Lead nurturing: leverage relationships to maximise conversions at your startup

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Lead nurturing is the process of carefully building a relationship with potential clients, even though they might not be looking to make an immediate purchase with you. The purpose of this activity is to acknowledge a lead’s contact action, establish an initial connection and gain a favorable bias in their minds at an initial stage — so that ultimately they choose you over your competitors.

Is it for you?

Lead nurturing makes more sense for companies who can easily segment their customers into groups based on certain parameters such as sector, kind of fit, typical requirements, growth stage, and the like. This ensures that the messages communicated are relevant to their needs and interests. Also, if you offer a complex product or service, lead nurturing is for you. In such cases, the key would be to include product information split across a series of emails sent out at predetermined intervals (for determining the optimum gaps, take cues from your sales cycle).

Do you need marketing automation software?

Marketing automation software tools such as Hubspot and Marketo do help in nurturing leads effectively, but they’re not always necessary. Unless you are dealing with hundreds of new leads each month, the whole process can be handled by a dedicated professional equipped with nothing more than an excel spreadsheet.

A few tips for ensuring that your lead nurturing campaign is amplifying conversions and keeping you ahead of the game:

1. Use an auto-responder: If the prospect has followed a certain CTA and shown interest in your offerings, it’s only logical to respond with an acknowledgment and explaining the next steps. Although most companies would be following up with inbound enquiries within 24 hours, an InsideSales study suggests that 35 to 50 percent of sales go to the vendor who responds first to an inquiry.

2. Be relevant: The first response could be anything like thanking them for their interest or intimating about the next steps with a specific timeframe. But the point is to stay relevant to the product you’ll be selling to them and reducing ambiguity by providing bits of information. Tailoring your messages to target specific segments of customers is likely to result in higher open and click rates.

3. Stay top-of-mind: It takes much more than just one interaction to get a customer onboard. In fact, studies suggest that it takes somewhere between five to 12 points of contact for 80% of the sales to take place. So, if you’re making anywhere between one to four points of contact with your leads, you might be leaving out 80% of your potential revenues (hypothetically speaking)! Making a contact and keeping in touch with the prospects at regular intervals becomes all the more important especially when they might be exploring various options, all wooing them to win their business.

4. Learn about your customers: The lead nurturing process also enables you to gain deeper insights into what challenges your customers are facing, how your solutions can address these, and how you can improve your offerings based on their feedback. The key here is to pose the right kind of questions for gaining a comprehensive perspective.

5. Analyse your sales cycle: Before putting a lead nurturing plan in place, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of how your sales pipeline works, how much time prospects take to make that buying decision, and are there any traits similar to specific categories of leads? Look out for these trends to base your lead nurturing strategy upon.

Above all, keep an eye on how leads are reacting to your communication, track opens and clicks, personalise follow-ups, self-diagnose, learn and reiterate.

Image by Simon Greig via Flickr

Mohit Sharma


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