So you’ve done some lead generation, and you’ve got a prospect who doesn’t want to buy from you right now. What next?
- Call them, telling them their mistake?
- Give up?
- Keep an eye on them and continue to send them useful content, laying in wait until they are engaged enough to be ready to buy… then pounce!
If you said ‘3’, you’re lead nurturing!
Why the hype?
Sales people have always tried to perform lead nurturing. However, it recently became a whole lot easier with the advent of marketing automation software. Tools like Oracle Marketing Cloud, Marketo and Hubspot allow you to automate emails, social media posts and blogs to your prospects, giving them the vital information they need to realise they need your product/service, and helping you to stay ahead of your competitors.
These tools also allow you to watch who’s visiting your website, opening those emails and retweeting you – so you know which leads have gone cold, and which are still red hot. Some very sophisticated sales teams use these tools in real time – for example, spying that a hot lead is currently on a particular web page, then calling them that instant. It’s a great tactic – you know that your product/service is currently on their mind.
But why can’t they just buy from me now?
That’s the trouble – salespeople have traditionally been expected to make people do exactly that.
They have been expected to:
- Call people out of the blue and tell them to buy double glazing.
- Ring door bells and ask for charitable donations.
- Interrupt people at conferences and networking events.
Then when these entreaties fail, the salesperson is held to blame for supposed lack of skills.
Yet we all know from personal experience that making a buying decision can take a long time. And now that consumers can access a wealth of information online, they are no longer so dependent on salespeople:
- Shoppers can be as much as 70% through the buying journey before they engage with a salesperson
- Consumers trust customer reviews nearly 12x more than manufacturer descriptions
- It takes, on average, 10 marketing-driven “touches” to progress a lead from the top of the funnel to the top line (i.e. revenue)
Which is why sales teams need to change tack. Buyers are looking for sales people to act as trusted advisors and information suppliers. If your team isn’t nurturing leads – sending them useful content and offering tailored advice – they’ll trust the competitors who are.
What’s ‘lead scoring’ then?
So far, we’ve probably made it sound like lead nurturing is all about making the sales team’s life harder. Except that with marketing automation software, lead nurturing can be programmed to happen automatically, leading to conversions that are much easier to attain. Here’s how.
- Your sales team and marketing team work together to decide who your ideal customer is – which might be someone who has read a lot of your blogs and has a job title senior enough to have access to a budget. This ideal customer gets the ‘top score’ in your software – everyone else is ranked on a scale, from ‘not worth the time of day’ to ‘could become an ideal customer eventually’.
- Marketing sets up a lead nurturing programme – setting up the automated emails, tweets and blogs these ideal customers want to read.
- The sales team no longer has a mountain of names to randomly call – but a ‘scored’ list. It’s easy to see who is ready to receive a call and who should be left to ‘warm up’.
Great – so are we!
Lead nurturing and lead scoring are a fantastic way to:
- Sell to buyers who aren’t quite ready to buy yet, rather than giving up on them.
- Achieve higher marketing ROI.
- Boost sales!
If you’d like to discover more about how lead nurturing could help your business, please get in touch with us today.