Nurture, so simple yet still so poorly executed:
We’ve all got that one friend who’s always saying they want to get into shape – but just don’t have enough time to hit the gym. They fit in plenty of Netflix, of course, and always make it to the pub on a Friday night. But a half-hour HIIT class? Their schedule simply couldn’t handle it.
That’s sort of how I think B2B sales teams treat lead nurturing. 74% of companies say converting prospects into customers is their top priority, and a near-endless stream of research shows that nurturing is crucial to achieving that goal. Yet very few seem willing to join the dots – and actually invest in their nurture campaigns.
Some businesses mistakenly see nurturing as a cost to be cut; others just don’t know how to do it effectively. But whatever the reason, failing to properly nurture leads directly and negatively impacts your bottom line.
Here are five ways it does it:
A lack of trust
A B2B buying decision is not to be taken lightly. There’s often a lot of money involved, not to mention the buyer’s professional reputation.
Because of this, B2B buyers are uniquely sensitive to issues of trust: is this vendor hiding things from me? Do they value me as an individual and my business as a partner? Can I stake my reputation on their capacity to offer a reliable, high-value service?
79% of business buyers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor — not just a sales rep. And that is what the nurturing process does: it creates a bedrock of trust between your business and the lead – based on reliable communication, high-quality content and consistent responsiveness.
We sometimes think of B2B buyers as purely logical. But in reality, they are just as motivated by emotion as B2C buyers. Without the trust that nurturing builds, you simply will not land as many deals – and will therefore be left out of pocket.
In a sentence: making a purchase without significant nurture would be like getting married after the first date: you’re legally allowed, but no relationship expert is going to advise it.
2. Lost leads and funnel leakage
B2B lead generation is a big deal: from expensive advertising to inside sales teams, businesses pump a huge amount of resources into building a backlog of qualified prospects. Yet all too often, having spent all that time and money generating leads, they essentially ghost them.
Here’s the reality: if you haven’t communicated with a buyer since they first coughed up their contact info or showed interest in your product, there’s no reason to assume they still have any need or want for it. No lead is ever set in stone. And if you don’t keep nurturing them, all that costly groundwork will be for nothing.
This is where the reluctance to nurture leads gets frustrating: it’s not just that you’re missing out on sales – you paid a fortune for the opportunity!
Even if you don’t land a deal immediately, maintaining contact with leads keeps you top of mind. So if they go with a different provider this time, the relationship will be alive when they’re next in the market for a solution like yours.
In a sentence: if you’re not nurturing your leads, all of the money you spent generating them becomes waste too.
3. Selling is harder
This might seem counterintuitive, but nurturing leads actually tends to reduce the length of the sales cycle. And that means you can cram in more deals – or simply make more efficient use of your salespeople’s time.
Without a campaign to nurture your leads, each sales interaction picks up where the last left off – meaning your salespeople are doing all the heavy lifting. But by building your relationship with those leads through consistent communication and content, you take away some of that burden.
You can’t leave everything to your salespeople: they simply won’t have enough opportunities to properly convey the value you offer. The average B2B buyer spends just 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers and interacting directly with salespeople. And that number shrinks to as little as 5% when there are multiple vendors in the running for a particular deal.
But if you are properly nurturing leads between these brief interactions, they will be far more impactful – and you’ll end up with more sales.
In a sentence: effective lead nurturing saves your salespeople time and effort.
4. Giving competitors the advantage
The process of nurturing leads is a key opportunity for your business to demonstrate the value it offers. That might mean showcasing your products; exhibiting your expertise; or just demonstrating the values your brand upholds.
The flip-side, of course, is it is also an opportunity for your competitors to do all that.
In most cases, business is zero-sum: if you gain a customer, your rivals have lost one. There is likely a finite pool of potential buyers in your particular B2B niche, and that means any competitive advantage you can gain is essential.
If you aren’t properly nurturing your leads, there is likely another business that will. And because you have been so uncommunicative, all of your competitors’ nurturing will be all the more effective in contrast.
In a sentence: when you fail to nurture leads, you actively empower your competitors.
5. Disconnected processes
According to McKinsey, B2B buyers will frequently use six distinctive interaction channels throughout their customer buying journey, and nearly 65% of buyers will walk away from it being frustrated by inconsistent experiences before they reach out to a company for more details.
This kind of disconnection is also a serious problem once a prospect has made contact.
You could think of nurture as a sort of connective tissue, easing buyers into each subsequent phase of the sales process. Without regular communication – and a consistent Selling Story – your leads are liable to feel that each interaction they have with you is disconnected from the last.
So a lack of nurture leads to smaller deals, weaker relationships and likely fewer contract renewals.
In a sentence: without nurturing leads through the various phases of a sale, they will not have the confidence to make big orders.
Ampli can work with you to execute a nurture strategy that delivers across ALL parts of the sales cycle. Get in touch today for a no obligation chat and let’s work together to execute a 21st century nurture strategy.