Gaining a sales lead is only the first step in what can be a long process. Depending on the type of product and its price, the buying cycle will vary. Generally speaking, the more costly the product, the longer the buying cycle will be. As a result, the lead nurturing process can go on for quite some time. Regardless of the product and buying cycle, however, the general best practices to nurture tend to be the same.
First, make sure you have permission to stay in regular contact with the potential customer. This is critical to the entire lead nurturing process. If a prospect is no longer interested in your messages or information, they will potentially unsubscribe, mark your incoming messages as spam or simply delete your messages as soon as they receive them. Stay in regular contact, but be aware that everyone is busy. Make sure every time you reach out to a prospect there is a specific purpose for the communication.
At the core of the lead nurturing process is relationship building. This means you need to have a complete understanding of what your customer's business is about and what is needed to make their business a success or solve their issue. Ultimately, your customers need to trust that you have their concerns in the forefront of your approach; otherwise they will not trust you and you will not close the sale. Get to know your customer's business and their needs. You can utilize tools such as Corporate Affiliations
to identify information about a company you couldn't necessarily find somewhere else. They also recently released a few new eBooks that could be helpful as well, visit the LexisNexis store
and search Corporate Affiliations. Detailed knowledge of a company found through research could be the guide to showing the prospect why your products or services are exactly what they are looking for.
Make sure to keep an eye out for signs of progress as you nurture your lead through the buying cycle. Work with your sales team and management to develop a lead scoring system that helps to identify and manage the interest of a potential customer. Developing a lead scoring system will help key in on prospects earlier in the process so opportunities are not missed. According to a 2012 B2B Benchmarking Report
, while many are thinking about lead scoring for their business, only 21 percent of B2B marketers have actually established a lead scoring program. By scoring prospects early on the sales and communication process, the less time will be wasted on those who are not likely to become a customer or even a qualified lead.
By having a standard lead nurturing process, you can stay engaged with prospects on a regular basis and stay on message. You can better understand the needs of your potential customer while offering specific solutions that help them reach success. Make sure you deliver useful information and value your prospect's time. As long as you stick to the process, your chances are greater that a prospect will become a customer.