The 5 (Reasons) and 10 (Ways) to Nurture

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5 & 10 page curlCompanies that nail lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads, at 33% lower cost per lead, according to a report by Forrester Research. There are five solid reasons for this, beginning with the nature of B2B sales:

1.     B2B buyers are not impulse purchasers. The sales cycle has gotten longer, and the average number of influencers and decision-makers involved in a sale has grown. The buyer researches a product for longer, without getting in touch with a vendor, for longer. This means a stretched-out period of consideration. That’s actually an opportunity to build a relationship, and the buyer is likely to buy from someone who’s established a level of trust over time. This time also allows the in-touch marketer to help shape the criteria for the sale.

2.     Communication can be a key differentiator. A study conducted by the Bridge Group found it takes an average of seven touches to convert a “suspect” to a “prospect.” In some complex industries with enterprise-level customers and CXO buyers, it often takes between nine and 11 touches before a deal closes. In a complex sale, these touches are often steps along an educational path, with the buyer slowly accumulating the knowledge necessary to make a decision. Where the handoff between sales and marketing happens depends on your process, but make sure not to leave gaps. One thing is clear: Don’t quit communicating too early.

3.     The discard pile often contains money cards. According to benchmark research from SiriusDecisions, 80% of the prospects deemed “bad leads” by sales teams do go on to buy within 24 months. It won’t be from you, if you haven’t kept in touch.

4.     Nurtured leads often end up being more profitable.  An Aberdeen Group report “Lead Nurturing: The Secret to Successful Lead Generation” found Best-in-Class organizations see nurtured leads deliver 47% higher average order values than non-nurtured leads.

5.     Leaky funnels are a drain on ROI measures. Leads are expensive. If you can keep them interested in you and receptive to your communications, you’ll lose fewer and the cost per lead will go down. You don’t want to spend your resources educating a lead on the value of your type of solution, only to have the lead wander off and purchase from a competitor.

Now, if you’re ready to go beyond the why of  lead nurturing and take a closer look at how, here’s Act-On’s short white paper “The Lead Nurturing 5 & 10: 5 Reasons You Can’t Afford To Ignore Nurturing; 10 Strategies for Your Success.” You’ll find ten strategies that can be used alone or in conjunction with each other, depending on what will work in your organization.

“Proper lead nurturing programs can yield anywhere from 15% to 200% in additional, new qualified leads,” says Brian Carroll, Executive Director of Applied Research, MECLABS. Someone is going to nurture those leads and win that business; find out how it can be you.