SALES SKILLS + CAPABILITIES

WHY DO B2B BUSINESSES GET LEAD NURTURE SO COMPLETELY WRONG?

 

What used to make sense…simply doesn’t anymore.

Last week, we talked about how B2B sales teams don’t nurture their leads enough. And we stand by that claim: 15% of B2B organizations don’t include nurture in their marketing and sales process at all, while plenty more don’t do nearly enough of it. 

What’s easy to overlook though, are the reasons why nurture is underappreciated. 

B2B sales has evolved rapidly in the last few years – from the acceleration of AI to a shift in the way buyers operate. This has fundamentally altered what is possible for sales teams, and many are struggling to keep up. 

Plenty of businesses simply don’t realise how essential the nurturing process has become to their prospects; even more underestimate how cost-efficient and impactful modern nurture methods can be. 

Here are five reasons sales teams don’t nurture their leads enough:

1. They think nurture takes up tons of resources

Most sales teams have limited resources, and many see nurture as a waste of valuable time. This is largely because they assume nurture requires a lot more manual effort than it does.

Creating relevant content and getting in front of the right eyes might seem like a tall order, but it doesn’t have to eat up precious resources. With the right technology and data strategy, you can cut a huge amount of waste – leaving only the most impactful and relevant tasks. 

We can analyse leads and segment them in order to produce personalised content that speaks directly to their most pressing pain points. And because most of this process is automated, it actually takes up fewer hours and costs less than the laborious methods many sales leaders are used to. 

Why this made sense: traditional approaches to nurture were labour intensive and costly.

Why it doesn’t anymore: modern technology makes impactful, highly-targeted nurture achievable for any business that cares to action it.  

2. They are locked into ‘funnel thinking’

We’ve discussed the problem with B2B sales funnels before, but it bears repeating: generating endless leads is not sustainable – or even possible – for the vast majority of B2B businesses. Yet an extraordinary number of them are still in thrall to this delusion, and it leads to a systematic devaluation of actual lead nurturing.

Of course, ‘funnel thinking’ has a built-in response: if we keep generating leads, it doesn’t matter whether they are properly nurtured. But this essentially becomes nothing more than a rationalisation of maintaining the status quo. 

When businesses acknowledge that the traditional sales funnel is flawed, nurture will become a much bigger part of their strategyand that can only be a good thing.

Why this made sense: following a simple formula for success reduces the complexity of B2B sales.

Why it doesn’t anymore: buyer cycles are more complex than ever. And without nurture, they could be virtually endless.

3. They equate nurture with spam

When nurture is done poorly, it can unquestionably result in the kind of repetitive outreach that actually turns prospects off. But that’s hardly a reason to give up on it. Every aspect of the sales cycle can be detrimental to your overall performance – if it’s done poorly!

There are three basic reasons nurturing efforts devolve into spam: they are not based on reliable data; they are not connected to the larger sales strategy; or they are not creative enough. The problem is, this perfectly describes most B2B businesses’ nurturing efforts to date.

Many sales leaders simply don’t realise how quickly they could transform their nurturing efforts. With the right technology and a partner to improve their creative execution, spam is a thing of the past.

So yes: if you are sending bland, irrelevant content to prospects who aren’t interested – stop. But don’t assume that what you’ve been doing is the only way lead nurturing can be done.

Why this made sense: spam is damaging both to individual sales and more general brand sentiment.

Why it doesn’t anymore: nurture can now be augmented by data, creating a deeply personalised buyer journey that actively builds a relationship with leads.

4. Sales incentives are misaligned

Too often, nurture is considered supplementary to the sales process – rather than its own vital piece of the puzzle. This means no one in the sales team is properly incentivised to ensure nurture efforts are consistently optimised.

When businesses do engage in nurturing, they end up with a hodge-podge of efforts that are neither strategic nor properly executed. And nobody is held to account – because it’s nobody’s core responsibility. 

The solution may be to reorganise internal roles to take into account the role nurture plays in today’s B2B sales cycle – or it may be to forge an external partnership with a provider that can help change how you approach the process. 

Why this made sense: if lead nurture is simply a nice-to-have-it extra, who cares which member of the team is in charge of it?

Why it doesn’t anymore: nurture is too vital to the modern sales cycle to be left to chance. 

5. They fear a lack of immediate ROI

Most businesses are coming round to data – and that’s great. But in many cases, businesses are at risk of undervaluing vital factors which do not generate clear performance metrics.

The impact of lead nurturing is not as simple to measure or model as other sales functions. It’s not always easy to see the direct relation between consistent communication and bottom line results. But this should not become a roadblock to engaging your audience. 

It’s important to see nurture as an investment, rather than something that will produce immediate ROI. In the short-term, it may look like you’ve added a cost with no clear payback. But in the long-term, effective nurture will have a profound knock-on effect to virtually every other sales metric you have.

Why this made sense: if we could measure everything, it would be vital to demonstrate the ROI of every activity.

Why it doesn’t anymore: we can’t measure everything, but research consistently shows that lead nurture has a dramatic positive impact on sales teams’ long-term success.

Ampli builds nurture strategies which will allow your business to thrive for the next decade and beyond.  Fuelled by machine learning, inspiring creative and content development, the right channel mix (on and offline) and a deep understanding of b2b buying cycles, Ampli are capable of solving your businesses longstanding nurture challenges.  Get in touch today for a coffee and a chat.

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