Mastering Lead Nurturing and Follow-up for Lasting Relationships

seedling on a desk to illustrate lead nurturing

Your lead nurturing doesn’t work because you’re doing it right.

Just like everyone else.

You are tailoring content based on your leads’ goals and pains. So is everyone else.

You are targeting your ideal customer profile throughout their B2B buying process. So is everyone else.

You are following up in a timely and consistent way. So is everyone else.

And there are a lot of “everyone elses” out there.

You and everyone else are providing high value, highly targeted, timely and consistent lead nurturing and frankly, it’s a bit too much.

Your leads have gotten used to it.

They know that the good information you provide is there when they need it. And in the meantime, maybe they don’t really want to be subjected to lead nurturing emails.

Once in a while they dip in, binge on it, then go away.

But why do they go away? Because consuming information is hard work, and we all avoid hard work if it’s not necessary.

Unless solving the problem you help with is necessary, your lead will stop engaging with your content the moment they feel that they have a good handle on what you do and how you do it.

They’ll file it away in the back of their mind in case they need it some day.

All of a sudden your lead nurturing process grinds to a halt.

You’re left waiting for them to remember you when they finally need to take action.

And that’s uncomfortable. Just waiting. That’s not what you’re paid to do. That’s not who you are. You’re a person of action. Lead nurturing is part of how you take charge.

So you double down on lead nurturing tactics. You automate lead nurturing even more! You create more complicated lead nurturing email streams. You send them more messages that are meant to convince them to do something (just like everyone else).

But they’ve already checked out. They’re not tuned into you anymore. So although you have some success in catching their attention and getting them to finally do something, it doesn’t work as often as you’d like it to.

Here’s a trick that might work for you:

Instead of more lead nurturing, find out what they are still tuned into

Maybe it’s an industry publication.

Maybe it’s a semi-celebrity expert in their field.

Maybe it’s their peers.

Find out who they’re still tuned into and figure out how to get your message to your leads, through the people they still seek out and listen to.

That’s the most straightforward way I’ve found of getting cold leads to warm up again, to get some great customer research insights you can share with the rest of your team, and to get them re-engaged with the problems you solve.

Lead nurturing after lead re-engagement

Once they’re re-engaged with the problem you solve, it’ll be like they’re finally receptive to your messages again. You’ll see your lead nurturing statistics tick back up to what they used to be.

And you’ll have lead nurturing messages that finally make sense to your leads.

Have you ever sheepishly sent a “just getting in touch” email, hoping your lead will write back?

When you make it a habit to get your leads around a table together, talking with their peers about important problems, you and your whole organization will have access to a steady stream of fresh insights and stories to send out to the rest of your leads.

No more “just checking in”.

More “I was chatting with a group of CFOs at a mid-sized company in your industry and they shared some insights I’d like to hear your take on.”

Put the nurture back in lead nurturing.

You’re not nurturing them like you would crops, ready to mow them down when they hit a certain size.

You’re nurturing them like you would, and I know I’m going too far here, you’re nurturing them like you would a gifted student.

This is the kind of lead nurturing that your leads will appreciate.

They’ll tell their friends, and they’ll come back for more.

I scrolled to the bottom and just want the summary

Are you struggling to effectively nurture your leads?

It’s no surprise – your leads have become immune to the same old strategies and tactics.

But here’s a solution:

Discover what your leads are genuinely interested in and tune into their needs. By doing so, you’ll regain their attention and make them receptive to your messages once again.

How? Lots of ways. Get in touch and we’ll discuss what can work for you.

In the meantime, get The Essential Guide to Closing Lost Leads:

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See also: Increase lead response rates

The #1 path to increasing lead response rates

exit sign illustrating falling lead response rates

You might forgive marketing people for forgetting this, but as a sales person you know that nothing happens until the lead starts talking to you.

Low lead response rates are your clearest indication that something’s wrong with your message or how you’re spreading it.

No amount of brand awareness or nurture or thought leadership means anything unless it gets a lead to say yes to a conversation with you.

There are two problems with this, and only the first one is normally talked about. We’re going to talk about both problems.

The first problem is about relevance and reach.

Does your marketing team have messaging that the leads find relevant?

And can they find ways to have that message reach the lead?

All the things we normally hear about personalization of content, creating urgency, storytelling, branding, advertising, all of it is really about relevance and reach.

Can we reach the right people with a relevant message?

But there’s a second type of response rate problem that is not talked about:

What happens when your message is relevant, and it reaches and even engages the lead, but then the lead disengages?

What do you do then?

Response rate averages can trick you

Your overall response rate might look fine but if you look at how your response rate changes over time you’ll see cohorts that go through a period where they show a huge response rate, followed by a complete drop off in their response rate.

I’m talking down to nothing.

0% response rate!

They just ignore you.

This specially hurts because the disengaged lead already knows about you. They already find your message relevant, or else they wouldn’t have engaged with you in the first place. Obviously you found a way to reach them too.

But now they’re no longer responding to anything you do.

They’re not reading your emails, downloading your pdfs, registering for your webinars…

What’s going on?

Let’s turn the table. Have you ever disengaged from a vendor even though you like what they do? Why?

Here’s an overlooked reason: It’s work.

It takes work to read a vendor’s emails, to download their pdfs, to attend their webinars, to think about their message, to remember their brand. It all takes work.

And we’re all so busy now that we don’t want extra work. Although we don’t think of this as our “response rate” going down, that’s how the vendor will see it.

But it’s not that we don’t value the vendor anymore. We’ll do the work if we think it will remove other work.

If it’s taking us an extra 10 hours a week to get a job done, and we think that could be done in 2 hours, then we will do the work of engage with the vendors who say they can make that happen. Even though we really don’t want to.

Chances are pretty good that a lot of your newly disengaged leads are in this boat. This is when you have to admit you have a lead engagement problem and get to work.

To get them to re-engage, you have to make the work worthwhile.

But here’s where we run into a circular problem.

They’re already checked out. And sending them more of the same messaging that engaged them in the first place isn’t going to get them to re-engage. They’ve already been there, done that.

If you can’t change the message, change the medium.

Find ways to get people they still engage with to give them the message.

For example, their peers. If you’re selling to CFOs, get other CFOs to deliver your message. If you’re selling to a given industry, get other people from that industry to deliver your message.

Chances are good that your leads haven’t disengaged from their peers.

How do you get this to happen? Lots of ways. The way that works really well for a lot of my clients is what I call the Buyer Roundtable.

Invite a group of peers to discuss a problem you solve, while you say nothing and take notes.

It works. It might even work for you.


See also: Lead re-engagement

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