According to Forrester it is “ a process by which leads are tracked and developed into sales-qualified leads”
When you are standing in the supermarket with a chocolate bar in your hand, you might not need very much nurturing before you decide you are just not yourself without the Snickers. Your sugar cravings will take care of all the nurturing required.
But if you are an accountant sitting in your office already dreading next year’s tax season, you might be looking around for some software that will make your life easier. Now the tax season is months away and you have to convince your boss to invest in the software first, so you wouldn’t exactly be in a position to click the “ad to cart” button quite yet.
So lead nurturing is everything that happens in the time between a potential customer’s first interaction with a company and the time when they are actually ready to purchase.
As a marketer the last thing I want to happen is that you (play along with me – you are the accountant) visit my website, receive tons of great information and then forget all about me and when tax season comes along my company name rings no bells and some schmuck runs off with the sale.
So what happens in the time between your first visit to my website, and tax season being just around the corner?
Well it is not uncommon that the chosen path would be something like this; I’ll send an email thanking you for your interest and asking for a meeting or time to talk.
Then what? I drum my fingers on the desk for a week and then I send another email asking if you are ready now. And if I’m super annoying I’ll pick up the phone and bug you at some inconvenient time and pester you with a sales pitch that you’d rather be without.
After a few more rounds of this, I start to resemble a kid on the backseat of a car constantly pestering the parents with “are we there yet”.
And guess what I am very likely to get out that whole exercise? Nuttin! Except the status of royal pain in the ass… not really what I was aiming for.
That’s where lead nurturing comes in.
To nurture means to care for, help and/or encourage someone or something while they are growing or developing.
That is just touching… in one single sentence I managed to transform my field of work into something truly noble. I’m welling up and feeling all proud… and getting totally sidetracked!
The point here is that you (remember you are the accountant) are not ready nor able to make the purchase on the first visit, but what you would like are buckets full of enlightening and compelling information that will help you sell the idea of purchasing the software to your boss.
With the right lead nurturing system, I will be able to see what areas of my website you have visited, what information you have consumed and what type of media you prefer.
Don’t let that give you the heebie-jeebies and think it is awfully big-brotherish. If you were in a shoe store looking at pumps, you wouldn’t want me to come over and start telling you about winter boots would you? Same thing, except online I can only see what you are looking at if I can track you. Maybe it’s the word tracking… it’s kinda off-putting, like I’m spying or something, which is not the intention at all.
Good lead nurturing should be like the experience you get in a good restaurant where the waiter manages to top up your glass every time you are just about to run out of wine. Now how is the waiter going to know you are running low on dancing juice if he can’t observe you? And God forbid he tops up your glass with water instead of wine! The horror!!
Think about it, the more I know about your particular interests, the better equipped I will be to give you the exact information you need, when you need it and in the format you prefer.
And before I start growing some sort of halo above my head, yes this is all done in the name of making a sale.
I represent a company, not a charity, and we need to sell stuff to make money in order to survive. All of a sudden I don’t feel so noble anymore, but that’s ok cuz it was never the intention to begin with.
What I do want is to provide you with information that you want, when you want it and how you want it. I want that when you get that sales call, you will be like “Man I’m so glad you called – tax season is just around the corner and my boss really want us to upgrade the software!”
I believe lead nurturing is awesome service, and I’m a sucker for awesome service. How about you?
Oh and just for you numbers freaks, here are a few eye-opening stats:
- More than 25% of leads take seven months or more to close
- 73% of leads are lost because they are sent to sales before they are ready to buy
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost
- Nurtured leads spend 47% more on purchases than non-nurtured leads