Lead Nurturing: Beyond Lead Generation

by 23 Apr 2022Sales Strategy

Lead generation is all about getting leads. Lead nurturing is all about cultivating them.

So you’ve got an effective lead generation strategy. And a healthy influx of leads cascading into your sales funnel. Nice work. Now what?

It’s time to nurture those fledgling prospects. Tenderly develop their relationship with your business until the point where they are ready to convert from prospect to client. Gently guide your leads on a journey that keeps them steadily progressing through this sales funnel of yours. 

But how?

What is lead nurturing?

Photo by dlxmedia.hu on Unsplash

In short, it’s relationship-building. Lead nurturing is maturing and fortifying a lead to a sales-ready state, ripe for conversion. MarketingSherpa research shows that 73% of B2B leads are not sales-ready. But sales teams still keep receiving thousands of unqualified leads that they have to try and convert, which can be like trying to push treacle uphill. It’s demoralising trying to engage with unprepared prospects. Especially when the salespeople are equally unprepared, without any real insight or objective reasoning behind trying to talk to the lead, other than trying to flog something.

Why is lead nurturing so important?

Businesses that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.

Forrester Research

It’s so important because, unlike an actual physical funnel, your metaphorical funnel has to rely on more than gravity drawing its contents through it. With your metaphorical funnel, YOU have to be the force that draws the prospects through. Otherwise, they may simply dematerialise, fall out the non-existent side, or travel upwards and out the top. Whatever. There are no rules of physics that apply in a metaphorical funnel scenario. It’s an imaginary construct.

So how do you nurture leads through this sales funnel, with the best possible chance of them emerging from the bottom as revenue? 

You need a lead nurturing strategy, not just tactics and tricks. Many online guides will tell you it’s all about email. And we aren’t saying it’s not all about email. A drip email marketing campaign, done right, is definitely a lead nurturing strategy you should be using. But a multi-channel, integrated lead nurturing approach is really where it’s at. You need to be everywhere.

Lead nurturing best practice

Taking note of these lead nurturing principles will yield substantial results for your sales pipeline:

Time is of the essence in lead nurturing

Don’t lose out on opportunities because you are too slow to respond to prospects. Reach out within the hour wherever possible. Be hyper-responsive.

Get personal

Gone are the days when stock responses are enough to engage a prospect. As buyers, we all expect and appreciate a personalised experience. And with access to more data and automation than ever, there’s no excuse for not delivering it.

Value comes before the sale

Trust is the most important element of customer relationship management – right from the outset. There’s no better way to build trust, authority and engagement than offering value to your prospects long before they pay you a penny. In this regard, content is king. Relevant, interesting, useful content that helps your prospects soothe their pain points is a critical aspect of lead nurturing. Whether it’s problem-solving solutions in targeted email campaigns, directing prospects to your blog or providing free webinars or white papers – how can you be of use and value to your prospects today? Create opportunities for them to buy into you, which could just lead them to buy from you.

Commit to the long haul

50% of your prospects are ready to buy now. 50% aren’t. Lead nurturing is an ongoing process, and it takes planning, commitment and consistency. Connect with your leads through multiple channels.

Don’t let your hard-won leads go cold. And if you aren’t sure how best to nurture them to maturity, we’d love to help. Read more about our appointment setting service.

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