If you’ve been following my series on creating a successful lead strategy, you might remember that last time I talked about knowing when, and how often, to call potential customers. Today, we’ll look at a long-term strategy to help you map out the best way to stay in touch with leads after you’ve had a few first touches with them:
Maintain a Conversation
Remember, the goal of a long-term lead nurturing strategy is not to sell, sell, sell with every communication. Rather, it is to maintain a relevant conversation with the prospect. That way, when they’re ready to buy — and they will buy: the analyst firm Sirius Decisions shows that 80% of prospects who show an interest in your product/service will end up buying from you or a competitor within two years — they’ll think of you.
So, staying in touch a relevant way is critical.
Maintaining a conversation is as simple as being in continued contact, offering content that is not sales-y but is rather relevant and personalized.
Your goal is to have prospects perceive you as a trusted advisor, someone they look to for valuable information.
There are three top ways to stay in touch:
These should be automated, personalized and relevant (if you missed the post on creating the perfect lead-nurturing email, check it out here. You might offer relevant analyst reports, tips, guides, or best practices. And within that content, you can intersperse soft-sell messages that explain how your products will help the lead achieve their goals.
Emails should be followed up by telephone. The purpose of the phone call is to support the email, to say, in essence, “Hey, did you get the email? I wanted to know if I could get you any more information that’s relevant. Let me know at any time if you’re interested in meeting…”
This is where the sales person can really shine, putting out their best effort to get that meeting. The best sales people I’ve ever spoken to are not pushy but give me lots of information and heighten a need that they can fulfill. They paint a picture of a gap, a sense that I don’t have something that they have, something that fulfills a need that I wasn’t even aware of.
Direct mail pieces should then be sent to reinforce what you’ve talked about on the phone. This process can be automated using a service like Eloqua, which offers it natively, or Vtrends, which offers an integration with a third party. The key with these postcards is to make them personalized and relevant (are you beginning to see a trend here?).
Use personalized URLs on the postcard, such as www.omniture.com/mikelchertudi. The landing page should be indicative of the lead’s vertical, and should have some indication of their role at the company. It should also continue the flow of relevance possibly touching on potential product interests.
Emails, followed by phone calls and direct mail, should be sent once a month. Calls should go out within an hour or two of when the email is sent. If the lead cannot be reached, the sales person should leave a message.
For How Long?
You can use this long-term strategy practically forever. I still get emails from a company from back over five years ago when I bought online media. They’re personalized and relevant, they offer me great stats on media buying, and if I was still in that field, I’d certainly be in touch with them.
So there’s a quick summary of what a long-term lead nurturing strategy might look like. Next time I’ll share with you the results of a survey InsideSales.com conducted — in conjunction with Omniture — that shows just how few companies are nurturing their leads in a proactive way. So check back soon to see how other companies are doing, and to discover just how much ground you stand to gain by improving your own lead nurturing strategy.