We are in the beginning stages of implementing a lead nurturing program. Up to this point, our sales people have been left on their own as to how they want to handle any leads that had a future close date. Some of the Account Executives were diligent about cultivating their relationship and others…well lets leave it at that. Let's face it; I was a sales person at one point and the only leads that mattered to me where the ones that were going to close immediately.
This is short-sighted. A key aspect to successful selling is maintaining a relationship until the lead is ready to buy. One of the key aspects of this is education or what some people refer to as thought leadership. B2B buyers are busy; they don't always have the time to thoroughly research every possible vendor and circumstance that might arrive. As I stated in an earlier thread, it is our human nature to gravitate towards the familiar. If a vendor is consistently in front of a buyer and has shown considerable knowledge and expertise in their area, that vendor will be on the short list when a purchase decision needs to be made.
Web seminars are a great way to promote thought leadership and are an essential part of any lead nurturing program. Periodic invitations to valuable and targeted content is critical. This is where segmentation plays a key role. If you are sending IT subject invites to marketing people, you are wasting your time and efforts. By providing your leads with easily digested and disseminated (through recordings) information you are making their jobs easier and in the end will be rewarded.
I would love to hear about some of the ways in which you nuture your sales leads.