Are Old Sales Leads Like Bad Sequels?

With the Golden Globe awards once again recently concluded, it might surprise some people that the winner for Best Animated Film was Dreamwork’s How to Train Your Dragon 2. That’s not to say it was a bad movie but simply because sequels aren’t know for a perfect record for success.


Likewise, sales leads are remarkably similar when it comes to how marketers treat them. Despite their long-term benefits, the conventional wisdom dictates the best leads are fresh acquisitions instead of making a sequel out of currently existing clients.


It doesn’t sound too bad at first. You’d have to be pretty crazy to think you don’t need new customers. The problem is when that becomes the defining standard for what is considered the best sales lead.


Much like how movies are sometimes held to a standard of just one extreme (e.g. being a non-sequel), the standards for a good sales lead still leans heavily towards new customer acquisition.


Granted, this isn’t just about trying to generate sales leads out of existing customers. It’s about how you need to be rather flexible with your standards for qualified prospects. Contrary to popular belief, you are being more unrealistic if you think all your sales leads should lead to new contracts and new clients.


You want to know the actual reality?


  • Every B2B customer is unique – Old or new, every customer has a unique set of needs and pain points. Do you really think you’re going to maximize your market share if you just stick to catering a really narrow niche? What about demand? Sustainability? While buyer personas are important, you shouldn’t try to pigeon-hole your customers.


  • Your products have to be diverse – Specialization won’t get you far if demand is weak and you insist on catering purely to those who are a 100% fit for your assigned personas. You might have one or the other but you can’t have both. Because either way, your products need to diversify. Whether it’s increasing the functions of one particular service (e.g. janitorial) or the kinds of products (e.g. insurance packages).


  • Old customers are more familiar – And of course, the most commonly cited defense is that of the familiar face. Some might call it milking the cash cow but you can also call it loyalty or relationship building. Don’t be afraid to call upon an old customer to pitch them something new because asides from no longer needing to familiarize, they more or less have more trust in you compared to new acquisitions.


New customers have their place. They could indicate newer markets, fresh faces, and bigger challenges. However, they are not something to consider if you want to keep marketing sustainable. There are such things as bad sequels but that doesn’t mean good ones don’t exist either!

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