Small businesses are always in a time crunch. It’s difficult to find designated times for sales and marketing efforts on a small budget and a small staff, which is why – regrettably – both areas tend to get neglected. But without a focus on sales and marketing, your business can not sustain growth. How do you reconcile this problem? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can help.

CRM software is a database and communication solution that helps you better manage future and current customers whose contact information you have collected. Implementing CRM software can save your business valuable time in a variety of ways, and today, we’ll focus on one of its major time savers: lead nurturing.

What is a Lead?

Experienced marketers, feel free to skip to the next section. But if you’re just beginning to inform yourself about how to market your business, the term lead may be new to you. So allow us to explain:

A lead is a contact in your database who has expressed some interest in your product or service in the past. By noting their interest and giving you their contact information (through newsletter subscriptions, ‘contact us’ forms, or personally in your store), they have given you permission to contact them about other, relevant information. Now that they are in your CRM, it’s time to market to them.

The Benefits of Nurturing Your Leads

Put simply, expressing initial interest does not mean a lead is ready to become a customer. One study found that 73% of leads are not sales-ready, while another determined that only 25% of leads are actually legitimate.

That, in turn, brings up a serious problem: immediately beginning to establish a sales-focused interaction with your leads is both ineffective and time-consuming. Enter lead nurturing, a concept designed to turn initial interest into sales-readiness.

Lead nurturing describes the process of sending regular, relevant content to the contacts within your CRM. You know they have expressed initial interest, and sending emails pertaining to that interest can work wonders.

Nurturing your leads, in short, increases the chances of qualifying your leads, which both increases the percentage of leads who turn into customers and saves valuable time within your sales efforts.

Setting up a Time-Saving Lead Nurturing Campaign

Of course, your nurturing campaign has to be set up right to turn into an actual time saver. The exact technical set up depends on your individual CRM; in BigContacts, you can set up a visual workflow for your leads that enables you to set up both individual email sends and groups of multiple emails with wait times between the sends.

The set up is easy, but the emails themselves ultimately determines whether your lead nurturing will succeed and ultimately save you time. Here are a few tips and best practices for a successful nurturing campaign:

  • Nurture, don’t promote. Above all, your emails have to be relevant to your leads’ initial interests. If you simply start sending out promotional emails, you may alienate your audience; instead, focus on being helpful and catering to their initial request.
  • Segment your lists. CRM software like BigContacts allows you to split off your nurturing workflows based on customer attributes, which means you can send more personal and relevant emails to groups of leads within your CRM that share common attributes.
  • Personalize. The more personal you make the interaction, the more likely your lead nurturing is to succeed. Don’t be afraid to merge in attributes like first names, job titles, or areas of interest.
  • Spread out your emails. Make good use of the above-mentioned wait conditions within your nurturing workflow. Send too much, and your leads will become disinterested or – worse – mark you as spam. Ideally, sending emails to your leads between once a month and once a week leads to best results.

By following the above best practices, you can save significant sales and marketing time. Not only will your sales efforts eliminate the time spent calling irrelevant leads, but an automated campaign means you don’t have to think about sending regular emails to interested customers nearly as often. To learn more about how CRM software can save you time and optimize your sales and marketing efforts, contact us.

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