YES! I blurted out loud, smiling at the idea that dating and marketing are not all that different. And why would they be? In both cases, we try to market something (dating: ourselves, marketing: our service or product) to others. In both, we are constantly looking for prospects and hoping they would eventually turn into something more permanent (dating: a partner; marketing: a customer).
Above all, in dating and in marketing, the idea of collecting as many leads as possible is ridiculously time-consuming and expensive, in terms of time spent, money spent, and emotions – and the latter refers to marketing/sales too, since we all know how emotionally taxing it is for sales reps to repeatedly call cold leads that end up rejecting them.
Sales organizations all over the world are telling marketers, and have been telling them for several years now, “We don’t want more leads! We want better leads” and the best marketers are listening. But while getting more leads is fairly easy, getting better leads is not.
The first step to getting better, high-quality leads is to define what a quality lead is, something that Sales and Marketing should do together of course. The next step is to define sales funnel processes that include a lead nurturing stage for non-sales-ready leads, and lead scoring methodologies. The goal is to determine when a lead is ready to be contacted by a sales rep, so that only high-quality, sales-ready leads are delivered to Sales.
In other words, we need a lead nurturing stage between the stages of generating leads and selling to them. With today’s long sales cycles and B2B prospects with time to research and limited budgets, the typical lead nurturing stage is long – and is definitely not a luxury, but an integral part of the sales process.
A lengthy lead nurturing stage requires keeping in touch with leads without annoying them; creating content that would actually benefit those leads and will never be considered spam; and continually scoring leads to determine if they are ready for a sales call, if they need more nurturing, or if they should be dropped.
It’s a complex process. Thankfully, marketing automation is very good at streamlining it. Lead segmentation, lead scoring and of course lead nurturing are all automated to make these daunting tasks manageable. Leads receive well-timed and targeted communications, and you are able to build a relationship with them and become part of their decision-making process.
More leads? No thanks. Better leads is what we’re after, and thanks to marketing automation, the process of bringing initial inquiries from “cold” to “ready” has never been easier, even in a reality where sales cycles have never been longer or more complex.Google+
Tags: smart lead nurturing