In my mind, not much. I think they both work together to move prospects through the sales funnel. Using a nurturing system, you can start to identify their needs. The key is to do follow-up in some manner.
Nurturing keeps you top of mind, builds credibility, solves prospect’s problems and positions you as an expert. Quality lead nurturing can lead to more sales.
Not all leads are ready to buy, and it’s important to have a process in place to sort them out. According to Russ Hill from Ultimate Lead Systems:
- 67% of all leads are legitimate prospects.
- 34% have a need that must be satisfied in the next 6 months.
- 70% of those prospects didn’t know you made that product.
- It takes on average 5-6 sales calls to close a sale.
- 80% give up after the first call and 90% plus give up after the second call.
It’s important to get the lead the information they requested. A CRM system would help in organizing and communicating with them. It’s also important to find out where they are in the buying cycle. Some cycles are longer than others, and it would be important to know where they are so you can get them the relevant info to get them to the next stage. Lots of this can be done via email or even snail mail depending on the preference of the prospect.
The key in my mind is not to call until they request. Once they do, then periodic calls are appropriate. Depending on your company, it might go to an outbound sales person or into the field for follow-up.
When do you take someone off your list? Unless you determine they will never buy the kinds of things you make, I’d say never. Start a database if you already haven’t. If you publish a newsletter, put them on the list. When introducing a new product, make sure they are copied on the promotion. The key is, even if they bought the competitor this time, it doesn’t mean they will the next time.
Whatever you do, have a process in place and use both lead nurturing and sales call follow-up together.
What are you doing to follow-up leads?
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