According to Marketing Sherpa, 70% of your leads will end up buying something from you or one of your competitors, but they won’t do it right away. If you’re not experiencing a 70% lead-to-close conversion ratio, you’re losing leads to competitors! This is often due to non-sales-ready leads being discarded because they’re not immediate opportunities – most of those leads will eventually buy from someone, and it’s up to you to be top of mind when they’re ready. To accomplish this, marketers need to shift their focus from lead generation to lead management. It’s no longer just about getting the lead in the door, we’re now responsible for fostering a relationship until that lead is ready to hand over to sales. Lead nurturing enables us to do this. A study by DemandGen Report shows sales opportunities increase by 20% with nurtured leads versus non-nurtured.
The caveat – In order for lead nurturing to be effective, marketing and sales must agree on the process of lead qualification. A good start is to examine the marketing activity history and sales cycle of recently closed opportunities: How long were their sales cycles? What stages of their buying cycles did they enter the marketing funnel? What kind of offerings did they respond to? At what frequency?
Once you agree on a lead qualification process, you can build lead nurtures around it. Check your process frequently, indentify any “leaky” areas in your funnel and make adjustments. Effective lead nurturing requires constant honing – the more willing you are to make adjustments, the more sales-ready leads you’ll produce.
Lead nurturing doesn’t stop when the lead is handed off to Sales. Many b2b organizations have sales cycles spanning anywhere from a couple months to a couple years. Sales reps need their own nurtures designed to accelerate the buying process and foster continual communication.
With 70% of your leads eventually making a purchase, there is no reason they shouldn’t be purchasing from you. Lead nurturing driven by a well-planned lead management process will increase your lead-to-close ratio and decrease the number of leads you’re losing to your competitors.