Lead nurturing: All you need to know about closing leads

Have questions about lead nurturing? Find out what it is and how to use marketing channels to grow successful relationships with your leads.

Hermes and a Goddess unpack shapes in a meeting room



Many of us know the Glengarry Glen Ross line about sales: “The ABCs of leads—always be closing.” Unfortunately, closing a lead generally requires more than three dramatic words and a very angry Alec Baldwin. How do you get to a place where you’re closing consistently? The answer is simple: lead nurturing.

In this article, we’ll give you the scoop on how lead nurturing works, and tell you about different channels you can use for your own nurturing strategy. Let’s get down to the basics—the ABCs, if you will. And don’t worry, there are no scary chalkboards or Baldwins here.

What is lead nurturing, anyway?

Lead nurturing is basically what it sounds like: creating and maintaining relationships with consumers at every stage of the purchasing process. Some of your potential leads may be looking to buy your brand’s products and services immediately. Other leads may just be getting into their initial research-gathering phase. No matter where they are in their journey, you should make sure you’re connecting with them authentically and consistently.

In a world built on fast and easy, words like consistent and authentic may seem like hard work. However, successful lead nurturing will help you bring in more business—and foster genuine, positive relationships with your customers. Impersonal, one-size-fits-all-style marketing may sound tempting in the short-term, but it means depriving both you and your consumers of authentic, satisfying connection. As they say, slow and steady wins the race.

What are the benefits of lead nurturing?

In case “not getting fired by the guy from Beetlejuice” isn’t enough of an incentive for you to pursue lead nurturing, here are a few more business-minded reasons why you should try it out.

  • Better lead relationships = more sales. This one speaks for itself. Giving your leads the communication they want and need makes them far more likely to buy from you than a more distant competitor.

  • Practice makes perfect. By using and honing your lead nurturing skills, you can figure out what type and channel of communication works best for different kinds of leads—and pursue future leads with your tested, successful methods.

  • Focus on your overall marketing plan. By trying out different types of lead nurturing, you’ll be able to see which types of leads connect most easily with your brand, and understand which types of audiences to target on a larger scale.

How to target and pursue a lead

Let’s be honest: not every lead you encounter will be a good fit for your brand. Additionally, some leads you pursue may respond best to a certain style of relationship and communication… one you may not be very used to. Keep an open mind when it comes to communication, but target potential leads carefully using some of these tips.

Score your lead

In this context, “scoring” a lead doesn’t mean closing a deal. It actually refers to scoring (i.e. grading) a lead. A lead scoring system lets you assess how close any given lead is to actually purchasing your brand’s specific types of goods and services. Many leads end up not being closed due to uncertainty or decision changes on behalf of the buyer, and that’s okay. You simply need to sharpen your focus on the leads that are ready to enter the sales process, and continue comfortable communication with those that are not.

To start scoring, take note of a lead’s demographic characteristics (industry, location, company size, etc.) and behaviors relating to your brand (the number of click-throughs on your emails, form submissions, demo or trial requests, etc.). Assign scored values to each behavior, such as one star for an email click-through and five stars for a free trial request. Then, measure each lead’s total value to gauge which ones you can engage who are actively considering a purchase.

Pinpoint problems you can solve

Once you’ve figured out which leads you want to pursue, understand what problems they’re trying to solve with your products and services. How can you solve their problem, and solve it better than anyone else? Where does your brand fit into their needs? Figure out your best qualifications for each lead, and be prepared to sell them on your answers. A generic pitch may entice one or two leads, but a personalized approach impresses everyone.

Figure out which channel is best suited for nurturing

Maybe one lead is very active on social media. Maybe another prefers email campaigns. No matter where your leads stand, approach them according to their patterns and preferences. Not only is communication much easier when it’s through someone’s preferred channel, but your knowledge (and hopefully mastery) of said channel will communicate to your lead that you both understand their desires and know how to accommodate them. Before you know it, you’ll have converted a new, satisfied consumer.

