Can inside sales reps really afford to leave lead nurturing solely to marketers? According to data from Marketing Sherpa, 61% of B2B marketers hand all leads over to sales, but only 27% of those leads are qualified. If you’re still thinking of lead nurturing as a synonym for email marketing, it’s time to adjust your thinking. Sure, email marketing can be a fantastic way to nurture leads. But many successful sales organizations have already realized the need for inside sales reps to take an active role in the lead maturation process.
If you’re a B2B sales rep, you might not realize it, but you’re probably already nurturing leads. Every follow-up call, voicemail and email you send to leads is an opportunity to build trust, demonstrate professionalism and nurture your prospect toward a buying decision. Remember that you are the human face of your brand. If you focus too heavily on pitching, you (and your company) will likely be viewed as a nuisance. The best sales reps are helpful and provide customers with solutions to problems that they have. Building a strong relationship with prospects not only transforms them into customers, but can also inspire them to buy more from you or send other business your way.
Even leads that are qualified aren’t always sales ready. In fact, many B2B industries have lengthy sales cycles that require multiple conversations (often with multiple stakeholders) in order to get the requisite buy-in. We’ve found that the right piece of content can do wonders for shortening sales cycles. In many cases, your marketing team has already created content that can help you influence deals and nurture leads toward a buying decision. But if Marketing hasn’t created the content you need, try asking them for it. As marketers, we want nothing more than to help you win deals. The last thing we want is to create decks, eBooks and one-sheets that you’re not going to use. It can also be helpful for Marketing and Sales to discuss potential use-cases for various types of content.
Imagine a scenario in which you have a hot prospect that you’ve been talking to. You’ve built rapport and established a relationship with this prospect. But then, before you can close the deal, Marketing sends out an automated nurturing email to your prospect that essentially treats that them like a stranger. Without the right communications strategy, Sales and Marketing can step on each others’ toes. The result is that your company won’t look professional (the antithesis of the goal of lead nurturing). That’s why CRM tools like Salesforce are so valuable. It enables sales and marketers to gain a real-time view of every prospects’ communications history. By viewing Salesforce activities and Chatter, sales reps can know whether other reps have spoken with a prospect, which emails marketers have sent to that prospect and more. Sales can also set up triggers to turn off nurturing from Marketing (converting a lead to an opportunity, for example). This ensures that marketing won’t send anything that could negatively impact a deal.
By partnering with Marketing to nurture leads, you can slash sales cycles and close more deals than ever as a result.
For more on nurturing leads with sales reps, download our free eBook Accelerating Pipeline with a Dedicated Lead Response Team.