In our 25 years of providing b2b sales lead pipeline building services, we have developed hundreds of millions of dollars in sales pipeline for our b2b customers. Along the way, we’ve accrued a number of best practices around lead nurturing which we will share here.

Our focus is helping b2b selling firms who have high lifetime value customers and a complex sales process. And we have found that it takes a good 7 – 13+ touches to convert a cold prospect into a sales-ready lead. So yes, sales lead prospect nurturing and management is critical to creating a pipeline. If done correctly, B2B firms will see increased conversions to opportunity and sales, decreased costs and shorter cycles resulting in significantly improved profitability. Get it wrong and it’s like running in quicksand.

Challenge: If you are like many b2b companies, your digital demand creation efforts may be creating top of funnel activity but it’s not filling your sales team’s pipeline with the correct volume of qualified leads needed to meet sales goals. This is a major problem facing a high number of b2b firms.

To address and solve these issues, we have analysed and addressed many lead funnel issues. In terms of lead nurturing, we’ve seen that a well run and personalized lead nurturing program can help break through barriers by delivering your company’s value propositions and content stories to maximize near term sales-ready lead pipelines. It’s difficult, but worth it.

12 Best Practices for Effective Lead Nurturing

  1. Plan with the perfect customer in mind – Create a perfect prospect profile (PPP) with the sales team
  2. Clearly define a “sales-ready” lead – Define the sales-ready criteria. This is what your sales team really wants
  3. Quantify your sales-ready lead quota which backs into your pipeline goals – Give marketing this SRL (SAL) quota. Try our calculator.
  4. Align sales, marketing & senior management with your lead-to-sale plan – Get management buy in and support for your end-to-end plan. This will support your budget requests
  5. Segment your targets – Account based, vertical focused or other approaches can be used
  6. Improve target prospect data – This will pay dividends in efficiency and time savings
  7. Make your offer compelling – Don’t overlook this, view your offers from your prospects’ point of view
  8. Tell a story with your content – Weave the story throughout all the content assets and the call guides
  9. Listen to prospects and engage with the human touch – Deploy a multi touch and multi-channel approach including your lead development reps as major touch points
  10. Send an email or direct mail as door opener first touches – Sync the delivery with the timing of your calls and other next touch points
  11. Track all touch metrics – Look for gaps or stall points and focus on fixing those
  12. Acquire or develop comprehensive lead management skills and resources – Lead nurturing is very challenging. Make sure you have the expertise and tools required to do comprehensive lead nurturing and lead management right. Don’t risk underestimating this requirement because lead pipelines are high profile. If you don’t have these in place then consider engaging with a marketing services firm like DMP.
  13. Bonus tip: Be sure to report on sales pipeline impact – Hint, everything hinges on that in the eyes of the CEO

Please share some of your lead nurturing best practices. We welcome your thoughts.