The Formula for a Successful Lead Nurturing Strategy: Patience + Relevant Content = More Sales Opportunities
After the eternity passed (like 4 or 5 minutes) I finally, finally, got the cash but here’s what happened. It turns out that the bank actually gave me hundred dollar counterfeit bills, which I then used to pay my bill. Imagine my surprise when the next day when I got a call from the contractor that when he tried to use one of the bills at Kentucky Fried Chicken, it started a string of events that eventually included the bank, Sherriff’s department and Secret Service.
The universe sure does work in mysterious ways. (There’s more to this story, so stay tuned !)
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty impatient, and every day, my tolerance for waiting gets chipped away. Like you, I’m getting accustomed to instantaneous gratification because of how quickly I can now acquire and act upon information. So, anything that takes over 3 or 4 seconds, and I’m tapping my foot and feeling my temperature rise.
So while I was waiting for the teller I started to think about how to best respond to a partner who was getting tons of leads from an inbound marketing program but not seeing immediate sales. It struck me that we were on the receiving end of the wrath of this partner’s impatience.
Hmmmmm.. the universe sure does work in mysterious ways because the confluence of these two events became the inspiration for this week’s blog!
Patience. Patience. Patience.There’s not one partner, business owner, business developer or rainmaker that doesn’t want to accelerate the “suspect” to “client” journey. Sales opportunities in professional services are heavily driven by referrals, and those referrals are heavily driven by a company or individual who has an immediate need or problem for resolution.
These are known as “bottom of the funnel” leads and they’re characterized by a really short buyer’s journey from awareness to consideration to decision. Some niche practices, like valuations, IRS representation, FBAR resolution, or fraud/forensics can build a marketing program around recognizing that a prospect has an immediate need and is looking for an immediate solution. But other niches, like auditing, estate planning or risk management have long sales cycles that require an extended nurturing program and an abundance of patience, accompanied by appropriate strategies and tactics, to move the prospect through the sales funnel like shown in the graphic below.
Source: Business 2Community, B2B The Buyer Journey: Content Marketing Versus Sales Enablement
Patience and Relevant Content is the Solution for Lead Nurturing StrategiesFor niche practices with longer buying cycles, as customers move from awareness though to decision and implementation, the firm’s marketing efforts must help them navigate to a final purchase destination with relevant content targeted to the questions they are looking to answer at each stage.
This is known as content mapping, and you can get a free content mapping template courtesy of HubSpot here.
However, content mapping is only as good as the patience it requires to not try to force a sale too early in the relationship with a prospect. We’ve seen a sales opportunity recently fail because of partner’s impatience in trying to go for an appointment when the prospect was only at the stage where they were looking for education on a tax issue . The prospect became a “top of the funnel lead” when requested a whitepaper, but within a very short time after the downed, the partner called the prospect and asked for an appointment.
As you can imagine, because the partner treated the request as a bottom of the funnel lead looking for a CPA firm, this did not happen. In this case the push for sales did nothing but ruin all of the time, energy and effort that went into the lead generation strategy which actually required a series of touches before a live contact was to be made. But another negative consequence was that the partner came away from the experience believing (or reaffirming) that marketing doesn’t work.
One of the best tools that I’ve seen to help with content mapping and lead nurturing is a piece called The Five Best Competitor Content Mapping Tools. Use this graphic to help you plan and plot a content marketing strategy:
Here’s What Happened
So, the story ends with the bank making the contractor whole again, and from what I understand, the bank is taking a pretty hard and long look at its counterfeit bill recognition technology and training.
I ended up spending more time on something I didn’t really anticipate spending any time on, but maybe that’s the way the universe repaid me for my impatience with the bank teller.
The way the universe paid off the partner ? His impatience resulted in missing the opportunity to turn a stranger into a new client.
And after all was said and done, I got a call from the roofer. He finally got his Kentucky Fried!