How Lead Nurturing Improves Lead Generation ROI

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.

18 Responses to How Lead Nurturing Improves Lead Generation ROI

  1. Sridhar Ramanathan May 2, 2007 at 5:06 pm #


    You know I’m a fan of yours already as I’ve gave your book “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale” to my client base as a must-read.

    A vivid example of the power of lead nuturing that’s fresh on my mind—one of my clients is running two parallel programs: cold calling to one list of contacts, and doing multi-modal nurturing with another same-sized list. We saw a 5x difference in quantity of qualified leads delivered to sales.


  2. B2B Lead Generation Blog May 14, 2007 at 6:06 am #

    How Lead Nurturing Improves Lead Generation ROI

    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

  3. Alejandro Urizar June 6, 2007 at 8:01 am #

    Brian, I hear this concept all the time and I couldn’t agree more. We are relatively new on Lead Generation and It would be helpfull to have some comparision between a LG program with nurturing an another without. Regards, Alejandro

  4. Duane Davis July 12, 2007 at 12:50 am #

    Brian, I used to sell custom industrial automation equipment which is a long term very complex sale and I can certainly see how this could be applied that. What I’m wondering is, if and how this concept could be applied to what I’m doing now which is LG / Selling for components outsourced to China which is a very quick sell cycle?

    P.S. I really like your blog and I’ll be getting your book as soon as I get back to the states.


  5. jaded July 26, 2007 at 10:24 am #

    Great comments. Unfortunately, for some organizations, leads are only people who have an active project..and getting on the shortlist isn’t important.

  6. Kathy Kay August 1, 2007 at 2:59 pm #

    So what about those potential leads that may have a project 4 to 6 months down the road? That is what the nurturing is about: to help not ‘lose’ potential future business. We can’t expect qualified profiles to be ready to buy today at all times. It sounds as though there is confusion between a lead and an ‘opportunity’, the opportunity has the active project…the lead is qualified fo rpotential future business…

  7. Lisa Anderson February 22, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    Well said! Lead nurturing has such a huge impact on the relationship with future clients. When this step is overlooked or handled poorly there are huge losses.

  8. Revenue Generation December 29, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    Nice article Brian. I would also add that lead scoring, or lead qualification, is another factor that can improve lead nurturing programs. For example, you could score leads if their revenue is greater than $500M or if the visitor has clicked a certain product page. Marketers may want to ‘dial up’ their nurturing if a lead score reaches 100 or higher. Lead scoring also helps to prioritize who’s hot and who’s not for sales. Combined with nurturing, marketers have powerful automation techniques to pass sales more qualified leads.

  9. CarrieLowe February 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    I strictly recommend not to hold back until you get enough cash to buy goods! You should get the home loans or secured loan and feel yourself fine


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