It’s Friday night, and you’re enjoying a meal at a nice restaurant when suddenly you run into an old friend from college. You make small talk, reminisce about the past, and at the end of the conversation you both promise to “keep in touch.” How many of us actually keep that promise? Our busy schedules make “keeping in touch” a challenge, especially over an extended period.
Keeping in touch with sales leads isn’t any different.
Prospects don’t buy the first time you contact them. If they do, either you’re incredibly charming, or there’s something fishy going on (I’d lean towards the latter). Sometimes it can take weeks, months, or even a year before a prospect decides to go with your product. Whether it’s a budget issue or they’re locked into a long-term contract, nurturing a lead over an extended period takes strategy and patience.
With any long-term lead nurturing strategy, the objective is simple: remain top-of-mind so that when the customer is ready to buy, you’re the first person that comes to mind.
There’s a fine line between being overly aggressive and persistent. Think of lead nurturing like dating – you need to develop trust and get to know each other before committing, and that takes time. If you know your solution will benefit the customer, patience will pay off in the end.
Here are a five ways to stay top-of-mind so that when the prospect is ready to buy, you’re the first person they call.
Slow Drip Cadence
Just as with high-end coffee, slow drip takes a little longer, but it’s worth it in the end. Putting leads that aren’t ready to buy into a slow drip cadence ensures you’re still engaging without overwhelming. But, what is a slow drip cadence?
A slow drip cadence incorporates all the usual steps of a regular cadence but spreads the steps out over a longer period. For instance, instead of sending a couple of emails a week, limit it to one a month. It lets a prospect know you’re still thinking of them without overwhelming them. It’s similar to dating, texting the other person every day asking for another date pushes people away. After a while, it’s just creepy… and sad.
What are some steps to incorporate in a slow drip cadence? We thought you’d never ask!
Everyone is on social media these days, which means your prospects are too. A great way to stay top-of-mind but remain subtle is to engage prospects through social media. Twitter and LinkedIn are two platforms that can help keep the conversation going.
If you set alerts on social media, you’ll know immediately when a prospect shares a piece of content or company update. When your contact at a target account posts an article, take the opportunity to start a conversation by sharing your insights. They’ll appreciate the engagement, and the discussion will keep the relationship moving forward.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator will also alert you if a prospect’s job title or employer changes. Send them a personal message congratulating them on their new role. Notes are a genuine way to stay in touch without overwhelming.
Share Relevant Content
Sharing content relevant with a prospect can spark a conversation or provide useful information they didn’t have before. Timely articles or product announcements serve the same goal – to educate, nurture, and provide value. Your new product or feature might be exactly what the prospect needs. A simple email with a link could accelerate the time frame for making a purchase.
Let’s not forget case studies; they’re an effective way to provide real-world examples of how your product or service helped a similar company. Case studies tell stories about your brand. Stories paint a picture, evoke emotions, and have a way of sticking with people. According to the book Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath, 63% of attendees remember stories after a presentation, while only 5% remember individual statistics. People connect with stories, and there’s no better method of storytelling in business than a case study.
Invite Prospects to Meetups
Is there an email circulating the office about a company BBQ next week? Don’t hog all the mac-n-cheese, invite the prospect along! Events outside of the office are an opportunity to get to know a prospect. More importantly, they’re a way for them to get to know you. Any opportunity to connect on a personal level puts you in a better position to be the person they call when it’s time to buy.
User meetups (we’ve hosted a few of those) are another opportunity to engage with prospects. Prospects will have the chance to talk to the most effective advocates for your brand – existing customers. Your customer community’s personal experiences with your solution can positively influence the prospect. Meetups are also an opportunity for sharing best practices and learning new tips, all of which can impact a prospect’s decision to buy.
Schedule Time for an In-Person Meeting
There’s a Starbucks on every corner. That’s prime real estate for a quick touch base. Don’t think of the meeting as a last ditch effort to close the deal – treat it as a friendly conversation over coffee. Face-to-face meetings take the relationship to a more personal level. Lead nurturing is a patience game, but it’s easier to develop a long-lasting relationship when there’s a personal connection.
Don’t just promise to keep in touch with your sales leads, make it a strategy. Deals take time, and staying-top-of-mind with the prospect requires a variety of techniques to be effective. Whether it’s sending an invite to a user meetup, sharing relevant content, or grabbing a coffee, long-term engagement ensures a prospect thinks of you first when the time comes to buy.
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