Think back to your teens and early twenties, when you were paddling around in the dating pool. There were some real weirdos in there, right? (Maybe you were one of them.)
But every now and then, you bump into someone who has potential. They're cute, they're funny, they get you - but most importantly, they seem like they could make your life a little better.
So you think, "I'd like to get to know this person" and you give them your contact info. They say "I'll give you a call," and you part ways with happiness fluttering in your belly.
A day passes, and you're looking forward to their call tonight. But night comes, and no call. Another day passes. And another. A week goes by, and you write them off as Not Interested. A month passes, and you've forgotten The One Who Never Called. Two months later, they ring you up and say "Hey, how about that date?"
How do you feel about them now? Annoyed, apathetic, impressed by the size of the cajones it took to call you up now? In any case, you're feelings are probably lukewarm. They would have had way better luck if they contacted you in the first few days.
(You also would have been put off if they kept calling and leaving voice messages. Moderation is key, kids.)
This idea of "keeping the spark alive" is also important for improving sales. We call it lead nurturing.
What Is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing: the use of workflows and email marketing to follow up with a lead after they've converted. This keeps them engaged, and helps you stay in front of them during the buying process.
Lead nurturing provides a few different benefits for your business:
- It ensures your lead doesn't forget about you for lack of contact.
- It keeps you in the forefront of their mind as they move through each stage of the buying process.
- It lets them know you care about their problem and want to help them find a solution.
- It provides additional opportunities for them to convert.
- It increases your ROI - nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases on average.
- Overall, it makes them more likely to purchase.
Bottom line? You need to be nurturing your leads if you want to improve sales.
How to Improve Sales with Lead Nurturing
There are a few characteristics of lead nurturing that make it perfect for increasing sales. Here are the things you want to focus on.
1. Providing Value
The more value you provide to your lead, the more likely they are to trust you when it's time to buy. You can provide value in the form of education, entertainment, or simply offering yourself as a resource if they have any questions.
Whatever you choose to do, all lead nurturing communications following a conversion should be relevant to that conversion. So, if they download a pamphlet on different types of lighting for an industrial complex, your follow up messages should be about lighting and/or industrial complexes.
Providing value should be your absolute TOP priority in lead nurturing (and all marketing efforts). Remember: you need to make their life better in some way to earn their business.
Not all leads are created equally. When leads come in, you can segment them automatically based on company, industry, job role, and other characteristics. Depending on whether our industrial lighting lead is a contractor or a business owner, they can receive different content in follow up communications.
3. Lead Scoring
Not all leads are created equally, and not all leads matter for your business. Lead scoring tells you which leads you can ignore, and which you should put extra effort into following up with.
You should have a series of automated follow-up emails that go out after every conversion - that's a given. Automated emails require no effort on your part. However, if you see a lead come in from a dream client, you should make a note to personally follow up with that person. Here are some lead nurturing tactics for high-quality leads:
- Give them a soft call asking if they have questions
- Connect with them on LinkedIn
- Personally sending a toolkit of helpful content
These touch points build trust and rapport, both of which increase the chance of a purchase.
See these cacti? You wouldn't water them every day, because you know their needs are different from a tree's or a fern's. Similarly, you need to adapt to ensure you're nurturing your leads on their terms (and not killing a potential sale).
You should personalize your lead nurturing content, formats, and voice based on who they are. Have the email subjects and greetings include their name, reference their industry in your emails, and have your content speak to their job role and seniority.
Personalization makes us feel like companies care about us, even if we know in our brains that it's a marketing tactic. Create that feeling of being "understood" across multiple emails, and your lead will associate your company name with good things. It's a basic psychological tactic, but it works.
5. Marketing/Sales Alignment
Passing the lead to your sales team too early is a great way to lose the sale. Your marketing team will use lead nurturing to nudge the lead toward a purchase decision - then, once the lead indicates they'd like a quote, hand them over to sales. Lead transfer SHOULD NOT HAPPEN before the lead is ready to buy.
Automation is a major factor in lead nurturing success. If a lead converts while you're in a meeting, asleep, or otherwise unable to take action, you know they're taken care of.
Last but not least, improving sales with lead nurturing requires analysis and optimization. You need to know who clicks on what, who's reading your emails, who's unsubscribing, and who is showing interest in your offerings. Based on that information, you can optimize your content and targeting to increase the chance of a purchase.
Ready to Improve Your Sales with Lead Nurturing?
- Everything you do should provide value
- Segment your leads for better targeting
- Score leads to prioritize use of resources
- Personalize everything to make your lead feel special
- Use lead nurturing and scoring to align marketing/sales efforts
- Automate lead nurturing to stay on top of leads
- Track EVERYTHING and optimize constantly
If you're already familiar with workflows and marketing automation, follow these 7 tips to convert more leads to sales. If you have no experience with automation, email marketing, or workflows, we're happy to be of assistance. Just give us a holler.