How to Use Lead Nurturing to Increase Your Lead-to-Close Ratio

According to Marketo, industry-wide statistics reveal that 70 out of 100 leads don’t receive the sales follow-up they should. Let that sink in for a moment.


It’s a huge number! Even if only half of them were valuable, that’s still more than those receiving adequate lead nurturing to move them through the sales funnel.


Before you turn away in disbelief, let’s take a look at why they say that’s happening. Marketing teams spend their time and effort generating leads, while sales teams focus on closing sales. Most companies don’t allocate enough resources to what happens in between. You need to nurture leads effectively for them to reach the bottom of the funnel.


Who Is Responsible for the Lead Nurturing Strategy?


Creating an effective lead nurturing plan should be a mutual responsibility of both marketing and sales teams. The simple reason? You need to agree on a lead qualification process for it to work properly.


Start With Information Sharing


Getting data from your sales team helps set the criteria for segmentation and scoring. Understand the path of closed leads and try to identify what they have in common. Here are a few questions to ask your sales team about closed leads:

  • What was their primary need for which the company provided a solution?

  • What was the role of the person sales interacted with?

  • How many interactions took place, and what kind?

  • Which content and offers did they receive?

  • How long was an average sales cycle?

  • What was the size of the company?

Then inquire what lead information the sales team expects to receive from you. You may not always be aware of what exactly helps them communicate more effectively with prospects. With their input, you can customize your content and create campaigns targeted at collecting the required information.


Get your sales team to help you better understand how to identify when a prospect is not relevant. For example, someone may be very excited about your product or service but not have the physical space, the technical requirements, or the resources needed. This type of lead should not receive ‘MQL’ status (Marketing Qualified Lead) and pass to sales, even if they are hyper-engaged.


Set a Scoring Threshold


Both teams should understand the entire buyer journey and outline the sales funnel. Determine the criteria that qualify a lead for sales and set the scoring threshold accordingly. With clear data-based definitions, you can remove disagreements and tension at the onset.


How to Nurture Leads Effectively


After both teams sign up on the ‘lead management process’, you can start to nurture leads accordingly. Collect information about interest level, authority, and product knowledge. Use media and interactive polls to collect data.


Create streams with customized content for various lead types at different stages in the lead lifecycle. Add every lead to a relevant stream. Each lead must receive sufficient nurturing to determine their value and level of interest.


Monitor engagement and make sure prospects are in the right stream and receive the proper content. For example, if you offer three product lines, you have at least one stream for each. Let’s say lead X was interested in product A, but after receiving additional information through your nurturing, they realized that product B is better suited. Make sure lead X gets transferred to the accurate stream. Also make sure, there isn’t any duplicate content, which they received already through the previous stream.


Mend the Cracks

 A working lead nurturing process requires accurate, current data. You lose leads every time information changes, and you don’t update the CRM. If someone receives a personalized message that doesn’t pertain to them, they’re gone. Add database clean-up activities to your routine, and you’ll be surprised at the improvement of your email marketing performance. Set up periodic meetings between marketing and sales teams to review the process and discuss what works and what doesn’t.
Proper follow-up is essential in getting your most valuable leads through the funnel. Without structured lead nurturing, a lot of them will keep dropping out of the funnel undetected. Increase your lead-to-close ratio and keep leads from falling through the cracks and into the hands of your competition.
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