Inside Sales – What’s Better, Qualified Leads or Leads You Nurture?

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At first glance, it seems obvious that a TQO (totally qualified opportunity) lead is far more beneficial to your sales team than a lead that may not be totally qualified yet.

Why? It’s a quick and fast sale. It doesn’t require many additional materials to close and the sales rep can take the check to the bank. However, the leads that may require a bit more nurturing shouldn’t be discarded. It’s important that they be passed into targeted nurturing campaigns to help them through the sales funnel until they are ready to sign on the dotted line.

Marketing spends huge amounts of money every month generating targeted leads through inbound efforts. If your sales reps are calling them and then marking them in your lead response management platform as “not a fit” or “dead,” all that money spent is getting flushed down the toilet. Most of the time, there is still value left to be found in that lead. They just need to be nurtured until their initial interest turns to need.

At XANT, we have three main types of nurturing campaigns that we use to get the most of the leads we generate: Content Nurturing, Email Nurturing, and Social Nurturing.

Content Nurturing

We are huge advocates of content marketing at XANT. Not only do these marketing pieces drive a HUGE number of leads, but they also nurture our current leads and supply targeted content to leads we already generated that may need a bit more nurturing. Whether it’s through our insider blog, sales whitepapers, research papers, or our sales industry eBooks, our content nurturing strategy has been extremely successful in leading our leads through the sales funnel. We try to develop new content for our marketing efforts daily. Whether that’s though a blog article or something more in-depth like an eBook or white paper, consistent content is key.

Email Nurturing

As most sales and marketing professionals know, in order to be successful at email nurturing, you have to have compelling emails that relate specifically to your targets need. For example, a great offer is to send your lead a case study that relates to their industry. Not only will this increase open rates, but it also moves them further through the sales funnel as they become more educated and develop a need for your product or solution as it relates to them and their pain points.

It’s also important that you supply your leads with a variety of content. Too much of the same thing easily becomes dull and uninteresting.

Social Nurturing

This is a new concept that Ken Krogue recently shared in a Forbes.com article. In an attempt to make social media into a lead generation tool, social nurturing allows you to maintain a social presence while getting to know and nurture leads in a way that builds relationships. Whether it’s sending an @mention on Twitter, connecting on LinkedIn, and all the way up to transitioning from social interaction to a live conversation via the phone or face-to-face, moving your social connections to real-life connections is a powerful formula for business success.

As you social interact with your leads via social media, send them articles that you thought they would find interesting. Bridge your connection between multiple social platforms – maybe even write a blog about them highlighting their work. This creates real relationships.

As you begin to nurture your leads, you’ll see that these leads may be an easier sale after you’ve established a relationship through the various forms of nurturing. For the best results, a mix of all three methods provides the best results.

What are your thoughts? How do you nurture your leads to drive them through the sales funnel for a close? Let us know in the comment box below.

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