In part one of this series, we talked about the varying definitions of a lead, based on whether you’re in sales or marketing – and why it’s important to unify over the value of leads.
Now it’s important to think about nurture. This seems to be another term thrown around quite a lot, but when executed right, it’s so much more powerful than it’s given credit for. In our view, it’s the most integral (and therefore most difficult) part of developing relationships to drive sales conversion.
So, what is nurture?
Nurture is underpinned by consistent, targeted, measured engagement. It’s how you communicate and engage with your prospects and customers, in the right way, at the right time, on the right channel, consistently.
It should be consultative. Like in every aspect of life, relationships take time and effort (consciously or subconsciously) and your actions and communications should be aligned with how you feel about the relationship. If you don’t feel positive about nurturing, why are you expecting a positive outcome?
In marketing, it’s imperative to understand the emotional signals, behaviour and pace at which your prospects and customers want to move – both from at an individual and broad targeting level.
This means you’re able to support the relationship with succinct and timely communications that are relevant to the point time where the relationship is. There’s no better place to gather these insights than from the front line by collaborating with the sales team.
In sales, you will have a good understanding as to where most of your relationships currently sit and the amount of effort required to progress them. Naturally, you might be thinking about where the next, most immediate opportunity is and putting all your energy into that.
You're ignoring nurture.
You should be communicating and listening to your other prospects and customers because, at some point, they are likely to become your next big opportunity.
Using the relationship analogy again, without nurture there is no mutual expectation, respect or understanding laid out – so when that opportunity arises, why should you be the one to deserve the luxury of seeing out the next steps?
How do I do it?
An end-to-end nurture strategy should encompass and consider all channels, not just one, which is often the sales team.
The likelihood is, you’re probably doing a lot of this unconsciously already. The trick is to become conscious about the methods you’re using and how to streamline effort so that it becomes second nature and feels authentic.
The common methods most businesses will already be using to nurture prospects and customers include:
- Telephony – in the form of sales conversations or customer check-ins
- Personal email – direct one-to-one engagement to deal with queries, send information or quotes
- Automation – communication journeysto distribute educational content or product information
As we mentioned earlier, nurture is how you consciously use all of these channels together to create a solid customer journey that feels well-formed to the recipient. It starts right back when they engage with the media campaign and come flying into the CRM as a marketing qualified lead. Nurturing those leads is what makes it to sales conversion.
We’ve found that a successful way to do this in most circumstances (not all, but most), is the use of telephony to introduce human connectivity and a voice to your brand which is not only consultative, but flexible and empathetic. This way, your other communications are drivers for conversation and subconscious stimulants to keep your relationship front-of-mind.
Why you should be doing it. Now.
A brand that executes nurture well makes each prospect or customer feel like they’re the only one that matters. You’re fishing with a net, not just a hook. And, even though you might have a net full of bait; it’s the patient, calm, credible and trusted approach that will deliver the catch.
Consistency manifests trust and trust is the foundation for solid relationships. Throughout the process, you need to be prepared – you are not going to convert every relationship to a sale immediately. However, providing an honest, confident and consultative environment for your buyers will go a long way in taking a step forward in the long term.
The other, equally important, part of this engagement is listening. If you’re not listening to your marketplace closely, you’ll fall behind, and your competitors will take care of the rest. Nurture allows you to act quickly and solve real business challenges which puts you in a firm position when it comes to reviewing their needs.
Make sure you check-in for the final part of this series, where we explore how nurture contributes to building an active pipeline, sales conversion and return on investment.