Lead Nurturing refers to the holistic process of converting raw sales Leads, many of whom are not currently ready to buy, into viable opportunities over time.
Sales industry data from a variety of sources shows that sales cycles are taking longer, prospects are getting farther down the buying cycle before engaging with vendors, and that they not only want but expect to have companies provide information while they consider their options (research firm IDC states that 80 percent of sales inquiries buy from someone in their target vendor market within 24 months).
As a result, sales teams are increasingly receiving inquiries from people who may not realistically be buying for six, twelve, or eighteen months.
Prior to the Internet, in many cases Leads with that long of a turnaround time would get tossed into a "fire and forget" pile, where the rep may (or more often not) call them back, or maintain contact.
The InsideSales.com makes it easy to create more sustainable, effective lead nurturing practices. Not having a nurturing strategy guarantees your competition will close sales you could, and often should, have won.
Many of InsideSales.com's primary tools are geared around immediate lead response—Dialer Initiatives, ELF, ResponsePop, email and voice message templates, and so on.
But when aligned to longer-term nurturing strategies, those same tools can provide a huge benefit in helping you stay in contact with prospects.
For example, our own sales team has literally closed deals from prospects where a live agent never had a single phone conversation with them for 12 months or more—the opportunity was generated purely from lead nurturing done via ELF email campaigns.
The following table gives a breakdown of the common nurturing tools, and potential strategies for each.
The idea is to educate a prospect who's not ready to buy. Immediate response to Leads drives higher contact rates, and gets reps in more conversations, but if a prospect is not in the right phase of their buying cycle, invest the time to create solid nurturing strategies and practices.