Much has been written about why companies should nurture leads until they’re ready to buy.
These arguments tend to be logical, typically citing the need to assist prospects through the buying process and keep your company top of mind. But arguably, an even more important reason to nurture leads is overcoming prospects’ emotional objections—specifically, their fear of buying from you.
As you’re probably aware, the logical reason for lead nurturing is that while it’s easy enough to generate leads by attracting people to download a white paper or buying lists, most new leads are not yet ready to buy. Moreover, the buying process has changed. Five or so years ago, buyers turned to the sales force relatively early in the sales process.
Now, buyers prefer to do much more research online, and they engage the sales force much later in the buying process. This makes it imperative to keep in front of leads and provide them the information they’ll need throughout their buying process until they’re ready to speak with a sales rep.
It’s widely acknowledged that up to 95 percent of qualified prospects on your website 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 your competitors. Moreover, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20-percent increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
So far, this sounds cut and dried. You get leads, but they’re not yet ready to buy, so you provide useful information. You stay top-of-mind. And when they’re ready to buy, they’ll consider you.
The catch is that the human decisions are rarely as logical as we may want to think. While people may think they’re making decisions strictly on logic, people make emotional decisions and then find facts that support their decision.
“In B2B marketing, there’s an asymmetry between the upside and downside of B2B purchases: the buyer may or may not be rewarded for making a good purchase, but a bad purchase can damage the buyer’s reputation and job security. As a result, fear and risk play large roles in B2B-buying decisions.
Organizational risk can be dealt with rationally, but personal risk is usually unstated and hidden from the rational process. Yet, personal risk is a huge factor in B2B buying.” It’s therefore critical for B2B vendors to establish credibility and trust. And the best way to do this is by sharing useful information.
If you can help frame the discussion, your company will be seen as a trusted advisor and thought leader, and if the buyer believes your company understands their problems and knows how to solve them, this reduces fear and can dramatically improve your odds of being selected for consideration and purchase.
This argument rings true from personal experience. I’ve seen content marketing start first with a printed newsletter, then with an online newsletter, and later with this blog. While one should also consider and use the full spectrum of marketing channels available, content is generally considered to be the most consistently successful tactic for keeping in touch with prospects, winning trust, and ultimately gaining the opportunity to work with them.
So when you do lead nurturing, remember that staying top-of-mind is only half the battle. It’s just as important to minimize the fear of purchase by demonstrating through your content that they can trust you.