Best-practice recommendations for nurture marketing?

We’re interested in becoming a more personalized resource for prospective clients during the sales cycle by building a clearer “nurture-marketing” strategy. But what are best practices for staying customer-focused and truly helpful via personalized emails, phone calls, and the like?

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Jay’s Answer: It depends on what you mean by “nuture marketing”. Classically, nuture marketing focuses on prospective clients who are qualified to purchase, but not ready to purchase now. So the game is to keep “top of mind” with them, so when they do have the budget/need/resources they would “naturally” choose you. This is normally done using technology (autoresponders, ezines, etc.) to keep “in touch” with them (also called “drip marketing”).

But that’s a superficial definition of nuture marketing. Instead, consider yourself an independent consultant (who is is being paid by your prospective client) rather than a sales person (paid by your company). Your advice would be based on what you think is best for yourclient, instead of being best for your company. Before recommending any solutions, you’d need to deeply understand their problems, resources, and company culture to find the best “fit”.

As an employee for your company, you need to know what your prospect’s “trigger” is and tailor your messaging to them (directing appropriate solutions/case studies/seminars to help them get closer to their trigger). If the value of the sale is high enough, then you may choose to send qualified business opportunities/customers to your prospects to further help them. If the timeframe is long enough, you may also need to re-open a dialog with your prospect, to find out what current underlying needs they have that you may be able to help satisfy.

Remember that you’re trying to nurture a long-term relationship. Therefore, be willing to give up the need for a short-term sale (perhaps referring business to your competition as appropriate) and instead focus on developing a relationship that will be rewarded in the future.

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