April 2010
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Dear Friend:Happy Holidays from LeadMaster - The Leader in Lead Management
Welcome to the April edition of the LeadMaster newsletter.  The topic for this month is the new way to nurture sales leads.

Reading this newsletter could be one of the most profitable things you’ve done for your business in a long time.

Why Nurture?

Dictionary.com states the definition of nurture is to help grow and develop. Think about all the things you nurtured, or helped grow and develop, today. Your career. Your family. Maybe your pets. Perhaps your hopes and dreams for the future. Most people would agree that nurturing the important things is vital to success and happiness.

But for some reason, many companies and sales professionals neglect to nurture the majority of leads that actually provide them with a living.

The statistics tell a sobering story. About three quarters of all leads – leads that companies bought and paid for with their marketing dollars – are ignored by salespeople who eagerly harvest the remaining one quarter of leads- the low-hanging fruit that converts easily and quickly. Then they wait for another batch of leads to come in and again snatch up a small fraction of prospects, ignoring the lukewarm or undecided leads that make up the majority. Sure, some of those ignored leads may eventually find their way back  under their own steam and make a purchase, but most are lost. Possibly, for good.

Know Your Prospects

Whether your company is in a competitive industry or not, you need a lead nurturing strategy to ensure that prospects who simply need some time before purchase aren’t lost. Touching them with an email contact at designated intervals can help maintain and grow their interest in your company’s product.

So we invite you to spend the next few minutes learning how to rescue all those languishing, lollygagging leads with a sensible system of lead nurturing that combines automation with a very important ingredient for success – the human touch.

Lead Nurturing 2.0

Remember the auto-responder craze of a few years ago? Companies would create a 3-part or 7-part series of sales letters that would automatically ship on a predetermined schedule to leads who signed up. Sometimes it worked but often it didn’t because the emails were oblivious to each lead’s unique differences and ripening time... everybody got the same bumpf on the same schedule. And if they didn’t act by email #7, it was often the end of the road.

Lead management today recognizes that individual and business consumers need to be nurtured in a more personal, customized way. Instead of pushing a one-directional message at them, we need to let them choose the information that’s relevant to them. It’s like the difference between spam and a juicy, interesting newsletter you signed up for because it’s relevant to you. One message is desired, the other is deleted.

Lead nurturing 2.0 for the new era begins with the 4 “P”s.

The 4 “P”s of Lead Nurturing

  1. Permission Marketing. Your lead scoring method has determined certain leads are not sales ready and require nurturing. But first, you need to ask their permission to send them your messaging so it isn’t perceived as unsolicited email. This step is about respecting the customer and offering them the choice, which sets the tone for the relationship you’re about to nurture.
  2. Preferences. This is where you determine what your prospect wants from you, how often, and in what format. You can offer them useful information and news that’s meaningful to their interests.  Include a variety of options, such as white papers, e-books, newsletters, online demos, webinars and in-depth needs assessments.
  3. Personal. Drip marketing with email is a fine way to stay top-of-mind with prospects as long as you follow up in a more hands-on manner with phone calls from sales reps or agents who are trained to ask “you” questions and to listen more than they talk. This leads us to...
  4. Pulling. The opposite of pushy marketing, lead pulling draws information from prospects so your sales team can then offer them genuinely relevant content and assistance as they are gently walked down the aisle toward a commitment.

Drip marketing can do a lot of the lead nurturing “grunt” work. It’s a great time saver that leaves your reps available to connect with prospects via phone and in person.

Tips for Getting Started

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make before you can develop a lead nurturing strategy is choosing a lead management program that makes it easy for your entire team to get plugged in.

Most lead management software offers free demos or trial versions, which is great but can be time consuming for the decision maker. Before you spend the next 5 weeks trying them all out, here are a few tips on what to look for up front. These are the features that make the job of tracking, managing and nurturing leads easier on your team and easier on your budget:

  • Tip 1: Lead management systems that are web-based (cloud computing) have many advantages. They store your data on their servers so you can access it from any browser anywhere. There’s no hardware to invest in, no downloads, fast implementation, and significant savings.
  • Tip 2: Find out if the program you’re interested in is accessible on mobile phones so reps and execs can access sales data anytime-anywhere.
  • Tip 3: Look for a program that can import leads from a variety of sources automatically (landing pages, web forms, email leads, lead providers).
  • Tip 4: Seek out a lead management company that offers auxiliary services like lead generation / call center services, appointment setting, etc. to fill your lead management system with prospects.
  • Tip 5: Look for a user interface that’s intuitive, logical, and easy to learn. This helps ensure your staff will get on board with it quickly and easily.
  • Tip 6: Keep your eyes open for programs that can be customized to various industries. A program that uses industry terms will improve user adoption.
  • Tip 7: Look for drip marketing capability that cues reps when to make personal contact, an intrinsic part of lead nurturing 2.0.
  • Tip 8: Look for a provider that doesn’t require a long-term contract, only charges you per employee on the system and lets you scale up or down without penalty.
  • Tip 9: Find a lead management system that also automates the attachment to a drip marketing track. This way, you will ensure that all of your prospects will be touched on a frequent basis.

These are the top features that marketing and sales reps report are the most useful in their lead tracking and nurturing efforts.

How LeadMaster Keeps Leads Alive

LeadMaster is a web-based system for lead management and sales CRM. As leads flow in they are automatically indexed for search and data mining. Then as sales reps follow up on the leads, a journal of updates records the sales activity for each potential customer. Dashboards and other sales CRM tools within LeadMaster let managers track the progress of every lead so none get lost or forgotten. This radically simple approach means more leads are handled appropriately, nurtured over time, and ultimately turned into sales.

Conclusion

Lead nurturing 2.0 is the new way to develop customer relationships with meaningful contact and authentic prospect-focused service. It combines comprehensive, all-in-one-place software that manages a company’s automated outreach while helping sales professionals stay on track with the personal contact. This new style of lead nurturing ensures more of the leads your company bought and paid for will eventually reward you with a sale... whether next week, next month, or next year.


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