Just because someone provided their contact info doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy
“The work of lead generation doesn’t end with a list of people to contact. That’s just the first step,” says Adam Berkson, president of LiveVoice, a boutique phone support service build around twenty-five years of call center experience.
Let’s look at the easy leads first, the ones ripe for sale. Berkson knows that 78 percent of the time the first company to respond will close the deal. This is why the goal of his lead response service is to respond within sixty seconds – not within twenty-four hours or the same business day or even one hour, but within one minute.
But what about the rest of the leads? “If you respond to a lead and they don’t bite on your first attempt, don’t give up,” Berkson adds. “Too often salespeople stop after one contact, when the reality is that these unclosed leads need to be nurtured.” He knows this from experience, and he has the facts to back him up.
Two relevant stats come from Gleanster Research. The first is that 50 percent of leads are qualified but are not yet ready to buy. “This suggests they are future buyers, not present buyers,” explains Berkson. Yet the salespeople who don’t nurture leads will never know that, and they won’t be around when the people are ready to buy. They will likely lose that sale.
The second stat is that only 25 percent of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales. “Someone needs to nurture those leads,” he continues. “Cultivate them, develop them, and foster them.” In this example, the nurturing happens before they go to sales. But whether the lead generation team, the salesforce, or some other group nurtures these leads doesn’t matter. Who does the nurturing isn’t important. What matters is that someone handles lead nurturing and doesn’t squander those opportunities.
“Lead nurturing is a prescribed process whereby a company develops meaningful relationships with buyers at each stage in the sales process, that is, the sales funnel, the buyer’s journey,” says Berkson. “Lead nurturing is about listening to prospects and providing information and answers when they need it.”
Berkson compares this to farming. “Marketing is like planting seeds. Lead generation considers all the plants that sprout. Lead nurturing helps those plants grow until they are ready for harvesting, which is sales,” concludes Berkson.
Businesses that don’t treat all leads the same and then patiently nurture the ones that aren’t ready to buy are far more successful than those companies that pursue a one-size-fits-all sales and marketing solution.
Peter DeHaan, PhD, is a freelance writer, call center authority, and publisher of Connections Magazine, which covers the call center industry.