Lead Nurturing and Prospecting - Deal With it! 🙃

What are Leads, Sales Accepted Leads, and Sales Qualified Leads? Prospects? Deals? How do you find them, nurture them, and close more business?

Let's explore the outcomes of successful Marketing and Business Development activities as a starting point for better Sales results and Business Growth.

Lead Nurturing and Prospecting

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What Exactly Do We Mean by Lead Nurturing and Prospecting?

Lead nurturing and prospecting are two essential parts of the lead generation and sales process:

Prospecting is the process of finding new potential customers (=Prospects). It involves identifying companies or individuals who could benefit from your products or services and then reaching out to them to learn more about their needs.

Prospecting aims to generate Sales Qualified Leads and opportunities/deals that can be turned into sales transactions.

For some more granular definitions, we use the following terms as a contact engages with you throughout the journey:

  • Lead - A Lead is an initial point of contact within your Sales Funnel who has not yet been contacted or qualified by the Sales team. Leads are typically generated through your marketing efforts, indicating some level of interest in your products or services. For instance, they may have visited your website and downloaded one of your eBooks or White Papers but have not yet undergone the qualifying process.

    • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) - A marketing-qualified lead is a potential customer interested in purchasing. To make this assessment, the marketing team analyzes the lead's browsing history on the website and looks at key pages visited and engagement they might have demonstrated. Companies often assign a lead score based on the lead's website usage, looking to assign priorities and making the process more efficient. Accountability to deliver: Marketing.

Example: An individual who subscribed to your newsletter or blog, downloaded an eBook, someone who opens newsletter emails frequently and returns to the site. 

    • Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) - An MQL that has been evaluated and deemed suitable for pursuit by the Business Development or Inside Sales Team. SALs represent that inflection point in the sales journey when it's been determined that an MQL could become an SQL. Accountability to deliver: Business Development/Inside Sales.

Example: The above individual with a free email from a non-target geography does NOT become an SAL. The above individual with a domain email from a target business/industry in a target geography will.

  • Prospect - A sales prospect is a potential customer who has been qualified as meeting specific criteria that indicate an ability and likelihood to buy.

    • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) - SALs are confirmed to be SQLs when your Business Development or Inside Sales Team has done some outreach and confirms they're likely to make a purchase. Accountability to deliver: Sales.

Example: The above individual with a domain email from a target business/industry in a target geography turns out to be an intern working on a research project with no authority, need, or budget to purchase; this would NOT become an SQL

The above individual with a domain email from a target business/industry in a target geography is an executive decision-maker. Their LinkedIn posts suggest they look for a solution to support their growing business. This individual WOULD become an SQL, and the Sales Team will take it from there.

    • Deal - In most CRM systems, the term "deal" is commonly used to refer to the opportunity to sell your products or services. The term "opportunity" is often used synonymously instead of "deal." Deals are being created and entered into the Sales Pipeline; the Sales Process begins. Accountability to deliver: Sales.

Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with potential customers over time. It involves providing them with valuable content and information that helps them better understand their problems and how products or services similar to the ones you offer can help solve them. The goal of lead nurturing is to provide the Sales team with a highly qualified prospect who can be supported in their intent to work with your products or services.

Lead nurturing and prospecting are complementary activities. Lead nurturing is more focused on long-term relationships, while prospecting focuses more on the short-term, identifying potential candidates for your business services. However, both are essential for generating sales.

Why Are Lead Nurturing and Prospecting Important?

  • 79% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy from a company that provides relevant content to them. Providing valuable content to potential customers is key to educating and nurturing. By providing content that is relevant to their interests, you can build trust and credibility and make them more likely to buy from you.

  • Nurtured leads are 47% more likely to close than non-nurtured leads. Nurturing is an effective lead-nurturing tool in converting leads into customers. You can help potential customers move through the sales funnel more quickly and easily by providing potential customers with the information they need.

92% of salespeople give up after four "no's," but 80% of prospects say "no" four times before they say "yes." This statistic shows the importance of persistence in prospecting. Don't give up even if you get a few "no's" at first. Keep reaching out to potential customers until you get a "yes."

  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead. This statistic shows the cost-effectiveness of lead nurturing. By nurturing leads over time, you can increase the chances of converting them into customers while reducing your marketing costs.

