Staying at the front of a prospect’s mind can be a challenge for salespeople.
As prospects switch companies more frequently than they used to, they move from being leads, gatekeepers, buyers or decision makers as they change jobs. Many salespeople don’t really know who their leads are, or if their leads even have the power to make purchase decisions.
That’s where B2B lead nurturing can help. But lead nurturing isn’t a straightforward, “one-size-fits-all” process. It’s all about putting the right content in front of the right contact at the right time.
Lead nurturing is a two-pronged process between sales and marketing. Marketing delivers the right content to leads through email, social media or direct mail campaigns. Then the salesperson can monitor and follow up, so when a lead is ready to buy, your company comes to mind first. Let’s look at some effective ways to nurture and follow up on leads.
Monitor Leads through LinkedIn
Many major deals happen when prospects change jobs. Be sure to connect with your prospect on LinkedIn after your first face-to-face meeting, phone call or email exchange. LinkedIn is an ideal way to monitor your prospect’s job changes and alert you to opportunities.
For example, you’re connected to Billy, your contact at XYZ Company, on LinkedIn. Billy didn’t buy from you, but you know that XYZ Company is a good prospect. You follow Billy on LinkedIn, and three months later, you notice that Billy has a new job at another company.
If Billy was a gatekeeper that kept you from selling to XYZ Company, you now have another opportunity to make a new contact at XYZ. If Billy was a friend, you can reconnect with him and see if he is able to make purchase decisions in his new position.
Know the Prospect’s Purchasing Window
The right time to nurture a lead depends on their buying timeframe. For example, if a lead is buying school supplies for a high school, you’ll need to know their window for budgeting and purchasing those supplies before the school year starts. This will help you to nurture them before they make a decision.
Track Your Seasonal Lead Volume
Every industry has times during the year when their products or services are hot. If you nurture your leads before these times, they will be more likely remember you when they are ready to buy.
A good rule of thumb is to look at your own company’s lead volume for cues. For CallProof, it’s at the beginning of the year, when companies are revamping their sales strategies. Or if I’m in the landscaping business, and my call volume is heavy in March and April, I know February is a good time for lead nurturing. Then I can use direct mail to contact my leads, or I can redirect their email addresses and phone numbers into a social media campaign on Facebook.
Timing is everything in B2B lead nurturing. As the saying goes, “It’s hard to sell someone dinner when they’re full.” Show your leads the steak when they’re hungry. No matter what business you’re in, timing is the key to nurturing leads and turning them into sales.