Brian Carroll

Lead Nurturing is about Relationships, not e-mails

Carrying on the theme of my recent post on lead nurturing as trusted advisors with the  human touch, I came across Mike Volpe’s post over the HubSpot Marketing Blog. I thought he did a nice job of showing the human touch in action as part of the lead nurturing process.

The goal of lead nurturing is to maintain a relevant and consistent dialog with viable future customers – regardless of their timing to buy. It’s about relationships. As you read Mike’s story, you’ll notice how he helped “Kristen” move through her buying process not by selling but by seeking first to be a relevant resource to her.

Lead nurturing requires a shift away from the traditional marketing mind-set to a new way of thinking centered on the following tenets:

  • Companies don’t buy – people do. Don’t ever forget the human touch. 
  • Build relationships with the right people and companies regardless of their timing to buy.  Engage these people early in their buying process (preferably before) and you can co-create and influence their vision.
  • Trusted advisers win more sales than slick brands.
  • More ROI is reaped from the patient tending of future customers (relationships) over time. Think: customers for life.
  • Lead nurturing is a conversation, not a series of disjointed campaigns. 
  • A multi-tactic and multi-touch lead generation portfolio will always outperform marketing tactics that stand alone.
  • Generate relevant content that engages the right decision makers/influencers.
  • The first impression matters.  So does the second.  So does every single touch after that.  Consistency and relevancy is key.

If you keep these ideas top of mind, the way you nurture leads will naturally go beyond just e-mail. You’ll start thinking about how you and your sales people can be a relevant resource. When you do that, you don’t have to sell to people. They will come to you first when they are ready. Again, it’s about relationships.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn

Human Touch, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Lead Nurturing, Marketing Strategy, Sales Leads, Thought Leadership



  1. | #1

    Some great thoughts here, Brian. I recently did a post on how to celebrate the unique advantages of the Internet and you have some excellent examples related to that post, so I added a linkback.

    More on my blog:

    http://smoothspan.wordpress.com/2008/02/25/celebrate-whats-different-about-the-internet-or-be-irrelevant/

    Cheers,

    BW

  2. | #2

    Thanks for the note about my article and the link. Hope you are well!

  3. | #3

    Never ceases to amaze me how many of my clients believe that all they need is to blast out an email that goes something like this: “Prices Reduced! Buy Now and Save!…”

  4. | #4

    Consistency and Relevancy and definitely key aspects in lead nurturing!

  5. Rolands
    | #5

    I am becoming a big fan of Brian’s blog, after purchasing a book.
    I am personally from Taiwan (although, I am not a native chinese, I am from eastern europe before).
    However, all that is said in above is good – we need be personal, human touch etc etc.
    But what to do FOR ME – International Marketer, who need sell today to Mr. Ali from Iran, and tomorrow to Mr. Ivan from Russia?
    Diffeent cultures. Different people. Different buying. Different decision makers.
    Do I need call them? I will spend all my buidget just for calls, and most of them hate pick up the phone, since their english is same as my – poor (sorry, for my english also)?
    So, what I have – constantcontact.com e-mail marketing and this our nurturing. What else?
    What human touch for me…

  6. | #6

    There are definitely practical challenges to doing international lead nurturing such as cultural differences, language and time zones. Remember, the heart of lead nurturing is about building relationships. To build any relationship you need to have communication and shared understanding.

    Right now, we’ve been doing lead qualification for a client that spans 35 countries and we’re experimenting with international lead nurturing. If you use email, think one-to-one not one-to-many.

    I spoke to someone who is doing lead nurturing globally in 5 continents and he said many of the same things that work in US work elsewhere like so don’t be afraid to experiment.
    http://blog.startwithalead.com/weblog/2005/11/email_marketing.html

  7. | #7

    Brian,
    Your insights on nurturing leads is exactly what inspired us to launch enthusem.com. We are trying to give salespeople an alternative to emails – personal cards created one-at-a-time but with the added twist of online attchments. Please forgive the self-serving plug – we’re just passionate about prospecting and really love your blog.

  8. | #8

    Great message post! Couldn’t agree more.

    During his buying process the future customer will develop certain information needs. We see it as the lead marketers job to make sure he delivers the right information at the right moment. The better he understands how to keep him enagaged the higher his conversion rates. If he fails to engage he’ll looses touch. With that also will go the acquisition dollars spent until then.

    Nurturing is all about really understanding what to message, when and how! But in our humble opinion that can only be done if you automate that process. It’s impossible to achieve this manually because each touchpoint ideally is individual in terms of timing and message.

    Many marketers today talk about nurturing but few really do it. They neuter the process to a set of “post tactic”-touchpoints. In our humble opinion that has nothing to do with nurturing because these messages are not triggered by customer behavior but by a vendor decision. Hardly a conversation…

    No future customer cares about his vendor’s sales cycle nor his timing. It’s about adapting to him. The future customer is in control even before he actually is a customer….

  9. | #9

    This is great information. I know like many that getting back to the basics is very important. The points that you made are great and show be placed in front of you to ensure you are using then on a daily basis.

  10. | #10

    Great post Brian. The human touch is definitely the essence of lead nurturing. Bulk email blasts to customer or leads can not have the same effect and although it may be a quicker way to reach out to more of them, it doesn’t deliver the same kind of results.

  11. | #11

    thank you for sharing more ideas. That is also one of the points of social media, connecting with each other leads to higher access to resources and tips. I would modify asking what they want (we often do not know) with asking the job they want to do

  1. | #1