Nurturing – It Takes A Village of Influencers
Research indicates that approximately 73% of leads you capture are not yet ready to buy. So what do you do with that 73%? Nurture them, of course. Lead nurturing – engaging, educating and guiding buyers through the middle of the sales funnel – has become a point of difference.
As a marketer, you cannot ignore data like this:
– Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. – Source: Forrester Research
– Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. – Source: The Annuitas Group
– Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. – Source: DemandGen Report
– Companies that excel at lead nurturing have 9% more sales reps making quota. – Source: CSO Insights
The fact of the matter is that with the number of leads most marketers deliver today, lead nurturing is a necessary part of any marketing strategy.
Nurturing is simply the process of keeping up consistent communication and monitoring the level of engagement and sales readiness by sending an automated series of emails to a prospect over a specific amount of time to remain top of mind. A marketing peer of mine sees nurturing as a way to “keep the fish from rotting on the dock.” Harsh, I know, but the truth of the matter is most salespeople have more leads than they can connect within a reasonable amount of time. So they cherry pick those they believe will close quickly. Those that are not quite ready to close get pushed to the bottom of the pile unlikely to be touched again.
Nurturing serves two purposes in this scenario – the first is that it allows a prospect to self-qualify when they are ready to have a live conversation and it prepares them for that call through content that educates and informs.
IS A “STREAM OF EMAILS” ENOUGH?
I found an interesting stat from a Genius.com study stating 66% of buyers noted that “consistent and relevant communication provided by both sales and marketing organizations” is a key influence in choosing a solution provider. The keyword in that stat is “both.”
Nurturing does not equal sales readiness. It is simply part of the process of cultivating and educating prospects not yet ready to buy. Let’s face it, an automated series of relevant and personalized emails will help move buyers through each stage of the research to purchase cycle, but selling requires a human touch.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
We need to shift our thinking beyond traditional lead gen and partner with our sales peers to take more of a lead-to-revenue management approach. If company leaders want to get more bang for their lead gen buck, they need an intentional integrated marketing and sales strategy developed to convert a “hand-raiser” into a “buyer.” This strategy should be built upon a commitment from both the marketing and sales teams to stick with for the long haul.
Marketing’s role is to create, implement and manage a flow of email content that resonates and educates prospects providing the sales team with a relevant reason to reach out. Sales’ role is to pick up the phone and continue to make relevant calls – it can take 8-19 calls to reach a prospect – until they win the sale or lose the sale.
Do you have an intentional nurturing strategy? If not, connect with our team, we are always happy to talk nurturing and where it fits into a defined lead-to-revenue process.