I don’t know of a single company that can afford to throw away two out of every three potential leads. Unfortunately, if we were to take a closer look, that’s exactly what’s happening. For this reason, when I met with my SVP of Marketing and PR/Publicist for our annual planning meeting at the start of this year, it was clear that the focus of our content for 2015 would be: nurturing.
I believe nurturing is one of the most effective, yet underutilized marketing activities. In the whitepaper “Mind the Gap!” (available on pointclear.com), I go into detail about how taking advantage of every outcome can triple the return on marketing investments. At PointClear, close to 20% of all leads generated last year were the result of emails or call backs in response to what we call our multi-touch, multi-media, multi-cycle process.
Once we have either had a conversation with a prospect or have exhausted the first cycle (invested sufficient touches into the prospect), we categorize the different outcomes—which we call dispositions:
- Lead (self-explanatory)
- Pipeline (qualified company and contact, specific next step scheduled, high likelihood of conversion to a lead)
- Nurture (qualified company and contact, wrong time)
- No Response (one completed cycle with no connection made)
Over the course of 2014 we saw these results across all programs: 5% Leads, 5% Pipelines and 25% Nurtures. Average results. But by nurturing the non-lead dispositions, we were able to increase the number of leads significantly. 20% of the Pipelines became additional leads. Nurtures and No Response dispositions were re-segmented based on analysis of the first cycle, and with further nurturing, both generated leads at a higher rate than the original lead rate.
I realize it’s confusing to have a “Nurture” disposition when nurturing should occur on Pipeline, No Response, AND actual Nurture dispositions, but that’s just our in house term. While researching options for renaming the “nurture” disposition, I found that synonyms for nurture were cherish, cultivate, nourish, appreciate and embrace; antonyms were squander, neglect, starve, deprive, forget and ignore. Which term most accurately describes how your field sales team views marketing leads?
Regardless of the term, don’t give up too early. Ultimately, if anyone asks you if you should leave a voicemail or send a follow-up email when you get a prospect’s voicemail, answer with an affirmative, “heck yes!”