerous books dealing with sales, said: “Value the relationship more than the quota.” When re-engaging a cold lead, one of the most important things to remember is being personal in your approach. View your lead as a real person instead of a potential profit margin.

Your re-engagement email should mention your existing relationship with your lead and acknowledge previous apprehensions or objections they had. For example, you could mention how, in your initial sales pitch, your audience was unsure of the cost or the necessity of your product. Addressing that and following up by presenting new features or deals can show that you took all of that feedback seriously. It also shows that you are offering a better version of your product or service that can be more tailored to their specific needs.

Reengage a cold lead with targeted emails

You should also make your email relevant to your recipients. Try to tie in facts about what’s going on with them or their company. For example, if they recently were part of a merger. Or perhaps their company was recently in the news for an accomplishment. This will show that you are invested in their company and took the time to keep up with them.

Before sending a re-engagement email dealing specifically with the product or service you’re selling, it’s a good idea to send a feeler email. These types of emails offer re-engagement, through resources or invitations, rather than a straight-forward sales pitch. Examples include sending out a recent blog post, asking for input through a survey, offering an invitation to an event or sharing links to industry-related videos and articles.

If all of these tactics fail, try the nine-word email that one particular group of salespeople believes in. Created by Dean Jackson, the template is simply this:  


Subject Line: John…

Are you still looking at growing your blog traffic?

The nine-word email is incredibly succinct and direct. It simply asks a very important question. Even if your recipient replies with a one-word “no,” this method can help in getting a quick response from a cold lead.

When to give up on a cold lead

No matter how many times you reach out to an old lead, some people or companies may simply not want your product or service. It’s important to surrender your efforts at some point so that you don’t end up wasting your time. Send one last email asking if that cold lead would like to opt out of future emails.

How Crunchbase Pro can help with your cold leads

Timing and trigger events are important aspects to consider when re-engaging a cold lead. Crunchbase Pro helps you monitor various buy signals, including real-time investments and funding, so you can send your re-engagement email, call or visit at the optimum time. You can also sign-up for alerts so that any time there is any activity on your cold lead. Get notified before your competition and close your deals with Crunchbase Pro. 

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  • Originally published January 9, 2019, updated April 26, 2023