In our last post, we worked through how to create a product-market feedback loop, a data-driven source of feedback from your actual customers. Now, we need to create long-term communications with customers that remain qualified but haven’t moved as fast as you’d hoped.
We call these leads “nurture opportunities” and the associated communications we refer to as “nurture campaigns.”
Nurturing these leads helps you keep the conversation fresh and stay top of mind for when they’re ready to buy.
Before we get started, download the Nurture Framework spreadsheet from the Resources/Downloads section of this site. You’ll notice that this spreadsheet is extremely similar to the Customer Acquisition Strategy resource you worked on. That’s because the idea is the same.
This phase is about coming up with customer acquisition strategies for the people at the top of your funnel.
Customer outreach becomes more and more important as your pipeline grows. When you have a pipeline of 10-20 leads and opportunities, you can stay in touch with each of those on an individual, one-to-one basis.
But as your pipeline grows beyond your bandwidth to keep up with each person, you’ll start spending more time with the deals that are most likely to close and very little time with the deals that are moving slowly.
If you’re doing this, you’ve done a good job of prioritizing your time and your pipeline, which is exactly what we’ve told you to do throughout the MXP.
But there’s another side to this. Pipeline prioritization often gets misunderstood as totally forgetting anybody who isn’t trying to pay you right now. And that couldn’t be a bigger mistake.
A good pipeline is a diverse pipeline.
You’ll have deals that close right now, and you’ll have deals that popup to close after six months. Good salespeople count on those slow-moving, low probability deals to meet their targets every year. And they eventually close these deals by continuing to nurture opportunities.
You’ve done all this work to get that first conversation and assert your worldview to these people. You don’t know what’s happening on the other side of the fence. Maybe there’s a restructuring or a pause on spending.
If a qualified lead isn’t closing, don’t just assume that you’re wrong about them being in your ICP or that they’re uninterested. There could be 1,000 reasons why it’s not working out.
The second you stop communicating, another business is going to slip in. Your competitor will close not because they had a better pitch, but because they stayed in touch.
When it comes to budget, authority, need and timing (BANT), the timing is always up to the customer and you don’t know when it will change. But the cardinal sin is to no longer be the vendor of choice when the timing eventually is right.
When planning nurture communication, focus on your tone. It should be different for qualified leads. Unlike with customer acquisition strategies, these people aren’t starting from square one.
They probably already know about your product and what you do. Don’t exhaust them with a lazy email campaign or ad that tells them what they already know. You need to provide new value.
This is where the last section (Product-Market Feedback Loop) of the MXP ties in. Every time you have a product update or a marketing update, create some nurture outreach for your pipeline. Don’t get too technical here.
Your pipeline doesn’t need to hear about a small security or software update. They want to know about updates that are relevant to their business. You can also talk about your success with other customers. It creates familiarity and helps you build credibility.
Other than product and customer updates, feel free to communicate about sales events, press, industry trends, what your competitors are doing, or other content. The only rule is that it always needs to come from a place of educating and consulting. That’s what will make you valuable when the right timing comes up.
There’s eventually going to be a boardroom meeting at your lead’s company. A topic that’s relevant to your product will come up, but you won’t be in the room.
Hopefully, you’ve provided your contact with enough industry-wide information (not just plugs about your product or service) to allow them to act as a consultant to their own company and advocate for you.
Planning Your Strategy
This is the same spreadsheet template as the one in the customer acquisition strategy phase of the MXP. However, the persona is slightly different. Here’s how to fill it out for your nurture and opportunity framework.
If you’re looking at your pipeline, and you don’t see revenue coming in the next few months, that’s when most people will think they need new leads. Instead, think about what you can do to get your existing leads moving.
It’s always easier, faster and cheaper to get the old conversations revved back up than it is to start new ones.
From a metrics standpoint, you can’t compare nurtures to your customer acquisition campaigns. As we said above, it’s a different persona. You’re doing this well if you’re getting one or two conversations to come back on board at a time.
There’s no need for 12 to 15 touches here. You’re just sporadically reminding the potential customer that you’re here to be helpful and you’re happy to talk if anything’s changed on their end.
A lot of salespeople ask “Is now the right time for us to have a conversation?” But you should break it down to something much more simple. Ask them for a meeting to check back in. Ask them to let you know when would be the best time to pick the conversation back up. Ask if there’s a feature that would be helpful.
Next up on #gxmxp we’ll transition into our last phase: Talent Acquisition Framework and Roadmap. We’ll develop a comprehensive recruitment marketing and employment brand strategy to scale each functional role within the market development lifecycle.