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 potential buyers through the middle of the sales funnel – has become a point of difference between those companies that thrive and those that simply survive.
Data Doesn’t Lie
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.
Defining “Lead Nurturing.”
Lead nurturing is simply the process of sending an automated series of emails to a lead over a specific amount of time to keep them engaged through the sales cycle. It’s hard to know – unless your form has 35 fields – where a lead is in the cycle.
Lead nurturing allows you to keep up consistent communication and monitor the level of engagement and sales readiness. As a marketing peer of mine says, “it keeps the fish from rotting on the dock.”
Harsh, I know, but the truth of the matter is most sales people have more leads than they can connect with in 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.
Is a Stream of Emails Enough?
I found an interesting stat from a Genius.com study, 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.”
Lead nurturing does not equal sales readiness. It is simply part of the process of cultivating those leads not yet ready to buy. Let’s face it, an automated series of relevant and personalized emails will help in educating and moving 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 combined marketing and sales strategy developed to convert a “hand-raiser” into a “buyer.” This strategy should be built upon 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 lead gen-nurturing-sales 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.