I was left a voicemail earlier this week by a sales rep that I talked to (briefly) about 6 months ago. His message today was, in summary: “Are you ready to engage with us yet?”
Now, not only was I not ready, I barely remember what his company does. That’s because I haven’t had any communication from him or his company in the last 6 months that wasn’t a direct solicitation to do business with the firm.
As a sales professional or as a marketer, if you engage with a qualified prospect and that prospect doesn’t convert immediately to an opportunity, there’s every reason to stay in touch with that individual over time. But don’t equate “staying in touch” – or lead nurturing success – with simply asking the prospect over and over whether he or she is ready to buy.
There are far more effective strategies for staying in touch with prospects who might, at some point in the future, be in a position to buy or have a need that causes them to want to re-engage. Those strategies might include:
* sending case studies or customer success stories that remind the prospect of what your company does, and the ROI that you’ve helped other clients achieve;
* sending white papers, reports, and other high-value content that reinforce your company’s position as a thought leader, a resource, and a trusted partner;
* inviting the prospect to Webinars or other events that provide real and practical advice or insights about business problems, issues, or opportunities relevant to your solution
Knowing when a prospect is ready to take that next step, or ready to re-engage with your firm, relies on setting an appropriate threshold – a “bar” if you will – for that person to respond to sales or marketing outreach. If you set that bar too high, i.e. if the threshold is “are you ready to talk to sales?”, then only the most highly motivated prospects will ever respond.
Are you ready to buy yet? Why #leadnurturing success means not asking for the sale via @spearmktg
By putting informational content, content of real value (versus content that simply sells your product) in front of prospects on a regular basis, you’ll generate conversations with buyers who, at minimum, have an active interest in solving the very problem or issue that your solution or service can address.
If you absolutely must ask a prospect if they want to talk to sales, there are 2 ways to do so without scaring off the much larger subset who would otherwise engage with your content:
1. Provide a checkbox on the registration form to request immediate sales contact; or
2. Provide a means to contact sales on the thank you page or in the fulfillment email that is sent to the prospect upon completing the registration form.
For a more detailed discussion on this and similar topics, see our white paper: “Lead Recycling: A More Cost Effective Approach to Demand Generation for High-Technology Companies”