The role of lead nurturing in successful appointment setting
In a 24-hour global marketplace, businesses have changed the way they select and purchase services. It’s no longer enough to simply tell a prospect about the features and benefits of what you have to offer – you need to show that you understand their industry and operational challenges, and that you work in a way that emanates with their values.
Appointment setting is no longer just about jumping straight in and getting the lead to commit, it’s about setting expectations, cultivating trust and building a foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship. An integrated solution-based approach, focused on lead nurturing is the most effective way to secure an appointment and develop a longer-term business relationship.
Longer sales cycles
In larger businesses, it’s very rare that a single stakeholder is empowered to make a decision. It’s now necessary to have numerous conversations with influencers, decision makers and even more junior people within an organisation before a collective decision is made. This cause is lengthening the sales cycle, in fact 73% of all B2B leads are not ready for a sale and require nurturing before an appointment can be arranged. It is important not to pass leads across to sales until they are sales-ready, otherwise you run the risk of shutting down the opportunity entirely.
Marketing and sales collaboration
Building a profile of what a customer looks like to your business, and what their buying signals are will allow you to effectively put together a lead-nurturing program. Sales teams can provide feedback from successful and unsuccessful pitches and guidance on the type of messaging that resonate well with market. Marketing can then put together an integrated communication plan to drip-feed this type of content to prospects throughout the sales funnel.
This might include the following:
- Cultivating Trust
Consistency over time creates trust. Send over information when you say you will and follow-up at the time you said you would. Tailor your approach for each prospect according to their communication preferences, attitude and needs. Lead nurturing works best when the content provided is personalized to the prospect and the need of his/her organisation and is consistent with what has been promised.
Create a content matrix to educate prospects on what you do and how you do it. Review what content you have already. What can be repurposed? What can you create? Use a combination of emails, newsletters, forum invites, events and teleprospecting to form an integrated approach to forming a dialogue with your prospect.
Include clear call-to-actions in all communications to influence the prospect to take minor commitments (i.e. watching a video, downloading a whitepaper, attending an event etc.). This will not only help push the prospect further down the sales funnel, it will also re-engage them and help keep your brand top of mind.
An effective lead nurturing strategy provides your customers with a better brand experience and helps to achieve successful and highly valuable appointments that at the end of day have a better chance of being able to close.