Lead nurturing is all about having consistentand meaningful dialog with viable prospectsregardless of their timing to buy. It’s aboutbuilding trusted relationships with the rightpeople. In the end, it’s the act of maintainingmind share and building solid relationships witheconomic buyers. It’s not a sales personcalling up every few months to find out if aprospect is “ready to buy yet.”
Most economic buyers subscribe to the notion that how yousell me indicates how you will serve me. A recent study ofbusiness-to-business buyers shows that sales people whobecome trusted advisors and understand the needs ofeconomic buyers are 69% more likely to come away with asale. The complex sale requires that: Your prospect must be familiar with you and your companyand with what you and your company do. Your prospect must perceive you and your company to beexpert in your field. Your prospect must believe that you and your companyunderstand his or her specific issues and can solve them. Your prospect likes you and your company enough to wantto work with you. Trust therefore becomes the theme for a new type ofmarketing.
Key aspect of lead nurturing is the ability to provide valuableeducation and information to prospects up front, to becomea trusted advisor. You are then perceived to be anexpert. You don’t sell, you don’t make pitches. Instead, youprovide insights and solutions, all within the realm of yourexpertise and thus become the first they call when there’s aneed.When your marketing program has that single point of focusof developing trust, your time is freed up for other things; yourbusiness will become more profitable and less reliant oncompeting on price; selling per se is reduced in the interest ofmore open and honest conversations with prospects; you winmore business on a sole-source basis, and more new businessreferrals come your way. Above all, you feel good aboutwhat you have to offer.
Despite the fact that more and more companies recognize the need for and actively seekbetter lead generation, a ton of leads doesn’t guarantee increased sales. In the complex salethat dominates business-to-business marketing, the actual selling occurs when the sales personisn’t even present.Startling as it may seem, research shows that longer-term leads (future opportunities), oftenignored by salespeople, represent 77% of potential sales.Most inquirers dont buy right away but they do buy. Sales lead expert, Mac McIntosh, notesan in-depth study for Cahners Business Information of 40,000 inquiries generated by ads andpress releases in magazines serving the manufacturing marketplace found that six months afterinquiring, 23% of the subjects had bought the product or service, from the promoter or from acompetitor. An additional 67% indicated that they still intended to buy.It was further revealed that of those from earlier inquiries who bought, 11% purchased withinthree months of inquiring, 17% purchased within four to six months and 25% purchased withinseven to 12 months. And 47% bought in a year or more.McIntosh states, "despite the high number expressed interests that eventually convert to sales,many sales people believe that advertising inquires are not worth following up. Why? Probablybecause a majority are likely from longer-term prospects, and salespeople generally needmore immediate sales in order to meet monthly or quarterly quotas and earn commissions."If inquiries are simply passed on to sales people, reps, dealers or distributors for follow-up,beware. You may be leaving as many as eight out of ten sales prospects on the table for yourcompetitors..
Consider what goes through a potential customer’s mind ashe or she makes a buying decision:-How will this product or service help my company?-We’re doing okay so why do we need it?-Is there another resource out there that’s better?-Will this solution really work? Can that be proved?-Is the resource credible?-Can we afford this?Lead nurturing makes for easier answers to these questionsand,. Of course, you’re the source to come to. Over time,you have instilled the sense of value from the trust built bybite-sized chunks.
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Lead nurturing programs completed for our clients haveyielded anywhere from 15% to 200% in additional, newqualified leads Close ratios are higher. Sales pipelines openup and are stronger. Average sales cycles are shorter. Onecompany determined that its nurtured prospects bought from100% to 250% more than those that were not nurtured. Thenurtured prospects cited greater overall positive impression ofthe company. Another company saw client retentionimprove by 50% from its program.So, how are your sales leads like Fruits? Well, they are ratedby quality, they start from seed, they are consumable, there’sa wide variety. And they are perishable.