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
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​.omni​ture​.com/​m​i​k​e​l​c​h​e​r​t​udi. 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.

How Often?
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 Insid​eSales​.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.


This is really important. Everyone should be aware of this.