Do you think lead nurturing isn’t important to sales generation? Think again. There are five factors critical to the success of your sales organization that can only be addressed through a solid lead nurturing program. This article covers five reasons why lead nurturing is essential to success.
B2B Buyers are Not Impulsive
Research studies have shown that the average sales cycle for business-related purchases has lengthened 22% since 2007. Many times a business purchase can involve three or more decision makers, with research provided by at least one subordinate to each decision maker. Therefore, it is often critical to establish a presence and develop a relationship with multiple parties in order to gain a customer.
Your product is often competing for the attention of B2B buyers during their research process, so if there is interest shown it becomes important to take the opportunity to provide assistance. Send relevant articles or news stories that can help shape their decision.
B2B buyers usually must fit a purchase into a budget, and highly accountable decision-makers will tend to be cautious before committing money. This is why it’s important to gain credibility, establish trust, and provide value during the decision-making process. 70% of the leads you generate through marketing should be considered “longer term opportunities worth nurturing”, which aligns with recent surveys of top executives.
Discarded Leads Produce Sales
According to SiriusDecisions, 80% of discarded leads eventually make a purchase within 24 months of expressing initial interest in your product. Eighty percent! That means money is being left on the table by declining to nurture those leads. By ignoring those prospects, you are handing them off to competitors.
That’s why lead scoring is an important component to lead management. You should have a system that evaluates leads not from one contact point but through a series of contacts that take place over the course of several weeks. Scoring should be used to evaluate the respondent, the timing of a purchase, and the depth of the need to be fulfilled.
Poor Lead Management is an ROI Killer
In today’s competitive environment, B2B sales teams must capitalize on even the weakest of leads. That means, even if a new lead does not optimally fit the BANT profile, it should still be pursued and nurtured. Maintaining an existing lead costs less than seeking new leads, and nurturing keeps those leads alive, increasing the likelihood of a sale – and boosting ROI.
Nurtured Leads are More Profitable
According to an Aberdeen Group 2011 report, companies found 50% improvement in bid/award ratios following a lead nurturing process when compared to peers that don’t use a lead nurturing program. In addition, nurtured leads resulted in 47% higher order values than non-nurtured leads. The connection that develops through lead nurturing can generate significantly better results.
Consistent Communication Closes Deals
B2B sales generally take an average of seven contacts just to turn a suspect into a genuine prospect; some industries require 9-11 touches prior to closing a deal. Often these touches involve buyer education and positioning yourself as an ally. Because B2B sales take time, it’s critical to avoid gaps in communication that can give competitors an opportunity to step in. Stage messages every 5-7 days to maintain adequate contact. Remember: without consistent lead nurturing, you run the risk of missing issues or concerns that buyers may have prior to making a purchase.