Andrea Johnson

Lead Nurturing: You could be losing as much as 80% of your sales; here’s how you keep them

March 1st, 2012

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


Related Resources:

The One-Two Punch of Effective Lead Engagement: Accurate Lists and Powerful Content – March 6, 2012, noon EST

Email Marketing: The importance of lead nurturing in the complex sale

Lead Nurturing: How much content is enough?

No Budget and Less Time? Lead Nurturing in Five Simple Steps

BNET Interviews Brian Carroll: Focus on Helping Not Closing

Webinar Replay: 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report Reveals How Marketers can Transform Mounting Pressure, Challenges into Revenue

The ingredients of lead nurturing and how they work together

To Call or Email: That is the Question

Categories: B2B Marketing Tags: , , ,

  1. March 1st, 2012 at 17:33 | #1

    Great article, Andrea! I think you first point is key about providing them value no matter what (even if they don’t buy). They may not buy from you right now, but they could down the road.

    I think a large part of the lead nurturing process is really getting your pitch down to get them to say “yes” sooner, if not immediately. Brad Farris just wrote a great article on it’s importance. I think you might find it a good read!

  2. Andrea Johnson
    Andrea Johnson
    March 2nd, 2012 at 14:29 | #2

    Thanks Devan! I am so glad you found the post helpful. You are absolutely right that lead nurturing can speed up the sales cycle – you haven’t even sold them a product yet and you’re already making their lives easier. Furthermore, you’re giving the sales professional an opportunity to conduct a relevant conversation when they eventually follow-up; they can use nurturing materials as a point of discussion.

  3. March 14th, 2012 at 08:50 | #3

    Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for sharing this article on the importance of lead nurturing. It is an important part of the sales cycle that can lead to an actual sale. Following up with a potential lead is vital in guiding them over to making a purchase. I just wrote an article on ways to use lead nurturing for business: I hope this helps your readers understand the various ways they could use lead nurturing in their own marketing strategies.


  4. September 10th, 2012 at 02:57 | #4

    Hi Andrea,

    I completely agree with you. All that things play an important role in nurturing your confidence. As long as we follow these points, we will be able to get a campaign to work.

  5. November 10th, 2014 at 02:48 | #5

    Hi Andre, this is a fantastic post! I agree and think that we must lead with value. What I like to do is offer 100% Free valuable training on lead generation etc. The goal is to build long lasting relationships with our network.

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