  • Companies that use automation and AI to help nurture prospects see a 451% increase in qualified leads. This statistic shows the power of marketing automation in lead nurturing. By automating your lead nurturing process, you can free up your time to focus on other tasks while still providing potential customers with the necessary information.

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Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is essential in building and sustaining customer relationships throughout their journey. This process typically involves communication and messaging to engage with customers. By leveraging lead nurturing tools, businesses can send targeted messages triggered by customer behavior or predetermined schedules, effectively guiding them through the sales funnel.

The benefits of lead nurturing

  • It helps you qualify leads. You can learn more about their needs and interests by providing potential customers with exceptional content. This information can help you determine which leads will most likely become customers.

  • It builds trust and credibility. When you provide potential customers with relevant content, you show them that you are an expert in your field and that you care about their needs. This can help you build trust and credibility, which are essential for closing deals.

  • It keeps potential customers engaged. In today's crowded marketplace, it is essential to keep potential customers engaged. By providing them with regular content specific to their stage or the buyer's journey, you can stay top-of-mind and ensure they know your products or services.

  • It increases the chances of closing deals. When potential customers are well-informed and engaged, they are more likely to buy from you. Lead nurturing can help you increase the chances of closing deals by providing potential customers with the information they need to decide.

How to create a lead nurturing strategy

  • Identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your lead nurturing strategy? What are their needs and pain points? Once you know your target audience, you can create content and messaging that is relevant to them.

  • Create a buyer's journey map. A buyer's journey map is a visual representation of the steps that a potential customer takes from the moment they become aware of your product or service to the moment they make a purchase. This will help you understand where your leads are in the buying process and what content they need at each stage.

  • Develop a content strategy. Your content should be informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience. It should also be tailored to the different stages of the buyer's journey.

  • Use a variety of channels. Don't just rely on email marketing. Use a variety of channels to reach your leads, such as social media, webinars, and gated content.

  • Personalize your messages. The more personalized your messages are, the more likely your leads will engage with them. Use their name, company, and other relevant information in your communications.

  • Track your results. It's essential to track the results of your lead nurturing strategy to see what's working and what's not. This will help you optimize your strategy over time.


The benefits of prospecting

There are many benefits of prospecting. Here are a few of the most important:

  • It helps you find new customers. Without prospecting, you will eventually run out of leads to pursue. Prospecting helps you identify new potential customers who may be interested in your products or services.

  • It helps you qualify leads. Not all leads are created equal. Some leads are more likely to convert into customers than others. Prospecting helps you qualify leads so that you can focus your time and resources on the most promising ones.

  • It helps you build relationships. Prospecting is an opportunity to build relationships with potential customers. By getting to know them and their needs, you can position yourself as a trusted advisor and make it more likely that they will do business with you.

  • It helps you stay ahead of the competition. Your competitors are always prospecting for new customers. You will lose out on potential sales if you don't keep up.

How to find prospects

There are many different ways to prospect. Common methods include:

  • Cold calling: This is the traditional method of prospecting. You call potential customers you have never met before and try to sell them your products or services.

  • Email marketing: This is a more efficient way to prospect than cold calling. You can send emails to a large number of potential customers at once.

  • Social media marketing: This is a great way to reach potential customers who are already interested in your industry. You can use social media to share content, connect with potential customers, and build relationships. A key platform to leverage for B2B Sales is LinkedIn.

  • Attending industry events: A great way to meet potential customers face-to-face. You can network with people, learn about their needs, and position yourself as a trusted advisor.

How to qualify prospects

Qualifying prospects is the process of determining whether a potential customer is a good fit for your product or service. It is a critical step in the sales process, as it helps you focus your time and resources on the most likely leads.

There are a number of factors to consider when qualifying prospects, including:

  • Their interest in a product or service: Are they actively looking for a solution to their problem?

  • Their need for your product or service: Do they have a problem that your product or service can solve?

  • Their budget: Can they afford to buy your product or service?

  • Their authority to buy: Do they have the decision-making power to purchase?

  • Their timeline: Are they ready to buy now or in the near future?

Once you have considered these factors, you can use a qualifying framework to help you decide. There are a number of different qualifying frameworks available; some of the most popular include:

  • BANT: The BANT framework stands for budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. It is a simple and effective way to qualify prospects.

