Tickle the Feet of Your Disengaged Prospects

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Fact: I don’t like to sleep with my feet under the covers. I’ll pile on the blankets, but my feet always stick out at the end of the bed.

Fact: I have 2 small children that wake up early on the weekend to watch cartoons.

Fact: They’ve developed a certain finesse in how they wake me up. They tickle my feet.

Most people don’t appreciate an early morning wake-up call but I look forward to mine. My kids know me well and they know what will make me smile. Leaving me to wake up on my own would result in an entire morning lost. Setting a loud alarm would cause me to hit snooze and eventually just turn it off. It would also create a cranky Mom first thing in the morning.

How you choose to initially communicate and engage with someone typically sets the tone for the entire relationship. This is true for a simple wake-up call and it’s true for how you engage a prospect in a buy cycle.

Recently we conducted a funnel analysis. Evaluating our CRM activity we analyzed where opportunities were leaking out of the funnel, and the cause of the leakage. We found the majority of opportunities were lost after a project opportunity was confirmed. A need was defined, interest qualified, and the prospect had budget and resources available.

We also discovered that the reason they were disqualified was because they emotionally disengaged. We never heard from them again. After all of that qualification we stopped hearing from the prospect. We met with one of our sales managers to understand the close confidence level at each stage of the buy cycle. He felt that if a prospect converted to what we call “WIP3” the sale would ultimately close. Our prospects were disengaging at what we call “WIP1”. Additionally, we calculated that the average conversion time of a prospect from WIP1 to WIP3 is 10 weeks. No wonder our funnel was leaking. Engaging an opportunity for 10 weeks is a challenge.

When pouring over CRM notes it appeared that we took one of two tactics when trying to wake up a prospect. We either hoped they’d wake up on their own, or we blasted loud music until they finally turned us off. We needed to gently re-engage them. We needed to tickle their feet. So we came up with an idea. Given that we had a 10 week gap to manage, we decided to develop a 10 week mid-stage nurture campaign. Each week a prospect will receive a personalized communication, from the sales rep, that contains industry relevant information. Through our content audits we’ve defined content that is relevant to mid-stage activity. These communications are not pushing product. The content simply provides information about industry trends so prospects can feel informed and equipped to make smarter decisions.

Our hope is prospects will engage and view our sales reps as information advocates. Because we’re running this program through our Eloqua and MSCRM systems we’ll also have data to track the engagement. We may not receive returned phone calls, but if the prospect is interacting with the content then we’ll know they’re still engaged in the buy cycle.

If we see a 10% increase in our funnel conversion to WIP3, according to our sales manager, we’ll probably see a 10% increase in business won. Not too shabby. We’re scheduled to launch this initiative in early June. I look forward to updating on this progress.

How do you tickle the feet of disengaged prospects?


Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.
3 Responses to "Tickle the Feet of Your Disengaged Prospects"
  1. Great post, Marilyn. Looking forward to seeing the results of that change. I am curious though about what channel/s you guys used to push out the content? It seems like a drip campaign would work best for that, but not sure.

  2. LOVE this case study. I really like how you looked at each stage of funnel leakage. Solid approach to analysis.


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