Lead nurture: when's the right time?

Abi Abrahams, Tuesday 26 March 2019
6 min read time
 

 

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79% of leads generated never become clients, due to a lack of careful and effective nurture throughout the B2B sales process. Without lead nurture, how can your new business opportunities understand the value of your product? Most leads will suffer a business problem they’re looking to solve, but unless you use nurture to explain how you can solve that problem (and why you’re the best) you’re never going to achieve the sale. Lead nurture is about more than just sending regular emails to stop potential buyers forgetting who you are. Successful lead nurture is driven by both compelling communications, and masterful timing. Discover how to effectively manage time within a lead nurture approach, seamlessly encouraging potential buyers to make their purchase.

 

 

The danger of over-nurture

 

During the lead nurture process, it’s important to keep your brand and product at the forefront of the potential buyer's mind. Leads should find themselves consistently thinking about how your offering can benefit their business, making them want to learn more. However, in the pursuit of this, many sales teams over-nurture their leads.

 

Nothing distances a lead from your business more than constant communication. Hearing from a business once a week is fine; even if you’re not overly interested in what they offer, you can appreciate their message and content. But hearing from an organization on a daily basis? That’s just too much. This kind of nurture behaviour will only push leads away, as they become frustrated and exit your pipeline.

 

When conducting a lead nurture strategy, be aware of the dangers posed by over-nurture, and ensure you don’t slip into bad habits. No matter how much you need the sale, or how much your results are dwindling, increasing the number of nurture communications you send isn’t going to provide the solution you’re searching for.

 

Don’t sacrifice the quality of your brand experience out of desperation to secure a result. Put the lead’s journey first, and the results will come. Over-nurtured leads are likely to stagnate within their buyer journey and rarely offer your business any kind of return.

 

The long term strategy

 

Creating a lead nurture strategy is complex and difficult for many reasons, but timeframe stands out as one of the most confusing. The fact of the matter is that each lead can choose to progress their purchasing decision at any time. A nurturing strategy could be successful after just two weeks or could take six months to deliver a result!

 

To execute prosperous lead nurture, you need to assume each lead will need the maximum amount of time to make a decision. This long term focus ensures your nurture approach remains consistently fresh and enticing without running dry and lessening brand quality further into the buyer journey. Should a lead respond well to nurture and be keen to make a purchase, you can adapt the timing of your process to secure a more efficient sale.

 

So- how can you plan a long term lead nurture strategy that keeps your brand front of mind, without over-nurturing leads? You need to take a measured approach, understanding how leads think and what they need. Pardot believes nurture communications should be sent in regular instalments broken up by breaks of between 6 and 45 days. Communicating with leads every six days ensures they aren’t hassled twice in the same week and reaching out every 45 days offers leads a branded touchpoint every six weeks. Following up a previous nurture communication within this 6-45 day window eliminates the risk of over-nurture whilst keeping your brand present.

 

Ask how you can use these timeframes to curate a long term approach. You could send each lead a piece of short, engaging content every six days with no sales message. Then every 18 days, send a highly targeted, sales driven communication to boost buyer journey momentum. You could then send potential buyers a product offer every 45 days, to encourage a purchasing decision.

 

Plan four different 45-day cycles for lead nurture communication, pinpointing what kinds of nurture will be conducted (educational, conversational, sales-driven) and what channels will be used (email, social media, direct mail). Nurtured leads spend 47% more on your product. Although this process takes a little time to come to fruition, when conducted effectively, this approach can significantly boost your AOV (Average Order Value).

 

Responsive nurture

 

Understanding how often to nurture valuable leads throughout their buyer journey is key to achieving success, but there is another kind of time-sensitive nurture we need to address- responsive nurture.

 

When a lead accesses your website or downloads some content between nurturing communications, they are actively engaging with your brand. You need to maximize this engagement, using it to give their purchasing decision an extra push. This is known as responsive nurture, whereby you advance the nurturing journey in response to lead engagement.

 

This responsive nurture is highly reliant on time and is most effective when actioned instantly. Contacting a lead within five minutes of their displayed engagement makes you 4000% more likely to achieve your goal. Recent studies prove a majority of businesses take over 24 hours to recognize lead activity and deliver an appropriate response. This approach is ineffective, failing to encourage the desired action.

 

Take time to understand what engagements you can track, and how your team can ensure immediate nurture response. Your most engaged leads should be your priority. They are low hanging fruit, offering your team a genuine, high-quality chance to secure a sales win. Make sure you can effectively conduct responsive nurture, and that your team understand the importance of this key process.

 

Striking a balance

 

Lead nurturing isn’t simple. It’s easy to think that once a lead has inquired and started a conversation with your sales team, the hard part is done, but this is not the case. Lead nurturing is more intricate and challenging than many originally perceive, meaning a large number of sales teams struggle to understand how it can be most effectively deployed.  

 

To achieve success, you need to strike a harmonious balance between establishing a strong foundation of long-term, regular nurture instalments and, when required, delivering highly effective responsive nurture communications.

 

This balance will be dependant upon the resources you have available. Without the right kinds of software, you cannot identify certain types of brand engagement to fuel responsive communications. Without a widely adopted and carefully integrated CRM, you can’t track lead progress to understand what long-term nurture they require to boost sales success. Without a certain headcount, you cannot continually deliver a high-quality nurture journey to a wide pipeline of opportunity.

 

If you want to achieve sales success, you need to master the art of lead nurture. Take stock of your current processes, resources and goals. How can these elements fuel a lead nurture strategy? In what areas are you strong, and what do you lack? If you already run a nurturing strategy, is it prepared for both long and short term communication? Carve out your ultimate lead nurture approach and understand how time effects and benefits this paramount process.

 

Why not boost your lead nurturing approach with Lead Forensics? Our innovative software solution identifies the businesses visiting your website in real time to instantly alert your team to lead engagement for effective responsive nurture. With email addresses and telephone numbers for key decision makers provided alongside a detailed breakdown of each online journey, you can instantly conduct the perfect follow-up communication. Maximize each opportunity to secure heightened sales success. Find out more- book your free demo today!

 

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Ultimate sales tools and tactics specific to B2B sales

 

Topics: Lead Forensics, B2B sales, Lead nurturing, Close Sale

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