Printing companies that have expanded to offer complex services like marketing asset management/web-to-print solutions and/or integrated multichannel marketing programs are facing a new set of marketing and sales challenges. Sales cycles are longer, and more people are involved in the final buying decision. In addition, potential buyers are more independent than ever before. They are gathering information and performing research on their own - usually online - and they are delaying conversations with sales reps until much later in the buying process.
Consequently, potential buyers are becoming "leads" long before they are ready or willing to talk with a salesperson. Various studies have shown that only 10-25 percent of new leads are truly sales ready, and another 15-25 percent are completely unqualified. This means that 50-75 percent of new leads are qualified, just not ready to buy. The problem is that up to 70 percent of these lukewarm leads will eventually buy from someone, and if your company doesn't stay in front of these prospects, they are likely to buy from someone else.
Many companies do a reasonably good job identifying new prospects and converting sales opportunities into closed deals, but in between, far too many leads fall out of the sales pipeline and disappear. And that results in lost revenues.
The solution for a "leaky" sales pipeline is effective lead management, and the centerpiece of an effective lead management process is a well designed lead nurturing program. A lead nurturing program uses a series of coordinated marketing messages to engage with prospects until they are ready to have a meaningful conversation with a salesperson. The goal is to improve your odds of winning the prospects' business when they are ready to buy.
The argument for lead nurturing is both simple and compelling. Companies that excel at lead nurturing outperform those that don't. Several research studies have shown that companies with effective lead nurturing programs:
- Generate substantially more sales-ready leads
- Achieve a significantly lower cost per lead
- Raise win/closing rates on marketing-generated leads
- Reduce the number of "non-decisions"
I've recently published a white paper that discusses why lead nurturing has become a critical marketing process and explains how an effective lead nurturing program works.
If you'd like to obtain a copy of the white paper, just send me an e-mail at ddodd(at)pointbalance(dot)com.