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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistThu, Apr 17, 2014 6 min read

Inbound Marketing's Lead Nurturing Ensures You Never Forget To Follow Up

Lead Nurturing CampaignsDoes the following scenario sound familiar? You go to a trade show, where you and your sales reps get a handful of business cards. When you get back to the office, the cards end up on the rep’s desk. Maybe the rep calls a couple of the people, but most are just forgotten.

How about this one? You want your sales team to be more proactive with your prospects, emailing them interesting articles or sharing industry news, and maybe even promoting some of your new blog content or actually inviting prospects to your webinars.

How effective are your sales people with that type of follow-up? It’s okay, you’re among friends, and you're free to admit that they’re just not that great at tasks like those. We won't judge.

There is some good news: You're able to let them do what they're good at, leaving this type of follow-up to technology and sound inbound marketing process enhancements. The bad news is that because this type of follow-up is often what your prospects are seeking, when it's lacking, your company comes off as unresponsive, irresponsible or, worse, apathetic. These are adjectives you want to stay away from.

Let’s look at how lead nurturing emails (often referred to as workflow emails) deliver the kind of experience your prospects want to have with your business.

Back to the trade show story from above: If you have a planned lead nurturing email campaign set up before you go to the show, when you get back, load all those new contacts into your database, and out come the emails. They can be personalized by sales rep and according to each of the recipients, and the content can be preplanned.

What if your new contacts had this email before they even got back to their office? What if it included a special offer or video that was just for people who attended the show? What if it was personal and came from the CEO or VP of Marketing? All these touches contribute to making the potential customer’s experience remarkable, differentiating you from your competitors throughout the sales process.

Shifting gears, when visitors come to your website and connect with your company emotionally, they then want to learn more. When they download an e-book, watch a video or look at an infographic, they’re not ready to be contacted by a sales rep. They didn’t ask for it, and most likely, they don’t want that call or email. But there is a way to stay in front of them and give them that remarkable experience.

Once they interact with your company, they need to be nurtured. You want every lead nurtured in the same, exact way. The problem with letting sales people handle this is that each one does things a little bit differently: some good, some not so good. Lead nurturing removes the guessing. Now you create a series of personal emails that say exactly what they need to say to get prospects starting to feel safe and positive about your business.

All of the prospects that download your e-book get the same personal and positive email. They get it the same day or the day after the download. Two days later, they get another amazing email and, two days after that, the last of the series. Each one gives them more educational information, introducing them to another one of your educational resources and positioning your company as the obvious choice to do business with. No muss, no fuss, no sales reps needed.

I’m not suggesting we get rid of the sales reps, but I am suggesting that we focus their attention on working with prospects that are ready to work with a rep. These are the prospects that are a little further down the sales funnel, the ones who are already thinking about working with you but just need a few more questions answered or some additional information that isn’t available on your website, like pricing, delivery or engagement details.

Now you have a well-oiled inbound marketing and inbound sales system that ensures your prospects get a remarkable experience every single time, no matter what is going on at your business.

Start Today Tip – There is a ton of software systems that deliver the kind of functionality we are discussing here. Make sure yours can deliver it, too. If not, consider a switch. Then map out what you think your prospects want to get – and when, and start writing those emails. Once they are programmed into the system and set up with triggers, the rest is easy. Check back from time to time to see how those emails are performing. You should be able to see click-through rates, open rates and opt-out rates, just like traditional email marketing.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.