By Lee Frederiksen
Lead Nurturing is often something of a mystery to professional services executives. Perhaps because of this, it is often done intermittingly and produces limited results. That’s a real shame.
Repeat business is great but is usually not sufficient. Clients leave and must be replaced just to stay where we are. To grow our firms, we all need net new clients. That’s where lead nurturing has an essential role to play.
Lead Nurturing Defined There are three basic phases to acquiring a new client. The first one is identifying organizations or individuals who might be a good fit with your firm. This initial phase is often referred to as lead generation.
The third phase of the business development process is closing the sale. This is when a specific opportunity is turned into a new client.
Lead nurturing sits between these two phases. It’s the process of turning new leads into opportunities.
Why is Lead Nurturing So Important? The simple fact is that most leads are simply not ready to buy yet.
They may be at the early stages of exploring possible solutions to a business issue they face. Or perhaps they are gathering cost information to plan for an upcoming budget. So your efforts to turn them into a new client right away will be doomed from the start.
Ignoring leads that are not ready to close is also incredibly wasteful. Yet that is exactly what some firms end up doing, accidentally if not on purpose.
Three Functions of Lead Nurturing There are three key functions that lead nurturing can play in the business development process.
All three of these functions are important in that they reduce your costs (by better targeting your efforts) and increase the probability that the qualified leads will turn into new clients.
Traditional Lead Nurturing Approaches Professional services firms have traditionally nurtured leads using one of three general approaches.
Sadly, most of the time these efforts have not produced much and are often abandoned or left to run on “autopilot.”
New Approaches to Lead Nurturing The world of lead nurturing has been evolving. New technology, new buyer behavior patterns, and new research have all combined to offer better ways to harvest the potential of lead nurturing. Here are a few developments that stand out.
Taken together, these developments offer exciting new possibilities to the professional services marketer. Lead nurturing is now both possible and practical on a much larger scale than before.
Lead Nurturing Best Practices Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you develop your lead nurturing program.
A well-crafted lead nurturing program can produce a steady stream of new clients. They will generally be well qualified and positively disposed toward working with your firm.
Often times they are even superior to client referrals. They understand the issues they are facing and are well educated in your approach to solving them. What more could a business developer ask for?
You can download a free copy of our Lead Nurturing Guide and see how we do it here at Hinge.
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