Have you been neglecting long-term leads?
They meet your definition of a marketing qualified lead, but they just aren’t ready to buy.
Unlike short-term leads, who often eagerly reach out to ask questions, explain their buying timeframe and reveal issues with their current vendor, long-term leads are often more reserved.
They may not open every email or they may not engage on social media. But if you’ve done your segmentation research properly, you know that these leads COULD buy your product.
But, for whatever reason, they’re just not interested. Usually, it’s because the company doesn’t have the budget or the stakeholders can’t agree on when/if to buy.
While many sales and marketing teams tend to neglect these leads, often they are the best way to ensure a steady revenue stream in future quarters. As many as 50% of leads are qualified but aren’t ready to buy.
But how do you keep these leads engaged over a long period of time? It’s like watering your vegetables, weeding them, and pruning them all year, just to reap the harvest come fall. It requires hard work and patience
Define a Qualified Lead
Agree upon a definition of a qualified lead. Not a sales-ready lead, but a lead that should be interested in buying your product based on their title, industry, etc.
At this point, it doesn’t matter if they’ve expressed interest or interacted that heavily with your brand. Just determine who in your list could buy your offering.
Now it’s time to segment them further.
Segment Them Accurately
Now take that group of leads and observe their behavior. Some leads will be incredibly responsive. They’ll ask questions about your offering and will usually share some of their pain points with either the problem they are having or the vendor they are using.
These are short-term leads. These leads are going to be out of your funnel relatively quickly. They are looking to buy and soon. But some leads that are short-term aren’t really interested in your offering, they are just vetting a competitor’s solution. Others are ready and willing to buy and are worth pursuing.
Long term-leads act a bit differently, which often causes sales and marketing teams to all but ignore them. These leads might come off as standoffish and not interested, but their vague replies might just mean they don’t have the budget for your offering or they have not gotten the permission of other stakeholders.
These are the long-term leads that you’ve been looking for, the ones who can buy, but won’t yet. They shouldn’t be ignored, as nurturing them appropriately will result in future revenue.
Don’t Pass Them to Sales Too Soon
The worst thing you can do with these sorts of leads is pass them to sales too early. Often, teams will notice that a batch of leads is qualified and simply pass them onto sales while neglecting to do any nurture. Then, when the lead isn’t ready to buy, these leads are simply dismissed without thought.
Avoid sending the qualified, but not ready to buy leads to sales in the first place. High-pressure sales tactics will not work here.
Impress Them With Expertise
Instead, use your best content to keep these leads engaged and happy during nurture.
You want to keep your brand top-of-mind as each new quarter turns over, so that these long-term leads will consider you whenever they get a fresh injection of cash.
Carefully research what these leads like and ensure that you feed them content to match. By setting your brand as a prime educator in the area that your leads are considering, you make it more likely that your leads will choose you when they do make a purchase.
It won’t do for you to ignore long-term leads. Short sales cycles might be appealing to your sales team, but dismissing these leads makes both marketing and sales’ jobs much more difficult. As many as 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales because of poor lead nurture. These dismal statistics indicate that all you need to do is give long-term leads a little TLC. Long-term leads are your security, the future revenue for your business. It’s important to identify and care for these leads, nurturing them until it’s time for the harvest.
What are your favorite nurture tactics? Do they work long-term? Let us know what you think in the comments section.