In recent years, you’ll have heard much buzz around the term lead generation, the process of identifying and drawing in potential customers for your business’ products or services (a fancy way of saying a very targeted marketing method).
As lead generation as a marketing activity has evolved and businesses have become more advanced in their sales and marketing methods, lead nurturing has begun to gain more prominence. It is the step beyond lead generation and it’s about building a relationship with the potential customer and providing them with all the information they need throughout the sales process, with the aim of getting them to buy your product or service.
Related: Learn the 8 stages of a sale
The lead nurturing process is equally important to lead generation, as once you have potential customers you need to be able to sell them into your offering effectively and profitably. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide on how you can increase the efficiency and overall sales conversion through your lead nurturing process (or create one if you don’t have one!).
Identify your potential customers’ needs
With a robust lead generation process, you’ve already created an initial interest in your offering; something is already resonating with the potential customer regarding your proposal. The next critical step is to identify their needs and how you can fulfill them to lead to a successful sale. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Ask for a phone call, have a premade script and use it to ask questions that will reveal what’s most important to the potential customer – what problem are they looking to solve?
- Send a quick survey prior to any meeting or phone call, asking which features of your product/service are most interesting, and asking for basic information so you can best understand what they are looking for. This will give you the necessary data to create a good value proposition and pitch.
- Take a step back to your lead generation process and make sure any marketing or sales forms that you provide contain relevant questions/filds that ask for the information that will allow you to better serve the lead, i.e. company size, industry, features they’re interested in.
There are many ways to gain a good understanding of your potential customer. The one objective is revealing what their needs as a business or as a consumer are and how you can best meet those needs through to your product or service. In other words, it’s ultimately about understanding what matters to them and how you can best demonstrate the value of your product or service to close a sale.
Have your sales assets & answers ready
Whether you’re selling a simple product directly to a consumer or a complex service to a large multinational company, you need to make sure that at every stage of the sales process you have all sales assets ready and can answer any question, this means:
- Preparing answers for commonly asked questions (it’s often very useful to integrate these on a website or as part of the process).
- Having PDFs, presentations and other sales assets created for different customer groups. This way materials are well targeted at any potential customer who might receive them and act as are useful convincers.
- Being ready to adapt any materials or answers you have ready to the specific customer case, generic answers don’t cut it anymore!
You will generate much of this documentation naturally through the sales process but by having a structured approach will greatly enhance what you produce and ultimately use to sell to the customer.
Sales and marketing need to be aligned
Often one of the biggest errors in lead nurturing occurs in the first stages when the marketing message used to generate interest and draw in potential customers is very different from the actual features and benefits of the actual product or service. This is a massive turnoff for any potential customers as they move further into the sales process and find out there is a disconnection between what they’ve been told and what the reality is. A situation like this one will likely cause them to drop out of the buying process.
This disconnection often occurs because the marketing team oversees lead generation and the sales team oversees lead nurturing, and the two do not share the same information or work together in the overall process. The two stages should be thought of as a one customer journey, this will allow the marketing and sales message to be consistent from lead generation to lead nurturing.
Sales and marketing techniques have greatly developed in the last few years. It’s not just about your ad spend anymore, it’s about mapping the buyer’s journey and maximising your sales funnel conversion. Making sure every lead is nurtured is just another part of the improved sales methodology which ensures you produce the maximum number of sales.
Related: 5 advanced selling skills
Subscribe to get more content covering everything you need to know to start, manage and grow a successful business