As a B2B marketer, your job is to engage prospects, convert them to leads, qualify them, nurture them until they are sales-ready, then hand them over to sales to complete the buying process. As if this wasn’t already enough to deal with, marketers are typically judged solely on the quantity and quality of the leads they generate for sales. So, the outcome is that many marketers tend to get over zealous in their activities and try to make leads sales-ready before they actually are – ultimately scaring them off.
A touch of magic
“You must contact your buyers a minimum of seven times in an 18-month period for them to remember you” according to Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s ‘Rule of Seven’.
As highlighted by Dr. Lant, leads will typically have to be touched 5-10 times in order for them to remember you and potentially convert to a customer. This is an understandable process, however this approach can be costly – especially if not used correctly. Spamming is the obvious danger here, and the distinction between regularly touching leads and spamming them is a very fine line. Firstly, if you are considering contacting leads on a daily basis then you’re already in the ‘spam-zone’. If you decide to contact them once a week, you could still be considered scary and overpowering, but less of a spammer. By communicating with leads on a 2-4 weekly basis you could start to see engagement, but any longer between touches and you could become forgettable and merely marketing white noise. The best way to determine the frequency of touches is by testing. The factor which is even more important than frequency though is… relevance.
Prospects and leads are less likely to be concerned about the frequency of your touches if the information you are sending them is relevant. For example, bombarding them with sales-led emails and phone calls regularly will generate much less engagement than if you were to send them helpful content like tip sheets and ebooks. By showing the lead that you are a helpful resource and merely looking to provide them with content that identifies their pain points and offers a solution, you are able to gain their trust and show that you are a company they should consider working with. When you are using these types of touches, not only do you become less overwhelming to leads, but they’ll begin to look forward to your communications and be less likely to hit ‘unsubscribe’.
The dreaded instant caller
As a marketer, you’ve undoubtedly downloaded a piece of content or two in your time. Whether it was from a competitor or from an industry body, you’ve no doubt seen your fair share of ebooks and infographics. So, it’s likely that you’ll have experienced the horrors of the instant caller. This is when as soon as you’ve completed the form on the landing page and received the content, you are immediately called by a member of the company’s inside sales team to give you the traditional follow-up call. I don’t know about you, but that is a truly scary scenario. The immediate thoughts are ‘how desperate are this company for my business?’, ‘How can they ask what I thought about the ebook when I haven’t had a chance to read it yet’, and ultimately ‘I want nothing more to do with these people’.
It’s amazing how damaging an ill-timed communication can be, how off-putting an irrelevant piece of content can be, and how destructive a badly timed phone call can be. So remember, when it comes to generating and nurturing leads, be helpful, be patient, and be mindful. Analyse your research and results and determine what’s best for your prospects and leads. And most importantly, don’t be scary!
To find out more about lead nurturing and building relationships upon which sales can be made…