March 6th 2008

Prospect Nurturing

Prospect Nurturing.

The process of holding onto prospects until they grow into a sales ready lead. This is a much lower cost marketing activity than a higher cost sales force activity. It leverages that great content and deep market intelligence you are creating. A client who instituted his first nurturing campaign last quarter, told us he saw a 40% month over month rise in business, driven by the impact of the nurturing initiative. (We are now working on ways to do an even better job, ’cause there is way more business out there )

Got your attention? Why does this work? Nurturing is based on knowing that over the course of a year, clients have different degrees of readiness or knowledge of a need for your product. You start with a clean list of suspects/prospects who although not sales ready, fit the profile of your customer. (Sales ready folks are ones who are calling you to ask about your products because they suspect it will solve their problem). A nurturing program grows/instructs these suspects until they are sales ready. You must really nail the pain message(s) that are known to work on your audience. (If you have not nailed this part, go back to Go, do not collect $200 and do the market research needed)

Then its very simple (but not easy). On a regular basis (1 month, six weeks, bi monthly) you craft a single compelling content story based on just one of the pain points. The story is not a selling point, it is a trust building point. You know about their pain, you understand what is behind it and you have solved it for a believable example, with a testimonial. very low key-but absolutely true. Truth leads to trust leads to growing confidence in the suspect that you are a vendor who may have something that will help the suspect. You have certainly helped a company just like the suspect’s with a person who is just like the suspect.

Why this is not easy is that in every suspect there will be not only different key pains, there will be a variety of audiences. Each story can only focus on a singular and different pain point. It must also use unique targeted messaging that reaches the different audiences. You can expect at least three audiences (often more) key to a decision; business (the largest group and most impact related), technical (they who say no a lot) and the financial ( so what is the payback?). This requires at least three different messages, wrappers around your story. Again if you do not know how to do this go back to Go. This is where your in-depth hard-to-get market research work is leveraged. Way harder than building a great product, let me assure you. Oh and I forgot to mention you start with only 20 seconds to capture the audience, so forget those tedious technical emails. You need skilled writers.

This is straight forward stuff we do everyday and when it starts to work, it is a beautiful thing. Anything less is just less.

Your customers will appaud you

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