Lead Nurturing in a "But, we-need-revenue-now” Sales Climate
on 02-25-200903:23 PM - last edited on 02-25-200903:31 PM by tmergel
Lead nurturing has been around for some time now. Call it what you want: permission marketing, drip marketing, engagement marketing, lead nurturing … it essentially refers to the practice of providing digestible nuggets of information to prospects at different stages of their research and discovery cycle, until they’re ready to hear more about your sales message and act on it, becoming a truly qualified lead.
And I think we all know that lead nurturing is generally a very good practice. Forcing a buy-now message on a prospect who is not ready to buy, but rather is in an earlier stage of the process, can do more harm than good, turning them away from your company and message even when they are ready to buy. People want to be talked to and communicated with in a way personalized to them, and their needs and wants. Lead nurturing when done right, does that. The person reads or watches something of interest to them, so you in turn send them something else that you think will be of interest and help further them along in the education about your products and services. They subsequently read or watch an additional item you’ve sent, so again, you further them along with even more; and eventually they’re well informed, and hopefully ready to talk to you, their educator and trusted partner.
So all that said about the good side of lead nurturing, the truth is that lead nurturing does require patience and a longer-term commitment than more short-term lead generation activities. In a “But, we-need-revenue-now” sales climate, there may not be as much tolerance for the longer-term play. Sales reps are being asked, “What have you sold this quarter, this month, today?” and they want to know that Marketing is wholly supporting their short-term efforts.
The trick is finding the balance between the two. Giving up lead nurturing altogether isn’t likely to be the best bet for your marketing efforts long term. And truthfully, the people you’re nurturing probably aren’t the best candidates for short-term revenue. Remember, we’re talking about people who aren’t ready to buy anyway, so a small amount of investment in them now, sets you up better for longer-term results that make the small investment worth it.
So here are some ideas to keep nurturing when you have to meet more immediate revenue concerns and needs:
Shorter nurture cycles: Reduce the number of steps it takes for a trigger call to be established. Or, complete the same steps but speed it up to complete the cycle sooner.
Longer, scaled back cycles: Create fewer deliverables, use less resource time, and lower the cost of sending and managing the nurture cycle.
Automation: This can’t be stressed enough. Creating automated workflow processes in your e-mail provider or CRM system is the best way to make this painless and cost effective.
Figure out when it’s time to let go: Remove people from the database if they haven’t responded in X months or X communications—reduce the number of months or communications from a longer time you previously used to save money.
And remember, a higher value yield/ASP for sales from nurturing can help dispel the volume and shorter-term needs as well.
Clearly, what shouldn’t be given up is the intimacy with the person to whom you’re communicating … don’t sacrifice that trusted relationship for the short-term gain! If your efforts would jeopardize that trust, then it’s better to stop the nurturing altogether than disrupt it with a short-term “batch and blast” mentality aimed at the people you’ve carefully cultivated.
Good luck in your efforts! Let us know what you're up to in this area — we'd love to hear about it.