In the “good old days” marketing brought in leads and the sales department made quick work of closing the sale.
But times have changed.
Sales cycles and lead times have grown, and doing deals has become more complex.
Marketing is having a more difficult time generating genuine leads – leads where customers are ready to buy or even close.
Why is this?
Because we, consumers and customers, are sick of it. We are sick of the snake oil, the trickery, the noise online, the lack of relevance, the lack of understanding. The lack of genuine effort. Businesses everywhere are acting like they are trying to make a quick buck.
Put simply. There is a new role required. The Nurturer.
Today, leads/prospects/suspects need a small window to “think things over.” Marketing have done their job and brought the lead in. But the lead is not yet ready to engage with a sales person and head towards the sale.
The nurturers role is to maintain touch points with customers who are not yet ready to buy, generate and deliver value, without an ask, until the lead moves to a state of readiness.
I’ve heard people argue “Pressure closes still work!” … yes they do… while often faster and still effective, pressure closes are a short term play. You will make a sale now, but rarely will you get more out of the same customer – because they feel sold.
Most customers today just need a little time to go through their own buying cycle, time to get to know you and to get comfortable with the buying decision.
The nurturers role is to help them do that. The marketing team or the sales team can do this job, or you can create a role for a person with this skill set – but make no mistake if you want to increase your conversions and invest in a longer term pipeline of business – you need to take the time to nurture the leads that aren’t ready to buy.
So, what do these customers need from you to get comfortable?
- They want to know why you do what you do
- They want to know what you stand for
- They want to know how you can deliver value that is different from your competitors
- They want education, surety, that they are making the right decision
- They want time to make the right decision
Now, think about your business – how are you delivering this information? (Are you delivering it at all?) Is it deliberate or accidental? Have you designed a nurturing programme that keeps you front of mind without crossing over into “annoying” territory?
If you have leads coming through, but your pipeline isn’t converting, consider the nurturing process and whether you could better look after customers who haven’t bought from you yet.
It might be the difference between the sales you make and the sales you don’t.