The Critical Importance of Lead Nurturing in the Complex B2B Sales Process

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Brian J. Carroll, CEO of InTouch, Inc. and author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale?, works with hundreds of companies that have complex sales processes to help them create a successful lead nurturing strategy for generating more revenue.

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More people than ever are involved in the buying process for a complex sale. Companies are struggling with whether they should generate more leads. But it’s critical to remember that companies cannot afford to ignore customers who aren't ready to buy yet, and those customers might buy in the future.

According to noted lead generation expert Brian J. Carroll, lead nurturing is a critically important yet often overlooked aspect of the complex business-to-business sales process. Lead nurturing provides a methodology to communicate with customers and turn inquiries into qualified leads.

Carroll is author of the popular new book Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and CEO of InTouch, Inc., a recognized leader in lead generation and helping companies that make complex sales acquire and maintain strong customer relationships. As CEO of InTouch, Carroll has worked with hundreds of business-to-business companies on lead generation and sales campaigns. InTouch is listed as one of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. by Inc. magazine, with a five-year sales growth of 430 percent.

“Lead nurturing is becoming a hot topic because there is increased competition in every industry,” Carroll says. “More people than ever are involved in the buying process for a complex sale. Companies are struggling with whether they should generate more leads. But it’s critical to remember that companies cannot afford to ignore customers who aren't ready to buy yet, and those customers might buy in the future.”

According to Carroll, lead nurturing is a conversation, not a campaign. It is a back and forth dialogue. The challenge is connecting a value proposition with the customer’s needs. How a company sells provides a big indication of how it will service the customer in the future. When selling companies have the right mindset, which is being a trusted advisor, someone who asks questions, who is involved with the buying process, they will be successful.

“The first key element is that sales and marketing are one team,” Carroll adds. “Lead nurturing is a vehicle for collaboration and for this to start happening. Marketing's purpose is to help the sales team sell. To start a successful lead nurturing program, you need to kick it off with a cross-functional team meeting. There is often a disconnect between the sales process, the buying process, and what marketing is doing. If someone is early in the buying process, being offered a demo won't be the most relevant thing. A white paper or case study is better.”

In addition, Carroll says that sales and marketing need to be in agreement on who an ideal customer is, and that agreement becomes the standard. “You need to develop your targeted profile,” he says. “It is really important that sales can hand leads that aren't ready to buy yet back to marketing. Someone who downloads a white paper is considered a lead to marketing but not to sales. You can't nurture everyone. You just nurture the ones who fit your ideal customer profile. You can create different tracks. For example, level one gets nurtured on a monthly basis, level two gets quarterly. You can organize based on revenue potential, vertical market, or industry. There are two critical factors – where the lead is and who your ideal customer is. Keep track of the others in your database. Lead nurturing says to the sales team, ‘We want to help you sell, and we're going to generate content on your behalf that makes you look like a guru.’”

“Brian Carroll has unveiled some of the most guarded secrets of lead generation experts,” says John M. Coe, president, Sales & Marketing Institute. “His approach to generating leads for the complex sale is not only on target but will produce results as well.”

Brian J. Carroll is founder and CEO of InTouch Inc., one of the first companies to provide lead generation solutions for the complex sale. He speaks to 20,000 people a year on improving sales effectiveness and lead generation strategies. Carroll has been featured in major metropolitan newspapers and business publications and is regularly quoted as a lead generation expert online and offline, including: BtoB Magazine, CMO Magazine, The Wall Street Transcript, Inc. Magazine, Direct Marketing News, MarketingProfs, MarketingSherpa, and RainToday. His acclaimed blog, http://blog.startwithalead.com, is regularly read by thousands each week and was the winner of the 2006 best B2B marketing blog readers choice award from MarketingSherpa.

Lead Generation for the Complex Sale details a proven approach to lead generation that has resulted in 2,000 to 5,000 percent return on investment. Author Brian Carroll arms readers with several sophisticated methods for generating highly profitable leads for complex sales. Carroll is CEO of InTouch, Inc. and an expert in lead generation solutions; his book reveals key multimodal strategies that you can implement immediately to win new customers, accelerate growth and improve ROI.

For more information, please visit http://www.leadgenerationbook.com/ .

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