Being successful in sales is ultimately all about relationships: creating them, maintaining them, and expanding them. While many of us put tremendous effort into making the initial connection, it’s also important to invest time and effort into strengthening that bond over time to create a long-term client relationship.
Once you have a lead or prospect connected, it’s less time- and energy-consuming to seal the deal with them than to start over with an entirely new list of cold calls and prospects. In fact, according to Forrester Research, companies that focus on lead nurturing can bring in 50% more sales leads, whilst at the same time lowering their costs.
You know that the little steps you take now to maintain a relationship with a lead can pay off big when you reach your end goal. Here's how you can nurture your leads and make it easier to keep them happy, connected, and on target.
#1 - Take a Multi-faceted Approach
When you’re making a new friend or connecting with a potential romantic partner, you can’t expect to reach out to them once, then put a ring on their finger the next day. Instead, it takes many meetings, conversations, and connections – phone calls, emails, texts, dates, adventures – to be ready to take that next step.
In the same way, you should use all avenues available to you in order to connect and reconnect with your prospects.
Nurturing leads by sharing targeted content can increase sales opportunities by more than 20%. The challenge is getting that content into your leads’ hands (or inbox or voicemail – whatever the case may be). In order to successfully connect, you need to persistently share valuable content across a variety of platforms.
Examples of platforms you can use to put your multi-faceted approach into action include:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Online advertising
- Personalized website content
- Outbound calling
#2 - Target Specific Areas
While our first tip highlighted taking multiple different angles to achieve success, it can also make sense to key in on specific areas or pain points, then create conversation around how you can solve those issues.
When you share your product’s benefits with leads (rather than just providing a laundry list of features), you let them know specifically how your product or service can benefit them. In turn, they’re more easily able to visualize using it and committing to your company.
#3 - Use Social Media to Your Advantage
It’s one thing for you to tell someone your business is great; it’s a completely different thing to have someone else spreading the word that your business is great. That’s where social media comes into play when nurturing a relationship; connecting with others who’ve achieved success through your product/service can increase motivation and interest for potential clients, and encourage them in the decision-making process.
When you’re nurturing leads, social media connections can serve as another useful tool to build on your relationship. Inviting prospects to join groups and forums, tagging them when useful information is shared, commenting on posts – all these techniques can give you additional touchpoints.
Connecting via inbox messages on social platforms like LinkedIn can also be beneficial during the sales process, both as an initial introduction and as a way to follow up/nurture leads.
Social selling can build relationships that are authentic, helpful, and mutual (62% of employees at large companies agree). And, it feels less like an obligation for your prospect to connect or engage with you via a social network than it does to take a call or commit to a presentation in the midst of a busy work week.
#4 - Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up
Following up with leads frequently keeps you front-and-center in their decision-making process. Research confirms that reconnecting can help seal the deal with clients; according to one study, the sixth email in a particular series garnered a 27% response rate, beating the first email’s 18% rate by a considerable measure.
When making follow-ups, provide something of value. A message that just reminds the recipient you’re alive won’t necessarily do much to convince them to go with your product. On the other hand, a follow-up that includes customized information regarding their business’s pain points and your solutions can make a significant positive impact.
#5 - Align Your Resources
Aligning sales and marketing resources can help you be maximally efficient in nurturing leads. Smarketing, as it’s sometimes called, encourages good communication and structure between your marketing and sales teams.
When you’re using smarketing techniques, your sales team will complete the follow-ups and maintain the engagement with the leads. However, sales and marketing will work together to create and enact persuasive and useful resources, whether that’s drafting case studies, building out website landing pages, or launching email sequences that keep prospects interested.
One of the most crucial components of smarketing is the definition and creation of a sales funnel. By identifying the steps your prospects go through, then connecting your sales and marketing efforts at the proper increments, you’ll save time and increase your opportunities to say the right thing at the right time.
#6 - Make It Personal
Making things personal can be a critical component of successful lead nurturing.
When you're following up with a lead, you can certainly drop them into an email sequence and hope something resonates. However, you’ll likely have a better outcome if you can get a good understanding of your lead, their needs, and their pain points.
Personalizing your messaging to address their concerns, issues, and pain points can vastly increase success rates. In fact, one study reported a 6 times greater response rate from personalized email campaigns than from traditional messaging.
#7 - Make It Convenient
When you have an answer to the questions your potential clients ask, you show them how easy it can be to rely on you and the services you can provide.
Your lead nurturing tactics (whether it’s reading emails, watching videos, downloading case stuides or guides, etc.) should be convenient for your prospects to access, and your strategy should be to make it convenient for them to say 'yes' to your offerings. Many B2B companies report very similar pain points when debating new products or services; they typically include poor customer service, concerns about integration, and patchy, piecemealed systems.
Anticipate questions and issues that might fall into these areas, and have materials focused on your solutions ready as part of your nurturing process.
I Don’t Have Time for Lead Nurturing. What Should I Do?
If you don’t have the time or resources to devote to lead nurturing, you’re not alone.
Research shows that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales, and a lack of lead nurturing is the main reason for these dismal results.
Outsourced sales teams provide a solution to nurturing woes, stepping in and providing guidance, resources, and time to make meaningful connections with leads and keep their forward momentum.
Outsourced Sales Teams Can Help You Make Sure You’re Connecting With the Right People
Your outsourced sales team can assist in creating target personas. By mapping out the prospects you want and understanding their motivations, your outbound team can put personalization strategies into play and start building relationships.
Good outsourced teams will work with you on account-based selling. This strategy comprises developing an overall understanding of the prospects you’re seeking to connect with, then reaching out in a smarter way, addressing pain points and intelligently sharing information.
Rather than scattershooting information to a broad number of prospects with little to no follow-up, having an outsourced sales team who use account-based selling techniques ensures you’re getting the right message to the right people at the right time.
Outsourced Sales Teams Can Help You Build and Execute a Winning Plan
When you work with an outsourced sales team, their focus on the sales process means they have experience with what works, and they can help you implement it.
- 68% of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel
- 40% of teams do not have a sales playbook; however, companies that have implemented a sales playbook are more likely to be high performers
Outsourced sales teams bring their expertise in building and implementing these processes, and they put it to work for you. Instead of spending your time experimenting with new sales tactics, your outsourced sales team can share insights on tried-and-true methods, then show you results.
Sales would be much easier if we could get an immediate 'yes' to our sales pitch, then keep moving forward.
However, then we might miss out on some of the cost-saving benefits and profitability that come along with creating a strong nurturing program; in fact, nurtured leads are acquired at a 33% lower cost and make 47% larger purchases than those who are not nurtured. When you commit to nurturing your leads and creating relationships, you’re laying a foundation for long-term success.
Are you currently nurturing leads? What’s the most time-consuming part of the process? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below:
Have you ever considered an outsourced sales team? Check out our guide: