Lead nurturing is defined by Marketo as the process of building relationships with qualified prospects regardless of their timing to buy, with the goal of earning their business when they are ready to buy.
Many of your visitors to your website are not yet ready to buy. Lead nurturing empowers you to build ongoing relationships with prospects and keep your company fresh in your prospects mind. This means when they are ready to buy, you’ll be the first they call.
It doesn’t matter what stage in the buying process your prospects are in, you can start building relationships with using a lead nurturing program.
In this post I’m going to be presenting 12 reasons why you need to start a lead nurturing program today.
1. Lead and demand generation is expense, time-intensive and challenging
You need to make the most out of every single lead – lead nurturing campaigns help you do that. According to a DemandGen Report, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
2. Lead nurturing prevents leads from getting lost, ignored or snatched up by competitors
By investing in lead nurturing, you can start building relationships with your qualified prospects regardless of their timing to buy. Your goal here is to earn their business when they are in a position to buy. This process ensures no leads get lost and yoru sales guys remain in constant contact.
3. Buying has changed forever, prospects are now spending more time on the web doing independent research and obtaining information from their peers
As a result, companies are meeting prospects earlier in the buying cycle. You need a way to nurture these early-stage prospects right through the buying cycle to the final decision to buy. Lead nurturing can help you do that and stop those prospects from buying elsewhere. These changes are here to stay, as a B2B marketer, you need to understand your buyers are now in control – your market must understand their needs and react accordingly.
4. Lead nurturing builds credibility and trust
In the B2B space, you know how important credibility and trust is to securing a new sale. Unless you are a well-known company like Microsoft, the best way to build credibility in 2013 is by becoming a trusted advisor and sharing valuable information. A lead nurturing program can help you do this by demonstrating to your buyers that you understand their problems and know how to solve them. Successful lead nurturing programs that do this will create a sense of credibility and trust – making the buyer more likely to give them a call when ready to buy.
5. Buyers are now reluctant to engage with sales until later in the decision making process
Your prospects don’t want to be pushed sales crap right from the get go. They now prefer doing their own independent research prior to contacting a sales person. So only when they are ready to buy, will they then seek out the assistance from a sales person to compare available options. Lead nurturing allows you to still maintain contact with prospects in the early stages, but on a more passive – value adding level. Keeping your company in the forefront of their minds, so they know exactly who to call when they are ready to buy. Additionally, all the best lead nurturing products on the market have intelligent lead scoring features that can help you determine when a lead or prospect is ready to be contacted.
6. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead
These figures are from a joint research study conducted by Marketo, Forrester, CSO Insights, and others. ROI from marketing spend is on the lips of every business owner and marketing manager – imagine if all your leads were 50% warmer before your sales guy gave them a call? That’s one of the biggest benefits you’ll be getting from implementing a lead nurturing program.
7. Nurtured prospects require less discounting and have shorter sales cycles
Lead nurturing programs ensure your sales teams don’t have to discount as often to close the deal. Sales teams also close ‘nurtured prospects” in shorter sales cycles than “un-nurtured prospects”.
8. Nurtured prospects buy more and give you more ROI
A report by Marketo found that ROI from nurtured prospects was higher than that of un-nurtured prospects. What this means is by building a lead nurturing program into your business, you’re new sales will end up making you a lot more money. This is a result of the additional trust and stronger relationship you have with these prospects.
9. Lead nurturing lets you determine when prospects are ready to engage with sales
Stop wasting your time calling prospects that are not ready to buy. How many hours do you spend reaching out to prospects that are in absolutely no position to make a purchase in the next month? With lead nurturing, you can spend your time more productively and only go after prospects ready to buy.
10. The average number of people involved in a buying decision is 6.8, lead nurturing gives you a way to address all their unique needs
According to MarketingSherpa, the average number of people involved in a buying decision is 6.8, with up to 21 individuals involved on a buying committee at larger companies. This begs the question, how can you convince them all? Simple – implement a lead nurturing program that targets the different buyer roles. You can push relevant content that speaks to each of them and addresses their individual unique needs.
11. The buying process is not simple, logical or rational – prospects are always moving back and forth through the different stages
B2B research firm Enquiro found that prospects move chaotically forward and backwards through the buying process as they balance rational decision making with emotional impacts of fear and risk. You need to understand the process your prospect goes through and use a lead nurturing program to facilitate and speed up that process.
12. Lead nurturing ensures you target prospects with relevant content and messaging
MarketingSherpa found that 82% of prospects prefer content targeted to their industry and 67% prefer content targeted to their job function. Lead nurturing lets you push content that meets your prospects needs and adds value to their lives. By making content valuable and relevant, you can move prospects through the buying process quicker.
Well, there they are – 12 really good reasons why you should start a lead nurturing program in 2013. Now you might be thinking, ah this sounds like a good idea, but Ross – where do I start?
Good question, so I’m going to quickly give you the rundown of the best lead nurturing tools available for your business.
Lead Nurturing Tools
My favorite lead nurturing tools include Infusionsoft and Marketo.
Infusionsoft Lead Nurturing Review:
InfusionSoft is the tool I use here at Client Heartbeat. It’s a great tool to nurture prospects from early stage contact to final buying stage. Infusionsoft is reasonably priced from $199/month and lets you do everything you will want to do with your lead nurturing program. Added features I like include a robust CRM so you can link your sales team up into the system and streamline your sales pipeline.
Marketo Lead Nurturing Review:
Marketo is in my mind the best lead nurturing tool available on the market for small-medium businesses. If you can afford $1500+/month, I would highly recommend this one. It includes everything you want from a lead nurturing tool, plus has a super easy and intelligent user interface.
Here’s a quick video demo of Marketo:
I would love to hear whether you’re currently implementing a lead nurturing program and what tools you use – please use the comments below to share your thoughts.
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