They Didn’t buy… Arghhhh

They didn’t buy. What are you going to do now?

There are three options available to your prospects when they talk to you about buying your product or services:

  • To buy from you
  • They buy from someone else
  • Alternatively, they do nothing

Obviously the first option is your preferred one, but what happens if they decide to do one of the other two? What do you do if someone is foolish enough(!) to not buy from you?

Stage One

In the privacy of your office, curse them for making the wrong decision.

Stage Two

Thank them for considering you and assure them you are here for them in the future, should they wish to discuss things again.

Stage Three

Ask for feedback on why they didn’t buy from you.  This can be vital information for the future, as it a) helps you learn what could have been done better to improve your sales process and b) gives you a good indication of whether there could be an opportunity in the future.

Stage Four

Keep in touch. Too many companies make the mistake of stopping to talk to their prospects just because they didn’t buy. Let me explain why we believe this is the last thing you should do.

After making a decision not to buy from you, there will come a time when a repurchase is needed. Whether this is because they’ve seen the error of their ways, it is time for renewal or they need more, they have (again) three options:

  • They buy again from the supplier they chose last time
  • To buy from you
  • To buy from a third party

The more you have maintained awareness, the more likely you are to be the preferred supplier this time around. After all, they were impressed enough to talk to you last time. With research suggesting as much as 77% of the buying process is done prior to a B2B buyer talking to a salesperson, you did pretty well last time. By keeping in touch and maintaining a relationship, you are really well placed to be shortlisted again.

So what do you do?

Ensure they are on your mailing list, and they have been tagged or segmented to show they are a prospect (they are always going to be a prospect until they unsubscribe) and that you have pitched to them before. By doing this you make sure they only get relevant content.

Content for them is different. The content will refer to your previous conversations: as I am sure you’ll remember…

It will build upon content and information you have sent them before: here are some of our latest case studies…

It will keep them up to date: we’ve added functionality/skills/whatever they told you was missing….

Big Data can help

Do you have web analytics that shows you how individuals interact with your website? If not, I recommend CANDDi. Imagine this scenario:

Your web analytics data shows an ex-prospect looked at your website. Perhaps they’d clicked through from your latest email campaign or they had simply searched online for you. Either way, you give them a call to “see how things are going“. A response along the lines of “that’s funny, I was just looking at your website“, followed by “what a coincidence, let’s have coffee and catch up” and you have a real chance to complete what you started last time.

The butcher, baker and candlestick maker

If I send all my emails to everyone on my list, I have a better chance of selling more stuff, don’t I?

Wouldn’t life be easier if this was the case? We are in an age where people rightly expect to only receive information that is relevant and useful for them. For some reason they don’t want to get 100’s of emails that aren’t any use to them and don’t contain information that is relevant to their industry or job role.

So how can you increase open rates and click rates for your email campaigns?

More Data

A list that simply consists of names and email addresses makes it impossible to segment. As you collect subscribers, add more information:

  • Job title: the needs of a Managing Director will differ from those of an Office Manager
  • Industry sector: Accountants and IT support companies are likely to have different issues to resolve
  • Company Size: a single entrepreneur has different issues to a 100-person SME
  • Postcode: if you only want to travel 5 miles, don’t market your services to people outside that range

You can then segment based on that data and produce content that will be useful to the relevant people.

Recent Interactions

How many people responded to your last email campaign? Did they just open the email or did they click on a link?

By using the data within your email marketing tool, you can engage more effectively with your list.

If someone has opened each of the last X emails, it would be fair to say they are interested in what you are offering, but you haven’t sufficiently grabbed their attention. Let’s use a software development company as an example:

  • Email One about “bespoke giving you exactly what you need”: opened but no click
  • Email Two about “using .Net as a bespoke tool”: opened but no click
  • Email Three about “using Ruby on Rails as a tool”: opened but no click
  • Email Four about “bespoke software to increase efficiency”: opened and clicked through

By communicating the full range of services to someone who is interested in technology (shown by the opens) you get to topic that generates further engagement.

