As every sales rep knows, there is a categorical — actually, make that galactic — difference between non-nurtured leads and nurtured leads.
That’s because while they both may end up converting into profitable customers, and ideally into loyal brand ambassadors after that, non-nurtured leads need much more time and attention. What’s more, since these individuals or businesses are closer to the beginning of the buyer’s journey, there’s a greater risk that they’ll pause or change their intentions down the road.
In a perfect world, sales reps would have an abundance of time to assess and cultivate all viable leads, and usher them to a mutually beneficial finish line. But in the real world, the most precious element in a sales rep’s world is active selling time. If they’re driving a personalized and consultative selling process with one prospect, they can’t be doing the same thing at the same time with another. Fortunately, that’s where automated lead nurturing enters the picture.
No, this approach doesn’t seek to replace sales reps. Rather, it automates major portions of the lead nurture process in a way that impresses prospects, and just as importantly, gives sales reps the capacity to maximize and optimize their active selling time: which is the gateway to more meeting and exceeding quota.
Considering this, here are 5 automated lead nurturing best practices that all businesses should exploit, regardless of whether they’re a small startup or a large enterprise:
Lead Nurturing Best Practice #1: Use Specific Nurture Flows
Some lead nurture programs push all new leads into a pool of potential prospects. However, it’s much more effective to use automated business rules to push leads into specific nurture flows, so that sales reps can engage them accordingly based on relevant variables (e.g. industry, location, etc.).
Lead Nurturing Best Practice #2: Drive Incremental Activity
The biggest — and yet most common — flaw in most lead nurture programs, is that they evidently forget that leads are precisely that: leads. They aren’t yet qualified prospects — and certainly not buy-ready customers — and as such the relationship needs to be cultivated. To that end, content, offers and messages should be designed to drive incremental activity across each nurture flow. These steps don’t have to be big ones. As long as leads are moving forward, they are being nurtured, and the process is doing its job.
Lead Nurturing Best Practices #3: Use Recycled Nurture Flows
Unlike customers entering a restaurant, leads are under no obligation to proceed in a linear manner. Even if they are interested and engaged, they may nevertheless be disqualified from a specific nurture track (e.g. they reveal through a form that they do not have the budget to make a purchase in the near future).
Rather than eliminating these leads from the pipeline — or worse, letting them drift forward and waste a sales rep’s valuable time — businesses should implement recycled nurture flows, which keep them on the roster by pushing out content and messages to build awareness and stay on the radar screen over time.
Lead Nurturing Best Practice #4: Rekindle Passive Nurture Flows
Sometimes, leads aren’t disqualified, but have stalled in an early stage of the track. There can be many reasons for this inactivity, including (and often) the fact that leads are busy. It’s important to identify stalled leads and funnel them into passive nurture flows where the goal is not primarily to move them ahead, but to rekindle the relationship. Later on, retargeting may be effective in converting these leads into buyers.
Lead Nurturing Best Practices #5: Keep the Pipeline Clean
Last but certainly not least: sometimes leads simply aren’t leads. That is, they enter the pipeline, but either permanently stall, are irredeemably disqualified (i.e. think of the customer who admittedly has a budget for a Honda Civic yet keeps taking an unaffordable Mercedes out for a test drive), or demonstrate that while they are interested in having sales conversations and/or presentations, they aren’t interested in or have no authority to make a purchase decision. It’s essential for businesses to periodically audit their pipeline and wipe disqualified leads from the database. Otherwise, they will overestimate how well their pipeline is working, and will expect impossible miracles from sales reps (which isn’t fair) instead of high performance (which is).
At Leap Clixx, we develop customized and automated lead nurturing programs to help our customers nationwide focus on viable, qualified opportunities — which is critical for achieving sales targets and driving organizational growth. To learn more, contact us today. Your consultation with us is free.
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Topics: Lead Generation