How to use common lead nurturing channels

Before you walk into the sunset with your new customer, you need to successfully establish a positive relationship. There are several channels you can use for lead nurturing, and all of them have their do’s and don’ts. Take a second to review some of these best practices for common lead nurturing channels.

Email programs

Email marketing… it works for a reason. It’s a quick, reliable way to engage with leads and keep their attention. However, just because you can do a lot with email lead nurturing doesn’t mean you should do everything. Here are some quick tips.

What you should do

  • Make your emails user-friendly and easy to understand and navigate. No matter what kind of content you have, a difficult-to-parse email turns off readers.

  • Offer helpful information with relevant links. Sell yourself and your qualifications. Link to your website, social media and other places that show off your products and make you stand out.

  • Tailor your emails to specific leads. Let them know that you’re putting in effort on their behalf. Pinpoint their problems and make your solutions clear.

What you shouldn’t do

  • Overload leads with a ton of emails. Relentless amounts of emails can get you ignored, blocked, and/or taken off their list of potential providers.

  • Make them do the hard work. Don't make your leads search for what makes you great. Let them know exactly why they should choose you.

  • Don't be pushy or negative. If a lead is not where you want them to be in the sales process, keep communicating with them comfortably. don't complain or try to push leads into a deal.

Social media and dynamic website content

Social media and dynamic website content are also important for attracting and nurturing leads, especially those who are just beginning to gather preliminary information about you. Take note of these do’s and don’ts.

What you should do

  • Create a wide variety of content types. Mix it up! Find out what kinds of content your leads like and respond to, be that videos, blog posts, or snappy tweets.

  • Create different content from your email campaigns. Experiment with new tone, style, and copy, especially on social media. People expect brand voices to differ across platforms.

  • Interact with interested consumers. Replying to social media posts, answering questions, and creating easy-to-use contact forms go a long way to forming a genuine relationship with leads.

What you shouldn’t do

  • Get so caught up in trends that you forget to sell your brand. Memes, GIFs, and funky web designs are cool, but remember to always have a goal in mind for your content—even on more casual platforms.

  • Get into fights or act negatively toward consumers. If you get negative feedback through your website or social accounts, don’t subtweet someone or try to “prove them wrong.” Handle complaints from leads rationally and with care.

Marketing automation

There are all different types of tools you can use to manage your marketing processes and make your life a little easier… just be sure to use them sensibly.

What you should do

  • Use your tools based on leads’ level of interest. Don’t schedule 30 emails to be sent to a lead who has shown only an initial hint of interest in your brand. Let their curiosity build with lower levels of communication and lead them further into the sales pipeline.

  • Aim for quality and consistency. Sending out an info-filled newsletter at the same time each week keeps you in your leads’ minds and shows off how you can help them.

What you shouldn’t do

  • Rely completely on automation tools for scheduling and sending. Sometimes, going off-schedule to nurture a lead with a specific communication can strengthen your relationship and keep you trained to deal with immediate requests and needs.

  • Act like a machine. Don’t let your tools fool you into becoming impersonal and automatic in your communications—your leads don’t want the Terminator. Use your brand’s uniqueness and your own style to build real, human relationships.

Lead nurturing with Mailjet

Remember how we said that email marketing works for a reason? Well, you can make it work even better with Mailjet’s Email Editor, an email-building program that allows you and your team to collaborate and design, edit, send, and schedule emails that will appeal to any lead. Mailjet’s advanced email tools also include features like contact segmentation, content personalization, and more. Plus, if you’re looking to measure your email’s impact after the fact, check out our analytics and statistics tools to discover the strengths of each message.

Try our free Email Editor demo and check out our featured offerings and documentation guides to see how you can better communicate with your leads.

What to remember about lead nurturing

We’ve reached the end of our journey. Now, you hopefully know a little more about lead nurturing (communicating with and developing leads) and why it’s so important for any brand’s marketing strategy (better sales and much better relationships).

There are so many channels to use to nurture a lead, and communicating with an interested audience helps you hone your marketing, customer communication, and problem-solving skills. Plus, you’ll be able to recite your ABCs—and convert your leads—with knowledge and confidence.

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