Lead Nurturing: 5 Ways to Hatch More Sales

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Posted: July 8, 2011 | Nurturing

Is your lead nurturing process a little like waiting for eggs to hatch? Results are slow and you feel like you have little control over the when, why and how?

Not to worry – many organizations are faced with the challenge of lead nurturing. On one hand, both marketing and sales are under pressure to close deals and hit monthly numbers. However, nudging leads too fast, or with the wrong message, can quickly spoil them.

Below are five ways to keep leads moving through your funnel.

1. Survey Leads In The Pipeline

It may seem overly simple, but too often we waste time assuming what our audience wants to hear, rather asking them directly. You may be surprised at how open people can be in sharing their needs. When you get answers directly from your audience, you can fine-tune future content to deliver more of what your target audience wants from your content, videos, webinars, and so on.

2. Turn On The Heat

As with eggs, sometimes in order for leads to hatch into sales we have to turn up the heat a bit. Based on lead scoring or segmentation criteria, segment your list so you can communicate with those prospects later in the buying cycle.

3. Humanize Your Message

Find every way you can to personalize your lead nurturing touch points. Marketo’s own tests have shown that lead nurturing can help generate 50% more sales-ready leads with the same budget. If you don’t yet have an answer to that question, you can start by:

  • Being interested in what they want from you (see point #1!)
  • Thanking them for their engagement – more than once
  • Staying in regular (and, when indicated, frequent) contact
  • Providing them with special offers/invites/access to premium content

Creating a connection with those in your pipeline should go beyond adding their name to the greeting line. Focus on creating a one-on-one relationship with your prospects through nurturing, just as you would if you met them in person.

4. Follow Aristotle’s advice

Go back to the basics of rhetoric set forth by the grand master himself. Aristotle suggested that all messages begin with invention, arrangement and style. Then he described three appeals that translate perfectly to content creation:

  • Logos – logical reasoning. Provide content that appeals to the reader’s sense of rationality. You can use statistics, analysis and news to support your point.
  • Pathos – emotional appeal. This is the foundation of all compelling messages. Use metaphors, images and stories that create an emotional connection between you and your leads.
  • Ethos – establishing the character of the author. Leverage keywords, phrases, brand images and style to separate your business from the rest of the competition. When prospects open your emails, for example, they should recognize your unique touch immediately.

5. Nurture by the numbers

Do everything more than once, but in different ways. To establish an ongoing relationship that will stand the test of a long nurturing process, try expanding your numbers in these areas:

  • Touch schedule. Create one that reflects that average number of contacts leads have been shown to need in the past. Be ready to add more touches to that number when long term nurturing stretches out.
  • Buying cycles. B2B buying cycles range throughout industry and between companies. Educate yourself quickly on the length of your prospects buying cycles (for example, does it take an average of three months from first touch, to decision, to purchase?)Then, target your contact frequency to complement those unique cycles. i.e., a longer more laborious decision process may take increased touches to stay on their radar.
  • Media type. Create a range of media to keep your lead nurturing fresh. Combine your landing page optimization and direct mail pieces with outbound calls, and emails, webinars and video to add interest and variety to your communication.

If you notice your lead nurturing efforts aren’t producing, revisit how, when and why you connect with leads so you can make a stronger, more compelling connection. Do this, and your lead nurturing eggs will hatch conversions in no time.

To learn more on this topic, download the free Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing from Marketo.

Lead Nurturing: 5 Ways to Hatch More Sales

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