Lead nurturing doesn’t have to be complicated. Learn how to steer clear of these common mistakes by adhering to common sense lead nurturing strategies.
1. Make your emails sound personal to avoid being confused with a bot.
Most contemporary B2B buyers can spot an impersonal, automated sales email from a mile away. They have had years of experience receiving poorly-written campaigns that bear little resemblance to actual human speech patterns.
But the incentives are still there for companies to rely on these tactics. They’re simple, fast, inexpensive, and occasionally successful.
It’s obvious that you have to use email in order to reach your prospects, so how can you avoid falling into the trap of the robotic salesperson? The answer is easy, in theory, yet requires some persistence in execution. Make sure your emails sound like they were written by a human being. Personalize them with the data you have collected, avoid using industry jargon, and read them back a few times before sending.
2. Follow up quickly and consistently so you don’t miss opportunities.
In sales, there are certain things that are always going to be out of your control. You can’t control your prospects’ pain points. You can’t just eliminate decision makers so that you only have to deal with a single person.
It’s crucial to let go of these factors. Instead, focus on what you can do. And one thing you have complete control over is whether or not you respond to every lead, and how quickly you do so.
Despite this fact, it’s still astonishing to read how many salespeople fail to respond to leads in a timely manner. A landmark study by the Harvard Business Review that involved over 2,000 companies found that the average online lead response time was 42 hours.
Companies that think it’s okay to wait nearly two full days to respond to a lead are making a costly mistake. All you have to do to be different from them is to closely monitor your lead response tracking, and hold your sales team to a higher standard.
3. Focus on what your prospects need, not what your product does.
One simple truth could be repeated in every publication in the world, and some sales professionals still wouldn’t get it:
Your prospects only care about your product in so far as it makes their lives easier!
Outside of this consideration, it doesn’t matter to them how incredibly innovative your software development process is, or how your company was the first to perfect a certain feature. So there isn’t any reason to talk about these things unless you can relate them directly to the client’s needs every single time.
It’s easy to see why sales reps are so eager to talk about product features, and in some ways the sentiment is admirable. They have a product they believe in, and they want to share this value with their clients. But the consensus is clear: selling product features doesn’t work. Instead, use your lead nurturing campaign to encourage your prospect to explain in detail how you can help them.
4. Understand that your prospects are unique, and take the time to get to know them.
One of the worst habits exhibited by well-meaning salespeople during lead nurturing is assuming that they know everything about a client’s business because they’ve sold to similar companies in the past. But “similar” is not synonymous with “identical.”
Each prospect is in a unique situation. Each one of them has a specific set of responsibilities, expectations, limitations, and capabilities that are their own. Even in circumstances where there are similarities, you have to avoid talking to your prospect as if you already know what they need. It sounds condescending, and you certainly never want to come off that way in any professional interaction.
Your client is the expert on their company, not you. Do your research, use the data you gather to form a base of knowledge, and then take the opportunity to learn directly from the expert. You might be surprised at how much your prospect reveals when you give them the chance to talk to you.
5. Integrate your data collection and analysis for a comprehensive tool.
Some companies think that merely instituting a data gathering operation is enough. Rest assured that it isn’t. When data isn’t managed and applied correctly, it’s nothing but a resource drain.
What turns data into a powerful tool, however, is when it is integrated throughout the company. All teams must be committed to upholding its quality. Then, it can provide an accurate and holistic view of the prospect’s sales journey in general, and the lead qualification process specifically.
6. Don’t assume any outcomes. Listen to what your data tell you.
Once again, your data is only as powerful as you allow it to be. Far too many sales teams have lead nurturing performance metrics in place, yet dismiss the results based on a feeling.
If your results tell you that prospect engagement is suffering because of lead response times, then institute a policy for quicker responses. If your content marketing isn’t delivering the desired results, ditch it and develop new content. These metrics are in place for specific reasons. Don’t ignore them because you are married to a specific strategy.
These are some of the most common lead nurturing mistakes that you need to watch out for, but there are certainly others. Everyone in sales has been guilty of one or another from time to time, but vigilance is the antidote to repetition. Lead nurturing is all about demonstrating to your clients that you are committed to adding value to their experience. As long as you focus on that core principle, then your actions will reflect it accordingly.
What other lead nurturing pitfalls have you noticed that you or other sales professionals have fallen victim to?