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From a purely technical perspective, lead management is fairly straightforward. Target prospects, turn prospects into qualified leads and encourage those leads to become customers. Done.
Yet, it takes more than mechanics to get a consumer to engage with and buy from a brand. It takes a lot of hand-holding and encouragement along the way. And that’s where marketers come into the picture.
Marketing teams have the means and ability to essentially walk alongside consumers throughout the lead management journey. They have the tools to foster interactions through carefully designed, monitored and analyzed touch points. These touch points can come in any form, from a text or DM to an email or even an old-school postcard. Ultimately, they help consumers feel like they’ve made the right decision to choose one company over another.
Is it possible to have lead management without all these “softer” nurturing elements? Absolutely. But companies that don’t develop bonds with their strongest leads are missing opportunities down the line. Oh, and 65% of companies fall into that category, according to TechJury reporting.
Think of it this way: A well-nurtured lead who becomes a well-nurtured customer is more likely to come back. A poorly-nurtured lead who becomes a faceless customer may walk away after the first sale. After all, there’s no connection to hold the customer to the brand. Everything’s been transactional and clinical.
So, how can your marketing department befriend leads as it work its way through a thoughtfully-designed lead management path? Incorporate some new strategies into your processes to keep your company top-of-mind—and close at hand.
Here are three ways to do so:
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Have you ever had the frustrating experience of requesting more information from a company only to wait days for a response? You can’t afford to make any lead feel like they’re non-essential. Instead, nurture leads immediately like author Erik Huberman recommends in his book on the principles of marketing, The Hawke Method.
Huberman suggests that paying attention to leads as soon as they convert from prospects can have a lasting effect on their maximum lifetime value (MLV.) The higher a lead’s MLV, the less it costs in the long run to acquire that lead.
What are some methods to give your leads love right away? Set up automatic responses that have a personal touch and call-to-action. For instance, you could send an interested lead a link to valuable content, not just a generalized notification. The sooner you touch base, the faster your nurturing can begin.
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Never assume that leads intuitively understand how your product or service fits into their lives. Certainly, your marketing attracted them enough to become leads. Yet they may be stuck in trying to figure out how or why your organization can benefit them. This is where you can put on your “teaching hat.”
For example, let’s say you sell exercise equipment. You get a rash of incoming leads in January. These are people interested in improving their health. The problem? They’re not sure where to start. You can help them by sending everything from user case studies to video testimonials. Be sure to segment your leads into buckets so the content they receive makes sense. (You don’t want to send an exercise bike tutorial to someone interested in treadmills.)
Your efforts will create more awareness and excitement around whatever you’re selling. Your leads will have a better understanding of why purchasing from you is in their best interest. Additionally, they’ll see you as a trustworthy authority in your space.
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It can take anywhere from a few hours to years to convert leads into customers. No matter how long your leads have spent in your lead management system, celebrate them when they buy. Too often, companies forget that a converted lead that has been nurtured will expect the same level of nurturing moving forward.
The last thing you want your lead to feel is that all you wanted was money. Therefore, extend your nurturing campaigns and endeavors. Remember that happy, supported customers are more likely to refer others to your brand. According to Forbes’ research, referrals clock in as the second strongest type of lead you can get.
Feeling like your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to handle nurturing for both lead and customer management? You may want to work with your sales and service departments to coordinate and share nurturing responsibilities. That way, your customer keeps getting the royal treatment and your fellow marketers won’t get burnt out.
There’s little doubt that lead management has a technical side. Just don’t forget to bring some humanness into the process by walking your leads through the journey from prospect to purchaser.
Steve Olenski is a true unicorn in that he has the unique ability to combine real-world marketing experience with a highly impressive journalistic background. A regular contributor to Forbes for 10 years, his work has also appeared in other leading publications including Ad Age, Adweek, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Marketing Land, MarTech Today, ESPN among many others.