Lately there has been a lot of discussion about how salespeople need to embrace the concept of early stage nurturing and how if done correctly, can make qualification through closing a very natural process.
We’ve seen some issues within our customer base where there’s a gap between thought leadership nurturing and conversion. The customer is very happy that they’ve implemented “successful” nurturing programs engaging prospects (good click thru percentage) with thought leadership content but in the end, they have little sales activity to show for it.
There are a number of reasons why this occurs and below are some ways to address it.
First, plan your nurturing funnel and related content. This means you need to plan the different content pieces and different phases of the nurturing funnel ahead of time to effectively move the buyer.
Utilize different approaches such as links off landing page to attract buyers to related and later stage content. You need to have content that isn’t just thought leadership oriented but that pushes the buyer to the next phase of the buy cycle or at least attempts to engage them with later stage material.
Secondly, don’t just track your lead’s digital behavior but interpret it.
You need to understand what interests your buyer. What whitepapers did they download, what emails did they click on, and what other content on landing pages or website pages did they spend time on?
This should give you a “story” about this lead that provides a basis for your initial and ongoing conversations.
Lastly, having conversations (discovery, qualification, demo, etc.) with the prospect should be natural – closing should be the next step.
If you’ve progressed the lead through the funnel and into more “buying” like content and not just thought leadership, then you should know the interest level of this lead.
Closing shouldn’t be an abrupt act going from early-stage thought leadership to hard-closing sales person. It should be the natural next step or stage in the funnel that is expected and welcomed by the prospect.
Make sure your nurturing isn’t only about thought leadership. Nurturing should progress the buyer through a funnel where qualification and close are natural next steps.