Online lead generation alone can be a challenge for many businesses. Obtaining leads are only the beginning. Converting leads into a sales can be the most difficult challenge of all. Why? It’s not because you don’t have a great product or service; it’s because all leads are not created equal.
According to a study by Gleanster Research, 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. This means that when a lead hits your CRM, you need to do your best to analyze the history of the lead, qualify the lead and determine what to do next.
Most often, when sales associates find that their lead is not ready to buy, they simply file the information away and decide to “follow up” on a later date. Not only this is a bad idea, but it’s rarely effective. So what should you do? Nurture them, of course!
What is Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is a process used to effectively follow up or cultivate your leads. This is accomplished by sending a series of automated messages over a specific period of time to keep leads engaged, educated and interested through the sales cycle.
To effectively nurture your leads, you should understand where that person is in the sales funnel and nurture them with relevant information.
Understanding the Sales Funnel
The first step to converting leads is understanding where they are in the sales funnel. Are they on at top, the middle or the bottom?
If a lead is at the top of the sales funnel, it is most likely in the introductory phase of the relationship. It is most likely getting to learn more about a particular subject and the more they will begin learning, the more they will continue to do so. Nurture them with educational information; something that helps them learn more about the topic they we’re interested in, such as a blog or download.
If a lead is in the middle of the sales funnel, it is most likely beyond the informational stages and is aware of the problem it is having and may be looking to you for answers. This leads needs advanced information on their topic of interest, such as an E-book or white paper.
If a lead is in the bottom of the sales funnel, it is most likely well informed, has identified its need and is searching for the best product or company for the job. Great examples of lead nurturing data includes case studies, testimonials or examples of your work.
The Bottom Line
Industry research shows that nurturing your leads, keeping them engaged with your content and gradually introducing them to more advanced stages of the sales cycle can only benefit your bottom line. Lead nurturing allows you to stay top of mind but should enhance personal attention, not replace it.