What they did or didn’t do

If your marketing automation tool allows you to tag subscribers, you can quickly segment those people who were, for example, invited to a seminar, but weren’t able to attend.

Perhaps you could tag clients with information about how much of your portfolio they have bought. By doing this, you can then market your other services to them. If you didn’t you might end up trying to sell someone something they have already bought.

There are times when it is acceptable to send a campaign to a whole list, but it’s not too often. If you want to increase open rates and engagement levels, give your subscribers information that is useful for them. Give them content that shows you know your stuff and that demonstrates you can help them resolve their problems.  The only way to ensure you are doing this is with additional data.

I hope this helps

The unmanaged mountain of opportunity

Somewhere in your office is a big pile of opportunities.

It’s probably just by your monitor or it may be in a desk drawer. If you use hotdesk, it’s probably in your bag or it may even be a series of images in an app on your phone.

What I am talking about? that pile of business cards you’ve collected over the past few months and done little with.

Within this pile of business cards could be your next 5 clients. What is five new clients worth to your business? How do you make sure you don’t miss out?

Filter them

If you’re an avid networker, you’ll have a number of cards which were “forced” on you by the card collectors and distributors that inhabit every networking event. They have almost certainly added you to their mailing list, you’ll have unsubscribed and now forgotten what they do.  The B1N file is the best place for them.

Look for the ones that are most likely to be prospects or be able to introduce you to prospects.

Now add them to your database, but make it very easy for people to unsubscribe.

Segment them

Providing everyone with the same information will not help you. Dependent upon which tools you use, segment your contacts into different groups.

  • MailChimp: use data columns and segments or add them into different groups
  • For Infusionsoft, use Tags
  • For Hubspot, it’s Personas and Smart Lists

Every automated marketing tool will have its own set of tools that allow you to segment by geography, product sales, lead source,, industry sector and any number of personal criteria.

Talk to them

Finally, use the information to talk to them. Use the segmentation tools to ensure that the information you send them is relevant:

  • For clients: what other products can they buy from you?
  • For prospects: what evidence can you show them so they see you can help them with their needs? Are you running any offers to tempt them into buying?
  • For nurturing: do you have white papers or recorded webinars showing your knowledge and expertise?
  • For introducers: do they know what your Ideal Client looks like so they can introduce you?

The unmanaged mountain of business cards on your desk can deliver new business, but it takes some effort and it takes real consistency.

I hope this helps.

Be Honest

…or your marketing will suffer!

During February our blogs were about your target audience, identifying them and about getting the right key messages in front of the decision makers.

For March we’re going to move onto developing the right marketing programme. Let’s start with a little housekeeping.

If you are going to get the right marketing programme that then delivers the leads you want, you need to be honest.


We’ve discussed in the past about the amount of time you have available for marketing your business. You know you have to do it, but what time is available within the business to do it properly.  If you are tight on resources, be honest about it. If you say you can do much more than you really have time for, your marketing (and its performance) will suffer.


Everyone can do social media can’t they! Some people struggle to admit they cannot do something because they believe they should be able to do it. Social media is a prime example of this, but there is a big difference in being able to use Facebook to keep up with your mates’ habits, and generating awareness, interest and engagement with your target audience.

If you have the time to learn, all is good, but that may not be the best use of your time so think carefully about the skills you have and the skills you need. Engaging with your target audience on Twitter and LinkedIn can be lots of fun, but your role as the business leader may mean you should leave this to someone else, whether within your business or externally.


To generate and deliver a consistent marketing programme, you need to invest. The investment needs to be over a period of time and so there is no point in starting a programme that you aren’t sure you will have the money available to complete. It will be better to start on a small budget and then build up as the returns are developed, rather than start high and have to try and cuts corners when there is less money about.

Your marketing budget needs to be a combination of time, cash and skills. Your honesty when developing your marketing programme will help to manage expectations but also deliver a better return on investment.


I hope this helps.