Lead Nurturing Feed

Why Sales Loves Lead Nurturing

By Lisa Cramer, President, LeadLife Solutions

Why Sales Loves Lead NurturingI speak at a number of events, on webinars and in one on one discussions with prospects. One of the latest events I spoke at was uncharacteristically full of sales execs versus marketing executives.  We mostly speak to rooms full of marketers anxious to learn about marketing automation and how to apply it to their businesses.  However, in more and more events we see sales and marketing executives working on the lead management process together. So after surveying the room, I anticipated a lackluster response to my topic about lead nurturing and its effect on revenue. I was dead wrong.

The audience couldn’t have been more interactive, copiously taking notes and making sure they understood exactly what I was saying. Essentially this focus seemed to be about these sales executives starting to understand why the dynamic in their world of selling has changed.  They all were struggling with it but having a difficult time understanding what was happening. The reality is the buyer has the leverage, and as a matter of fact, doesn’t even have a conversation with the vendor/supplier until they’ve proceeded through 60% of their buying process (Corporate Executive Board).  To a lot of these sales guys that was shocking, staggering and scary. So the question in the room then became what can sales do to get in front of people?

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Proud of my daughter's success in her current career.

As parents we watch our children grow, go to college, start careers. They start learning from us and our examples. They learn from their peers, professors, internships. Sometimes they don't realize what has soaked in from our teachings and examples.

Sales Management:

She only has a seaonal business. Each year she adds another 25% to her customer base. She reconnects with her clients and shows them new product, talks about any pricing changes, profitability and the company's mission. She's passionate and truly listens to her customers. They feel valued and are loyal to her efforts.

Qualified Leads:

As most are from her local farm, or referrals, 90% of her leads are qualified. There are unforeseen wrenches that she can't always combat, but she shakes them off and makes room for the next sale.

Lead Nurturing:

She follows up with last year's customers, asking them if they have an referrals for her in the area, then following up immediately mentioning the original customer as the one who sent her to them.

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Build a Powerful Lead Scoring Program Today

Without lead scoring, you risk your sales team wasting time on prospects not ready to buy, and marketers nurturing opportunities that will never qualify.

VisionEdge Marketing President Laura Patterson shared her tips recently in this two-part video series on crafting an effective scoring system. She outlines how to use “fit” and “behavior” metrics to rate opportunities and how those scores translate to action.



 These videos were recorded and edited by Software Advice

5 Key Tactics for Managing Your Leads to Win More Sales

Sarah Goliger head shotSo you are lucky enough to work in an inbound environment and your marketing team is filling your pipeline with leads for you to work and, hopefully, convert into customers. In order to make sure that the leads you get are qualified and ready for that phone call, it’s crucial that your sales and marketing teams work together to devise an effective lead management strategy.

By nurturing unqualified leads with email campaigns that deliver educational offers and opportunities to learn more about your company and your product, your marketing team can essentially guide them through the research stage of your buying cycle and further down your sales funnel. Once these leads have demonstrated a strong interest in your product and a significant likelihood of buying, they should be sent over to sales, so you can delve deeper into the purchasing process and close that revenue.

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Lead Management in Five Words

Knipp%20HS%20Fall2011%20BorderWebMost marketing execs I meet are working with inbound lead flows in the hundreds or thousands.  Despite the fact that they really need to work on increasing that lead flow, they have a big focus on how to manage those inbound leads.  Many are amazed that here at HubSpot, a B2B software company, we generate upwards of 45,000 leads per month (and I mean net new conversions).  They always ask me how WE manage such massive lead flow?  What systems, tools and processes are in place to get the most value out of all that lead generation activity!?

First, let me remind you that when I started about 2 and a half years ago, we were generating closer to 10-15K per month ... just about doubling each year since then due to the unfailing efforts of a pretty stellar team, led by CMO Mike Volpe, that does everything from prolific blogging, to frequent educational webinars and ebooks. 

Signs that you have too many leads to handle:

Your sales team is complaining about quality more than they are about volume of leads.

Your prospects complain that your sales team is too aggressive.

