Buyers are smarter than ever. They have more options, more leeway, and more leverage than any other time in human history. But maybe most disturbing is their ability to simply say “No”. And once they do, good luck getting them back.
How can any sales team hope to be effective in this kind of environment? Well, having a great product is a start, but to truly inspire people to buy-in your company needs to get with the times. It’s time to change from the hard sell to the soft touch of lead nurturing.
So, what is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of engaging your potential customers authentically along every step of the buying cycle. It takes into account specific actions taken by each prospect to ensure they are receiving high-quality content that helps them make an educated decision about their upcoming purchase.
Notice in that definition that outright selling is not included. That is because the hard sell has a very limited role in the lead nurturing model. Nurturing a lead requires a more subtle form of selling. It is about persuading a customer to buy by displaying your company’s unique selling proposition and benefits over the competition in a genuine way, not just in a sales pitch.
How does it work?
To create a successful lead nurturing system you need to have a thorough understanding of your customer and their decision making process. Where do they search for product choices? What social platforms do they use, and how do they use them to communicate with brands? What kind of offers (ebooks, whitepapers, infographics) do they consume before they feel educated enough to make a purchase decision?
These questions, and many more, have to be scrutinized and addressed in order to create an effective lead nurturing model. Once you have that information you need to have a system in place to analyze incoming leads and follow them along the sales cycle. That way you can track each lead as it develops and use what you know about your customers to send relevant content to the platforms they use.
It is important to note that lead nurturing is not drip marketing. Sending mass emails or generic promotional content out at predetermined intervals will not achieve the same result as following each unique lead through to the end. To effectively nurture a lead you have to understand the prospect’s unique needs and publish content that is right for them, not what you think is right for everyone.
Why do I need Lead Nurturing?
The beautiful thing about lead nurturing is that it does more than just sell your product. It generates highly educated customers who understand the worth you provide to them. That lends itself particularly well to the conversion from customer to brand advocate. But if having a legion of dedicated fans is not enough to persuade you, check out these 3 facts about lead nurturing:
- Lead nurturing companies sell 50% more product for 33% less than competitors (Marketo Research)
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases (Annuitas Group)
- On average, lead nurturing companies see a 45% lift in lead generation ROI – (MarketingSherpa)
Who Can Use Lead Nurturing?
Any company can implement lead nurturing techniques to great effect, but it lends itself heavily to the Business-to-Business space. That is because most B2B transactions include large sums of money and personal responsibility on the part of the purchaser to make the right call.
That is why it so important to bring these people into your circle. Instruct them on what to look for in a good product, how your company compares with competitors, and how you can help them in the long term. By being a friend, instead of a salesperson, you will have more than customers. You will have life-long supporters of your business.