The Art and Science of Lead Nurturing

Brian Carroll recently posted a blog on Lead Nurturing in which he makes the following comment:

It’s surprising how many marketers now say they do “lead nurturing” but in reality they are just sending monthly email campaigns or monthly newsletters with some call to action.

If all you do is send generic email marketing messages to your early stage leads over and over and over again, you’re missing the point. Consistency is good but being relevant and then consistent is even better.

To be truly effective, we need to find a way to get over the “automated” or “campaign” only approach to lead nurturing. The point of nurturing is to build relationships and to do that we need to have a dialog that’s relevant and consistent. We need the human touch.

While I agree that sending out campaign related messages is not a substitute for personalized lead nurturing, I believe automated (yet non campaign related) activities are essential in the nurturing process.

“The human touch” is a fine phrase and makes the reader feel good, but the problem is the decision maker does not want someone keep touching him unless perhaps they have something new and helpful to communicate. From a practical standpoint however, this is unlikely. So too many additional calls (if this is what Mr. Carroll means by “human touch”) might not be welcome.

In our view it is as wrong to rely on personal nurturing calls only, as it is to rely on an automated electronic process only. ETI offers a sensible mix of the two methods in which low cost, automated, electronic, personalized messages, together with relevant content, are interspersed with higher cost phone communication.

eti’s i*collaborator system has an automated feature to manage follow up activities. It is capable of triggering individualized lead nurturing activities based on the each prospect’s actions and reactions. And also when there are no reactions.

When a prospect for example, receives information related to his inquiry … and this results in a click on an embedded link, i*collaborator will trigger a series of time based activities relative to the interest of the inquirer.  This might include ….

  • A relevant personalized email follow up 7 days later.

  • Followed by a personal phone call 7 or 14 days later.

  • Followed up by a relevant 3rd party white paper 15 or 30 days later.

  • Followed by a relevant link to the client's blog.

  • And so on.

Different triggers result from:

  • Click throughs

  • Email Opens

  • Email Bounces

  • Event Registrations

  • WEB Form Inquiries

  • Business Intelligence gathering activities

  • No reactions.

  • Etc.

It is impractical to handle the complexity of such a range of “if he does this, we do that” interactions manually (on a large scale). It can be way too costly if not hair-raising to track and respond, relevantly and timeously, to so many different responses. Unless the complexity has been logically automated.

Moreover, such complexity can only be successfully programmed when there is an integrated, tried and tested technology in place. And to the best of my knowledge there is no CRM with this trigger based technology integrated into their systems.

Nurturing is a time and content based activity, linked to a goal. Lead nurturing is an aspect of Lead Generation (i.e it’s not an activity unto its own) and the ultimate goal is mostly to get prospects to the point where they are ready to hear a sales rep’s presentation. It is not just to build a relationship, as Mr. Caroll suggests, but a series of confidence building activities to earn the trust as well as the agreement of the prospect to meet with a sales representative. 

And lead nurturing does not stop once the lead has been generated.  For unless the decision maker says ‘no’, he remains a prospective customer.

So there’s room for further nurturing based on logical response to whatever the situation is.  All is not lost – even if the prospect has decided not to buy. The type and nature of nurturing will obviously be different - but the system remains the same. A sensible mixture of personalized electronic communication interspersed with personal phone calls.

To learn more about eti’s lead generation and lead nurturing capabilities please call 1.800.466.4384. Alternatively please visit www.etisales.com for more information.

Michael Falkson

 

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