Companies that nurture leads create 50% more sales-ready opportunities than those that don’t nurture leads. Yes, 50% more sales-ready leads!
Now, it might shock you that fewer than 50% of companies do anything to nurture leads.
Not to oversimplify things, but according to those statistics, there’s a high likelihood that you can improve your sales numbers by 50% if you adopt a lead nurturing strategy. Talk about low hanging fruit.
But you have to be intentional about following up with leads and nurturing them through the buyer’s journey.
This might sound like a tall task, but by the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with all the know-how to put your prospects into a well-oiled, lead-nurturing machine.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Let’s say you speak with a prospect but they don’t convert into a paying customer or client. This person is now a hot lead.
Most salespeople won’t follow-up with the prospect at all (sad). But lead nurturing is following-up on steroids.
Because think of it this way. A lead is a seedling. And seedlings need water and nurturing to grow. If you leave it be, it will die in the sun. It takes your patience and care. And if you water it and tend to it, it will grow.
Of course, not all leads will grow into paying clients, just like not all seedlings become towering oaks. But you have to give ‘em a fighting chance, because remember that 50% statistic above? Yes, that’s why.
OK – but what IS lead nurturing, you might be asking? What does it look like on-the-ground?
It looks like engaging your leads and building the relationship through various avenues.
Lead nurturing is:
- A simple phone call to check in on them
- A white paper or case study personally emailed to them
- A monthly newsletter
- A workshop or webinar
- Social media or LinkedIn engagement
- A personalized gift sent to their office
Understanding the Buyer’s Journey
Before we can go further in discussing lead nurturing, you have to understand the buyer’s journey. This is broken up into four different stages, and your lead should be served appropriate content depending on what stage they are in in their journey. Let’s have a look.
Stages of the Buyer’s Journey:
- Awareness: Your prospect becomes aware they have a problem or pain point, and they begin to seek out solutions.
- Consideration: Now your prospect has interfaced with your brand (or you!) in some way, and they are actively researching and considering viable options.
- Decision: The prospect now has everything needed to make a well-informed decision, and during this stage they make the decision to buy.
- Post-purchase: Your lead has become a client or customer (nice work), and now they are eligible for upsells, downsells, and cross-sells.
Lead Nurturing Strategy
Before I outline a winning strategy, just know that you don’t have to get this perfect. Just like anything in sales or business, if you feel you have to get it right the first time, you will experience paralysis by analysis. So I recommend starting today with what you have and where you’re at. You can always refine your lead nurturing strategy over time.
With that said, here’s one strategy that works:
When your leads are in the Awareness stage…
They have a pain point that really starts to bother them. So begin to feed them content that meets them where they’re at. I’m talking YouTube videos, blog posts, podcasts, and social media posts. It’s time to make noise so that during their awareness stage, they become aware of YOU. Commit to creating and sharing one piece of content per day for the next 90 days and see what happens.
When your lead is in the Consideration stage…
They have found you and, presumably after a sales call, are considering your product or service as a solution to their problem. But, they haven’t pulled out the credit card yet. So during this stage the nurturing elements now become: case studies, white papers, and just friendly notes sent to their inbox or delivered over the phone. You can also consider adding LinkedIn touches during this phase of lead nurturing. The idea here is leverage a multi-channel nurturing approach to build that relationship of mutual trust and respect.
When your lead is in the Decision stage…
They are either a) ready to buy from you or b) ready to cut their losses and move on. So now it’s time to send highly-personalized content to show that you understand them. For instance, if a lead tells me their team isn’t good at overcoming objections. I would send them my article on how to overcome objections, with an empathetic but authoritative note attached. I want to communicate: “Hey, I see you. I know what you’re going through. And I can help bail you out of this mess.” You should also rely heavily on the phones during this phase of lead nurturing. The more personal, the better.
When your lead is in the Post-purchase stage…
Lead-nurturing becomes customer relations at this point. But the nurturing still needs to happen. You don’t want customers to churn, but you also have a prime opportunity to upsell customers into bigger or better offerings. I recommend getting on the phone at least quarterly to touch base with them. And don’t always call with something to sell. You have to switch it up. Build the relationship over time, and let any additional offers emerge naturally in discussion.
Don’t Forget Direct Outreach!
Pick up the phones. Pick up the phones. Pick up the phones.
I can chant this till I’m blue in the face, and it still won’t get old. There is power in the phone call. This is sales afterall. No matter the stage the buyer is in, the single most effective thing you can do is speak to them, human to human. No technology mediating the experience. Nothing to interpret. Nothing getting in the way.
If a lead is on the fence about purchasing and suddenly gets a call from you, it’s your deal to close. There’s almost nothing that can stand in the way between you and ink on paper. So again, I say, pick up the phones.
Guess what. Nobody’s doing this! Or hardly anybody is doing anything in terms of lead nurturing. That’s why you stand to win BIG if you implement a lead nurturing strategy in your sales career or business.
With every touch, every piece of content, everything your prospect sees and hears from you and your company, they move one step down the funnel closer to a sale.
So you simply can’t afford not to put a solid lead nurturing strategy in place.
With that said, it’s time to get out there and nurture your leads into full-blown deals.
Until next time…