Lead nurture can triple the return on most marketing campaigns. By nurturing leads until they’re ready to turn over to sales, an organization can eliminate wasted marketing spend and increase sales results.
Successful lead generation—inbound and outbound—requires nurturing. But it’s often the most underutilized marketing activity at a marketer’s disposal. Making additional contact using the right cadence (multiple touches and multiple media including phone, voicemail and email across multiple cycles) is worth the time and money it takes.
The numbers speak for themselves
Generally speaking, nurturing programs increase the lead rate significantly:
- Standard B2B lead-generation programs produce an average 5% lead rate.
- Advanced lead-generation programs (those that encompass nurturing) produce a lead rate 3X higher, or an average of 15%.
What types of prospects need to be nurtured?
There are three types of prospects to nurture:
- Pipeline. There’s value in continued contact with prospects in the marketing pipeline that do have a specific planned next step to be taken within a reasonable time frame, even if they’re not ready to buy now.
- True Nurture. You’ll get payback by continuing to engage with fully qualified prospects, even if they’re not immediately interested.
- No Response. These contacts need to be worked, even if they’re past the point of diminishing return in a given touch cycle.
Take a look at the two charts below, which compare a standard lead generation program (one without nurturing activity) to an advanced lead generation program (one that includes nurturing).
You can see from the above breakout that standard lead generation—the approach most organizations take —nets 50 highly qualified leads against a list of 1,000, or a 5% lead rate.
Advanced lead generation—the approach PointClear employs on behalf of its clients—nets 154 highly qualified leads against a list of 1,000, or a 15.4% lead rate. That’s more than triple the number of leads generated without a built-in nurturing process.
Note that with nurturing, 20% of Pipeline prospects (10); 27% of True Nurture prospects (68); and 7.5% of No Response prospects (26) became highly qualified sales leads because of the extra effort taken. And to think that most companies end a program—and start a new one—without working the original 1,000 targets to completion.
Who should care about the power of nurturing?
There are three executives within the company who should be proponents:
- Marketing leaders interested in delivering strong marketing ROI and making a measurable contribution to revenue.
- Sales leaders who need their expensive field sales people focused on closing highly qualified leads, not sourcing them.
- CEOs who want their marketing and sales teams accountable and aligned--and as efficient as possible.
More reasons nurturing matters
Here’s what Julie Schwartz, SVP at marketing research, consulting and training firm ITSMA says: “It’s widely believed that 60% to 70% of the buying process is over before prospects want to engage with a salesperson. The premise is that there is so much information available online that salespeople are thought to be unnecessary in the early stages.
“ITSMA’s data says that for high-consideration technology solutions, this is a myth. In fact, we believe just the opposite: 70% of B2B technology solution buyers want to engage with sales reps before they identify their short list. In fact, buyers perceive value in interacting with sales at every stage of the buying process—even the early stages.
In the epiphany stage they want education and unique perspectives; in the awareness stage they want product information and subject matter experts (SMEs); and in the interest stage they want benchmarks and best practices. See more …”
Speak to prospects from the top of the funnel to the bottom—because they are all constantly moving up and down the funnel—so you're there when they’re ready. There are no hard and fast rules regarding what content should be presented to prospects at various stages in the sales cycle—every situation is different. Address each account and decision-maker uniquely, meeting their specific needs with specific information in a consultative way to help them progress toward the right solution for them.
Why do you think many organizations don’t understand the value of nurturing?
What sort of impact has nurturing had on your sales activity?