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3 Ways Automated Lead Nurturing Can Supercharge The Sales Cycle

May 05, 2016
Aaron Polmeer

By Today’s Industry Insider


So you’ve launched an inbound campaign and started to attract good leads. That’s great, but it’s just the start. Now you have to keep those leads happy, while gently leading them through the buyer’s journey to sales-ready qualification. If your sales cycle is a long one that’s not always easy.

Sending leads inappropriate content and interrupting them with unsolicited sales calls is increasingly ineffective. Instead, to increase close rates, avoid wasted sales time and reduce the sales cycle, leads should be nurtured with appropriate content to ensure they understand the value of your solution before sales teams contact them.

Many marketers may think they already run effective lead nurture campaigns. But using automated lead nurture as part of an inbound campaign ensures all leads get quick responses and are automatically sent the right content for them. No lead is forgotten and no content wasted.

Challenges of Long Sales Cycles

According to Gleanster Research, 50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy. They might be open to education, and delighted that you can identify their pain points. But actually signing up for your solution? They’re not there yet, and may not be for a while, depending on the length of your sales cycle.

That means sectors with long sales cycles, such as the SaaS and software industries, which have an average cycle of 3-18 months (and there’s some suggestion that B2B sales cycles are getting longer across the board), face huge challenges in keeping leads interested and moving them smoothly through the sales funnel.

They might lack appropriate content to last the length of the sales cycle, or simply fail to notice leads wandering off the path. Equally, they might bore leads with repeat content, or lose them in bottlenecks.

The upshot can be lost leads and a lot of wasted effort by both marketers and sales teams. The wrong content discourages leads from moving along the sales path. Sales teams engage with leads at inopportune moments, wasting everybody’s time.

Automated lead nurturing tackles these challenges.

What is Automated Lead Nurturing?

We know that lead nurturing works. A DemandGen report finds that nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.

But traditionally, nurture is labor intensive. The average buyer’s journey is complex, and the content that helps move them through the sales funnel from awareness (of a problem), to consideration (of solutions), to decision (of what solution to buy) needs to be expertly honed and perfectly timed.

Random one-off emails to your database won’t cut it in a competitive world, especially during a long sales cycle. Talking up the detailed benefits of your solution to someone who is only vaguely aware of a problem is pointless at best. By the same token, emailing simplified educational material to a highly educated lead desperately seeking a solution is potentially counterproductive.

Automating lead nurturing, on the other hand, allows for the systematic tracking of lead engagements with your content and site, and accurate pinpointing of that lead’s stage in the …read more

Source:: Kiss Metrics Blog