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Why did your prospect go dark? Just ask.

Why did your prospect go dark? Just ask.

Written and contributed by Curtis Morris, CEO @ Qualaroo

Ever have an engaged prospect that all of sudden went “dark?” They went from replying to your emails, answering phone calls, showing interest in your product or service to shutting you out of their life. You’re left wondering what went wrong.  Perhaps it was something you said on that last call? Were they offended by the joke at the bottom of your last email? Maybe they found out you’re a Houston Rockets fan, and because they’re from California, they simply cannot bear the thought of doing business with you.

Even without knowing why you’re getting the cold shoulder, a few things appear to be certain:

  • The deal no longer looks like it will close;
  • The time and effort you’ve invested into the prospect probably won’t pay off; and
  • Your sales & marketing teams are going to have to work even harder to pick up the slack

Understanding why deals have gone dark is important for the Qualaroo team to understand because:

  • It helps us build our product roadmap by learning what is missing from our product or service offering.
  • It helps optimize our marketing message because maybe the prospect came in thinking we offered something that we actually don’t offer.  
  • Gives our account executives  peace of mind! (and our CEO)

Understanding WHY Deals Go Dark

We’ve implemented a process that has allowed us to capture reasons why deals have gone dark and it helps us shape the conversations we’re having earlier in the sales funnel to prevent prospects from going dark.

After a deal has been identified as “gone dark” by our sales team, I personally send out an email to the prospect to understand why they haven’t got back to us.

The ask is simple – “Why is Qualaroo not the right solution for you?” I asked this question directly in the email and the prospect as the option to reply to the email directly or click one of the pre-populated answers in the email.

This is what my email looks like:


For those that clicked on an answer, we implemented branching logic that sends them to a follow up question. Here’s what the follow up process looked like:

Q: I still plan to use Qualaroo.

Follow up: Great to hear! When would be a better time to touch base with you?

CTA for Qualaroo: Add task to follow up with client at a later time.


Q: Qualaroo is too expensive.

Follow up: Thanks for your feedback. What is your budget?

  1. $49-99
  2. $100-$299
  3. $300-$499
  4. $500-$999
  5. $1000-$1999

CTA for Qualaroo: Add a task to follow up with client regarding pricing and features.  


Q: Qualaroo is missing a feature I need.

Follow up: Thanks for feedback! What feature do you need?

CTA for Qualaroo: Add a task to reply asking for mailing address so we can send a free gift as a thank you.


Q: Other Reason

Follow up: What is your reason on why you haven’t chosen a plan yet?

CTA for Qualaroo: Add a task to reply based on what the client replied with. It could be sending a feature comparison sheet or a case study.


When designing a survey like this one, it’s important to think about what the ultimate goal is. In our case, these were the goals we had top of mind:

  • Learn WHY the prospect stopped working with us;
  • Re-engage the deal – however, re-engagement would be secondary to finding out why we were being ignored; and
  • Personally reply to any and all feedback we received.  


Automating the Process


When we implemented this feedback process, we immediately began receiving feedback ranging from feature requests to prospects letting me know they still want to work with Qualaroo. It has become a permanent part of our sales strategy. As volume picked up, it was getting difficult to keep up with the number of emails I needed to send each day.  As a result, I wanted to automate the process of sending but keep the emails personalized.

We use Hubspot as our CRM and Zapier for automating tasks so I wanted to create a process that used apps within our existing stack. We created a new deal stage in Hubspot as “Gone Dark.” When an account executive marks a deal as “Gone Dark,” Zapier will be alerted of this change and will automatically send a personalized email from me to the prospect.  The email is being sent directly from my Qualaroo account and any replies were still going to me; however, the job of sending the email has been automated.

What has your been your process for “Gone Dark” leads?

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About the author

The Qualaroo Editorial Team is a passionate group of UX and feedback management experts dedicated to delivering top-notch content. We stay ahead of the curve on trends, tackle technical hurdles, and provide practical tips to boost your business. With our commitment to quality and integrity, you can be confident you're getting the most reliable resources to enhance your user experience improvement and lead generation initiatives.