Content marketing, thought leadership, social media, and information equality have all dramatically changed the way sales happens across industries. Although marketing and sales had some amount of connection, in many ways, they operated as intentionally separate entities. While clients may have had opinions about that, there was very little they could do to change it.
Now, as companies break down silos to better connect with customers, the process must be very different. Sales and marketing need to take equal roles in nurturing leads. What that looks like is going to be very different company to company, but it’s very clear from research that companies which nurture their leads do significantly more sales then those that don’t.
So how does your business do a better job of nurturing leads?
1. Define Leads For Your Company
What does your company mean when they say leads? At what point are leads the responsibility of marketing, and when are they the responsibility of sales? Knowing where the lead is within your funnel is crucial. Customers expect to do a lot of research on their own before they speak to a salesperson, and when they talk to sales, they are often very close to or ready to make a purchase.
Hitting them with sales while they’re still considering their options can put them off your company entirely.As a business owner, you should compare lead nurturing systems to find the right system for your business. The point of transition will be different for every company. Building strong customer profiles, careful use of a CRM, and plenty of contact and follow up can help make sure that customers stay within your funnel and ultimately become long term clients.
2. Hi Quality Welcome
What do customers see when they first come to your site? Are they struggling to find out who you are and what you’re about, or is that information right there for them to see? Does your site have an easy to navigate layout so that the customer can naturally investigate long before they start talking to a sales person? Are there points where your visitors tend to bounce from your website, and can you identify why?
Making sure that the first thing your customer sees is approachable and engaging will go a long way towards keeping them around.
3. Target Content For Different Types of Leads
Why is the customer shopping your product? An individual will have different needs than a freelancer, and those who call themselves freelancers tend to have different mindsets from solopreneurs, and all of these are different from a small business owner.
Knowing why your customer is at your site will help you make sure that the welcome information is just right for them. It will answer their questions and make sure that you start building a mutually beneficial relationship right out of the gate.
4. Multi-Channel Efforts
There’s a lot more to marketing than email these days. Customers expect to be contacted on social media, and to be able to reach out to brands there with questions. Clients expect to see high quality information on a website, and if the site has a blog, it should be regularly updated. Video marketing continues to be more valuable year over year, and live chat, either with a bot or a person, is more and more expected by customers.
Figure out which channels are most important to your clients, and make every effort to engage with them in the ways they need.
5. Timely Follow-Ups
If your company has a social media presence, you need to monitor it for customer connections. If your blog allows comments, you need to be prepared to respond. If you have an email address or a website contact form, make sure these are monitored so that responses can be sent out quickly.
The more timely your response, the more impressed your customer will be. This will increase their confidence in your ability to meet their needs, and make it more likely they will ultimately make a purchase.
6. Personalized Interactions
As the lead gets closer and closer to becoming a customer, it’s important that interactions become more and more personalized. If a customer elects to start a free trial, for example, a personalized email to offer assistance with questions may be appropriate. Finding out why they’ve left if the trial isn’t activated or completed may be a learning opportunity – and may allow businesses to regain leads they might have otherwise lost.
Ensuring that your business has a robust lead nurturing program will help to keep prospects in the sales funnel, leading them to the point where they feel comfortable making a purchase. This is not a new idea, but the way modern companies go through the process has developed in response to the changing marketplace. Make sure your company is right where it needs to be by updating your lead nurturing program.