When you catch the interest of a sales lead, you want to keep that prospect moving through your sales funnel – the steps in the sales process from interest to actual purchase. A new lead may not be ready to buy immediately, but that doesn’t mean he or she will never buy. You need to “nurture” the lead through your sales cycle.
Lead nurturing is a highly-nuanced art. You need to know when to reach out, who to contact and what to say. It can be a time-consuming and tricky process, which is why some companies choose to automate their lead nurturing in order to shorten the sales cycle.
There are three key ways automated lead nurturing can help you.
Targeting the right message to the right lead is the first and most important step in lead nurturing. Lead scoring will help you rank your prospects so that you prioritize those most likely to buy and to use their key data characteristics to find more prospects. When your sales team spends their time on the best prospects, the sales cycle shortens. Also, data should inform your messaging, so for instance, you don’t send a “welcome” message to an existing customer.
When you have a sales campaign that automatically sends information to educate prospects, your sales team is no longer dedicating their work time to this task. You can provide valuable information to your prospects at the top of the funnel while your reps are focusing on those closer to buying. For example, you should be tracking who is joining your email list or newsletter and you should be able to tell when a prospect has downloaded a white paper from your site. You now know this person is moving into the “interest” stage and is ready for more information on your business. An automated email offering more educational resources is an important touch point, but one that a highly-trained sales associate doesn’t have to make. Furthermore, automating that process keeps it on a regular schedule and takes the guesswork out of delivery.
3. Campaign Messaging
A prospect who may be a little farther along in the sales cycle, but not quite ready to buy, is a good candidate for automated campaign messaging. That prospect that downloaded your white paper and has had a few a days to mull over your educational materials may be ready for a promotional discount. Again, automating those messages will free up your paid sales staff’s time while keeping the content flowing to the right targets. When those targets get the offers at the right time, they are more likely to take action, thereby reducing the sales cycle length.
Automating the lead nurturing process takes time to set up initially, but it pays off by prioritizing the right targets, and delivering the right materials to those people. Also, it’s very rarely a “sent-and-forget” program. Analyze your results to better fine tune the process.
Data Axle Genie has the products and tools to help make this task much less daunting. In addition to our new business Lead Alerts, Data Axle Genie’s email marketing experts can help you create customized campaigns delivered to the exact right prospects at the exact right time.