How Sales Managers Can Help Revive “Mostly Dead” Opportunities

You know immediately when an opportunity is only “mostly dead” and can be revived. You’re no Miracle Max, but there are obvious signs that point to the possibility of re-engaging Closed-Lost opportunities and potentially closing the deal.

However, does your team of sales reps know how to revive lost opportunities as well as you do?

You can’t just tell your sales team to go back and call some old opportunities without any guidance. As a sales manager, it’s your responsibility to enable your team to correctly identify these valuable opps and teach them to revive the best ones before it’s too late.

You need to provide training, coaching and collateral to help them succeed in what can be an incredibly difficult job. Here’s how every sales manager should enable their team to revive Closed-Lost sales opportunities and win more deals.

Understand the Loss

As the Sales Director of the InsightSquared sales team, I always go back and analyze Closed-Lost deals to understand what went wrong and why we lost. I’ve found that many of our loss reasons come down to two things: authority or timing objections. However, when I dig into the real reason, a timing objection is often an authority objection in disguise. It’s usually an admin or a lower-level employee saying “No, it’s not the right time.” That person has no power to buy in most companies, so their timing objection isn’t valid. This is a signal to me that the opportunity is ripe for revival.

Encourage your reps to go back and analyze their own Closed-Lost opportunities, with an eye for opps that fit this profile. Reps should also search for Closed-Lost opportunities where they were talking with only one contact within the company. It’s almost impossible to close a deal without working the entire account — talking to multiple stakeholders at the company to get buy in. If your reps can find Closed-Lost opportunities where just one admin is saying “No” to the deal, there’s a very good chance the rep can revive the deal with the right efforts.

Train Your Team

Once your team understands why they’re losing deals and which opportunities are ready for re-engagement, you can train them to revive those Closed-Lost opportunities. Show your reps how to reach out to an opportunity months or even years later, and get a response. Teach them how to:

  • Utilize trigger events as a way to re-engage with leads in a personal way. If someone has changed roles recently, or their company recently moved offices, it’s the perfect time to re-engage.
  • Reach out to a new prospect within the Closed-Lost company, by respectfully referencing the previous contact, but reaching authority within the organization.
  • The sales manager (you) can email the prospect asking what the sales rep could learn from losing the deal. A lot of times the prospect will reply and give great insights to help revive the deal.

As a manager, you can help your reps get a response from these cold and dead leads with the right tactics that are more likely to get a response. With this training, they’ll be better prepared to overcome the objections they’ll face while attempting to revive the opportunity, and be able to reach the decision-maker.

Enable Revival

Don’t just send your team out to win deals without supporting them and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Reps need relevant marketing collateral, talk tracks, case studies, and more — all specific to reviving dead opportunities. For example, we provide reps with templated emails that enable them to reach out to a new contact within an organization that was previously Closed-Lost. This template has proven very effective for our reps:

Email One – Subject: Having met with NAME


OTHER EMPLOYEE and I had a great conversation and discussed ways of improving X. We will be exploring if InsightSquared can help. We work with organizations like yours (and people like you and your team) on a daily basis, so thought I’d reach out and offer myself as a resource. If there’s anything I can help with, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Sales Rep

This makes it simple and easy for reps on your team to re-engage with a decision-maker and push to close a formerly dead opportunity. The careful wording of this email is vital, because it’s respectful to the existing contact, but builds the groundwork for future engagements with power and the revival of the opportunity. You should build out a series of emails and talk tracks that follow this line of thinking to help your reps reach the decision-maker with ease.
Going back and re-engaging with Closed-Lost opportunities is never easy, and requires serious selling skills. Only you can offer your team the right combination of analysis, training and support to help your team bring dead opportunities back to life.