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What is Lead Nurturing, and How Can It Help You Get More Deals?

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Qualifying leads before sending them through to your sales team lets you learn more about your prospects and build deeper connections with them, which often results in more deals. Developing a sound lead nurturing strategy is the best way to achieve this and, when done right, can lead to future upsells, long-term customer loyalty, and brand advocacy.

This article explores the benefits of creating a lead nurturing process, the different stages of that process, and the ideal tools for a successful lead nurturing campaign. We’ll also delve into the best practices associated with nurturing leads to give you the edge.

What does lead nurturing mean?

Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with prospects who aren’t quite ready to purchase your product or service. The prospect may have shown interest, which means they’ve entered your sales funnel as a lead. But there’s work to be done before passing the lead on to your sales team.

This includes getting to know the prospect, their organization, role, wants, needs, and pain points. Part of relationship-building is also educating the prospect on how your product or service can resolve their problems and improve their business.

It’s best to focus on cultivating a deeper connection with your prospect and providing them with value during the lead nurturing process. Be sure to avoid diving in with a hard sell each time you communicate with your prospective customers. The hard sell strategy may just have the opposite effect, scaring them off before they’re ready to take the next step.

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The importance of lead nurturing for closing deals

It’s true that many sales reps out there obsess over closing deals versus building genuine relationships with their prospects and customers. While this approach may result in short-term gains, it isn’t sustainable and won’t lead to as many wins or long-term customer retention.

Introducing a formal lead nurturing strategy within your organization will result in a greater degree of trust in your brand, longer-lasting relationships with customers, and, ultimately, customer loyalty. But there are other important benefits linked to lead nurturing you should be aware of, including:

  • Understanding your audience: The lead nurturing process is the ideal time to get to know your target audience on a one-to-one basis. Learning about their likes, dislikes, challenges, and needs can inform future strategies, campaigns, and communications with prospects and help you connect with them more personally.
  • Building lasting relationships: Delivering value with the intent to help your prospect overcome their obstacles and make their life easier establishes trust and mutual respect between the rep and the prospect. A strong relationship like this could lead to upsell opportunities long after the lead becomes a customer.
  • Qualifying leads faster: Lead nurturing offers the perfect opportunity to understand your prospect’s needs and whether your product or service can fulfill those. It’s also great for separating prospects who are just kicking tires from those who are closer to making a decision and taking action.

Pivotal stages in the lead nurturing process

The actions you take to establish solid relationships with your prospects depend on where they are in the buyer funnel and the next step you’d like them to take. You have to meet your prospect wherever they are in their buyer journey.

Let’s take a closer look, detailing your approach per buyer funnel stage.

1. The awareness stage

Awareness of your product, service, or brand is the initial step in the buyer’s journey, which means they’ve just learned about what you offer but don’t necessarily know too much about it. This isn’t the time to go into detail about your product features or present them with a CTA encouraging them to purchase.

At this early stage, it’s best to focus on education, getting to know your prospect’s pain points and how your product may help them overcome those issues. Include a CTA in your outreach email that will move them to the next stage of the buying journey. Some examples include a helpful eBook or guide that provides the prospect and their business with some value.

2. The interest stage

If your lead starts showing interest in your product or service and wants to find out more, you can consider them in the interest stage of the buyer journey. At this point, the goal is to get them to the next stage, the consideration stage. But how do we do that?

Offering your prospect more valuable downloads like worksheets and guides is a great way to drum up more interest. This content can include information on why your product or service may be a good fit for their problems.

This is an excellent time to invite your leads to view webinars, workshops, conferences, and the like. Engaging in a discovery call can also be an effective way to qualify your lead and work on your relationship at this stage.

3. The consideration stage

When the lead realizes the benefits of buying a product or service like yours and starts thinking about making a purchase, they’ve moved into the consideration stage of the process. Now is the time to detail your specific product/service features and benefits.

You can do so by scheduling a presentation highlighting your lead’s specific pain points and exactly how your product or service can help. It’s also an ideal time to register them for product demos and guided tours.

4. The evaluation stage

Your prospect is shaping up to become a hot lead as they enter the evaluation stage of the buyer journey and show a strong interest in purchasing your product or service. It’s time to showcase your key differentiators—what makes your offering different or better than the competition, and why your lead should buy from you and not them.

This is also the best time to get your lead on board for a free trial and make them aware of some of your prominent customer testimonials and case studies. If you have customers you can turn to for a reference, getting them in touch with your prospect could be the encouragement they need to accept your proposal.

Be sure to schedule a free consultation with your lead during their product trial period to discuss any queries or concerns and offer further guidance to ensure they have the best trial experience possible.

Learn how to warm up leads step by step

In this sample cold outreach campaign, you’ll discover exactly what you need to do to create a coordinated, layered cold outbound strategy. Download it today and start heating up your cold leads!

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Lead nurturing tips and best practices

Whatever your lead’s buyer journey stage, there are some fundamental strategies you should employ throughout the lead nurturing process. Planning your approach to lead nurturing is a good idea and a recipe for success, especially if you adhere to these best practices:

Know your prospects

Prospects have different needs at different stages of the buying process, and not all buyers follow precisely the same process. 

Before nurturing leads, determine common pain points and behaviors within each buyer stage and use this information to develop buyer personas. This will help you craft messaging relevant to the buyer in each stage and determine your internal procedure for identifying when you should send it, how you should send it, and who should send it.

