A question posted on Linkedin on why very few B2B vendors do effectively sparked off an on what kind of expectations sales and marketing executives have from lead nurturing and what the reality and actual purpose of it is. A brilliant reply by - President, gives a clear perspective on how far away from reality these expectations can be. Rachel says
There is no such thing as demand creation, only demand identification. People seem to think they can create markets - only with a great deal of patience and education, and potentially money. It takes time to find buyers at any time who are willing to listen or have a need. This is step one.
Programs are not designed to magically create demand for a product or solution. Those executives who believe this, believe in a myth. The reality is helps identify sales ready leads from amongst your database or eco-system of prospects and alert you as to which ones are actively responding to your company or product. It simply helps in customer engagement and identification of their interest level so you know which ones to engage at the right time rather than pushing them to buy when they are not ready to buy. However, a completely unqualified name in your marketing automation system who is potentially never likely to need what you offer can't be automatically converted into a warm lead simply by running a and hitting them with messages from your company.
Another point to remember is lead nurturing and marketing automation are long term pull strategies of keeping prospects in the loop and waiting for them to respond to your product not
a push strategy like cold calling so it's wrong to compare the two. As Rachel states in her reply to the discussion:
Reality: Take any business owner what do you hear? I want sales now, now now, make me money, now now now. We aren't going to make our goals this quarter, how many calls were made, what is our pipeline look like. Now. Close them today. Not thinking conducive to any type of true nurturing.
Lose the targets, telemarketers, short term goals, company centric sales mentality and try to really build a market or business strategically - then you will have lead nurturing.
If your database yielded 40 sales ready leads one month and only 20 in the next it doesn't always mean your lead nurturing program didn't work. It more likely means from your total prospects in the program a sub set of 40 had an immediate interest or were ready to be engaged last month and another 20 were ready to be engaged the next month. Having a healthy perspective on what a can help you do is important to being able to use it effective and build a sustainable process which will keep your lead funnel filled with quality leads.
It's not magic but if its done right, it can work pretty damn well.