How we spun gold from old leads

We recently hired a team of outbound sales reps to help pad our inbound efforts. After being tasked to fill up their sales pipelines with leads we said, “Wait, back up a minute.” Why were we going to spend time and money generating new outbound leads for reps to cold call when we have a great pool of old leads that just need a bit of warming up?

Our current sales process, while definitely not perfect, is a big improvement on what we were doing before. For all sales-accepted leads, we have some rules: 12 touches in 30 days. If no connects are made, the leads are transferred back to marketing for more lead nurturing. This means no leads are forgotten about, which keeps our sales pipelines happy.

While our current pipelines are nice and clean, our pool of old leads was a mess. This team of outbound sales reps presented a great opportunity for a re-engagement campaign in an effort to warm them up.

Before trying to attract new fish, why not get a little dirty and see if our pool of old leads had any gold hiding beneath the surface?

The formula we used for re-engaging the old leads is simple.

Warm lead list + Email campaign = Re-engaged old leads!

We’ve got the details below so you can try it out for yourself. Who know, maybe you’ve also got some goldfish hiding beneath the surface!

Grab the templates we used to turn cold leads into hot sales!

Step One: Organize old leads into a manageable list

You don’t want to skew your results, or spam prospects who already stated they were uninterested by dumping your whole lead pool onto this campaign. The first step should be to trim down your prospect list to those most likely to engage.

Here are the main parameters we took into consideration when trimming down our list:

  • Age: In the US, the median employee tenure is 4.2 years, and this can change drastically depending on the industry. So make sure to find a cut-off period for the age of contact you’re sending this campaign to. Due to the size of our database, we narrowed our list down to contacts generated in the last year (excluding the last 3 months of new leads).
  • Sales Engagement: You’ll increase your chances for success by focusing on opportunities your sales team didn’t already exhaust. To avoid over-exhaustion, we limited our list to old leads who were called and emailed less than 10 times.
  • Qualification: Does your sales team mark leads as sales unqualified or closed lost? It’s an easy win to filter these out. It might also be worth your while to do a quick scan of business names to ensure they still match your buyer personas. Since our list was quite large, we just did the former.

The size of your list is another matter. Our new outbound sales team was large and hungry for leads, so we started with a sizeable email list. If you are just testing this method out, I would recommend a smaller sample size to see how the campaign performs.

Step Two: Create your re-engagement campaign

You’ve got your list, now you need something to send them!

Before having our sales team call these old leads, we warmed them up with a re-engagement campaign. The difficult thing here was crafting a campaign that seemed personal enough to engage the lead, but generic enough to appeal to the wide variety of fish in our old lead pool.

We waffled back and forth on what to send these leads, and in the end decided on testing out a few tactics.

Tactic 1: The Reminder Email

old leads reminder email

We started by reminding them of Vendasta, our key selling points, and offering a quick way to get back in touch with someone.

This tactic worked great! It generated the highest open rate of 33% and directly influenced 6 opportunities so far (meetings booked from the email).

❗ Hot tip ❗ : Don’t be afraid to remind your prospects about who you are and what you do. Remember, these are old leads, so chances are you’ll need to jog their memory. How quickly would you hit the unsubscribe button if you started receiving random emails from a company you had no recollection of?

[clickToTweet tweet="Re-engaging #oldleads starts with reminding them who you are. Don't be shy to restate key benefits!" quote="Re-engaging #oldleads starts with reminding them who you are. Don't be shy to restate key benefits!"]

Tactic 2: Show off What’s New

new features reengagement email

In the next emails, we highlighted some of the new features and services we’ve added. The goal here was to hook old prospects on features that we didn’t have when they originally converted. Since these are older leads and we’re constantly innovating, there’s value in highlighting new products and services they might have been waiting for.

Our digital advertising fulfillment services are one of these newer additions, so we included a case study on the ROI potential to pique their interest, rather than just a bland product page. As proven by our powerful Snapshot Report campaigns, emails are more effective when they are personalized or are about the business receiving them.

This tactic was our biggest success story, with the majority of opportunities generated. 13 in total! It also came in as close second for engagement with a 29% open rate and 11% CTR.

Tactic 3: The Sales Email

ninja abduction email

Our last type of email is a favorite of our Business Development team. They swear by the success of this lighthearted template above, so we thought we’d try it out for ourselves.

Oddly enough, we didn’t see the same success with this template as our Business Development team has (24% vs 52% open rate). Maybe this email just works better for prospects further down the funnel. Or maybe, since this was later in our email campaign, it wasn’t as effective. I’ll do some more testing and get back to you 😉

quick answer sales email
One other sales email we tried was the generic tactic of “reply with 1, 2 or 3 depending on your current circumstances.” This “quick question” email asking the prospects how they want us to proceed is showing tons of potential! Only a quarter of our leads have been sent this email (it’s at the end of our campaign) so far and it’s already lead to multiple responses and 3 opportunities!

Step Three: Launch your campaign

Once you have your list of old leads, and the re-engagement email templates written, it's time to hit send on your campaign! You'll want to use an email campaign platform that lets you effectively track your data, so you can watch those cold leads turn into warm (and even hot!) leads right before your eyes.

We used our own platform to create and track this campaign. I’m going take a second to toot our own horn here and tell you how our platform takes these warm leads and turns them into literal hot leads for our sales team.

We simply created our email campaign in our marketing automation software, bulk uploaded our list (created above) and within literal minutes our reps were getting “hot lead notifications” for their pipelines.

hot sales leads notification


Our society is always pushing us on to the next thing, and to urging us to check out those other fish in the sea. We’ve learned that with a little bit of effort, there’s a lot you can do with what you’ve already got.

Re-engaging our old leads proved to be a huge success.

We compared this to our outbound campaign efforts (running at the same time), and the results were not surprising. Our re-engagement campaign had, on average, a 5% better open rate, 2% better CTR and most importantly, has resulted in twice as many opportunities so far.

In our experience, outbound efforts always take longer to pay off, but provide a similar LTV to inbound in the end. So it’s hard to say whether one campaign will provide more revenue than the other—and that’s what really matters, right?

What we can say, however, is that our re-engagement campaign was worth the time and effort.

$42k ARR > 1 day of marketing time

And our campaign has only just begun.

Stay tuned for updated results, and if you try this out for yourself with our free templates, please post your successes and learnings below! I’d love to hear about them!