  • The Challenger Sale: The Challenger Sale approach focuses on the buyer's needs and challenges. It is a more in-depth approach to qualifying prospects.

  • The Sandler Selling System: The Sandler Selling System focuses on the buying process. It is a more consultative approach to qualifying prospects.

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How can HubSpot Sales help with lead nurturing and prospecting?

At the INBOUND23 event, HubSpot Sales Hub introduced exciting new features that further solidified its position as an essential component of a modern sales stack. With HubSpot's Smart CRM as its foundation,  Sales Hub elevates your sales processes to unprecedented levels, transforming sales engagement, deal management, and reporting/coaching. Let's explore the advancements it offers.

Let's explore the powerful sales engagement tools in Sales Hub that empower your business development teams to initiate meaningful, personalized conversations that captivate potential customers and drive successful deals. With the addition of a cutting-edge prospecting workspace, streamlined lead management, enhanced sequences, and simplified lead handoffs, Sales Hub enables your sales teams to prospect more efficiently, not harder, and deliver an exceptional buyer experience that sets you apart from the competition.

The Prospecting Workspace

The new prospecting workspace offered in Sales Hub is designed to enhance your sales team's focus and productivity during their interactions with prospects. It consolidates all the necessary tools for prospecting into a single platform, providing a comprehensive view of their work. This eliminates the need for sales reps to juggle multiple tabs and disconnected tools, ensuring they can dedicate their attention to engaging with prospects. Whether it's completing outstanding tasks or making overdue calls, your sales reps can now seamlessly dive into their work with just one click, without any unnecessary delays.

Additionally, the prospecting workspace ensures that your sales representatives maintain constant visibility of their leads. It presents CRM data regarding upcoming meeting participants, exhibits pertinent context within task queues, provides suggestions for the next best course of action, and guarantees that your sales reps always possess the most relevant information readily available to forge meaningful connections with potential customers.

Unified Lead Management

HubSpot redefined its lead management in HubSpot by introducing leads. Just like tasks or tickets, you can now create lead records. These leads are not separate objects but records that are connected to a contact or company. This allows you to track and report on the journey your potential customers take in your sales process, giving you valuable insights and helping you optimize your strategies.

Lead management seamlessly integrates with the prospecting workspace, streamlining your sales process for maximum efficiency. With automation as a core feature, your leads effortlessly advance through each stage as your sales team engages and connects with them. When you make contact with a lead, they automatically transition from the initial "New" stage to the active "Attempting" stage. And when they respond, they move to the engaged "Connected" stage. Additionally, if a lead meets the qualification criteria, you can access a convenient deal creation panel, allowing instant conversion into a deal without any wasted time.

Benefits of Using HubSpot for Lead Nurturing and Prospecting

Some of the most significant benefits of using HubSpot Sales for lead nurturing and prospecting include:

  • Automated lead nurturing: HubSpot's powerful Sales and Marketing Platform can automate your lead nurturing process, so you can free up your time to focus on other tasks. This can help you nurture more leads and increase your chances of converting them into customers.

  • Personalized lead nurturing: HubSpot Sales allows you to personalize your lead nurturing campaigns, so you can reach out to each lead with the content that is most relevant to them. This can help you build stronger relationships with your leads and increase their conversion chances.

  • Lead scoring: HubSpot allows you to score your leads, so you can prioritize your outreach and focus on the leads that are most likely to convert. This can help you save time and improve your results.

  • Lead segmentation: HubSpot CRM allows you to segment your leads so that you can create targeted campaigns for each group of leads. This can help you increase the relevance of your campaigns and improve your results.

  • Reporting and analytics: HubSpot provides you with detailed reporting and analytics so that you can track the performance of your lead nurturing and prospecting campaigns. This information can help you improve your campaigns over time.

  • Integration with other HubSpot products: HubSpot Sales integrates with other HubSpot products, such as HubSpot CRM, HubSpot Marketing, or HubSpot Services (AI chatbot!), so that you can get a complete view of your leads and customers. This can help you make better decisions about your sales and marketing efforts.

Overall, HubSpot Sales is a powerful tool that can help you improve your lead nurturing and prospecting efforts. If you want to automate your lead nurturing process, personalize your campaigns, and track your results, then HubSpot Sales is a great option.

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