Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Buying Has Changed Forever

Many companies do a good job at generating leads.  The problem is that most new leads are not yet ready to engage, so if a sales rep does try to contact a lead before he or she is ready, it reinforces the general impression that marketing-generated leads are no good. As a result, leads risk getting lost, ignored, or snatched up by competitors.
To prevent this from happening, marketers need to hone their lead nurturing...the process of building relationships with qualified prospects regardless of their timing to buy, with the goal of earning their business when they are ready. Building a relationship with a prospect is the same as with any long-term relationship -- you can't force someone to commit to a purchase, but you also cannot afford to lose individuals because their willingness to buy doesn't match your readiness to sell.
Most non-sales-ready leads will eventually be ready -- and it is up to you to both provide them with relevant information and to be there when they are ready to make a buying decision.  According to a DemandGen Report, up to 95 percent of the qualified prospects on your web site are there to research and are not yet ready to talk with a sales rep, but as many as 70 percent of them will eventually buy a product from you -- or with one of your competitors.
To make things even more  challenging, the B2B buying process has fundamentally changed. Prospects are spending more time on the Web doing independent research, obtaining information from their peers and other third parties.  That's why companies are meeting prospective buyers earlier than ever, and is a key reason why having sales attempt to engage with every early-stage lead is premature.
Next time, some lead nurturing basics.

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.