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Wednesday, 18 September 2013 00:00

Lead Nurturing for Maximum Sales Growth in 2013 & Beyond

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Business-to-business lead generation is like growing crops. You can't expect a plentiful harvest if you plant seeds and then neglect them. On the contrary, newly planted seeds need nurturing—water, nutrients, and weeding—to provide fruit.

Today's companies are adept planters. Many focus on lead generation, but most are not doing enough when it comes to nurturing planted seeds (a.k.a. leads) so they grow into abundant resources. Too often, warm leads fizzle away, resulting in lost sales opportunities.



Why is this happening?

Some companies rely too heavily on marketing automation. Some send out irrelevant content. Others blast information at inappropriate frequencies. With missteps like these your pool of prospects dries up.

With a few adjustments, however, businesses can easily add lead nurturing into the sales process to help get them back on track to achieve growth. Here are some of 3D2B's top tips for business-to-business lead nurturing activities that yield great results.

Add a personal touch.

Automated marketing is easy, but there are drawbacks. We have found, for example, that customers want companies to find out about their needs. Getting on the phone enables you to do this. It takes more work, but it helps you provide content that is most relevant to your leads and prospects, and it gives you direct answers.

If someone downloads a white paper, for instance, you should get on the phone and find out why they are looking at the white paper. Are they interested in buying now? Do they have the budget? If you don't do this, you are probably leaving more than 30% of your potential business on the table.

Don't sell products your prospects don't need.

Adding a personal touch to your process will allow you to focus on the needs of the prospect. What you don't want to do is to say, "I have A, B, and C—which do you want?"

If a product or service doesn't benefit a prospect, then don't bombard them for hours with your offering. If he or she doesn't drink coffee, then he or she doesn't need a telephone that makes coffee. Period.

Use a balanced approach to follow ups.

You want to use both email and the phone when nurturing leads. What you send often depends on the clients' sales cycle. If the sales cycle is longer, for example, you will probably want to add in more emails. That's because you don't want to be on the phone constantly asking prospects, "Do you want to buy now? How about now? Are you ready now?"

It's annoying, sounds desperate and with the right marketing automation solution and lead scoring, you can determine when to call, when to send an email and how to help your prospect.

Create separate lead generation and tele-nurturing roles.

Having different teams involved in tele-nurturing and lead generation increases your chances for success. That's because it takes unique skills and personality traits to succeed in each of these roles.

  • Lead generation agents are hunters. They need to get past the gatekeepers, work their way through to the right person, and grasp the opportunity directly when it's offered.
  • Lead nurturing agents are farmers who their prospects are and take care of them. They have in-depth conversations to discover prospect needs and wants, and help them resolve their problems and exploit opportunities.

So, when crafting your plan for business to business lead generation, it's important to look at a potential client's overall sales cycle. Next, you want to come up with a strategy that includes marketing automation (white papers, emails, etc.), and both a short and long-term tele-nurturing program.

If a prospect seems ready to make a decision in a shorter term, you should reach out to him or her more frequently – perhaps once a week. If, however, they have a longer-term horizon for a buying decision, you might want to schedule fewer touches--perhaps send an email or call them once a month. Because you've had a conversation with the prospect, you know enough to customize your approach and can avoid running out of content or unnecessarily bombarding the prospect with calls and emails.

With this approach, you can grow a healthy crop of business.

For more information about 3D2B, visit www.3D2B.com or call +1 718 709 0900 or +39 06 978 446 60 (EMEA).

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