How to Integrate Lead Nurturing Into Your Sales Process
Understanding your customers: Sales Focused Individuals/Entities who Value Data
So you’ve identified loads of potential sales, and talk to your most promising potential customers every week. They seem enthusiastic, and claim to be just about to buy from you, but with every week that passes you get less sure that they ever actually will. What is going wrong?
The fact is that, especially in some industries such as software, sales cycles are long. The potential customer you have carefully nurtured, though excited about your product, simply cannot buy it from you now. This is why integrating lead nurturing into your sales process, and making sure that this process is synchronized with your customers, is so important.
If you are repeatedly sending out the same content to your potential customers, or come across as too “sales” at the wrong time, you are likely to lose them before they buy from you. Not only is this a waste of a potential sale, it is also a waste of your time as a marketer.
Fear not, though. There are a few easy ways in which you can integrate lead nurturing into your sales process, and ensure that potential customers get just the information they are after at the right time for them.
Lead Nurturing At The Awareness Stage
The first step for many potential customers is when they realize that they have a problem and that there just might be a solution out there to fix it. Whilst you obviously want to let them know that your product is that solution, at this stage what leads generally want is neutral, unbiased information on their options.
This is the time to collect as much information as possible on your potential lead, of course, so make sure that if they can access information on your website, you are able to collect their contact details as they do so.
At this stage, therefore, avoid coming across as too “sales”. Allow the customer to explore the options available to them through content that appears neutral, whilst gradually guiding them towards your products. If they make their own mind up, based on hours of their own research, they are more likely to be committed to a sale.
Use: ebooks, whitepapers, and articles about your client problem.
Lead Nurturing At The Consideration Stage
Once the lead has a good understanding of the problems they are trying to overcome and has done a bit of research into the potential solutions, you can begin to be a bit more aggressive with your marketing.
They likely already know the benefits, costs, and some of the intricacies of how your product works, and you can use this to your own advantage. Sending the potential customer detailed explanations of why your product is market-leading is a good way for them to use their newfound knowledge of your sector and can be very effective.
Use: demos, webinars and case studies.
Lead Nurturing At The Decision Stage
The decision stage is where everything comes together. It is at this stage that a personal approach can really make a difference, so give potential customers a call just at the moment they are deciding. If you are analyzing your data correctly, it should be possible to pinpoint exactly who is just one phone call away from a sale, so use this intelligence to your advantage.
Building a rapport through addressing your customers concerns is a good way to get them to come back to you when they have the funds available to make the purchase.
Use: free trials, webinars and competitor comparisons.
Automated Lead Nurturing
A lot of marketers already use automated lead nurturing – systems that are setup to automatically send out information to your clients. If you are not using a system like this, I highly recommend that you look into it, because it can save a lot of time.
If you are already using an automated lead nurturing system, are you sure that it is working as well as it could? Systems like this can be powerful tools, but they need some fine-tuning to work correctly.
Firstly, make sure that you are using the system to send out information that your potential clients actually want. Sending a series f interesting, well-written white papers, for instance, is much more likely to interest them than the same sales email over and over.
Second, don’t regard all your potential clients as part of a homogeneous mass. Many automated lead nurturing systems allow you to analyze the ways recipients interact with the information you send them. You may find that particular segments of your list only buy at the end of the tax year, for instance – use this information to inform your campaign.
Third, you can use these same tools to grade your clients according to their level of interaction with your material. This helps you to pinpoint customers who may just need a phone-call to tip them over into a sale. Focus your time, as always, on those customers who are actually going to buy from you.
We see that when approaching the customer it is important to be tactful so that they don’t get the wrong impression of you. Points of consideration are as follows:
In the awareness stage it is important to not be too persistent, sometimes it’s better to sit, listen and fully understand your potential customer. In the consideration stage, now that your potential customer is more literate about your industry products and service it is better to be more aggressive as they can stimulate what you have to say.
Finally, when you know your customer is in decision stage it is the best time to call them so they will acknowledge what you have to offer.
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