February 12th, 2015 | by

How about first comes Awareness?  That is really where all relationships begin, right? You see someone across a crowded room, or hear about them from friends. The same is the case with lead generation, the first touch is generally not when your leads fall for you – you’ve got to work a bit harder than that to get to the marriage and the baby carriage – right? So what are the steps in between lead generation and purchase? One would like to think that we get leads – and close them. But that is about as practical as the saying. Love doesn’t come first.

Here are some ways you can keep your prospects “in a relationship” with you while you woo them and wow them all the way to making it formal:

1. Prep for your first date. Sales is a lot like dating, and like going on first dates – you don’t want to go in blind – you would do a little background research, right? Similar to how social profiles might give you some insight into the date’s likes and interests, your sales intelligence solution gives you the ability to be prepared to impress. Make sure you are using a sales intelligence solution that covers the industry and area where you are prospecting.

2. Get to Like. The first touches in a nurture program are akin to working to get someone to “Like” you back. They know that you exist, but you want more: you want them to like you. To accomplish this, your inbound programs need to be designed to deliver relevant content that will help you stand out as well as build their interest that you may be able to provide them with a solution that is good fit for their needs. You want to provide informational content that will provide them with the momentum to seek more.

3. Understand goals. Just as it is important to understand what you want from a relationship, lead nurture programs need to be designed to gather information that will help you to understand your prospect’s goals. By doing this, each communication can have more impact as it speaks more clearly to their needs and gives them a clearer view of how you can satisfy them. To understand what they are going through and thinking about, subscribe to buying scoops about your prospect organizations in your sales intelligence platform. These will provide vital details about ongoing implementations, initiatives, executive changes and will enable you to target communications that are meaningful and show that you understand them without having to awkwardly probe “what are you looking for?”

4. Put your best self out there. We know you want to seal the deal, but you can’t come off as too pushy or desperate. Focus on them. These contacts are considering entering a relationship with you – show them your best side: provide them with educational content (not just sales sheets), invite them to webinars. Use your interactions to show them how wonderful you are and what a great partner you would be. Share customer successes and online accolades with them. But don’t overwhelm them. Make them want you…

5. Impress the inner circle. Getting a date’s friends to like you is almost as vital to success as the first date. Getting to know them and understand what they want you to deliver is essential. Examine the organizational chart for your prospect to identify and contact team members who would be relevant in the conversation. This enables you to employ the multi-stakeholder approach to selling and not only eliminates the single point of failure but enables you to bring other decision makers into the discussion early so that the sale moves more smoothly and everyone is on-board.
6. May I have this dance? Rhythm, cadence and tone count. Nurturing programs are designed to provide prospects with deeper understanding about your services and how your company will serve their needs. As this happens, they naturally dance closer. The prospect is coming to trust you. Don’t pester them, don’t ignore them. Use marketing automation integrations to ensure that your communications are regular and personalized. Present them with appealing and interesting messaging using your voice and letting your personality show. Most buyers interact with between 4 and 10 pieces of content without furthering the engagement with a prospect. Keep the rhythm steady.

7. Prepare for yes. Once your prospect gives a buying signal, timing is everything. Sales percentages drop significantly with any delay in follow-through. So the process must be in place beforehand. The prospect relationship needs to be well documented and shared across your marketing and sales automation platforms. When the prospect is ready, there is no time to waste. If the sales rep decides that they are not currently a qualified lead, make sure that you have a process to continue the relationship, so that they are a warm and friendly opportunity if things change and they are ready to take the plunge.
Understand your successes, and your failures. If you used the same line over and over regardless of a terrible success rate, you would never achieve your goal, right. The same is true in prospect relationships. You need to track and measure successes and failures. If you send out an email message that no prospects click through, you should take the time to understand why. Track what you are doing that works, and which tactics are most successful. Do more of those. Simple right? Before you know it, you will be “in a relationship” with your dream prospect.

About the author


Lisa has a background in international business and over 15 years of technology marketing and she helps to develop strategies to enable a successful sales effort.