In many ways, sales is a lot like dating. When you first connect with a lead, they aren’t ready to jump right into a commitment. Instead, they need to get to know you, understand your values, see what you have to offer, and eventually decide on whether you’re a good fit for each other. But in the sales world, we don’t call it dating — we refer to it as lead nurturing.
This is one of the most crucial steps in the sales process because, when done correctly, the relationship you build through careful nurturing can make closing the deal easier than ever.
What is Lead Nurturing?
In a simple definition, lead nurturing is the thoughtful process of building relationships with leads with the goal of turning them into a qualified prospect. Sales reps will often share helpful content with the lead, stay in touch, and learn more about the lead so they can help the leads learn more about the company, products, and brand. It allows a company to stay top of mind with leads who are not yet ready to buy and continue the conversation.
On average, research suggests that more than half of the leads you receive are not ready to make a buying decision. Interestingly, companies who are effective in lead nurturing will create 50% more sales-ready leads. Nurtured leads tend to spend more and cost less than non-nurtured leads, helping you to stretch your budget even further.
How Lead Scores Affects Lead Nurturing
Nearly 75% of top-performing companies are using lead nurturing and attribute the practice to their success. However, it’s not enough to simply send emails and share content on Facebook. Lead nurturing is a methodical, calculated approach that should deliver real value to the users, with the goal of turning leads into paying customers at the forefront.
Lead scoring plays a key role in nurturing your leads and developing a strategy that both sales and marketing can get on board with. Using lead scoring mechanisms allows you to choose how to address each lead based on specific criteria, including the following:
Some leads will be a better fit than others for what you offer. The better the fit, the higher the score.
Monitoring behaviors will help you better assess which leads are serious about buying and which ones are simply window shopping. For example, someone who signs up for an email newsletter is likely not a serious buyer, while someone who is comparing pricing options might be ready to buy.
Leads who are spending a lot of time on your site, engaging with you on social media, or otherwise showing interest are likely to be better quality leads than those who are radio silent. Lead scoring can help you find these gems at a glance.
The lead’s buying stage and time spent within the buying cycle can also indicate their readiness or likeliness to buy. One easy way to score this segment is to align behaviors with certain stages: downloading a lead magnet might be in the consideration stage while comparing prices and packages could be in the decision stage.
3 Effective Ways to Nurture Leads
Lead nurturing can take multiple forms. Here’s a look at three effective ways other companies are keeping a meaningful conversation going:
One size rarely fits all, especially when it comes to nurturing your leads and shaping their opinions of your company. Not all leads are interested in the same products or services. They’re at different levels of buying readiness and have different priorities in their decision making.
Rather than bombard them with a slew of marketing messages, send them meaningful, targeted content that aligns with their needs, goals, and interests. It could be a blog post that reflects something you spoke about or a webinar invitation that’s targeted to a specific buyer persona.
If you want to stand out in the inbox, personalization is non-negotiable. People prefer reading an email that was written just for them versus a mass email blast that doesn’t quite speak to their persona.
There are tons of ways to personalize emails at scale without having to craft each one from scratch. For example, you might send one after someone downloads gated content from your website.
Most marketers say their email response rate doesn’t top more than 20%. It’s important to think beyond the inbox when nurturing leads. Reaching out on multiple channels, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and even direct mail can help you stay in front of your leads.
How to Use Marketing Automation to Fast Track Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing has a lot of moving parts, many of which can be handled through marketing automation tools. Automating certain tasks like sending follow up emails, sharing helpful content, scheduling calls, or promoting events means less guesswork for the salesperson and no chance of important moments falling through the cracks.
Plus, when you have technology pulling the strings on your behalf, it can also track user behavior, engagement, and other factors that will help you monitor the lead’s progress on becoming a prospect. This way, you stand a better chance of knowing when they might be sales-ready and strike while the iron’s hot.
LeadSquared offers a full suite of lead and marketing automation services, including lead scoring, lead tracking, and lead qualification to help you find your best prospects and nurture leads throughout the cycle. Try them all for free for 15 days and see how automated lead nurturing can help you create more customers to grow your brand!