How to Nurture Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales Qualified Leads

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Sep, 04, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

lead nurturing








I've worked with a lot of companies that are driven by sales, and only sales.


If a lead doesn't express interest after one of two calls, the sales person deems the lead to be poorly qualified, gives up and moves to the next.


There are a lot of studies showing how many touches a company must make with a prospect, before the prospect buys.


It takes patience and a good CRM to implement a lead nurturing program that will help you maximize the close-rate of the leads you've worked hard to acquire.


It's important to grade leads based on the buying cycle of your customer.


To know the buying cycle of your customer, map all the steps your customer goes through before buying your product or service.


Once you've mapper the buyer's journey, share it with several customers to make sure you aren't missing any steps.


As you learn how your customers evaluate and buy your product or service, you'll also begin to learn the difference between a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL).


Once marketing and sales have agreed on the lead scoring that differentiates an MQL from an SQL, you will want to develop a lead nurturing program to help convert MQLs to SQLs over time.


Here's what a lead nurturing program could look like that results in 16 touches over the course of 12 months:

  • Month 1 = weekly touches (4)
  • Months 2 – 4 = 2 touches per month

  • Months 5 – 12 = 1 touch per month


Prototypical schedule of touches:

  1. Month 1/Week 1: Letter or video (no more than 90 seconds) from CEO or V.P. of Sales sharing a story why we believe our product or service is right for the prospect.
  2. Month 1/Week2: Dimensional mailer with case study exemplifying a problem your product or service has solved.
  3. Month 1/Week 3: Email flyer on how others have benefited from your product or service.
  4. Month 1/Week 4: Snail mail article reprint from industry publication validating the success of your product or service.
  5. Month 2/Week 2: Email flyer answering the most frequently asked question for your product or service.
  6. Month 2/Week4: Snail mail flyer/postcard answering the second most frequently asked question.
  7. Month 3/Week 2: Dimensional mailer with another example of a problem solved.
  8. Month 3/Week 4: Email flyer providing educational information about how your product or service has been used to simplify a customer's life.
  9. Month 4/Week 2: Email video testimonial from earlier adopter (no more than 90 seconds).
  10. Month 4/Week 4: Snail mail flyer/postcard answering the third most frequently asked question.
  11. Month 5: Email with information of value relevant to the prospect.
  12. Month 6: Email new testimonials (up to 3).
  13. Month 7: Snail mail flyer/postcard answering fourth most frequently asked question.
  14. Month 8: Email flyer with information of value about your product or service.
  15. Month 9: Snail mail most relevant case study.
  16. Month 10: Email video testimonial of another user (no more than 90 seconds).
Marketing and sales need to stay in close communication to know what's working and what's not working to nurture MQLs to SQLs.
It's very possible to create different lead nurturing programs based on the persona, or other relevant data, of the MQL.
What is key is to monitor and measure what's working and to keep the lines of communications open between marketing, sales and recent customers so you know how to refine your lead nurturing program.
Have you been successful nurturing MQLs to SQLs?
What's been most effective for you?
Need More Insights From Your Analytics? Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales

Tags: CRM, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, MQL, SQL, nurture leads