Unearth key motivations

Understanding what motivates customers and leads is highly beneficial when creating campaign messaging. And the best method for determining those motivations is by analyzing data collected during your previous campaigns.

Evaluate the messages you sent out, the leads that responded to your emails, how and when they moved to the next stage of the sales funnel, and the information gathered from prospects that advanced.

Define the user experience

Think about what your ideal user experience roadmap might look like, then develop a lead nurturing strategy that aligns with that goal, bearing in mind your available resources. Pinpoint possible hurdles and how you might overcome them, and consider how you can personalize your messaging and communications to enhance their experience.

Again, you can use the data you’ve gathered through past campaigns to help you plot your user experience roadmap. When you have a clear idea of what the user experience should be, document it and share it to ensure all associated roleplayers are on the same page.

Plot your lead nurturing plan

With your user experience defined, you can start designing your lead nurturing plan. This is where you’ll get to the specifics in terms of what messaging you’ll send, how you’ll send it, when you’ll send it, and at which points you’ll reach out to schedule calls or meetings. 

Using automated email drip sequences throughout your lead nurturing campaign can save you loads of time and ensure that you make contact with every lead that enters the funnel. However, getting your timing right ensures the automated messages are well received.

Remember that your leads may not respond in the way you anticipated. Think about how you might engage with those who don’t advance through the funnel and the appropriate messaging to keep them onboard.

Execute your plan

Once you’ve ironed out the finer details of your lead nurturing strategy and plan, it’s time to set up your automated messages and train your team on their roles in the process.

Automate as much of the process as possible without compromising the relationship and that personal touch. And ensure you’re available to speak to your leads personally when they have questions or need further information.

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Tools needed for effective lead nurturing

Make the most of your lead nurturing strategy and plan with the right tools and software to help you succeed:

Customer relationship management platform

Without a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system in place, lead nurturing would likely be anything but simple. In other words, implementing a great CRM system to execute your lead nurturing campaign is essential.

Why? Because CRM software will help you organize, segment, and share your prospect’s information with ease. Your CRM will also give you the tools to build custom lead nurturing pipelines, automate tasks and actions, and set up email drip sequences. That means your entire lead nurturing process will take place on one platform, significantly simplifying the process.

And that’s not all. A reputable CRM can help you generate and capture prospect information to move into your lead nurturing pipeline and produce detailed reports and metrics to help you evaluate results and adapt your campaigns.

There’s really no denying that CRM software is an absolute must for executing a successful lead nurturing campaign that can scale as your business grows. Nutshell is a comprehensive all-in-one CRM that provides you with all these tools and more to make your lead nurturing campaign successful.

Email marketing automation tool

An email marketing tool makes managing and engaging with your mailing list a breeze. Those with automation features let you set up drip sequence campaigns and scheduled messaging. You can also use this software to segment your target audience and create a different mailing list for each audience segment.

Your CRM should include an email marketing tool with automation features. If not, consider switching to a system that can better support your business goals. Nutshell is an affordable CRM system that includes highly effective and easy-to-use email marketing software that is suitable for any email marketing campaign.

Lead management and advancement tool

Keeping track of your prospect’s journey and your team’s actions to nurture the lead from one stage to the next, calls for reliable lead management software. Having a lead management tool that includes automated lead advancement when specific criteria are met is even better.

Modern CRM systems provide advanced lead management features, including customizable pipelines, stages, tasks, views, and more, so you can monitor lead nurturing the way you prefer. They also allow you to set up automations that move your lead to the next stage of your lead nurturing pipeline when team members complete specific tasks or actions.

For teams without a CRM system incorporating lead management and automated advancement features, consider investing in a more robust CRM to support your team and increase revenue. As one of G2’s top 10 CRM systems worldwide, Nutshell gives you robust lead management, pipeline management, and sales automation features to boost your lead nurturing efforts.

Integrated engagement tool

Reaching out and communicating with prospects via email is great, but having multiple engagement channel options available through your CRM is better. This way, you can meet your leads where they are, providing them with hassle-free communication and an overall better experience.

Most of today’s CRM software lets you email, make phone calls, and conduct video calls through the platform. These CRMs also allow for integration with various applications for seamless communication capabilities. With these integrations, you can reach your leads wherever they may be.

When you choose Nutshell as your CRM, you can access a host of existing app integration options for communication, including Twilio, Zoom, Intercom, Slack, Olark, Pure Chat, RingCentral, Skype, Zapier, and many more. And if you need unique or custom integrations, our team can assist you with our AppConnect service.

Choose Nutshell for Effective Lead Nurturing 

Take your lead nurturing game to the next level with Nutshell, a potent CRM that brings the best sales and marketing tools into one platform. Build more than just your average lead nurturing pipeline when you take advantage of the many features Nutshell places at your fingertips.

Want to see Nutshell in action? Register for a 30-minute live demo and discover why Nutshell is an award-winning CRM trusted by thousands of businesses.

Ready to try Nutshell for yourself? Sign up for a 14-day trial—It’s free, with no obligation and no credit card required.

Have specific CRM requirements? Reach out to our team to discuss your options. 

We are here to help make your lead nurturing campaigns and sales strategies successful and drive improved productivity, profitability, and business growth.

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