Generating leads, i.e. projects on which sales people can start working, is essential if your company’s turnover is going to increase.

Today, 70% of all purchases take place without the involvement of a sales representative. Recruiting prospects, building loyalty, then converting them into customers can be very challenging!

Lead nurturing can help you face these challenges. So, let’s get to grips with what is meant by lead nurturing.

 

Lead nurturing definition

Lead nurturing is about building a rapport with potential customers. It is a strategy designed to maintain or strengthen a relationship with prospects who are not yet mature enough to become actual customers. So, it is about engaging with them by offering them quality content. This will mean that, whenever they are ready, they will then naturally think about your company’s products.

This notion is characteristic of longer sales cycles. Everything is built around the path-to-purchase. First step: notoriety, i.e. raising awareness about your product or brand. Then comes the consideration phase: prospects consider their options and reduce the choice funnel to three or four options. Final phase: conversion, meaning the customer chooses one option and purchases it.

The goals of a lead nurturing strategy

In as much as lead nurturing is a strategy, in common with all strategies it implies that the company must first have predefined specific objectives. These become the roadmap and will help identify the appropriate levers.

  • Reactivate prospects who have been inactive for a long time
  • Qualify their needs more accurately
  • Help them move forward in their thinking
  • Turn them into customers
  • Les transformer en clients
  • Win back customers who might have had a negative buying experience

Deploying and managing a lead nurturing campaign

Lead detection campaigns can take many forms. For each objective, there is a corresponding action (or actions). However, there are some essentials to be taken into account:

  • identify the ideal customer, the core target
  • write and publish diversified content, ideally with SEO in mind: blog articles, graphics, videos
  • insert calls-to-action (CTA) to encourage your readers to leave their contact information and transform them into a prospect
  • centralise all data on prospects and leverage it to send them personalised marketing campaigns


In order to be effective, a lead nurturing campaign should respect a number of simple principles, which are presented in the sections that follow.

Quality over rapidity

If what you are looking for is instant leads, then you will need to look elsewhere: a good lead nurturing process takes time.

Prospects are identified at a very early stage in their decision-making process, which means the company must first establish itself as a reference in its field, highlighting its expertise.

Becoming a benchmark in the minds of prospects can only be built over time, but what it does is foster genuine bonds of trust and sets part of the rules of the game when the time comes to buy.

Whenever companies want instant results, they immediately exclude the coldest leads and start prospecting too quickly.

This means they lose the dimension of know-how which guarantees quality.

Define your conversion threshold

Nurturing takes time. However, this does not mean that the prospect should remain a passive “recipient” of information forever.

You need to set rules, a threshold, which will trigger the actual sales phase. You need to ask yourself: What criteria do we need to meet in order for sales people to work effectively? What are the signals which trigger the sales process? You have worked hard to ripen the fruit, so don’t let anyone else pick it for you.

Show your know-how

We’ve just established how you need to build a relationship of trust. More and more large companies have invented an “evangelist” post, an employee whose role it is to convey the company’s message and promote its expertise. Lead nurturing actions are part of this approach.

It is not about prospecting to sell. It is about showing the way, informing, convincing people of the validity of our technical choices, our positioning. It is about training, educating consumers.

The key to lead nurturing: go the distance

Long processes always involve two types of risks: not only do you have to be careful not to wear yourself out, you also have to adapt the marketing pressure you exert on your prospects. Too much will result in feelings of rejection.

Too little and they will forget you. So avoid boring your prospects: make sure to change discussion topics. Alternate types of messages: educational e-mails; publication of reference articles from blogs or magazines; promote events and seminars; speak at conferences; publish white papers; etc.

As Muriel Barbery tells us in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, “boredom was born on a day of uniformity”. Marketing pressure characterises the level of communication exercised by the company on each of its contacts.

This is a critical indicator in this phase of Customer Relationship Management which should be included in all CRM software.

Assess and adjust

A lead nurturing strategy is like a steamship.

It takes time to get going, but it also takes time to change course.

That is why it is so important to have good indicators.

However, our maritime metaphor is not perfect.

If navigation is an (almost) exact science, marketing is more about experimentation.

Once the course is set, there is still a great deal of latitude and results can be random.

 

For this reason, we recommend anchoring your strategy on two indicators:

  • the nurturing flow: the number of sales-ready leads resulting from the lead nurturing process.
  • the Nurturing Quality Indicator or NQI, which measures the discrepancy between the average conversion rate of prospects concerned by nurturing actions and that of prospects not involved in lead nurturing. The implementation of an effective lead nurturing approach is essential but is often overlooked. It is the hidden part of the iceberg and so many companies still only focus on the visible and tangible part.

It is an essential step which means your sales reps will receive qualified leads who, most importantly, already trust the company and your offering, which ultimately leads to a higher conversion rate.

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