Fundamental Lead Nurturing Strategies

Any seasoned sales rep can tell you that sales is a process. Sales are rarely made in one call, and while it may be tempting to abandon long or challenging call lists, the truth is that a nurtured call list is a successful one.

Jesse Mawhinney, marketing manager at Kula Partners, defines lead nurturing as the “purposeful process of engaging” prospects at various points of the buyer’s journey.

Research shows that there is a 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads vs. non-nurtured ones. Furthermore, reports by Forrester found that companies that implement good lead nurturing practices generate 50% more sales at 33% lower cost. Yet, another study revealed that only 36% of marketers actually nurture their sales leads.

That means there are huge opportunities for improvement and growth that can come from developing better lead nursing practices. Here are the strategies that experts most often recommend.

Know your leads

Many sales strategies require organization in order to be successful, and lead nurturing is no exception. Plan ahead to make sure that you have your leads organized so that you can prioritize them accordingly.

Many choose to implement lead segmentation, which involves categorizing your leads according to sales priorities. Leads can be segmented according to criteria such as geographic region, industry, engagement, or budget. Call lists can then be made to hit those prioritized leads.

Organizing your leads according to their needs and yours will make nurturing your call lists a much less daunting task.

Personalize their content

Each customer is unique, and prospects will catch on to (and quickly grow tired of) generic-sounding voicemails or recycled content. While it takes a bit more effort to personalize every call, it pays off by setting you apart from the competition.

Personalized e-mails generate up to six times higher revenue than generic blasts, while incorporating personalization into sales calls allows prospects to let down their defenses. As Marissa Randall of LeanLabs explains, “no one wants to feel like another number in your system.”

Watch your cadence

A solid sales cadence is key to nurturing any leads. This means contacting leads through multiple channels and timing those “touches” during the appropriate stages of the sales process.

The Marketing Lead Management Report found that prospects receive an average of ten touches between the first contact and a closed sale. Yet, another study revealed that almost 50% of companies incorporate no more than five touches in their lead nurturing strategy. Depending on your preferred cadence, that may not be enough to secure a sale.

When it comes to your cadence, timing is everything. Research shows there are better days of the week and times of the day to make sales calls, and other moments in the day where getting a sales call is less than ideal, or even obnoxious.

All the elements of cadence are important to remember as you nurture your leads, determining the sweet spot between the frequency of calls and giving the prospect time to consider their needs.

Try lead scoring

Lead scoring is similar to lead segmenting. Essentially, lead scoring involves ranking prospects on a scale, which is usually determined by the level of engagement of each lead. It’s prioritizing lead nurturing by how much prospects are already interacting with you, instead of the characteristics of the prospects.

So, if they’ve opened and clicked on your emails or already had one conversation with you, then they’re a higher priority to focus on.

It may seem selfish, but it helps to prioritize which calls to nurture first. And 68% of successful marketers credit lead scoring as the most effective of their lead-nurturing tactics.

Consistently follow up

Making a sale will require those multiple touches, and those touches have to be consistent. You don’t need to get overzealous, but do consider the value of the prospect’s time.

Harvard Business Review pointed out that U.S. businesses have a reputation for slow follow-up times, with only 37% of companies responding to leads within an hour. Research actually shows that the odds of a lead entering the sales process increase when contacted within five minutes versus thirty minutes.

That makes for a huge disparity between optimum follow-up times and the typical U.S. business. Make yourself stand out by responding to prospects promptly and personally.

Start nurturing your call lists today to find the strategies that work best for you. Call nurturing takes planning and persistence, but has been proven to produce great results.