In a complex sale, my experience is, most of the selling actually happens when the sales person isn’t there. I know there’s a lot of emphasis on lead generation (that’s a good thing) but, getting a ton of leads doesn’t guarantee that increased sales will follow.
Startling as it may seem, recent research (and even studies from ten years ago) shows that longer-term leads (future opportunities), often ignored by salespeople, represent almost 80% of potential sales.
You can increase your odds success by adding a lead nurturing program.
What’s lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is all about having consistent and meaningful communication with viable prospects (those that are “a fit” for your solution) regardless of their timing to buy. It’s not “following-up” every few months to find out if a prospect is “ready to buy yet?” Lead nurturing about building trusted relationships with the right people.
Walking in their shoes
Consider the following concerns that are going through a potential customers mind before they make a buying decision:
• How will this product/service help my company?
• We’re doing okay, why do we need it?
• Is there another company out there that is better?
• Will their solution really work? Can they prove it?
• Is the company credible?
• Can we afford it?
Lead nurturing helps people find the answers to these questions and remind them of the benefits of working with you. You’re creating value by giving them useful information in digestible, bite sized chunks.
How to start lead nurturing
A typical lead nurturing program includes: a series of letters, emails, voicemails, case studies, success stories, articles, events, white papers, and web events that are meaningful to your potential customers. You’re providing relevant educational or thought leading content.
The tactics employed and the frequency of touches will depend on the solutions being sold and the buying cycle of the prospect.
Basic Lead Nurturing Plan
Below is a sample lead nurturing plan.
|Initial Contact||Introductory phone call and follow-up “thank you” e-mail|
|Month 1||3rd party article on pertinent technology via e-mail|
|Month 2||Industry relevant case study via e-mail with follow-up call|
|Month 3||E-newsletter with voice mail alert to check|
|Month 4||3rd party article on pertinent technology via e-mail|
|Month 5||Relevant white paper via e-mail|
|Month 6||Targeted campaign via direct mail|
|Month 7||Relevant eBook via e-mail with follow-up call|
|Month 8||Link to relevant Podcast via e-mail with follow-up call|
|Month 9||Free report via direct mail with follow-up call|
|Month 10||Invitation to webcast via e-mail with follow-up call|
|Month 11||Call to invite to industry trade show and follow-up with registration link|
|Month 12||Prospect calls you and becomes a sales ready lead|
When we create lead nurturing programs, we create different lead nurturing tracks based on demographic criteria such as size, industry, role in the buying process and more.
So what’s the ROI?
As a result of lead nurturing, companies will see more sales-ready leads, higher close ratios, a stronger sales pipeline and shorter average sales cycles. Client’s that have committed to lead nurturing program find that they can sustain their production of qualified leads over the long term and build a much more predictable and sustainable sales pipeline. Perhaps more interestingly, another client determined that their nurtured prospects brought in nearly 100% more initial revenue than those that were not nurtured and another said nurtured their prospects cite a greater overall positive impression of their company.
I’m giving a webinar on a multimodal approach to lead nurturing in June. I hope you can make it.