Optimize Lead Nurturing to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, May, 17, 2016 @ 11:05 AM



A lot of companies I work with treat all leads the same. This slows the sales process and wastes salespeople's time.

When a lead first comes in, regardless of the amount of research the prospect has done on the internet, it's a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and not a sales qualified lead (SQL). I strongly recommend sales and marketing get together to map the customer journey and score leads based on where they are in the journey.

Once you've mapped the customer journey, make sure your run it by a few customers to validate the assumptions you made in the mapping process.

Optimizing lead nurturing is not dissimilar to content marketing to generate leads. Provide information of value and work on answering customers' and prospects' questions to help them through the buying process rather than selling to them.

By providing information of value, you establish the credibility of your firm and your product or service and one that is focused on solving the customer's problem rather than making a sale. Do this consistently and you'll establish trust and people will begin sharing the information of value you provide.

Consider that everything everyone in your firm creates is a form of content that can be reused in content marketing and you need to think about the opportunities to reuse every piece of content 10 times. Great content is the result of everyone in the firm collaborating by providing information of value that marketing and sales can use with customers and prospects.

You will need different content at each step of the journey. Content is either building consistency and continuity or eroding it. Consistency and continuity build trust. Inconsistency and lack of continuity results in confusion and distrust.

Shorter content tends to be more effective at the top of the funnel while longer content is more relevant and appreciated as you proceed down the funnel.

Provide information of value by ensuring what you are sharing is:

  1. timely;
  2. unique;
  3. answering a question or clarifying complex issue; and,
  4. providing insight to the prospect or customer.

Create trustworthy content by:

  • Investing in a journalist or writer from outside the firm to remove bias
  • Let research and customer insights inform a real business problem
  • Gather different points of view
  • Include statistics from credible sources
  • Be industry specific
Top-of-funnel strategies may include:
  • Asking clients and prospects what's driving their interest in your product or service so you know their information needs and wants and providing that information.
  • Asking clients and prospects about the problems or pains they want to solve with your product or service.
  • Asking clients and prospects what kind of budget they have for your products or services.
  • Understand who's responsible for the purchase decision - the individual with the buying authority, as well as the other influencers involved in the process.
  • All of this information will serve to inform the next content.

Middle-of-funnel strategies may include:

  • Building trust
  • Including objective statistics
  • Webcast with an industry expert or thought leader
  • Provide cutting edge content
  • Customize for the audience
  • Create titles that lure and engage

Bottom-of-funnel strategies may include:

  • Solving a specific problem
  • Telling a complete story with quantified results
  • Quotes or testimonials
  • Quick and easy to read and share with others
How are you nurturing leads with relevant content? 

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Tags: marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, lead nurturing

10 Reasons Every B2B Firm Needs a Blog

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Mar, 25, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

every B2B business needs a blog










Great stats from a recent edition of Target Marketing Magazine why every B2B business needs a blog.


Here are 10 reaseons every B2B business needs to write blogs on a regular basis:

  1. 70% of buyers view four or more pieces of content when making a considered purchase.

  2. 71% of buyers trust brands that provide information of value without trying to sell something.

  3. B2B companies that create content generate 67% more leads than companies that don't.

  4. Buyers go through nearly 60% of the buying cycle before contacting a rep.

  5. Buyers are now researching online instead of calling salespeople to discuss their problems and suggest solutions.

  6. Buyers don't want to see a rep until maybe the last 20% of the buying process.

  7. Sales people have lost control of the sales process. Marketing can help by identifying buying signals and by building trust with prospects, marketing qualified leads (MQL's) before they are ready to see a salesperson, sales qualified leads (SQL's).

  8. 72% of B2B buyers begin their searches with Google. Providing information of value will improve grassroots search engine optimization (SEO) and website visits as a result of organic search.

  9. Businesses that blog get 55% more web traffic than businesses that don't.

  10. 57% of businesses have acquired a new customer as a result of their blog.


Before adding more sales people, begin writing blog posts that answer all of your customers' and prospects' questions. That should give you at least six months worth of posts.


Encourage your sales and marketing folks to come up with additional content that customers and prospects would find helpful.


Based on my personal experience, providing educational and useful information of value, five days a week for six months will double your web traffic. improve SEO and generate leads.


Providing this information to marketing qualified leads (MQL's) is a form of lead nurturing that will help convert MQL's to sales qualified leads (SQL's) thereby making your sales people more productive, efficient, successful and happy.


Are you providing infomation of value to customers and prospects on a regular basis? It's more efficient and productive than cold calling. 


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Tags: trust, information of value, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, MQL, SQL, lead nurturing

Nurture Leads to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Mar, 19, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

lead nurturing accelerates sales









Do you have leads in your pipeline that aren't ready to buy yet?


Has corporate approved you as the vendor of choice but the franshisees aren't convinced they need your product?


Have prospects visited your website but not yet downloaded your white paper?


They're not ready to engage with a sales person, let alone buy.


They are a marketing qualitifed lead (MQL) as opposed to a sales qualified lead (SQL).


You, and your marketing team, need to provide more information of value to help the prospect understand how your product or service can solve their problems and meet their needs.


By providing information of value, you are educating your prospective customer, establishing yourself and your firm as a trusted provider of useful information.


You are providing value before making the sale.


People buy from those they know like and trust.


By providing information of value, answering frequently asked questions and educating the prospect you are building awareness of your firm as an industry thought leader and as a trusted source of information and products or services.


Once you have established sufficient trust, your marketing qualified lead will become a sales qualified lead and be much easier for your sales person to close.


I developed a lead nurturing program for an online aggregator of laboratory products in the early days of procurement portals.


The lead nurturing program reached out to prospective suppliers to help educate them on the benefits of putting their thousand-page catalog of products online.


The program enabled sales reps to close suppliers in one or two visits versus two or three visits reducing the sales expense, by 33 to 50%, as well as shortening the buying cycle.


Lead nurturing programs are a lot like customer bonding programs. What varies is the information you provide and the questions you ask a prospect versus a customer.


In order to reduce sales costs and accelerate buying cycles, seek to provide information of value to prospective customers beefore trying to sell them your product or service.


Have you used a lead nurturing program to reduce sales expense or accelerate buying cycles?

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Tags: trust, information of value, accelerate sales, people do business with those they know like and t, lead nurturing