This article will help you uncover warning signs and determine the next steps you should take for optimum results.
Sign 1 – The majority of the leads you generate are not “sales-ready”
Key indicator: Rejection rate = % of marketing qualified leads rejected by sales
There are several reasons this could be happening. You may have a segmentation problem (your lead generation activities are targeting the wrong prospects), a misalignment between Sales and Marketing (you don’t agree on what constitutes a qualified lead), or a lead nurturing problem (you don’t engage in a conversation with prospects unless they are ready to buy). Lead nurturing is likely to help, but it won’t make any difference if you don’t fix your segmentation and misalignment problems first.
Sign 2 – Your sales funnel is leading
Key indicator: Lead leakage rate = % of leads leaving the funnel
Most companies focus on the performance of their lead generation activities, but improving conversion rates once a prospect has expressed interest is equally if not more important. Lead nurturing can help you optimize your conversion rates through each stage of the buying cycle. Don’t waste your marketing dollars on more lead generation activities until you have figured out how to convert prospects from inquiries into leads, from leads into clients and from clients into repeat customers.
Sign 3 – You have a hard time justifying your marketing investment
Key indicator: Lead generation marketing ROI
You need to think of your marketing activities as a continuum. You will get a higher marketing ROI for your events or teleprospecting campaigns if you complement them with a lead nurturing program than if you simply “drop them” after a few attempts.
Sign 4 – The productivity of your sales people is lagging
Key indicator: Leads to appointment ratio = number of appointments/number of leads or time spent with prospects
With lead nurturing in place, salespeople can spend more face-to-face time with prospects without neglecting the ones who are not ready to make a decision yet. Also, since lead nurturing involves mapping content to the buying cycle, chances are that the type of content prospects respond to will help you determine their likely buying stage, which is key to helping salespeople prioritize their follow-up.
Sign 5 – You suffer from peaks and valleys in your sales cycle
Key indicator: Sales forecast
Lead nurturing provides you with a process to stay top of mind to your prospects while also strengthening your credibility. Your pipeline is never dry because marketing is in charge of systematically cultivating the interest of early leads until they ripen into sales-ready leads.
Sign 6 – You need to grow profitable customers
Key indicator: Average deal size
Lead nurturing can help you both optimize deal size and increase wallet share with current customers. As customers receive more relevant and timely communications from you, they are more likely to like and trust you, and therefore buy from you.
Sign 7 – Customer retention is an issue
Key indicator: Customer retention rate
Customer retention is ultimately driven by value. A well-designed lead nurturing program can help you better communicate that value, by sharing tips and tricks on how to best use what customers already have.