“80% of prospects deemed ‘bad leads’ by sales teams go on to buy within 24 months.” – SiriusDecisions Research
For too long South African businesses have ignored the 500 pound gorilla in the room.
By and large, and in comparison with the rest of the developed world, we are some way behind in our use of the technology and methodologies required to effectively nurture leads earned to deals closed.
In article #1 of this new series on Marketing Systems and Processes, we will:
- Define what lead nurturing is.
- Explore some key reasons why your business needs this strategy (not tomorrow, today).
This is where marketing’s rubber meets the revenue road – where back-end systems and processes merge to ensure that font-end campaigns yield the increase in sales you are after.
Related: Converting Leads
What is Lead Nurturing?
Here’s a practical example of what it really isn’t.
Prospective home buyers search online for homes that fit their budget, taste and requirements. They find some options; make the effort to contact the listed estate agent and an appointment is set up to view the house. 7
In most cases the following is what happens then:
- Agent shows house
- Interested parties do not immediately put in an offer to purchase
- Agent may (or may not) offer other options to look at
- If no success from those options the contact frequency decreases rapidly
- No further communication from agent is received
- A few months later the potential buyers spot something they like and buy . . . from someone else.
These are the same agents who gather around the weekend braai, telling their friends how “tough” the market is.
The truth, of course, is much closer to this scenario;
“Because market conditions are tougher, people are more careful about spending their money, which means they need more information and will evaluate more options before making a purchase decision.
To quote a leading supplier of Marketing Automation Solutions Software, Marketo: “Lead nurturing is the process of building effective relationships with potential customers throughout the buying journey.”
It’s about talking apples when a lead wants to talk apples and, then, not just apples in general but the specific colour, type, price, bag size and quality of apple the lead is looking to purchase – at that specific time.
This may sound like a logical thing to do but there are scientific and software requirements behind the “commercial sense”. . . Key elements of which will be explored more over the course of this content series.
Why your Business needs Lead Nurturing Today
- Lead nurturing communication pushes leads from source through to close by delivering relevant communication as and when the lead requires it.
- Lead nurturing processes alert sales when prospects are ready to be contacted and then further aids in guiding leads through their various buying stages until they convert into clients.
- Lead nurturing software (marketing automation) allows you to track how effective your marketing spend is by offering insights into what leads converted from which campaigns, allowing marketing to, quite accurately:
- Predict return from future spend
- Establish what your company’s average deal closing ratio is (% of leads that close)
- Establish how long (on average) it takes for a lead to become a customer.
4. Lead nurturing analytics and data not only allows Marketing and Sales to accurately plan resource allocation in order to meet revenue targets set but, also, provides concrete proof to investors or buyers that your company’s marketing and sales model works.
Think this all sounds like a bunch of new-aged, long-haired, marketing-hippie speak? Then consider the following statistics – courtesy of billion dollar businesses that have spent millions and invested years into research on the topic.
Effective lead nurturing is equally effective in both the B2B and B2C space.
In fact, one can strongly argue that the line between the two “types” of business is severely, and increasingly, blurred – with social commentary, peer reviews, customer forums and the like all forming part of the conversation that aids (or derails) the shopper’s path to purchase.
Related: 10 Ways to Quickly Generate Leads
Next month we’ll get into the elements that contribute towards setting up and running successful lead-nurturing campaigns – as well as the rest of the processes every modern business requires to bring sales and marketing together in a cohesive, performance-driven, manner.
Between now and when we chat again I encourage you to gather your leads effectively, monitoring their source and the communications sent to them – gaining a better understanding of who your ideal customer is, from there you can then build your ideal processes out.