Nurturing prospects

nurture

Most prospects don’t become a lead or sale overnight. Celebrate those that do but make sure you have a proper process in place for those that don’t. Here are some suggestions:

Keep your company ‘front of mind’ with prospects and take them to the point where they are ready to buy from you. Define a chain of communications, with regular intervals between each email or call. Then automate the sequence using a marketing automation tool or your CRM.

The aim is to convert more prospects to sales by being consistent in the way you follow up.  It’s useful to set out some clear objectives such as:

  1. 100% response to all enquiries you get
  2. X% of first responses within Y minutes.
  3. Consistent approach to all enquiries.
  4. Response tailored to each individual. Use any information you have about the prospect such as who they are and what they show interest in.
  5. Check each stage of the communication journey to show where you get or lose interest. Then change any communication that decreases their engagement rather than increases it.

Capturing Leads

The first step is to make sure you capture all your leads in a single place. Record their contact details, interests, what industry they are in and their job title. Also record which channel they used as this will help you check which are most effective for you.

Over time, you will be able to identify a “hot” lead using your experience with all the leads you have received. That will mean you can start to focus on them which will improve your conversion rate.

Categorise them

You can categorise your leads into different “Buyer Personas”.  A persona is a simplified description of your target buyers. For example, one of your target personas could be “IT Managers at Engineering firms”. Different personas will have different interests.  When you get a new lead, you can decide what kind of persona matches that lead.  This helps you choose what kind of information they will want during your follow-up.

Choose your content

Content just means information your buyers will use when researching a product or service. It includes case studies, white papers, presentations and videos.  Usually, prospective customers move from “awareness”, “interest” and “evaluation” through to “decision”.  As they learn more they want different types of information.  For example, at an early stage a general overview of a product might be useful.  When someone is close to buying they may want technical specifications and prices.

Map out your communications:

For each persona map out which emails and content you want to send and specify the delay between mails. For instance, for a “Sales Director” persona you can start with a ‘Thank You’ email with a link to a white paper. Then a week later you could send out a link to a blog post or case study.

Track the results:

Once you get up and running you can check how your leads respond to your communications.  For example, are they opening the emails and responding to your offers? Score them – 1 point if they open your e-mail, 2 points if they visit your site, 3 points if they download something. Then you will know who is interested, and what communications work for each persona.

Doing all this can be hard work and will take time. It’s a great way though of taking a prospective customer on a journey. They go from initial awareness to seeing how your products and services can help an issue they have. Then they pick up the phone or e-mail you – and the sale is much easier! Past studies have shown that using a process like this can increase sales conversions by 20% to 30%.

 

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