Both symptoms of a marketing team sending all leads, regardless of quality or readiness to buy to the sales team.

It’s time to learn the Five Ss of Lead Management: Set, Scrub, Score, Segment & Synthesize

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How to Estimate the Number of Inquiries to Make New Business Forecast

 This originally appeared as a commentary on SLMA Radio.

Nothing happens in an organization without a sales forecast and yet few marketers take the forecast and estimate the number of total inquiries (not qualified inquiries) that will be needed to make forecast (quota).

Predicting the number of inquiries needed is simple and easy; take the sales goal, average sales price for the product, buying percentage (45%), sales lead follow-up percent and your market share.  Knowing these items will allow you to predict the number of inquiries needed to make your sales goals. 

The formula is:

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Marketing’s Role in Sales

What role do Marketers really play in sales – I mean directly with Sales?  We have found that the answer to this question is quite different for each company. Some Marketers are left to worry about executing campaigns with no particular concern regarding the outcome of the marketing tactics on eventual revenue. It’s hard to believe that this situation still exists, but we’ve seen it time and time again.  It’s the status quo legacy that many companies continue to maintain.  However, we do see a majority of Marketers striving (whether of their own impetus or that of their managers) to have a more direct impact on sales. 

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How To Reduce Your Lead Leakage

As our sales funnels get wider and longer, it’s even more challenging than before to keep leads within our grasp.  One of the most costly sales and marketing issues is lead leakage.  Lead leakage refers to leads entering the funnel as suspects and potentially moving through to leads and possibly opportunities only to be forgotten, if they are not ready to buy. But what does that mean? Are these leads are not worthy of continued attention?  Could these leads buy at some point in the future? Plugging a hole in your sales funnel is critical to successful lead management.  Below are some steps that can be taken to help reduce lead leakage…

  1. 1. Integrate a lead nurturing strategy into your lead management process.
     Sending out emails over a period of time is not an effective lead nurturing strategy.
    - Put some thought towards targeting, relevant content, and evaluating success (sending the right person, the right message at the right time is effective nurturing).
    - Use automation to track digital behavior and automate nurturing programs for leverage, visibility, and scalability.

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Lead Nurturing: A Preparation Checklist

Often we hear when marketers start using marketing automation tools that they can’t wait to get lead nurturing going, which is great. What isn’t great is that they haven’t done any prep work to make their nurturing effective before they’ve engaged with the tool.  There are definitely some key things you should think through and do before deploying a nurturing program.  Below is a high-level list of some things you should consider:

1. Determine what you are trying to accomplish with each nurturing program.  Different goals will dictate different nurturing strategies.

2.Determine (based on number 1 above) if you have the content to support your nurturing program.  And does the content represent each stage of the buying cycle (assuming that your nurturing program goes through those stages).

3. Think about how targeted your messaging should be to accomplish your goals for that specific nurturing campaign.  Is the message based on previous interest they showed (by what they viewed or downloaded), is it based on their title, industry, etc. or maybe a mix of all?

4. Map out how you are going to move leads through the nurturing process. What’s the call to action at each stage that shows buying interest and what’s the cliff hanger that’s going to keep them wanting more?

5. Are there additional components to the nurturing program that you should consider that would help conversion, such as landing pages or other complementary content?

6. Do you have the tools in place to view the metrics of your nurturing programs while they are running?  If you don’t see what’s working or not, what good is setting up the nurturing in the first place?

Technology will allow you to get very detailed and complex with nurturing programs, but beware that doesn’t mean that’s what will work best for your specific scenario.  Make sure to determine what you are trying to accomplish first and then apply it to your marketing software – not the other way around.  Additionally, we always see greater success in the long run if marketers start simple, understand what’s happening and grow in sophistication instead of trying to conquer all scenarios from the start.

About the Author
Lisa Cramer is co-founder and president of LeadLife Solutions, a provider of on-demand lead management software with embedded best practices that generates, scores, and nurtures leads for B2B marketers. In 2009, Lisa was recognized as one of the top five “Most Influential People” in sales lead management. For more information on lead management or best practices call 1-800-680-6292 or email info@leadlife.com.