Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: 12 Steps to Dumping Your Marketing Department - Step 4 Nuture your leads

12 Steps to Dumping Your Marketing Department - Step 4 Nuture your leads

As a marketer, I don’t really believe that you could or should dump your marketing department. Of course, as a former sales person, I can also understand the frustration you feel when your marketing department fails to consistently deliver enough qualified opportunities to keep your pipeline full.

This is Step 4 in a 12 step series showing sales people how they can reduce their reliance on their marketing team. Marketers should also pay close attention as this series can give you tips that you can share with your sales team to help make them more successful and take a bit of the pressure off of you.

So far, we have covered:

Step 1 - Target your market

Step 2 – Build your online presence

Step 3 – Hang out with your market

In Step 4 we’re going to talk about building your own lead nurturing program.

It’s no accident that I have been running a series of posts on lead nurturing. Here’s a quick list of some of the posts you should go back and review if you are unfamiliar with the concepts:

7 Ways to Build an Opt-in List for a Lead Nurturing Program

Don't Ignore the Bouncebacks

Quarterly Newsletters, Mailing Lists, or Both?

Lead Nurturing Advice You May Not Want to Hear

If your marketing team isn’t actively nurturing prospects, you need to step in and fill the void. However, even if they are actively nurturing prospects, there’s going to be a subset of prospects that YOU really should take ownership of.

Never underestimate the competitive advantage of a salesperson who is seen as a “trusted advisor” by a prospect. Lead nurturing, done by the sales person, is an opportunity to establish your expertise and your credibility in the eyes of your prospects regardless of marketing’s ability to create credibility in your market.

Of course, these nurturing campaigns should be 1:1. It’s a regular communication between you and the prospect. You email will be targeted at their specific hot buttons. You can still have an editorial schedule for your nurturing campaigns, but the mailings you send to two customers in the same industry might be very different depending on what they care most about.

Because of the personalized nature of sales-led nurturing campaigns, you want to be selective on the number of prospects you nurture. In the same way you might target a pipeline that is 3X your quota, you might choose to manage a nurturing base that is 5X your pipeline. You need to figure out what is workable and required in order to meet your goals, but keeping your target tight allows you to be much more effective.

Finally, don’t look to marketing to create your emails. They don’t have the relationship with your prospects – you do. In fact, the fancy html emails that marketing creates will do more harm than good in sales’ hands. Your prospects know that you didn’t create that email. A personally signed text email from you mentioning a previous discussion and containing a customer-focused call to action such as white paper download will carry far more weight.

Happy selling!

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  1. What a wonderful world it would be if marketing and sales would work together to nurture leads. Combining forces has the potential to dramatically increase the number of F leads that find their way into the pipe.

    Unless ownership and responsibilities for the nurturing database are clearly defined, however, the situation will continue as it is today.

  2. Mark,

    Thanks for the comments. The world's not always perfect is it? That's why I recommend that sales step up to the plate and at least employ the concepts of lead nurturing on the leads that are close enough to the pipeline to benefit from direct 1:1 nurturing from sales. It will help them keep their pipeline full.

    On the other hand, marketing doesn't need sales to nurture leads in order to benefit from lead nurturing. As long as you are measured on qualified leads generated, lead nurturing will help you reach your goals.

    For those of you who haven't worked with SoftBrands, Mark's "F lead" is equivalent to a lead that should be nurtured. F, as I recall, stands for "future." It's not a lead "grade."



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