Lead Nurturing: You could be losing as much as 80% of your sales; here’s how you keep them
Multiply your company’s revenue by five.
That’s the sum of what lead nurturing could produce considering that long-term leads — the ones often ignored by salespeople — represent as much as 80% of your sales. (In Chapter 18 of his book, “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale,” Brian Carroll outlines the startling research.)
I know this is an extreme oversimplification, but it does represent the potential that is leaking out of your pipeline.
So now that I have your attention, let’s talk about what you can do about it.
If you want to ensure these future customers remain in your funnel, you must have a relevant,
consistent conversation with them. I am not implying you pick up the phone this minute and start calling them (although that’s a good idea further down the marketing funnel — when you want to be certain Sales won’t toss out that lead you thoughtfully nurtured).
What I mean by “conversation” is engaging them with information — content like articles, newsletters, whitepapers and videos — that they’re eager to read, share and act on.
Make sure they can benefit from what you give them regardless of whether they choose to buy from you.
But, of course, if you utilize lead nurturing correctly, potential customers will choose to move forward with your organization when they’re ready to purchase.
You’ll be the one they know and trust.
You’ll have made their lives easier by helping them make their purchasing decision. You’ll also have avoided the mistake of pushing them too hard, too fast.
I wish I could say that lead nurturing is as easy as simply collecting a few articles that promote your latest products and blasting it out across your email lists. But, like anything else, results begin with smart planning. If you want lead nurturing to work, you have to set the groundwork by completing the following:
Gain agreement throughout your marketing and sales organizations on what defines a good sales lead and when they should be passed along to Sales. As the headline of this post points out, at many organizations, Sales already throws away as many as 80% of the leads given to them. Determine which leads Marketing should hold back until Sales considers them worth their time to pursue.
Identify what your customers want by talking directly to them. Ask your long-time customers, your newer customers and prospects:
- Their most pressing issues and how they’re dealing with them
- The resources they turn to when they look for solutions
- Their buying process and who is involved in it
- What kind of information informs their buying decision
These are just a few key questions that will point your content in the right direction.
Make smart use of time, money and resources. Once you have raw information that is valuable to your audience, think of all the ways you can get that content into the hands of your potential customers. For example, a video or commentary can be:
- Repurposed into an article, blog or webinar …
- … that is then shared through social media to all of your company’s social networks …
- … and used by sales professionals to support their customer relationships.
Of course, measuring what customers pay attention to — through opens, page views, clickthroughs and responses — will help you determine the information your audience is most hungry for so you can narrow your efforts.
This is a very high-level overview of how you can plug the gushers in your sales pipeline to multiply both your top and bottom lines. There’s so much more on this topic. If you want to learn more, you can find a few resources that can help below.
Photo by Ross Hong Kong
The One-Two Punch of Effective Lead Engagement: Accurate Lists and Powerful Content – March 6, 2012, noon EST